Back to the Drawing Board
Article ID: 10910
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,229
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Posted: August 20th. 2006
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Clickety-click, I open the email with “Witchvox” and “A wayward traveler” in the subject line. I wonder who sent this to me, and if they had read my very first (!) Witchvox essay on Shielding.
If he hadn’t yet read my essay, he surely has by now. The “wayward traveler” of my Inbox has become my first student in the Craft. The choice to become his teacher was difficult, yet so easy.
I wondered, and still wonder, at my “credentials” as a Craft teacher. Yes, I wonder. What makes me so—confident, confident that I can help to guide this individual? Why should I —I of all people—be his first mentor, when so many are left to the Solitary Path when they begin? I was one of those, myself. Overall, I wonder: why me?
I believe that he may have been sent to me by the Goddess. I can’t think of another reason for his “coincidental” (as he put it) multiple references for seeking my name. And those who referred him know me, he said. I wonder if they told him not to tell me who they were, since I haven’t received an answer for my question who. And then I wonder if I’m even supposed to know. The student is so much more important than knowing who sent him; the point is, I have taken him under my wing, and it is already proving to be a great and grand adventure.
How so, you ask? It is understandable why you would ask. I asked the same thing. Wondered in awe at the same thing.
I asked him, “What brought you to me? What makes you think I can help you?”
His answer: “I felt an urge to go surfing the Net in a quest to find out information about the Craft, and when I saw your words in both melodic prose and in plain English, it was apparent to me that you were one of great mental capacity. Also, a lot of people mentioned you by name, so I thought that must be a sign.”
I asked him, “Who referred you?”
He answered: “I'm afraid that I am at a loss for names, but they all told me that in Wiccan wisdom you were a completely neutral person, unbiased and helpful. I felt that one mention of your name was random, but the second and third time seemed to be a little more of a nudge, and I always try to trust my instincts.”
Yes, the responses I received could be construed and taken as a good stroking of my ego. I’ll admit, being referred to as such made me feel proud. But I will explain further how I feel that things are, and what I mean to do and be. And yes, I know you don’t understand what I mean just yet—I need to finish setting the stage.
The first question/answer matches my own feelings, considering the whole of our correspondences. The second gave direction to my duties as a teacher for the individual, not to mention that it built on feelings from the first. But as he said he tries to trust his instincts, so a good learner should do. One’s instinct in the Craft is one of the most important skills to learn and listen to. Instinct, the gut feeling, the Feeling to which I refer is often a difficult lesson for those starting out.
Now, to supply the actual reason behind this essay. I have become a teacher in the Craft (I’ve always been one to put forward possible solutions to the “waywards” at a Web site I have been a member of over the past five years), and I have opinions, duties, perceptions, reasons, and feelings that I think should be shared with others who profess to teach the Craft or decide to do so.
My opinions basically consist of these: I am unfit and wholly (still) inexperienced in the Craft to teach. Why so? I have been student and daughter of the Lady since my eleventh birthday, which amounts to eleven years total this October 26, 2006, when I turn twenty-two. That is eleven years in which I have learned my craft, experienced my life in the Craft, have come to know the Craft, and have grown in my craft. Eleven years isn’t that long.
Not that it escapes me that this is eleven years after my eleventh birthday that I have gained a student. Coincidence? I think not, as silly a thing as it sounds to base such decisions and perceptions on. As Craft students, we learn to see and recognize such correlations and “coincidences” in our lives, and they help to direct our respective Paths—even so simple and “not coincidental” instances as that. Which I realized only just now when I wrote it, the while I have been sitting in my nightclothes in the middle of the day, snacking on homemade garlic bread with Peter Pan peanut butter slathered on it. A completely non-coincidental coincidence—but also one of the best times I could possibly see a lesson in what I have been relating—since I am doing my best to listen for Her messages.
However, if the signs and Feelings (I differentiate from “feelings” because these are the intuitive Feelings we as practitioners have come to know as “right answers” from the Great Above or what-have-you) are recognizable, doesn’t it follow to accept them and their presence? And so I have, and so I have found myself here at my desk, writing this essay for you all to witness.
