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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 12,760,150  

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Question of the Week: 17 - 12/4/2000

Does Older Equal Better?

Whether it is Traditional Wicca vs. Solitary Wicca or Coven Trained vs. Self-Initiation, there are folks on either side of the issue, "Is Older Really Better"? We have even heard of some folks 'padding' their experience (or years) so as not be called a "newbie" or a 'wannabe". Is there something 'wrong' with being a new seeker? Is there something inherently right about being what some call the "Old Guard"? Is there a point where revering the 'old way' of teaching/passing on the knowledge actually becomes 'resistant to change'? Should the new generations of Pagans follow closely in our footsteps or should they be free to break new ground? Can the old traditions survive if they do? Should they?

 Reponses:   There are 199 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

The Earth And Our Religion May Be Old, But We Are All... Dec 4th. at 5:02:19 pm EST

AmberMoon (Fredericksburg, Virginia US) Age: 31 - Email

The earth and our religion may be old, but we are all still learning, and our journey is not complete until we pass into the next existence. Therefore we are all 'newbies' and as so, we all continue to learn.

One of the things that attracted me to our religion was the fact that everyone made their own path, and that freedom was within. The only drawback is the negativity that surrounds those of our paths, something which I did not believe in till much recently...

Bright Blessings,

As A Virtual "newbie," Perhaps Some Will Dismiss My Opinion Or Discount... Dec 4th. at 4:44:15 pm EST

ShadowSpirit (Biloxi, Mississippi US) Age: 42 - Email

As a virtual "newbie, " perhaps some will dismiss my opinion or discount it and claim a lack of discovery. For so many years I knew there was a path for me and the old religion is it. I happened upon it through friends, was welcomed in to their homes and lives, encouraged to read and learn and try on my own and told "there is no one perfect way." So, if this is the true and founding basis, the old ways will never fade away for they are the resin our faith is formed with. The basis for a spell is energy. The basis for our faith is energy. This will remain no matter how that spell or belief is cast, so long as the rede is upheld. As yet I have not completed a formal initiation but hope to soon. Yet I am accepted and my knowledge looked upon as valued and important. We learn from each other, new and old. Let this interaction course through without interference. Let each other grow together with our own personalities. Support the rede, appreciate what mother earth and father sky have given us, protect them and respect them, as well as each other. And love!!

Blessed Be.

There's Something To Be Said For The Old Ways. They're Tried. They're... Dec 4th. at 4:27:57 pm EST

Trina Burke (Tallahassee, Florida US) Age: 25 - Email

There's something to be said for the old ways. They're tried. They're proven. However, as with anything, there is danger without balance. As the world changes, so must we. Old ways will need to be modified out of practicality. There is nothing wrong with this, nor is there anything wrong with being a new seeker. Even the eldest among us were young novices once, and while they have much to teach, there are certain things that must be come to on one's own in finding one's true path.

Each new Pagan should find his or her own way, with the help of those who have experience (if possible). The main thing that has drawn me to paganism is its lack of dogma. It is openly acknowledged that there is no one right way. If we begin holding on to old knowledge for dear life, we will never grow and the wheel will leave us behind.

The old traditions can survive, but not always in the same forms. In the end, what works will survive.

I Feel As A Member Of The Mostly Widely Discriminated Against And... Dec 4th. at 4:23:14 pm EST

Bal (florissant, Missouri US) Age: 40 - Email

i feel as a member of the mostly widely discriminated against and misunderstood religions in the world, we run a danger of defeating ourselves. let us not be judgemental and turn away "newbies" or even "wannabes" if they follow our Rede. coven, solitary, it's all well and meet. the last thing we need though is to have a cloister mentality.

Goddess keep and speed us all

Is Older Better? Not Necessarily. It Doesn't Matter How Long You Have... Dec 4th. at 4:12:53 pm EST

Moonlight Morgan (Windsor, Ontario CA) Age: 17 - Email

Is older better? Not necessarily. It doesn't matter how long you have been Pagan. Some newbies know more than those who have been practicing for many years. On the other hand though, many "oldies" know more than "newbies." It depends on how much you study, practice, how interested you are in learning, your attention span etc... Not how old you are or how long you have been pagan doesn't have much to do with it. Besides, you can have a 60 year old and a 30 year old, and the younger one may have been pagan longer. I have heard of padding too. In fact, I used to do it. But now I realize that no matter what anybody thinks about my lack of years, I am proud of them. Last November 27th, I self-initiated myself, that makes me a 1 yearer! YEAH!!!

