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Posted: Nov. 17, 2002
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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.
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| Everyone Had To Start Sometime. No Should Be Ashamed To Be New... ||Dec 10th. at 12:10:12 pm EST|
|Danae Dunning (Hobbs, New Mexico US) ||Age: 32 - Email |
Everyone had to start sometime. No should be ashamed to be new to the path.(I'm a newbie myself, and I have found the few pagans I know in my towm to be most helpful.)
| Well... I Am New Myself. Does Older Equal Better..... What I Can... ||Dec 10th. at 10:40:05 am EST|
|Steve Winn (W. Babylon) ||Age: 29 - Email |
Well... I am new myself.
Does older equal better..... What I can tell you is that I look up to
the "old ways" and respect them. But I also feel that , As they say
" the times they are changing" It seems to me that the pagan path is
more excepted then in times past. This is why I feel that the Pagan
"newbie" will and need to brake new ground. But there needs to be a balance
with the old ways. I am sure that the old ways will not be lost.
So I what I am saying is we need the old and the new. (after all isn't
that happening anyway) But BALANCE is Key. As it always is.
| I Personally Do Not Feel That Older Necessarily Equals 'better'. I Have... ||Dec 10th. at 6:21:52 am EST|
|Allyria Melusine Wynd (York, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I personally do not feel that older necessarily equals 'better'. I have been brought up to respect my elders for what they are....
To me, age is not the deciphering factor to what is 'better'...it is how one conducts themselves and the knowledge they hold....
This subject is quite ironic as i have been bringing this up with our local group lately....
I speak from experience on this one...it seems alot of the pagan community that i have been running into locally around here seems to be under the impression that older DOES infact equal better. I have been met with quite alot of 'odd' feelings/statements..."Oh, she's only 23, she can't know that much.....or She doesn't really know what's going on, etc."
Again, i am a firm believer that it is the person and their attitude that decides what is 'better'....not "age"....
| Theory Without Practise Is Sterile; Practise Without Theory Is Blind. Lenin... ||Dec 10th. at 4:58:46 am EST|
|wolcen (St.Paul, Minnesota US) ||Age: 48 - Email |
Theory without practise is sterile; practise without theory is blind. Lenin.
| Older Definately Doesn't Equal Better. Same As Older Doesn't Equate To More... ||Dec 10th. at 2:42:15 am EST|
|Lem (North Delta, British Columbia CA) ||Age: 15 - Email |
Older definately doesn't equal better. Same as older doesn't equate to more mature. Age is completely meaningless, except in the physiological sense. If you think of age as an uncurable condition/disease, then it starts to become a bit clearer.
Analogize it with studying for an exam or something. Two students both have to take the test, but one of them is told of the test the day before, and the other is told a week before. Just because one student knows about it longer, doesn't make him/her necessarily do better on the test. Granted, they have more potential time to study, but if the other student studies harder and better in his/her one day, s/he'll be a much better test-taker than the first student.
Same as in life and the Craft. I have been wiccan for almost two years now, which, yeah, isn't much. But stick with me for a second. In these two years, I've been very dedicated, but I haven't been studying a lot. So someone who performed a dedication ritual at last Ostara, for instance, could be waaaaaayyyyy more knowledgeable in most areas than me. Or maybe in all areas. I don't know.... this person was just a hypothetical person I made up. ^_^
Now, about the whole "when does revering the old way become resisting change" thing....
Personally, I believe that tradition is extremely important. In fact, I even worship Norse deities when I'm only about 1/14th Norse, simply because I feel a strong bond to the Norse deities. However you choose to worship your tradition is 100% fine with me, whether it be casting a circle and invoking their names, dancing naked under the full moon, or quiet meditation. As long as the same goal is being accomplished, it's totally okay. I don't resist change at all. I buck trends, cause chaos, and generally rub some people the wrong way. For example, every book I've read, every person I've talked to, every anonymous net surfer I've consulted, EVERYONE casts spells at least some of the time. I don't. All I do is pray. Some Pagans look at me strangely for not even performing a simple consecrating spell, but that's just how I am. I'm still revering the old Gods and Goddesses, just sans the spellcraft.
