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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: 14,624,108  

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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 

There Is Nothing Wrong With Being A Seeker Or A Beginner In... Dec 8th. at 1:35:10 pm EST

Gawen (Kingwood, Texas US) Age: 19 - Email

There is nothing wrong with being a seeker or a beginner in any Path or anything at all. If you ask me, that shows a lot about a person to want to learn something new. It irks me when the "elders" of the Pagan community look down their noses at teens and young Pagans, and when they pretend that they are almighty when it comes to teaching someone the Pagan path. I have encountered my fair share of these people, and I don't really consider them Elders. The true Elders of this community are those who remember what it was like to start out on a new path where everything seems so uncertain, and they keep that feeling in mind while they compassionately help the seeker find his or her own path.

As for the new generations of Pagans, I think they should follow their hearts before thinking about the traditions of others. The old traditions may not survive in whole, but parts of the old traditions will survive as long as there are Pagans around.

So no, older is not necessarily better. Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age.

I Am Not Quite Sure If This Will Be At All Worth... Dec 8th. at 1:18:38 pm EST

Genyfer Munlyht (Scottsdale, Arizona US) Age: 17 - Email

I am not quite sure if this will be at all worth the effort of reading, but I'll try to express my mixed feelings as best I can.
I was raised christian and in a very odd way too. My dad is somehow jewish AND non-denominational, yet he WAS ordained a reverend. Now, maybe I don't know anything about judeo-christianity, but that's practically impossible. (you can read up on him at My dad always showed respect for younger people. I ate first, I got first seats, the best in everything until I grew older. Then, he sent me away to my mother's house.
She is catholic. At the time, I was non-denominational and I gave catholicism a try. It made no sense whatsoever. Young people always made room for the elderly. If my mom wanted to sit down or my uncle or someone even a year older than me wanted something I had, I had no choice but to give it over BECAUSE they were older than me.
Now, here's my opinion:
I feel as though those who are more experienced should be showing our way. I f I knew someone who had experienced everything, then I would indeed make way for them. But, of course, I won't even meet anyone like that. I know my mom, my friends, my sisters, my roommates, and everyone asks me for advice all the time and It's because, as they have told me, I have a way with expressing myself that shows in a poetic mannerism. It's also because I have used my words and found what words to speak and not to speak by trial and error. (I was a noisy and very faulty child) I am young. I am very young (17 yrs), but I am experienced at expressing myself and that's all. When it comes to those of us who know more than me, I can and will step aside with dignity and learn what I can from those of you who know.
I don't know if I got my point across, but at least I can say I tried.
Thank-you for you time,
Gentlest Breezes
Lady Moon

I Believe That Older Does Not Equal Better. I Think That No... Dec 8th. at 1:00:20 pm EST










I Am 19 Years Old, And I Walk This Path For Just... Dec 8th. at 12:32:22 pm EST

Marko Vujnovic (Belgrade, Yugoslavia) Age: 19 - Email

I am 19 years old, and I walk this path for just over 3 months now. No, I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a seeker. I see no reason why anyone would be ashamed to admit such a thing, nor do I see a point in 'experienced' pagans acting in such a manner as to make seekers feel ashamed of what they are. Of course, I'm not saying that is the case always. I have met some people that have been pagans for years and years. I was even lucky enough to get in touch with a priestess, who is now teaching me the basics. All of those people were as forthcoming as one could expect. However, I also got in touch with some seekers that told me about people who wouldn't do so much as lift a finger to help seekers. An if it harm none, do what ye will, and thruly, they aren't harming anyone. but is Wicca really all about beeing a 'rules lawyer'? In kendo they have a saying: "To ask may be a moment's shame, but not to ask and stay ignorat for ever is a shame for life".

