Articles/Essays From Pagans
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
Nothing Special... Part Two
The Third Path
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
A Witch in the Closet
How Many People Can You Fit Under An Umbrella?
Gut Hunches, Mouse Dreams, and Pinkie Sense
December 30th. 2012 ...
Ritual "Cheat Sheet" Bracelet
Magick is All Around Us
Confessions of a Living Satyr
A Tiny Bit of Belly Dance History
December 23rd. 2012 ...
The Warrior Goddess and You.
World Change: A Message from Greece
What's the Meaning of Life, Anyway?
My Brother's Keeper
December 16th. 2012 ...
Keeping Christ in Xmas
Love is the Law
Listen to Your Heart's Wisdom
Reading the Book of Nature
A Plea Against Religious Discrimination
December 9th. 2012 ...
The Elephant in the Room: Physical Fitness In Pagan Spirituality
Magic Is Not for Free (Sometimes)
Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Training - Yes, No Or All Of The Above?
Article ID: 10712
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,576
Times Read: 2,810
RSS Views: 78,328
Posted: April 30th. 2006
Times Viewed: 2,810
I’ve been reading the essays on the subject of training for ritual and magic here on the ‘Vox with a lot of interest and appreciation. I’m throwing in my two bits, as a follower of the school of “All of the Above” as a system of training.
After thirty years of study and practice on and off, I’ve seen a lot of learning methodologies in the neo-Pagan and related fields. I have come to believe in the very basic idea that what is right for any particular individual is whatever feels right for that individual – if they are being honest with themselves, their teacher, and their community.
But especially if they’re following an autodidactic path; in order to do that people need to be able to self-analyze clearly and honestly – which can be extremely difficult for beginners (and tough enough for all of us more days than not). That is one reason why I do believe in some form of formal training for people starting out if they can find the right teacher. However, I also believe that self-taught is better than badly taught.
My own path has included just about every form of learning – including allowing myself the fallow times of not ‘learning’ and simply digesting new facts, forms, and experiences, be it for days or years. Here is a partial list of some of my experiences in this area, and the conclusions I choose to draw from them – take from it what you will. Your mileage may vary.
I started studying Thelema my senior year of high school after doing an honors lit class book report on Aleister Crowley’s autobiography (even more unusual back then than today, trust me). I am glad to have had that early intensely formalist training, which has given me a map for working in virtually any ritual form, and a deep reservoir of useful knowledge and internal discipline (often not externally obvious, admittedly). I also had the salutary experience of learning about the Law of Returns in a deeply meaningful way, which led me to put further studies on hold for a while.
I first encountered Wicca through reading “Drawing Down the Moon” in the early 80’s. After I found a coffee shop run by members of a local coven and began talking with them, I became drawn to a path that was based on the Rede instead of the Law. In order to ward of incipient self-Fluffydom, however, I still use the full version of the Rede that includes, “Lest in self-defence it be…” But then, I’m a crusty old curmudgeon.
Since then, I’ve done individual reading both from personal interest and of works specifically recommended by teachers; studied with “Book of the Month”-type reading groups; and have trained formally in the Alexandrian Tradition as well as in Eclectic (several stripes) and Reclaiming Wicca (well, I don’t think ‘formally’ is the appropriate term for my time studying Reclaiming, but I found it both enjoyable and conceptually useful – though I still draw the line at doing the “Hokey Pokey Ritual”) – oh, and a few other things en passant.
I’ve followed the way of Mescalito and other deliberate derangements of the senses both chemical and behavioral; tried Tantra (it still needs more work, so I better go practice); worked with various meditation practices and none at all; and have had mystical experiences both induced and accidental - once quite literally.
I have both sat in on and taught Internet classes, individual and group; done the bookstore group-meeting thing; at festivals and gatherings I’ve attended classes ranging from a single one-hour session to full one-week intensives and in turn have taught at places like PSG; and, in a new twist to the old-style epistolary friendship, had a marvelous, incredible correspondence by both chat and long emails for a couple years with a 'famous Pagan author, ' who acted common as dirt on line, but was never common in anything. Sadly, I never had the privilege of meeting her in real life before her passing, though I still consider her my single greatest influence in the Craft.
I’m only going into all this to explain how I really have tried just about every way to learn in our area of knowledge, and found pros and cons to every variant of technique and methodology. I know a lot of people much better read, more ‘advanced’ and/or with more “mojo” than myself. Frankly, these days I’m happy just to be a theurgist with a mystical bent in practice and could really give a tinker’s damn for thaumaturgy in and of itself - no offence meant to those who do!
I won’t get into why here, because that’s easily another thousand words just to outline. But, be that as it may, I really have had a much more varied experience with differing Occult training practices over a longer period of time than most folks likely to be perusing this. Or maybe I just have a really bad case of Magickal ADHD – I’m not sure…
But after comparing notes afterwards with fellow students in most of these different ways of learning, they often most appreciated what I liked least about a class or particular teaching method - and visa versa. So perhaps the best advice I have ever gotten from a teacher - even though I still struggle to follow it at times – is, “If it feels right, it’s usually right. If it feels wrong, it’s ALWAYS wrong!”
That’s it, in my opinion – just learn to trust your heart and follow it, wherever it may lead. And never forget that you learn far more from your mistakes than your successes, so don’t get discouraged no matter what you run into. All the rest is just details.
"An it harm none...!"
Brightest blessings to you all, and may the way be open for you!
Location: Stone Mountain, Georgia
Author's Profile: To learn more about Bluehawk - Click HERE
Bio: The author is currently between cat-herding gigs in the Pagan community, preferring to be a “step in and help when asked” style of organizer and Bardic Elder-at-large in the Atlanta Pagan community. He “preaches, teaches, marries and buries” part-time as a UU lay minister to keep his hand in; and still enjoys throwing the occasional Pagan firebomb to disturb the complacent with songs or essays as a way of dealing harmoniously with his involuntary yet quite obvious adoption by Eris.
Other Articles: Bluehawk has posted 3 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Bluehawk... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2013 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wrenâ€™s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witchesâ€™ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).