New generations of Pagans should be able to do whatever they please. They don't even have to be Pagan. They can be whatever they want to be. To force them to follow anything would be a bit too close to the seemingly omnipresent major world religion that everyone is always blaming for everything that's gone horribly wrong. But let's not get me started on that...
There's no doubt that the old traditions should survive. And there's no doubt that they ARE surviving, albeit probably quite a bit different than how they were originally practiced.
People, Pagan and non-Pagan alike, should just say "screw age discrimination, screw following tradition to the point of absurdity, and screw making those who come after use follow our examples!" Well, not in everything, but you get my point. ^_^
PS Please visit my website. It's actually pretty durned interesting and I promise you a good read. =) Ramblings
| This Response Is To Hunter, Opinion #1701: I'm Glad You Voiced Your... ||Dec 10th. at 12:57:32 am EST|
|Steven Bragg (MSU, Mississippi US) ||Age: 24 - Email |
This response is to Hunter, opinion #1701: I'm glad you voiced your opinion, but I must point out your contradiction. You say, "This debate is utterly stupid..." That infers that all who have participated in this discussion have participated in something stupid, and you, by your words, condemn this activity. This is a judgement on your part to all of us. Herein lies the contradiction, because in the very next sentence you say, "If we sencerily do respect the earth, ourselves, and each other..." How is your condemnation of this activity respecing us? We certainly believe this important enough to comment on, and so we have every right to engage in this discussion. If you don't want to participate, then don't. But practice what you're preaching, and respect us enough to not condemn us for it. Thanks.
| Why Does Religion Have To Be A Task? Life Should Be An... ||Dec 10th. at 12:29:25 am EST|
|Green Eyes (Houston, Texas US) ||Age: 42 - Email |
Why does religion have to be a task? Life should be an enjoyable journey.
I remember my grandmother boiling spices on the stove and all I knew was, it smelt good. I trusted her and everything she did. I did not associatte spices guarding against evil spirits in this evaluation. I think that the old ways have many secrets that need to be known, and passed on.
If the new shun the old - much will be lost.
On the same token, the world is changing. Nature is changing. We must adjust to this concept or we will be no better off than the closed minded people that have put us in the situation that we are in now. That is to say - questioning ourselves. Many of us have nothing to go by but our instinct. Who is to say that this instinct is wrong. We must make room for change.
If the old shun the new - much will be left behind.
So, in my opinoin, old and new must achive a balance or all that has been done will be undone.
| This Debate Is Utterly Stupid!!!! Many Of Come From Different Back Grounds... ||Dec 9th. at 11:18:27 pm EST|
|Hunter (Peterborough, Ontario CA) ||Age: 23 |
This debate is Utterly Stupid!!!!
many of come from different back grounds, we call ourselves different things and we follow different Traditions, but the underlying pricipal of respect is unchanging. If we sencerily do respect the earth, ourselves, and each other then we need to stop this silly debate, those who are untrue in their claimes will be found in due time as their own actions reveal their true identities.
If this community is going to get worked up about issues then let it be ones that are more serious like, our environment (not someplace far away ie rainforest though that is important) let us start with our own back yards our communities and cities. The environment that is total not just trees amd animals, but our neighbors our friends or anyone that is in need. Our total environment need our attention and if we focus on issues like this then everyone will be better off no matter what religion or spirituality they follow
| While Older May Not Mean Better In Any Real Sense, As One... ||Dec 9th. at 10:13:39 pm EST|
|Alex Kenlon (Forked River, New Jersey US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
While older may not mean better in any REAL sense, as one who has been a new seeker and one who has talked to many new seakers in my days, I can see why this queation comes about.
In some ways, Wicca/Paganism shares some similarities with the early days of the popular availibility of the internet (5 or 6 years ago if memory serves). All the people who were sigining on to the internet met up against the "Old Guard" of users who had thier access in college and had to learn it the hard way. I often thought of these people as "Elitist Snobs" who looked down on anyone who learned the 'net with a "Idiots Guide" or a "For Dummies" book and who couldn't do more than surf the web and read E-Mail. Deity forbid should one of the newbies seek to further thier knowledge and venture the realms of IRC or the Newsgroups.
