Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Why Pagans Might Benefit from Counseling Techniques
Article ID: 15450
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 254
Times Read: 1,833
RSS Views: 16,289
Posted: June 30th. 2013
Times Viewed: 1,833
When I arrived in California two years prior, I was struck by the sudden notion that I could reach out to the Pagan community and actually meet, befriend, and perhaps, joy of all joys, participate in group rituals. In my grand excitement, I sought out every possible venue for meeting other Wiccans, Pagans, and everything in between. I found some beautiful people and sat back contentedly, thinking my great journey was over. I could rest and relax with my Pagan kindred spirits.
Concurrently, I was taking classes in a rigorous masters program in counseling, a field in which self-knowledge is just as important as knowing how to work with others. Empathy, trust and validation of any experiences and beliefs created the foundation from which all counseling techniques developed. But I laughed at the thought of any of my Pagan counterparts requiring any of this training. Surely, with a belief system as diverse and eclectic as ours, we should all be masters of tolerance and equality!
Unfortunately, in just a short space of time I have already seen the great power a lack of effective communication can have on even the smallest of Pagan groups. I am sad to say my experiences thus far have created a great concern for the future of all Pagan communities. I felt taken aback at the scorn directed at Monotheistic and Christian Pagans. I was shocked at a meet up for Pagans when the host declared that no one was to discuss their belief systems, “As it would just lead to messy conversations.” I felt horrified as two close Pagan friends had a rough argument about their difference in beliefs that resulted in one of them disappearing completely. Recently on PaganSquare, a host of essayists have taken part in a month of silence to protest abusive comments regarding their polytheistic beliefs.
I am not here to beleaguer you all with shameful stories or make you feel bad about yourselves. And I will not suggest everyone just “Kiss and make up” because that would belittle the importance of this issue. Instead, I would like to suggest a possible solution. Unlike my naïve assumption, we are not immune to humanity’s weaknesses regarding tolerance of a perceived ‘outgroup’. And perhaps, unlike other religions where rules and beliefs are written in stone (or in a single book) , we have good reason to feel a bit more possessive over our traditions. We are barely accepted by society as a whole (if at all) , and therefore it makes sense that we clutch at our beliefs with the proud dignity of any minority group. Unfortunately we do not all agree. Might I be so bold to say, due to the diversity of the Pagan umbrella, we may never agree.
But this does not mean we cannot learn to communicate, debate and disagree with one another in a manner in which our voices are heard, but do not cause hurt.
I can state from the experiences of my coursemates and I, that counseling training has done a world of good in improving both our interpersonal relationship and group communication skills. And you do not have to go through a training program, be certified, or even attend a single course. There are hundreds of books written about the countless counseling techniques, as well as online videos you can watch. Some of these techniques have been watered down and adapted into cheesy self-help books, but only because the original methods have proven so effective. Topics such as motivational interviewing, therapeutic interviewing, and others have been increasingly helpful in my interpersonal work, as they have allowed others to properly express their disagreements or concerns in a constructive manner.
If you are a High Priestess or coven leader, group counseling techniques are extremely helpful in establishing ground rules, facilitating confrontations, and promoting coherence in a safe, effective manner that does not immediately require punishment or extradition of a member.
Secondly, self-knowledge is just as important. We as counselors have been taught that if we do not know ourselves, it is impossible to lead another in this quest. If you are a Magick worker of any kind, I suggest that you have an in-depth knowledge of your strengths, weaknesses, and fears, as imposing your will onto the universe without such information could be dangerous to yourself and others. Shadow work is one such area that aids in self-knowledge, but meditations geared at working through past issues, childhood scars or life traumas could also help you feel like a happier and healthier person, and could shed light onto how your interpersonal relationship skills developed. An individual who themselves feels healed and happy will feel less need to start a fire. Believe me. All my training, journaling, shadow work and meditations have not only created a better person, but a much better witch.
Lastly, if you have ever confronted another because of a conflicting belief, it is time to ask yourself why this action was so important for you. What would be the worst-case scenario if you did not take this action? What would be the best-case scenario, or the goal you were trying to achieve? Finally, what actually happened when you confronted them? Did they take on your opinion? Or did defend their beliefs? To give an example, I will answer these questions in regards to my essay.
I took this action because I felt it was important to spread some possibly helpful knowledge about counseling techniques being useful tools for Pagans to communicate and debate with one another. The best-case scenario would be if everyone immediately went out and learned about counseling techniques and applied them to Pagan gatherings and group work (this is relatively fantastical, but was fun to write) . The worst-case scenario would be if everyone hated and ignored this essay and instead wrote fiery responses aimed at insulting and bullying me. I am prepared for all scenarios. I am hopeful however, that at heart we really do all wish to get along, but have yet to find the best ways of interacting while sticking true to our personal beliefs.
I will conclude by subjecting you all to the main counseling spiel we give all our clients in the first session: “There will always be people and events in this life that you will not like. You cannot change these things. You cannot change others. What you can change, is yourself. You can choose to be one way, or another. You can choose how you react, and how you interact. And while I can promise nothing, I have often found that by changing yourself, you will find others changing around you.”
Location: Fullerton, California
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