Sometimes, for those who know quite a lot about Paganism, or anything for that matter, some newbies can be quite annoying. I mean, after the 30th time of explaining that we cannot shoot flames out of our fingers, it gets redudent. However, we must all remember that we were all newbies once. Each and every one of us. Even if you are one of the few who were "born" a witch (that's another Pagan Perspective discussion), you still aren't born with ALL the knowledge. You are still a newbie.

I think that newbies should remember that the oldies have some good ideas and traditions and the oldies should remember that the newbies will have some good ideas and traditions and that neither one is better than the other, but that with cooperation, the future of the craft look good!

I Have Found That Many Older Witches Do Not Take Me Seriously... Dec 4th. at 3:26:40 pm EST

Celestial Lily (Farnham, England UK) Age: 17 - Email

I have found that many older Witches do not take me seriously because of my youth. But you can't really blame them as I myself have met many teenagers claiming they want to become Witches, but what they really mean is they want to cast a spell to make someone they fancy go out with them, or they want to be like Sabrina. It makes it harder for those of us who are genuinely interested to be taken seriously.

However it is a sad fact that some Witches feel they have moved on from the learning stage and have no time for those new to the Craft. I guess they feel they're above us or something. But thankfully these are rare and I have found Witches to be very helpful and friendly people.

What I Believe Is That All Should Be Welcome To Explore This... Dec 4th. at 3:04:53 pm EST

unlycia (Elmwood Park, New Jersey US) Age: 25 - Email

What I believe is that all should be welcome to explore this religion and any religion no matter what age. Age discrimination is just as wrong as race discrimination. I think that the people practicing should not roll thier eye's or turn thier backs on the young seekers b/c they are the one's this religion needs to make it live on for years to come. If we teach them the "old ways" and they incorporate some "young ways" to this religion, we can all learn from each other. I have spoken to a lot of young teenagers who have been called "wanabe's" b/c of thier youth. We all have to remember that everyone starts somewhere and so did we and it is a lot easier when people are thier to help you not put you down b/c you are so young in age. The truth is that age should measured in numbers it should be measured in mentality! Plus, nobody should have to validate thier beliefs to anyone! We should all open our arms and hearts to today's youth to join in and so that this religion can be passed on and live on forever!!!!

The Beauty Of Paganism Is That It Is As Old As The... Dec 4th. at 3:04:46 pm EST

Kari C. Tauring (Minneapolis, Minnesota US) Age: 34 - Email

The beauty of Paganism is that it is as old as the Earth and as everchanging as her seasons. I still believe that witches are born not made. No matter what calendar date you say you began your path, we all started before our birth's. And what is this about Better than? Paganism is unique because it is able to accept and incorporate the old, the new, the extraterrestrial...It is an organic spirituality, that means change. I have rarely heard a Pagan talk about things with such judgemental words as Better than or More Authentic than. Most Pagans I know are simply happy to see others learn to live in harmony with the Earth and grow in their own acceptance of others. It is also unique because one who follows the path is not hindered by dogma and centuries of rules and regulations. It's good and important to know about the history of our ways. It is equally as important to be able to change our paradigms, our realities, our standard methods. As the Earth Changes are occurring faster and faster, humans need to be flexible in their ways, to hold more light than they used to, to accept that the same set of spells may not work anymore, to change with Her. Finally, remember, we are the future generations of Pagans. Think in terms of the next 7 generations and go with the flow of healing that Earth gives you to use. Open yet grounded, sure of our inner Truth while the truth around us changes. "Everything she touches changes!"

I First Became Involved With Wicca When It Was Downright Dangerous To... Dec 4th. at 3:03:47 pm EST

Starscryer (Denver, Colorado US) Age: 45 - Email

I first became involved with Wicca when it was downright dangerous to admit adherence to this path - in 1974. In my case, I would have lost my security clearance, and most likely have been confined to the mental ward of a military hospital if I had come out of the broom closet. Since that time, I have seen Wicca grow from a "cult" to a movement. Today it is possible for us to gather in circle in the light of day.

The newcomers to our path have given Wicca its wings. It matters little whether one is "newbie" or "old guard;" what matters is the love in one's heart for the Lord and Lady. The "old guard" is our foundation - we should remember when we were the "newbies, " and use the wisdom that comes with age to temper the natural resistance to change. The "newbies" are our future - one day you too shall be the "old guard." Pray that you too will be challenged by the newcomers, for that is the path to growth and renewal!

Blessed Be!