Wicca/Paganism strikes me the same way. For a long time in the begining of the re-emergence, There were those who sought the path the hard way. There were few teachers and even fewer ways to gain answers other than self-exploration. Yes Self-Exploration IS the only way to seek the answers, but those people didn't even know what direction to try first. New seekers can find help on where to start looking for answers nowadays by reading books written by the firstcomers and by asking questions of other "Old Guard". They have the same hard path, but there are now guides along these paths and this bothers some people who had to do it the hard way.
Is this a right attitude? This is my humble opinion and may be wrong, but I feel that it SHOULD become easier as the years go on. If noone taught what they learned themselves, where would we be right now? Everything we learn in life comes from the teachings of others, filtered through our own beliefs, talents, and life experiences.
My Two Cents Worth
| I Have Gotten Consistently Annoyed At People Who Where The Number Of... ||Dec 9th. at 9:39:38 pm EST|
|Lilith Ravenmoon (Americus, Georgia US) ||Age: 22 - Email |
I have gotten consistently annoyed at people who where the number of years they have been a Witch/Pagan/Wiccan like a badge, as an earlier poster said. What does it matter how long one has been in their particular path? As for being a seeker, Goddess forbid that humans ever stop seeking. The day we stop seeking and learning is one I would rather not see.
I am often annoyed at the arrogance of coven members, so-called "elders", scholarly occult types, and people similar to that who say that their way of doing things is somehow more right than anyone who is relatively new, "young", or Solitary. Such an attitude is completely anti-Pagan...ours is supposed to be a tradition that believes all paths are equally valid. Well, if we can accept that about non-Pagan religions, why can we not accept that about paths within Paganism itself? I am reminded of the times when I have heard Pagans putting down certain Pagan authors (I like DJ Conway, thank you!!!), saying that they don't really "know" their material, that they don't "know" what they are talking about. OH, and YOU do?!!
If Pagans are to be seen as more tolerant than members of certain other religions, then we need to drop the arrogant attitude that somehow we "know" everything there is to being Pagan, and stop riding other Pagans' bums for their beliefs or ways of practicing magick, ritual, etc. Remember the law of Karma...what you send out comes back to you. You send out intolerance, you get intolerance back.
| Both Are Ok. I Think You Should Start Out Solitary, Get Comfortable... ||Dec 9th. at 9:24:34 pm EST|
|Mariah O'Leary (St. Paul, Minnesota US) ||Age: 18 - Email |
Both are Ok. I think you should start out solitary, get comfortable with Wicca/Paganism, then self-dedicate/initiate. If you like being solitary, stay that way, but try to get involved in the Pagan community and/or network. Solitaries can also join umbrella organizations that include both covens and solitaries. If you are interested in groups, do some research and find a group you like. Healthy religions change, as long as we stay true to the spirit of Paganism, both traditional and eclectic, solitary & coven are ok. Follow your heart, and do what you feel is right for you and your community.
| I Don't Think Being More Experienced Or Less Experienced Can Really Be... ||Dec 9th. at 8:35:34 pm EST|
|sleeping orchid ((near) Toronto, Ontario CA) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I don't think being more experienced or less experienced can really be evaluated in terms of which is better and which is worse. Both new seekers and experienced practitioners should be respected for where they are in their path. Each end of the spectrum has its advantages. If we fail to see what these advantages are, then perhaps we haven't thought deeply enough on the matter. I would also be willing to wager that those who preach such blatant superiority over others are merely insecure and should reevaluate their position. Of course, those who are "padding" their years in the craft are probably doing it for the same reason and should probably follow the same suggestion. As far as tradition in the craft, I am all for it and so far I have seen no evidence to make me think that the 'old way' of teaching has become so outdated as to deny its usefulness. Obviously young pagans should feel free to break ground... no one is forcing them to follow tradition, are they? But I think they should also be free to follow tradition if they like. If too many young pagans decide to stray from tradition, then the old traditions will suffer of course, and the the freedom to follow them will be lost; but that is something that really can't be avoided if people choose not to follow tradition. There does seem to be a very large number of young pagans who are ecclectic; that may be a produt of age that will disappear, or it may be a growing trend. Only time will tell that. Should young pagans break new ground rather than follow tradition? I believe, as I said before, that it is entirely up to them and they should do what's right for themselves. Personally though, I'd like to follow tradition. I'd also be glad to hear from anyone who would like to respond to this, if they would like to do so they should email me.
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