Articles/Essays From Pagans
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
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 1 (The Center)
September 15th. 2013 ...
Some Pagan Prayers
The Holocaust Survivor (Part II)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Bramble and Cerridwen
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Article ID: 3665
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,529
Times Read: 4,425
Author: RuneWolf [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: October 14th. 2001
Times Viewed: 4,425
Speaking only for myself, I'm not so sure that there really is anything beyond "Wicca 101." As well as being a Witch, I am in recovery and hold a black belt in ju jitsu. In both recovery and the martial arts, it is a truism that "you learn all you need to know in the first 90 days." In regard to the Craft, I might amend this to say "you learn all you need to know in the first year and a day, " but the idea is the same. In any holistic system, mastery is simply increased proficiency in the fundamentals.
This is an oversimplification, of course, but it is essentially true. With a few exceptions, the martial arts techniques that I practice as a black belt are the same as those I learned as a white belt. The only difference is that I practice them faster, harder and in more diverse combinations. But all of that comes simply from continued and diligent practice of the basics.
The same holds true in recovery. There is no "Advanced Sobriety." The person with 20 years clean and sober stays that way by doing exactly what the person with 20 days does. We joke that the person with the most sobriety is the one who got up earliest on any given day, but there is more than a grain of truth in that joke.
What really sets apart the person with long-term sobriety or the experienced martial artist is not possession of arcane knowledge. Rather, I believe that such people have practiced their chosen "craft" with such diligence and dedication that they have truly come to "own" that craft, uniquely, individually and personally. Most such people would deny this, and insist that they are still struggling with the basics. But to those of us who watch them on the mat, in a meeting, or in the course of their daily lives, their mastery is readily apparent.
My ju jitsu Sensei told me, at the time of my promotion to 3rd degree brown belt, that the real challenge from that point forward was to "make the art my own." And it took quite a while before I began to understand what he was suggesting. He wasn't urging me to go out and start my own school, or create my own "style." Now that I was reasonably competent at the basics, Sensei was suggesting that I focus more of my energy and attention on fully integrating those basics into my own body-mind-spirit complex.
Just as no two people stay sober the same way, no two people execute 'o soto gari' (greater outside reap) in the same manner. And yet, as beginners, we are guided by more experienced practitioners to do it this way, not that way, because the more experienced people have made all the mistakes we have yet to make, and they know, in a broad sense, what does and doesn't work for the majority of beginners. So, in effect, we first learn how to do things somebody else's way. In time, as our competence at the basics increases, we begin to make small changes that make things work better for us.
I was blessed to have a Sensei who didn't insist that there was "one right, true and only way" to practice ju jitsu. Yes, there are boundariesyou can only change something so much before it becomes something else entirely. But within broad parameters, Sensei encouraged us to adapt techniques so that they worked for us as individuals. You see, Sensei was more interested in results than in slavish devotion to rote tradition. What good is it to mimic an "ancient and venerable" technique perfectly, if that mimicry is ultimately uncomfortable and unreliable in a real-life self-defense situation? Sensei felt it was better to make minor changes so that the technique worked when needed for each individual, than to worry about "preserving tradition." But please don't think that Sensei is an iconoclast - he remains very devoted to his tradition. He merely tempers that devotion with pragmatism and concern for the survivability of his students.
Similarly, I have been blessed to have a very enlightened sponsor in recovery. While, in many ways, he is an "AA Fundamentalist, " he also acknowledges that we are all individuals, and that a sustainable recovery program comes from harmony, not antagonism, between that individuality and the "suggestions" of the 12 Step program. It is the cultivation of that harmony that marks "Advanced Sobriety, " not the revelation of hidden truths.
I see the Craft in much the same way as I do the martial arts and recovery. While there are Mysteries, there aren't any mysteries. Everything you will ever need to know to practice the outward aspects of Wicca you can get from a good selection of books from your local metaphysical bookstore. Of course, that doesn't guarantee that you will be Initiated into the Mysteries at some point, but then some people dedicate years to the serious study of the Craft within the structure of a coven, and are never Initiated. The Initiation I refer to is not that granted by a coven, but rather that Initiation that can only be conferred by the Gods. Similarly, the Mysteries cannot be communicated in words, but must be experienced by the Initiate. As someone once said, "When It happens, you will know It!" This is analogous to the sublime moment in each martial artists life when they execute "The Perfect Technique, " or the moment in recovery when someone "Gets It." You can talk about it all you want afterward, but you will never be able to adequately capture in mere words the sublimity of that moment.
People have accused me of being too "Zen" about the Craft. I suppose there is some truth to that. My approach to the Craft is certainly colored by years of exposure to Zen and Taoism. I find that, for me, "less is more." I still enjoy a "full blown" ritual every now and then, but for the most part my private rituals tend to be pretty minimalist. And yet, I find them quite powerful and moving. For me, "Advanced Wicca" is not about bigger, more intricate rituals. It is about coming more fully into harmony with our chosen way, and how does one "teach" that? There is no way that I am aware of, other than to insist that the student practice the basics over and over and over again, until they are absolutely sick of them, and then make them practice some more. In some areas, we call that "discipline." Some Pagans don't like that word, because it smacks of "power over." But the discipline with which I practice the martial arts, recovery and the Craft is not imposed on me from without, and I don't practice it for somebody else's benefit. It is something I have chosen to do for myself.
If there is anything that I think our Elders need to teach openly and strongly in the community, it is the importance of balancing a disciplined commitment to the basics with an "individualization" of the Craft. Rooted firmly in the basics, with room and encouragement to grow into her or his True Power, the novice will blossom into a fully integrated Witch.
Personally, I'd like to see a little more emphasis on dedication, discipline, study, work and all those other nasty words that the bulk of "Wicca 101" books seem to avoid like the plague. Nor do I automatically fault the authors. I think a good deal of the responsibility lies with the editors and publishers. And, to a point, I can understand that. When you are trying to sell to the widest possible audience, its financial suicide to alienate that audience by taking a hard-line stance on anything that might be controversial. Like hard work and discipline.
On the other hand, one benefit that lies in the huge number of Wicca 101 books is that the chances are pretty good that anyone who is interested can find a Path that appeals to them. But no path, no matter how attractive, will get you anywhere, if you don't put your boots on and start walking.
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