Articles/Essays From Pagans
February 1st. 2019 ...
Paganism and Witchcraft in the Media
September 25th. 2018 ...
Understanding the Unseen
August 25th. 2018 ...
A Little Magickal History
Men and the Goddess
Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces
Kitchen Magic and Memories
Why the Faeries?
Magic in Daily Life
An Open Fire: Healing from Within
Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light
Gudrun of the Victory Gods
Ares and Athena
La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength
The Lady on the Stairs
The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives
July 26th. 2018 ...
The Importance of Unification: Bringing Together Community Members to Invoke Cohesivity
May 29th. 2018 ...
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
April 20th. 2018 ...
Nazis Made Us Change Our Name
January 25th. 2018 ...
Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion
November 15th. 2017 ...
September 30th. 2017 ...
July 31st. 2017 ...
Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers
July 2nd. 2017 ...
On Cursing: Politics and Ethos
June 1st. 2017 ...
The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions
April 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles
March 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords
January 10th. 2017 ...
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?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
September 11th. 2016 ...
The Shadow of Disgust
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
An Open Mind and Heart
June 13th. 2016 ...
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
The Fear of Witchcraft
Magic in Sentences
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
December 20th. 2015 ...
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
May 6th. 2015 ...
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
January 1st. 2015 ...
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
August 24th. 2014 ...
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Teens and the Craft
Article ID: 3077
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 6,700
Times Read: 7,393
Author: Arwen Lynch
Posted: November 19th. 2000
Times Viewed: 7,393
This is something I have thought long and hard about. I have even had a rather spectacular and public fight with someone I considered a friend. He no longer considers me a friend because the thing we disagreed on was teaching teens. His view was that he would teach anyone who asked him in the correct way. (Hint: The correct way for many many teachers of Wicca is that the querant must ask three times. It shows persistence, dedication and will.)
I will teach a teen if and only if their parents approve it. I am currently speaking with a lovely young lady who is 16 nearly 17. I am quite open to talking with her as long as I can speak to one of her parents. She broached the topic in an open discussion at a local bookstore. The discussion was about community and the next step after taking an open Wicca 101. To say I was impressed by her poise is putting it lightly. But, I cannot go against my own ethics.
Are ethics important in a teacher? Do you want to be taught by someone who has ethics that bend and sway with the slightest breeze or do you want someone who will stand firm even in the face of difficult decisions? My ethics are such that I will not send healing energies to a person who has not asked for them, but is capable of asking for them. If they are incapable, that is another thing and probably another essay.
Why do my ethics tell me I cannot teach someone who is legally a minor? Why am I so cold to the needs of teens? And yes, I have been perceived as being cold and mean for not teaching a teen without parental permission. Vilified by my friend for stating that I felt it was wrong for me to teach anyone under the age of 18. Received letters nasty and cruel because I refused to teach a person who told me their age. And yes, I do ask people who write to me for the first time to tell me their age. I am no idiot. I know when I am being lied to and will call the person on it.
There are two reasons why I will not teach a child. I ask your pardon if I interchange the word "child" with "teen". I mean no disrespect and I understand that being a teen is very different from being a child. I sometimes have to remind myself that no matter how adult a teen may seem, in the eyes of the law they are still a minor.
And that brings me to my first reason for not teaching someone under 18. And that reason is first and foremost legalities. I am in the United States of America. In this country it is consider "endangerment of a minor" to teach them something that their parents would not give them permission for. For instance, you could not teach a child to shoot a gun without their parents' permission. Religion is the same. A parent has the right (whether it is a correct thing or not, I won't go into) to say what religion their offspring shall learn. And like some of you, I was raised in a Christian religion. I was raised Episcopal complete with catechism and First Communion. Did I even know about other religions at that time? Not really. I thought other religions meant Jewish, Catholic, Methodist or Baptist. That was pretty much the extent of my base of knowledge. Had I known about Wicca, my mother would have been horrified to learn I was studying it. Still, that would have been her parental right and some might say duty to keep me on the "right" path as she saw it. Had someone offered to teach me Wicca my mother would have been well within her legal rights to have that person prosecuted for "endangerment". Therefore, because it is a law of the land I live in, I will not teach a person who is legally considered a minor.
The second reason is from a more personal point of view. I do not have children yet. When I do, I will want to be an active participant in their life and what they learn from it. My role as a parent will be to protect them while challenging them. That is a very fine line to balance. I have put myself in the position of being a parent whose child is being taught by someone of a very different religion than mine. When I consider how I would feel (passionately angry and betrayal as well), I find that I cannot do that to another human being. I put myself in my mother's shoes.
It is very hard for me to talk to teens whom are so dedicated to the path of the Old Ones or Wicca or Paganism. Whatever you or I or they may call it, they love it as deeply as any of us do. It speaks to them the same way it spoke to me when I was their age. And at 39 I can still clearly remember the first time I heard a tree speak or felt moved to look into a tree and was rewarded with a horned owl looking back at me. The mystery and beauty of it still brings tears to my eyes and goose pimples to my flesh. And I want to share that with them and to hear their stories.
Because of that, I will try to steer the polite ones to sites. I will give them reading lists. I will try to answer simple questions and still not "teach". I will listen to their stories of mystery and beauty that they have found. I suppose often I fall over my own drawn line, but I have to give some help or I would be betraying another ethic... that of being a teacher. So you can see that the conflict is a very hard one.
Now the ones who are rude and demanding of my time make my decision very easily. They generally do not even receive an answer from me. I, as much as any other human, deserve courtesy from strangers. I used to write back to those rude ones and take them to task, but I have realized that it isn't worth it. The one out of twenty who would write back and apologize did not outweigh the 10 out of 20 who wrote back even worse things. So I gave up.
One thing that I am starting is a Teen Wiccan list. I have a 14-year-old stepdaughter who is Wiccan and there are several others whom I know. They have agreed to help me start a list where I can direct teens that write to me so they can ask other teens their questions. Peer teaching is not illegal as far as I can determine. There will be at least two adults on this list but the adults will not speak unless someone is totally out of hand. Then the adult will be removing that person from the list.
I hope that this will give our teens some food for thought. I would guess that many adult Wiccans don't teach teens for similar reasons. Those that do teach teens without parental permission may find food for thought as well. It is not only a law they are breaking. They need to put themselves in that parent's shoes first.
Location: Clovis, New Mexico
Author's Profile: To learn more about Arwen Lynch - Click HERE
Bio: Arwen Nightstar is a Pisces (1961) sun, Scorpio moon, with Aquarius Rising. She lives in Denver, CO as part of a poly triad. High Priestess of Circle of the Black Dragonfly, she can frequently be found running her mouth on various Colorado elists as well as her own lists. She is owned by 4 cats, 1 dog and 23 birds.
Other Articles: Arwen Lynch has posted 3 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Arwen Lynch... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
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