I also cannot comperhend why some pagans like to bolst their way as the 'right' way. That's how Christianity started, and look where it is now! As I understand it, pagan religions are about beeing who you really are, expressing your individuality and personality. I live in Yugoslavia and I know only one other person that's pagan (and I met her yesterday; yes, I'm serious). Also, I saw only one 60-page book about Wicca which should be named 'Why I warship Aliester Crawley and Gerald Gardner' rather than 'Wicca'. They even went so far as to explicitely state that beeing naked while doing rituals is a must. With all this in mind, I really had no choice but seek my own path. Of course, already mentioned priestess is beeing a lot of help and I thank her for it, but both she and I feel that I should carve my own path that I am about to walk. I already found some interesting information about a tradition noone seems to know a lot about. It's called Wolf's Head, and main deities are Melikki and Pan (by the way, if you do know about this tradiition, please contact me) but still I am not sure I will want to follow that tradition to the letter.

The traditions of the old? Sure, why not, if you feel that's for you, go ahead! But please, do not make seekers think that old necesarily means better.

I Have The Utmost Respect For Those Who Are From A "long... Dec 8th. at 12:14:39 pm EST

Jarren Garcia (Imperial County, California US) Age: 31 - Email

I have the utmost respect for those who are from a "long line of witches". I am only a second generation wiccan. I'm 31, an my mother brought me into the craft when I was 13. I thought it was the only sensible way to be, since I already knew that "hidden abilities" were inherent in all of us. Here was a religion that encouraged the developement of abilities that were scorned for hundreds and hundreds of years! The people in my mothers bloodline have always encouraged their children to listen to their "natural voices". My mom took it one step further, and gave those "natural voices" a face. She knew that it was the Gods/Goddess' talking to us, and giving us direction. I agree. It's hard to deny something you know to be true because of first hand knowledge. The debate on whether it is a valid religion is, however, not in question. What is in question is the "old school" vs. "new school" theory. I can only speak for myself. I wouldn't presume to be arrogant enough to speak for all other pagans around the world, and I don't think I'd like all the other pagans in the world to speak for me. Tradition is wonderful. I think we should all at least learn the proper forms before we start going freestyle. I think that there are certain fundamental basics that have to be learned. Sabats, history, balance, ... etc... The pagan tradition is a beautiful one. From the deepest parts of history the traditions of the Lord and the Lady have survived. I would hate to be a part of the generation that chose to disregard and rewrite the past. I am, however, honored to be part of a generation that has chosen to stand up and say that we are proud to serve the Lord and the Lady. Service to the Gods means just that. We serve. If the Gods want something altered, then they are going to make sure that it's altered. The traditions that were true 2000 years ago were done that way to suit the witch of the day. What do the Gods have in store for the witch of this day? Or in days to come? I'm proud to be a Wiccan Priest. I honor the old ways. I keep an open mind about the ways yet to come.
Brightest Blessings to you all
Jarren Garcia

I Agree That The Simplicity Of Post #1655 Is Emotionally Motivating In... Dec 8th. at 12:09:41 pm EST

Steven Bragg (MSU, Mississippi US) Age: 24 - Email

I agree that the simplicity of Post #1655 is emotionally motivating in getting us to remember the larger picture of our religion. However, the point at hand is being missed. Certainly the Gods have no need of traditions or even religions for that matter. However, we humans do. This is quite obvious from the centuries of religious practice of humankind. And we are not dealing with Gods, we are dealing with humans. I don't get snubbed by a God/dess, I get snubbed by a human who doesn't understand where I coming from, if I get snubbed, that is. I don't live next to a God/dess, I live next to a human. The point of these discussions is to hopefully come to a better understanding of each other as human beings. To appeal to the supersensible Divine force and say "it doesn't really matter what happens here and now because it's all good in the end" may by true, but it doesn't help us here and now get along with one another.

As A Witch I Have Come To Realize And Accept That Part... Dec 8th. at 11:59:13 am EST

Anthony (Utica, New York US) Age: 33 - Email

As a Witch I have come to realize and accept that part my faith or tradition has a good chunk of it's basis in the concept of "change". All things change - continously expanding and contracting. Sometimes the time frame inwhich change occurs is over such a great span of time that it is almost invisible to our wee perspectives in the greater scheme of things.

So - like all things around us, does it not stand to reason that the Craft (or whatever we wish to call these days) is going to change over time as well? If we take our lessons from the natural world around us - those things that remain in perpetual stillness - eventually stagnate and decompose. Even a rock changes with time. . .

