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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: 12,922,745  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 199

Lurker/Post Ratio: 164 to 1

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 

I Consider Myself A Priestess Regardless If I Am Solitary Or With... Dec 7th. at 9:53:48 am EST

Amethyst (Lynnwood, Washington US) Age: 42 - Email

I consider myself a priestess regardless if I am solitary or with a group. I am called to the service of the Goddess and do not feel the need for the approval of anyone who would tell me otherwise.
I have spent more than 20 years studying Wicca and other religions, so I'm not really impressed by those who are full of themselves and want to intimidate others with their titles and degrees. If Wiccans and Pagans would stop playing these silly games, we might actually get something done, like buying land and building temples and universities where students could be taught in a less haphazard manner.

Ours Is A Spiritual Community In Which The Oldest Of The "old... Dec 7th. at 6:49:54 am EST

Kellogh MacAodh (Morgantown, West Virginia US) Age: 39 - Email

Ours is a spiritual community in which the oldest of the "Old" Traditions isn't really all that Old at all. Despite some entertaining but inaccurate romantizations. Certainly, I think all of us respect the right of the individual to find their own personal Path. MOST of us these days are the products of reading rather than Traditional study. I have some doubts about the validity and value of "Mass Market Paperback Enlightenment", but then again everyone has to find someplace to start their search.

I have known friends in several of the Traditions and found their practice interesting but extremely limiting and prone toward horrific heirarchal feuds.

I know lots of new "Witches" who want instant validation without putting out any greater effort than reading a couple of books and lighting some candles.

One of the things I respect about the Tradition Witches is the hard work and focus necessary to progress through their degrees. There is a great deal to applaud about dedication and discipline. Unfortunately that approach doesn't work well for me. As a consequence, I think it took me longer to progress through my solitary, personal approach than it would have taken had I followed their regimens.

Out of respect for my friends who have taken the harder path, I do not refer to myself as a "Witch" at all. I prefer to leave it simply at "practicing Pagan".

I think we have to respect the personal validity of all seekers, but should take some of the claims of "newbies" with a grain of salt. Too many seem to think that they are taking part in a role-playing game or indulging in personal fantasies of several sorts. I think that the Traditional "Old Guard" has worked hard and long and earned the right to be listened to with respect, but ultimately we all have to make our own ways. No one, regardless of the length of their practice or the degrees they have achieved or at least claim, "commands" my respect. I give it freely to anyone who hasn't proven themselves unworthy of it.

I Have Been On Both Sides Of The Fence. I Had Been... Dec 7th. at 1:16:19 am EST

Denise (shorewood, Illinois US) Age: 40

I have been on both sides of the fence. I had been in a Traditional form of Witchcraft and also worked as a solitary Witch. I believe it should be up to the individual to decide what is best for them. The only proplem with the Traditional form of craft I was in was that it became stagnant! Same ritual structure was always practiced, same dieties always worshipped same everything! It soon became very boring and rigid! Traditional Witchcraft is not for everyone. I am of the personal belief that if witchcraft as a religion is to grow, then we need a diverse and welcomed variety of methods of worship and expression to be spiritually fulfilled. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the newbie to the craft as we all were once newbies!I believe that self Initiation is just as valid (or should be) provided that the person doing it is a sincere seeker of our faith. I loved the words of scott cunningham "only the Goddess and God can make a wiccan who is better qualified?" Scott was by no means a fluffy bunny as he once belonged to a tradition himself before he broke free to be a solitary! I dont believe older equals better. I believe it is all a matter of what the individual decides for him or herself. I believe in order for old traditions to survive they must adapt more modern thinking for our times. I believe both can be combined happily but it will take time and a willingness to do so. I pattern myself after the late Scott Cunningham I am a solitary who invites friends to join in my rites occasionally or go to the rites of others sometimes provided they know of my intent to remain a solitary.I am considering forming my own coven and I dont mind "newbies" so long as they are sincere seekers! I have been in the craft over 20 years and am a ulc minister but I never felt the need to wave it in front of others faces as I can learn something from everyone! Funny thing is that when I do decide to form a coven I will pattern it after Scott Cunninghams rites most likely. I love the open honest simplicity he presents in his books!

Truthfully; The Path You Follow Is A Personal And Private One, It... Dec 6th. at 11:36:55 pm EST

Ricia (Memphis, Tennessee US) Age: 0 - Email

Truthfully; the path you follow is a personal and private one, It really has no relationship to an "identity as a witch", among others; or impressing them that you possess "secret knowledge". To thine own self be true.
But; never-the-less be wary of "Lord and "Lady" this and that, who propound their vast credentials, and want to instruct or ordain you by degrees.

However; Your qustion contains the Answer. If you follow "the old religion", you follow that path. If the new generation wants to "break new ground" the the "new age" is for them. But as they say:

"Honey; they aint no sub-ste-tute fo experience".

The Answer Is Yes To All Of Those Questions. That Is The... Dec 6th. at 10:32:20 pm EST

mandy and lexi (canyon lake, Texas US) Age: 17 - Email

the answer is yes to all of those questions. that is the whole point to religion to expand and teach new people the old ways. you can follow footsteps while being free and with new things it doesn't mean you have to lose the old.

