The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
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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| 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.
| Sometimes It Feels Like People Hold Their Number Of Years On The... ||Dec 9th. at 7:36:50 pm EST|
|Whisperwind (Tacoma, Washington US) ||Age: 33 - Email |
Sometimes it feels like people hold their number of years on the path as a badge of importance. When this happens I have to ask myself "What have they really learned." The more I learn on my path the more aware I become of how little I do know. The more knowledgeable I get the less knowledgeable I feel. It is like a never ending quest into the fantastic, around each bend there lies something that may change the way I look at things forever, and this is a really curvy road! So I feel there is nothing wrong with being a new seeker because we all have things we know nothing about. Following the old ways is wonderful as long as new ideas are looked at openly, and it is the newbies who bring in the newest of ideas. As times change we must change, as new information is discovered old ideas must be reformed this is how we grow.
| Better? What An Offensive Word To Apply To Spirituality. "my Religion Is... ||Dec 9th. at 4:39:44 pm EST|
|Green Sprite (Fort Lauderdale, Florida US) ||Age: 18 |
Better? What an offensive word to apply to spirituality. "My religion is better than yours, nah nah nah nah nah." That's not how it works. There is no "better" in these things, spirituality isn't about competition.
| I Really Loved Everyones Responses Here...for My Two Cents: Alot Of... ||Dec 9th. at 3:33:03 pm EST|
|Casey (Commerce, Georgia US) ||Age: 18 - Email |
I really loved everyones responses here...for my two cents: Alot of people say that you have to have Witch Blood to be a Witch, your mom or familymember must be a Witch. You have to be initiated into a coven by a Witch who was by a witch and so on, and all this stuff. But my question is to them....."Who made the first Witch?" and the answer to that is God and Goddess. It does not take names, degress or years to be a Witch. I think its a bunch of kiddy talk argueing over who is best. Initiation, degrees, wearing the jewlelry, reading books, joining a coven does not make you a Witch. Its you who makes yourself a Witch, and thats devotion, disipline, and the power to take control over your life and make a change with the natural forces of nature which anyone can find deep within their heart. and in the spirit of nature of which we were created from. I have been on my path as a Solitary Eccletic for five years. and I do agree with the one who says they are more of a Witch then one who has been initiated in a gardnaran coven and lived in those times. We are all equal Witches, and learning each thing when it is are time to know it. We are the children of the Goddess back from the dead, as silver ravenwolf pointed out. We are all old and some new souls, but we can't let that get in our way because we started new somewhere and some how. We did not skip and we will be on the same level as our Witch friend when our time is right and know the same thins as them.. I think that was worth my two cents. I would like feed back if anyone would like to; go ahead and feel my inbox up since I will not be coing to this page as much. Blessed be.
| A Silly Question, It Doesn't Matter. If One Must Have A Religion... ||Dec 9th. at 2:49:22 pm EST|
|Shaggy (Miami, Florida US) ||Age: 18 |
A silly question,
It doesn't matter. If one must have a religion, then it doesn't matter if it's Cristianity or Wicca or even doaism. All religions (phyilosophies) through time studied Magic. Jesus was one of the most powerful Magi that walked the earth and even if you wish to limit your mind by saying that he was the son of god, (we are all gods children), Moses is another prime example of a powerful magi. And please think he had a Staff! All of you who are druids trully understand this joke! The point is it doesn't really matter if your a "newbie" or if you've been studying for years. Truth be told psyical age doesn't matter. I've seen 12 year olds mentally overpower there parents who have been practicing for years. A souls age is far more important. So all you old timers out there. Think about that next time you try to sneek a peek at the inside of some of us young kids. You may find that some of us kids are far older than most of you. The old souls are coming back for a reunion of sorts. Some of you know what I mean.
Peace be with all.
| This Is In Reference To What Pattie Rose Said. "the Problem Dosen't... ||Dec 9th. at 1:55:36 pm EST|
|Samael Schafer (Mission Viejo, California US) ||Age: 47 - Email |
This is in reference to what Pattie Rose said.
"The problem dosen't always seem to be older is better, the problem is the traditions they follow. for...
example one Pagan may choose to follow, do, or believe something different than another. What it then comes down to is a battle of I've practiced longer than you therefore I am right. And if they can't get you with that it becomes who did you learn under and what books do you read. I for one am very upset with the witchier than thou mentality."
My perspective on this is that a true Witch would not have this attitude. It is just plain wrong to think you're better than someone and question their knowledge and experience in the religion. Someone who claims to be a Witch and does things such as this, are mistaken and need to reconsider their ways.
| It Doesn't Matter Who You Are Or How Old You Are. The... ||Dec 9th. at 1:51:06 pm EST|
|Samael Schafer (Mission Viejo, California US) ||Age: 47 - Email |
It doesn't matter who you are or how old you are. The only one thing that matters with Wicca is that you know the truths about it, and you follow the truths about it. By this I mean, a 13 year-old probably isn't mature enough to be Wiccan because their minds simply cannot comprehend the reasons behind the religion. But ... If a 13 year old takes it seriously and isn't only following this path for the magick, then all the power to them. I don't appreciate this religion becoming a media topic, and I don't appreciate seeing people "become Wiccan" because they think it's "cool." I want to see more people realize that their whole life has been this way; that their whole life, they have been in tune with nature and all its forces. That's what we need more of. Not people talking about how the religion is decaying or progressing. Keep things naturally the way they are, and you'll find it to be better that way.
| Listen To The Gods And Goddess, To Nature, To The Magic And... ||Dec 9th. at 1:06:40 pm EST|
|Green Sprite (Fort Lauderdale, Florida US) ||Age: 18 |
Listen to the Gods and Goddess, to nature, to the magic and music of the universe, to your spirit, heart, and mind (but don't let your mind control you in these matters, the time for that is while taking a math test), to the scriptures of the world, to your gurus and loved ones and friends, and ultimately do what feels right all those things (and maybe others) taken into account. Then you will make the right decision. And be not ashamed for being a "newbie", for the new is the compliment to the old as light to shadow and hot to cold, not the subordinate.
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