Now didn’t I just get finished writing my Opinions? Aren’t those the same as Perceptions? No, not truly, for my Opinions regard the more physical aspect of my life, whereas my Perceptions regard and observe the metaphysical aspects that I profess to be addressing in this essay.
What perceptions do I encounter, considering the aforementioned situation of my new charge?
I perceive the potential he has for future development. I perceive he is a good man, and I hope that he isn’t ruined from certain experiences he has had to face. I perceive a straightforward and upstanding individual who takes his own budding Craft seriously and will learn as he needs, just as the rest of us of the Craft have done. I perceive a student, an individual I have the opportunity and honor to guide and aid on his journey into the Craft.
I am not his first teacher, in my opinion—he has had experience with and has met those of the Craft before, whatever their Path. He has traveled long and has taken his time to look at as many aspects and views of the Craft as possible. He has chosen, and because he has come to me, found me, I believe—as I Felt—that I must have something to offer since we have begun: Student and Guide.
As I have told others and myself in the past, there is a reason for everything. It is up to us to recognize, comprehend and learn the lesson.
I have no absolute or actual reason, perhaps no good reason, for accepting position as his Guide. Only that he asked, and I Felt that I should accept, for his sake.
I have nothing to gain “officially” by this undertaking—I surely get that good stroke of ego, but as I am a Guide and nothing more nor less than that, I have purposely torn that egocentric view of this encounter and correspondence down, down below my feet, so I may have the opportunity to dance upon it and turn it into a lavish jam if I so wish.
As much as I can try to convince myself of my sincerity, I know I am biased, counter-intuitive to what he told me before when he said that those who referred me to him said I am an “unbiased” individual. Why wouldn’t I hold to that judgment of my character (especially since it came from somebody I have regular correspondence with, whether or not I know who at this time)?
Because everybody is biased in some way or another. How am I biased in this situation, you might wonder?
I think it is better that he has encountered me than some of the individuals I have known who claimed to be “good” Pagans and Witches yet who took it upon themselves to say that they would harm the ones they “helped” to educate. They wore every stitch of “rebellious” clothing they could and painted their nails black (that’s no problem if it isn’t being done just to show off as I am detailing in this case). They claimed that this is what a Witch is, and this is what a Witch is not—and I know they were completely wrong, for as they spoke in these absolutes, I knew they were wrong—I am one of those Witches they spoke of, and I am nothing like they said.
And when they were finished dealing the damage, I stepped in and told the receiver of this “information” that they were wrong. He didn’t listen, because first impressions are the most truthful, are they not? I suppose they are, if the right person is encountered. But if the receiver had encountered the wrong person, perhaps they were meant to get that impression in this life. So we learn.
But I stepped in with the truth as a Witch should know it (in my opinion). There are no absolutes; we are all different. Each of us has a different perception. No, I would not hex you for standing on this corner with a black-and-white painted “God Hates Gays” sign—but I will tell you that you are wrong for saying such a hateful thing about another, especially when they have said nothing to offend you in the first place, only lived the life they are meant to live. I may not wear the things some people wear because they want to show off (or because they actually want to wear or like what they wear and involving chains and fishnet and black paint), but I am a person too, Witch or not. You, too, Christian on the corner across from the gay bar, you, too, are a human like me, like the people you ridicule and demean.
The receiver did not listen, but his more open-minded Christian friend did, who has since moved to New Zealand. But the friend and I have kept our own correspondence, and I have told him as many of our Craft Truths as I have been able. And he has listened.
It is negative experiences such as these that allow me to be open and available to one who has sought answers to the Path he has decided to choose, a Path that he says Feels right for him. He needs a mentor who on moonlit corners would not denounce and judge and scream untruths at those they don’t even understand.
So my student has found a positive influence (my perception’s influence, of course, though I can say this much: I know I am not as bad a negative as he could have encountered otherwise). That is my first reason. He has found an influence that will give him the highlights of the Craft—not the “how to cast a love spell on so-and-so and make them love you” things; um, no. He will receive his Craft education from the ground up: Meditation, Grounding, Centering, Shielding, Casting Circle, Protection methods. These are things a beginner needs to get to know first, in addition to Craft history, among other things.