I Have Always Read, Read ,read. Since I Was In Grade School... Dec 6th. at 9:00:52 pm EST

diana (amherst, Virginia US) Age: 68 - Email

i have always read, read , read. since i was in grade school, i have been tuned into 'comparitive religion'. everything blends into everything else. that is the only way i can express it. there is no 'old' or 'new'. there is only 'now'. and whenever one becomes 'aware', it shares the same 'time' as whenever anyone/everyone becomes aware. we are one. and i love you. yes. dia

Balance In All Things Is The First Phrase That Comes Into My... Dec 6th. at 8:21:30 pm EST

Trish Telesco (western, New York US) Age: 40 - Email

Balance in all things is the first phrase that comes into my mind reading this question. If we do not honor and understand our past, we are doomed to repeat terrible errors in it. If we do not grow, change, and adapt, our magick will stagnate and die, becomming like rote dogma without power and meaning. Spirituality is not lip service, nor is it measured by any guage other than that of each person's soul. We cannot look at this like a "keep up with the jones'" situation. Tradition is important because it offers continuity, culture, and the power of repitition. Inventiveness is important because it, like the willow, bends with the storms that rage now, and those that will rage in the future. Let us treasure our traditions, our lore, our history as a great gift. Let us honor our elders and teachers as an amazing resource. But let us also look to the future with creative eyes so that future generations can take the foundation we've laid and make it WORK in their reality. BB

I Think It Important To Remember A Couple Of Things...we All... Dec 6th. at 8:06:47 pm EST

GrayMoonDragon (Idaho Falls, Idaho US) Age: 21 - Email

I think it important to remember a couple of things...we all come from the same source, and our beliefs of what that source is are very personal. What is important to keep in mind that no matter where we are on our search, we are all continually learning and no one has the right to say another is wrong. It might not be right for me, or you, or whoever, but it's right for that person.

The Beauty Of The Generic Pagan Experience Is Adaptation. The Universal Law... Dec 6th. at 6:34:08 pm EST

Mimir Essedari (SLC, Utah US) Age: 24 - Email

The beauty of the Generic Pagan experience is adaptation. The Universal Law of Change was believed by the 'Ancients', as you can see in the example of Odhinn progressing from War God, to Wanderer, to Teacher... How can you create something new, if you don't know the Old? I believe a moderate knowledge of the past is required for any forward momentum, and I believe that Change being Constant, and part of Nature, is Essential to Growth...

Does Older = Better?

No, not Better... Older should be engrained in Newer, or no advancement has taken place. If you know the past, you can see the Cycle of Events which Shape not only the Present, but the Future as Well.

Thus a combination would be better.

Blessed Be to Thine and Thee!

I Don't Think Anyone Should "pad" Their Experience... No One Should Be... Dec 6th. at 5:51:30 pm EST

Priscilla (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida US) Age: 29

I don't think anyone should "pad" their experience... no one should be ashamed of their status. There's no shame in being a "newbie" or "wannabe" these are just labels and a label does not provide an accurate reflection of the persons status.

We can learn from everyone... therefore it is not necessarily inherently right or better coming from the "Old Guard".

I suppose revering the "old way" of teaching could foster a resistance to change... people are generally more comfortable doing things the way they've always been done... but that doesn't mean that new ways should be completely disregarded.

I think new generations of Pagans should be free to break new ground but behind their motivations they must hold close the "old ways" so that the older traditions are not lost or forgotten.

Every generation has something valuable to offer...

I Personally Believe That Any One Person Who Believes In Pagan Traditions... Dec 6th. at 4:16:04 pm EST

Sarah A. Carter (Sioux City, Iowa US) Age: 22 - Email

I personally believe that any one person who believes in Pagan traditions is valid, regardless of how long they have been practicing. Your beliefs make you who you are, not your status. This is not a blue-blood community, where we all sip brandy from crystal snifters and discuss rituals. We are Pagans, let's act like it?

That having been said, you also need to take your practices seriously. I know many who start simply to be Wicca-chic and that is wrong. If you are researching Paganism, do not do so with thee intent of turning people into frogs or flying on a broomstick. This is a serious religion and we take it seriously.

No opinion or tradition ever has to fear becoming 'extinct' as long as there are those who would practice it. If it becomes impractical or undesirable, let those who would shun it do so. We do not recruit, or proseletyze. This is a rule. Any questions to 'letting' people do this or that go against this rule and are irrelevant.

I Don't Think So. It Is, After All, A Popular Belief Among... Dec 6th. at 2:48:12 pm EST

Greywolf (Lafayette, Indiana US) Age: 28 - Email

I don't think so. It is, after all, a popular belief among neo-pagans (at least in my experience) that any path to the divine is a good path, so long as it is honestly followed. Old or new, it doesn't matter as long as it is the right path for you.
From my own experience, the question doesn't have much meaning. I'm not Wiccan (and I'm really sick of people who think Neo-Pagan = Wiccan). The religion I am most drawn to has not been actively practiced for 1500 years. There is no-one to pass on the "old ways" except through the suppositions of historians.

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