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The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
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Witchcraft from the Outside
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Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
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My Father, My First God
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Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
Magic in Sentences
The Evolution of Thought Forms
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Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
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Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
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August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
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Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
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A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
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February 1st. 2015 ...
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January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
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The Best Teacher?
Article ID: 12019
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,145
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Author: Tabitha Beck
Posted: June 8th. 2008
Times Viewed: 3,480
I did not have a good public schooling experience. I am however one of those people to whom learning comes easily, when I want it to come easily. Do keep in mind, I am dyslexic, as well as having dyscalculia. I did not learn at public school, as I was not taught at public school. All of my learning-and I do mean all of it, since roughly fifth grade-has comes from me taking the initiative and teaching myself.
The fact that nothing new was introduced (mathematics aside, as I did go through Algebra, Algebra II and Geometry) from fifth grade to twelfth grade I am sure did help me maintain that middling A/B average of mine. I passed all the state and national tests, without a blink. However, all my learning came from my own desire to learn, anything some days.
Then I go out into the ‘real world’ and I decide I need a Teacher, with a capital T. (Now this would be years after high school, so work with me.) I decide I want to learn new and different things.
Another thing to remember is I am not now nor have I ever been Wiccan, nor shall I ever be. I have nothing against Wicca or any other religion. It is simply not my cup of tea. But when you are attempting to explore the magical side of Life, the mysteries of Mother Nature, usually you come up to the Wiccan Wall, for lack of any better term.
The so-called Wiccan Wall seems to be comprised of people who are also not Wiccan, but who have no other platform from which to run their enterprises or lives or anything else. Wicca seems to be one of the few accepted and well-documented earth religions out there. So, in order to find a Teacher, one must undergo the studies and the assimilation of Wicca.
I had such a teacher (small T, yes). I found her at work, at a global telecommunications firm, where we were both employed in various fashions. I can’t even remember how she came to be in my life. I do know I was going through a dangerous divorce, leaving a man I had been with since I was seventeen years old (now twelve years later, leaving him), a man who had controlled my every move and every thought and every emotion for twelve years.
I am not berating anyone here. I am merely trying to point out my mindset. I was used to being treated like an ignorant child, no matter how gently or tenderly, and I was used to being told what to do and obeying without question.
So, when teacher came into my world, I obeyed her as I had obeyed my husband, implicitly, instinctively, and without question.
Teacher had an interesting teaching style. I (and others she taught) was taught things in groups, and in one-on-one sessions. Teacher would give lessons, but not explain everything. Teacher would give assignments, but leave out vital bits and pieces. Teacher would make suggestions about doing things, but not go into detail or specifics, even though those details and specifics were always requested. These things she did while seemingly to be entirely forthcoming, while seemingly giving every detail, while explaining every nuance.
It was never till later on, in the midst of various spells and rituals that I would realize that she had forgotten something, or left something out.
Now, despite my urge to obey without question, or maybe because of the without question part, I would never stop mid-ritual or mid-spell—or mid-prayer or mid-meditation-or mid-anything else at all. I would stop, take a deep breath, and gather my own resources, then carry on myself. I had no idea I was wrong, until I would go to her the next day, telling of the events, only to be berated and treated poorly, like a small child with her hand caught in the cookie jar.
I began to pay more attention when her other students were nearby. They, it began to seem, stopped wherever they had a problem, and came running to her, day or night, despite the gruff belligerence of her husband, who thought all of the magic stuff was bull puckey anyway.
I watched as these people, people I thought were very powerful in their own rights and in their own ways, gave everything they were to this woman, as she was their Teacher. She was their Priestess. She was their Savior. These people were rewarded, petted, treated like the best-behaved little children in the world. They were in her favor.
What did she do? She accepted their power, took it away from them, and used it for her own ends. I found out about that last part later on down the line, after I had already begun to pull back and away from teacher.
No matter what the student had been attempting to do, teacher took them into ritual space (or wherever they needed to go to do whatever) and did everything for them, showed them how to do it right, how to force the gods to her will, how to command Angels and compel Demons. But she always told the student, in subtle ways and outright, that only she could do such things in that manner. The student would have to follow her instructions, and the student was never ready for that.
I never saw any students released from her custody by her volition. Usually they drifted away on their own, or were dragged away by outside family members. And the teacher would often, and loudly, and for great lengths of time, go on and on about how she had such great responsibilities to her people, how she had so many demands on her time there was little left over for herself on any given day, that she had so much to do in order to keep everyone in line.