I have other reasons, but the most important reason of all is that he will receive a worthy introduction.
Finally, we near the end of my “book.”
I will learn as much from him as he will learn from me. I know this, and it doesn’t even have to be a Feeling for me to know this. I will experience what he experiences as he learns it. It is just the way it will be if I am a Guide with a student. It is the way it is when I offer suggestions and advice in the Forums at my regular Internet haunt.
It was mentioned in the second question/answer I relayed in this essay: they all told me that in Wiccan wisdom you were a completely neutral person, unbiased and helpful.” Oddly, I did not even realize I am so Wiccan-oriented, but it’s true—as I looked over and reacquainted myself with my first and second beginner’s Book of Shadows, so many of my early lessons and foundational studies were Wiccan.
I will teach him his foundations, show him ways he can accomplish the Basics I listed before. He will receive foundations in the Craft many do not see and overlook and move beyond before they are ready or willing.
As I said, I will learn from him as he learns from me, so I will experience the Craft as he does. But the thing is, I Feel it is my duty as a Guide to do this. Going back to the drawing board is a monumental task I must undertake to help him correctly. I will relearn everything I have known as I help him in his own way of experiencing his Path. From there, I will rebuild and refine my own foundations and perceptions and grow as he grows—in the Craft, in life.
How will I accomplish the things I have called to your and my own attention in this essay?
Well, Witchvox itself has a good place to start; go to “Pagan/Heathen Basics” at the bottom in the site navigator area. Clicking that leads a person to an eight-part Teaching series. Another resource available in the Witchvox archives is the “So You Wanna Be a Witch?” four-part series. That was another part of my beginning as a Witch. I don’t remember seeing the “Little Witch” series there, but if they are gone, they should be brought back. Luckily, I had printed them out for my own self-study and self-teaching a few years ago.
To teach, one should think about what they have experienced. Where would they have begun? What do they think is the most important thing to know first and second and third and so on ? To teach, one should keep safety in mind at all times! Make sure you and your student are both Protection-proficient. Finally, to teach, one must be trustworthy and fun. It would be my guess that you (the reader) could figure the why’s behind that. But that, I’m sure, gives a good place to begin.
But teaching is not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced. If you are not confident in your abilities, then you cannot truly teach. Know Yourself and Know Your Craft!
The other day my fiancé, my fellow Craft-mate, and I took a walk. We walked a long way to a park and then longer to a faraway place, a park that spread across and below a small highway. We walked, and he led me there. Along the way, I explored; I am a teacher now and I must be as close to Her as possible. I saw flowers and animals—rabbits, a garter snake, bats, deer, swallows, lightning bugs; you name it. But finally, when it was nearing actual dark, we arrived alongside a small copse of trees that I could see we could walk behind. I went; he followed. Behind us was a fair sheet of the lightning bugs, twinkling like the many stars beginning to show themselves in the sky. We had been busy watching large birds fly from the trees I pursued just now. The same birds we had watched were taking flight above us in what we thought might be their roost.
We stood watched them. They flew, all but one who stayed and watched us from so far above, us so far below. He was a dark shape against the dusky sky, half hidden in the tree. My fiancé asked after him, “Tell us what you are.”
I told my fiancé to be quiet; I didn’t want to disturb the quiet that felt as thick as soup around us. Instead, he said the same words, but louder: “Tell us what you are!” He would do that. But after his questions, the bird only cocked its head in our direction. We began to walk again, and just as we were passing it, I spied a large feather to my left and a little behind. I picked it up—a feather from that kind of bird! It was big, over a foot long: a wing feather. I have it at home now, a long, light brown thing. It is beautiful, and I am reminded of the magick that we beheld that night, magick that I know I have been led by, that leads my instruction, that leads my Path.
As for me, I will remain a student for life, no matter what position I take with the issues I have addressed in this essay. In the Craft, I am a Mother, a Sister, a Crone, a Lover. I am a Teacher, a Student, a Colleague, and a Magician. I am Priestess, a Priest and Father when required, the Lady’s earthly Daughter. I am the Lady’s Charge, and She, my own Charge and Responsibility and Duty. I teach and advise, am advised, and I learn. In the Craft, I AM.
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