Is Older Really Better"? Age, In And Of Itself, Is Irrelevent, As... Dec 8th. at 10:57:53 am EST

Silicon Rat (Montreal) Age: 31 - Email

"Is Older Really Better"?

Age, in and of itself, is irrelevent, as far as I am concerned, in so far as it applies to the physical age of an individual. The simple truth is that I know people who are younger than me who's experience and natural talent far exceed anything I can ever hope to achieve. At the same time, I know many people who are older than me who I wouldn't trust to mail a letter properly.

As far as tradition goes, we have to look at the age of the tradition in question. As far as I'm concerned, there isn't a Wiccan tradition that yet qualifies as 'old', while some of the rites and symbolism from these traditions may originate mucg further back. However, since we are discussing the traditions themselves, and not the individual rites of said traditions, I would have to say, since I don't believe that 50 years constitutes 'old' in a religious tradition, that there are not older traditions... only some that are slightly less young.

Now, my view on this entire topic is skewed by that fact that I don't believe in 'One True Path'. I go one step further, however. I don't believe that any two individuals follow the same path.... even the people in a coven are folloiwing individual paths that are similar, not all the exact same. That being the case, can it really be said that those who are older than me are any closer to the spiritual goals that *I* seek? Just because they are older does not mean that they hold the key answers to my questions.

If The Older Generation Doesent Teach The New Then The Craft Is... Dec 8th. at 10:14:15 am EST

Kuulei Makanoa (Kahana Bay, California US) Age: 36

If the older generation doesent teach the new then the craft is lost. If the new doesent teach the old "a few new tricks" then the craft is lost. SHARE! Comprimise and lots of guidance can go a long way and for years to come. It's all in the vision.

It Never Fails To Amaze Me... The Topic Of This Post Is... Dec 8th. at 10:11:14 am EST

BlueMystravyn (Harrisville, Wisconsin US) Age: 36

It never fails to amaze me...

The topic of this post is: "Is older really better"? I believe my point, (post #1636) was made by Skye cat, "27" (not a magickal name, just deliberately cheesy, post #1653), who did not even attempt to comment on the topic but instead chose to belittle others for thier opinons and tell a tale of "wholier than thou". Then there was a very brief and I believe quite eloquent post from Green Sprite, "18" #1655.

Yes, a person can be younger and wiser and another can be older and quite the opposite. Who's to say what is "better"? For some, one and others...well, themselves!

Merry Meet! I'm A "newbie" Who Is Still In The Investigation And... Dec 8th. at 10:05:24 am EST

David Page (Phoenix, Arizona US) Age: 37 - Email

Merry Meet! I'm a "newbie" who is still in the investigation and practice phase, and I am still discovering something new about Wicca and/or Paganism every day. What I've learned today is that people are the same, no matter where you go, or what religion you practice. If somebody looks down upon me simply because I'm at the beginning of this wondrous path, I figure that their disdain will be answered when the Threefold Law gets to them. The people I choose to associate with will be the ones who deserve my company and may by be enriched by my presence, as I would be enriched by theirs. Whether I choose to apply to a coven or practice solitary makes me no more or less a Pagan than anyone else. The "Coveners" who feel that the "non-initiated" are beneath them (and I know not all coven members are like that) are no better than the Right Wing Christians or Muslims that believe that anyone outside their sect is a lower life-form and not desrving of their attention. I feel that once you have truly bonded with the elements and revere Nature in all Her glory, you ARE initiated, no matter if you've been the subject of (or performed) a ritual or not.

Older Does Not Nessecarily Equal Better. Its Nice To Have Someone With... Dec 8th. at 9:52:25 am EST

Cheilis (Chatham-kent, Ontario CA) Age: 27 - Email

Older does not nessecarily equal better. Its nice to have someone with experience around but sometimes a new person offers a new perspective on rituals , rites, ETC. Its when we blend that we can truely understand the path.

Each of us has something to offer whether old or new.
The untapped energies of a initiate or the wisdom and guidance of an elder.

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