When she described this affect in other people, she called it the ‘High Priestess Disease’. It is when someone, like a teacher, or a priestess, or someone with a severe mommy complex, takes on too much of other peoples’ ‘stuff’—too much of their emotional issues, their mundane issues, their ritual issues, so on and so forth. But in herself, she deemed it her necessary duty to her coven and her students, and the surrounding Pagan community.
Lucky for me, I had that subversive educational streak. Lucky for me, I had started studying at the age of ten every religion in the world that I could get books on. Lucky for me, once I was away from my husband, and thrust into a relationship my teacher had told me was ‘karma’ and was necessary and completely unavoidable (with someone I knew I was totally incompatible-and who broke all my personal rules about dating—he was younger-he was a virgin-and he was an idiot—he had that obey or die thing much worse than I ever did), it began to dawn on me—I had been far happier on my own.
When you are exploring something like your religious beliefs and system, you are supposed to enjoy it. You are supposed to be happy with your chosen house-mate/lover. When in a learning environment, especially one of your own choosing, you are supposed to be happy—for the most part—and making forward progress. At all times when you are a grown-up (I was twenty-six when this began) you are supposed to feel like a grown-up, not a mollified child.
I did not disobey, not in my own mind. I would be given an assignment—lacking of course key ingredients and/or information. I would deal with it on my own. I had more books than the teacher, and most of mine were better written and had better and more up to date and correct information. I also trusted my spiritual Guides and was open to Their input, far more than she ever would have allowed.
I was taught to treat my Guides likes little dogs, pet them and pamper them, and then force them to do what I want them to do—ride them hard and put them away wet was her mentality-about every sort of Spiritual or otherwise creature. There was no working together’ for a common goal. It was bending everyone and everything to her will. Period. End of statement.
I entered ritual space and I spoke with Entities. I asked for advice—and I followed it, even when it ran contrary to what teacher had specifically told me. I watched her interactions with people, at work, outside work, in Circle, in community, during our student sessions. What I saw was a very manipulative craven woman, bend humans to her will, usurping all their power and calling it her own.
I saw her lie, give out false information, and manipulate situations so that she and she alone came out ahead. I saw her assign blame to those she knew would accept it, just because she could. I saw her do morally reprehensible things the likes of which I will not go into at this time.
I consider myself very lucky to have gotten away from her, despite everything she tried to do to me and to those who loved me. She and her coven actually worked magic to attempt to cause a miscarriage. My daughter, highly powerful in her own right, is fine. Very healthy and extremely creative. She has never met any of them, despite how teacher especially went on and on when I first got pregnant, telling me how wonderful it would be for her to Teach my child, help her bring her Powers into fruition. My daughter is the reason I cut off all ties, severely, abruptly and completely. I may be too dumb to save myself, but when it comes to my children, there is no fiercer warrior than I.
And how does this exemplify the best teacher I have ever had? This woman has indeed turned out to be so, I tell you quite honestly. Any time I am faced with a question of which way to go in any situation, I ask myself which way she would go—and I do the opposite. I have yet to be wrong about that.
I taught myself to trust my gut, my instincts, and my intuition—because I could not rely upon her, her advice or anything from those around her. I learned self-defense, both of a magical nature and of a physical nature. I studied my rear off to fill in all the gaps this woman left in my education.
I accepted my own power. I accepted my own responsibility. I accepted my own fallacies and graces. I accepted myself. I learned how to ask for what I want, and to accept nothing less. I learned to speak and to speak out. I learned a moral and ethical code I would not have otherwise understood or accepted as my own, had I not known this woman, nor been treated so badly by her.
In the end, I became a much better person, and a much better Teacher, because I had such a terrible example to learn from and to guide me in the ways of how not to behave and how not to teach and how not to act/react.
As bad a time as my time with that teacher was, I am, now, after some time and distance, truly grateful for the experience. Only because I know of no other way such succinct and indelible points would have been made relevant to me, other than having had to suffer through all that time with her.
Had I denied myself the experience, where would I be? Would I be a teacher, more like her? Would I have had to undergo even more terrible trials and tribulations to get the points I have gotten? I don’t know.
What is done is done. I bear no ill will. I accept that this is where I have come from, and I use it as my constant barometer in determining if I am doing good or ill.
Copyright: copyright 2007 Arianna Reibia
Location: Florissant, Missouri
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