One Might Say "only A Witch Can Make A Witch." How About... Dec 4th. at 2:53:05 pm EST

Dairine (Bay Area, California US) Age: 0 - Email

One might say "Only a Witch can make a Witch." How about the Goddess? Is She Witch enough for you?

This aside . . . let's dissect: what makes a Witch? And by extension, an Elder?

Knowledge, for one. A familiarity with the practices and theories of this religion or others.

Talent, perhaps. A natural proclivity and inclination, at least, if not natural abilities.

Craft, most certainly. The development of this talent, the ability to raise and direct energy, and to recognize its natural forms. The learning derived from practice and experience and hard work.

And Wisdom. The hardest to pin down. Perhaps it's a circle, and Wisdom overlaps back upon Knowledge. But it's the sort of learning that comes from understanding -- knowing not only what to do and how to do it, but when, and why. Understanding not necessarily the meanings of the Divine Universe, but understanding the ways in which we perceive them.

It's the funny sort of coincidence that these match up with "To Know, to Dare, to Will, and to Keep Silent." They just popped into my head in a moment of thought on the question.

Growth is required. Spending a lot of time doing it, I say, is not.

Perhaps I am biased. But since before I can remember, people have been telling me that I have an old soul. I believed it before I knew whether or not I believed in reincarnation. I didn't think it impossible that my soul had simply aged more rapidly; after all, I'd been doing everything I could towards that end. I still haven't uncovered any of my past lives, but my childhood memories point towards wanting to know everything, and acting on that desire quite frequently.

I do not claim myself an Elder; I even feel a little silly claiming myself a Witch -- I'm in it for the spirituality, from day to day, and the Craft only gets my attention when I'm in the right mood, or when life isn't too hectic. But I will say with certainty that wisdom is not achieved by sitting in one place for sixty years. One of the reasons why I identify with Persephone is because of her ambiguity between Maiden and Crone. (There's a picture with this theme on my amateur art site, I was old before I was young, and I can't say that I'm wise, because that seems like a yardstick and a self-judgment for which I am not qualified. But we are all in different stages of wisdom. My current one, I think, is acceptance.

I Would Hope That We Do Not Communicate To Those Who Have... Dec 4th. at 2:26:10 pm EST

Riverwolf (Roseburg, Oregon US) Age: 52 - Email

I would hope that we do not communicate to those who have recently discovered their Wiccan path some sort of lesser status or importance in the Pagan community, solitary or of coven association. We are all learning, seeking new insights about our own path, our own connection with the Goddess and the God. It is not a matter or "right" versus "wrong." The "Old Guard" are not the sole sources of or final judges of correct answers - fortunately we have no Wiccan pope. On the other hand, those who have walked the Wiccan path longer than others are tremendous resources for information, experience, learning and insights into what Wicca can mean for those newer to our religion, and the legitimate keepers of coven secrets. The new generations of Wiccans will play a key role in the evolution of our religion. As with all aspects of our universe, change is inevitable. To the extent that the next generations of Wiccans / Pagans hold to the basic tenents of our religion is a function of our educating our youth. We must be willing to take the time to talk with our children about the beauty and power of Wiccan beliefs and practices. We must take every opportunity to show our children that we are not afraid or ashamed to be identified as Pagans in the general community. Yes, it is hard sometimes to balance everyday life with Wiccan identity. Yes, unfortunately we are still subject to discrimination. Yes, we must keep our children safe from that discrimination. We must teach them to respect the discrete Wiccan identity of others. But to the extent that we can show our children that there is a place in the world for them to live their lives as Wiccans / Pagans with self-respect and dignity - this is our obligation to them as those who will carry on our beliefs and traditions.

Roseburg, Oregon

Although We Try To Rise Above Human Nature It Will Always Affect... Dec 4th. at 1:56:35 pm EST

Mechele de Avila (New Orleans, Louisiana US) Age: 31 - Email

Although we try to rise above human nature it will always affect us on some level. There will always be those who feel that their way is the only way or those who prefer to stick with their tradtions for whatever reason.

I am new to the fold and thus may have a more open view than those who have not had it as easy as I. I have never had to search very hard to find those willing to share ideas and knowledge with me and I have never been persecuted (looked at funny, yes) for my beliefs. There will always be those drawn to things for the "wrong" reasons, fashion, shock value, or defiance and not true devotion, but that does not mean that all "newbies" are not serious.

By nature there will always be people who want routine and sameness and at the same turn of the coin there will always be those who rise against structure and set routines. There will be those who embrace change and those who find comfort in the old ways. I do not think any old traditions will "die, " but we may see some changes in the way some worship.

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