Articles/Essays From Pagans
June 16th. 2013 ...
How To Stay Spiritual Amidst This Chaos?
Hearing The Music And Dancing The Dance
A Tale of the Wood
June 9th. 2013 ...
The Nature of Sacrifice
The Magick of Buildings
Start your own Pagan Church in Canada - A Detailed Guide
June 2nd. 2013 ...
Maiden, Mother, Who?! (A Discussion of the Triple Goddess)
Gods Who Live In My House
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Among the Greenwod - An Interview with Raven Grimassi
May 26th. 2013 ...
So You Think You've Found a Teacher...
Learning To Live Your Own Life
Raising Personal Magickal Energy for Spellwork
Casting The Wiccan Circle
May 19th. 2013 ...
The Role of Identity in Magic
Talking Trash? It's a Dirty Subject but Waste Happens.
My Wiccan Journey
13 Keys: The Victory of Netzach
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
The Third Path
Nothing Special... Part Two
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
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
What is an Elder?|
Posted: July 14th. 2001
Times Viewed: 3,732
Elder. To many people, the word means a person, man or woman, at a very high age. Even though you don't become an elder at a specific age, when most people consider an "elder" are after reaching the age of 70 or so. By this age you have retired from work, and are granted the status as a senior citizen. True, you are an elder by this age and above, because the word "elder" can mean the oldest person(s) around. But does it mean only the oldest person?
Another explanation of the word can be "wise person". Even in the older days it was common to really take care of the older people, because they were the wise people. Whatever problems occurred, at least some of them had most likely experienced something similar sometime in his or her life. When your heart broke for the first time, the best solution to get over it was to talk to someone that have already been down that road. When you lost someone that was very close to you, someone else had already someone they felt close to. When my grandfather was a boy, the number 1 source they had for food was the sea. And the sea is big.
In order to actually get fish now and then, they learned the best places to get fish from their elders. The elder people had learned the best places to start the fishing from their elders. Life experience passed from elder to young, from generation to generation. From elder to young. The word "elder" can by this mean "wise person", and it can mean "old person". Does that restrict the word "elder" to mean "wise, old person"? I mean, it mean "old" person, and it mean "wise" person. Thus, a "wise, old person". To figure this one out, I would have to guess you would first need to learn what the words "wise" and "old" mean. Is a person old when he or she reaches the age or fifty? Sixty? Seventy? Remember when we were kids, we thought a person age twenty was old. Heck, when I was in kindergarten, we said the kids in primary school were "the old ones". I'm talking about kids at age 10 or so. "Old" kids.
And the word "wise", does that come automatically when you reach a certain age? True, after becoming a Senior Citizen you probably have experienced all there is to life. You have fallen in love, you have got your heart broken, you have travelled, and you have lost family and gotten some new. You have learned a lot about some stuff, and can pass that information on to the next generations. You are a wise, old person. But some things to keep in mind are the fact you don't have to be wise even if you reach the age of 100 years old. There are people that walk around their entire life, and fall in love just once. They either get married, or spend the rest of their life single. There are people that don't bother study in schools, universities and that stuff, or simply can't. They are smart people, by all means, just not wise people.
And then there's the smart kid in the class. Other kids call him or her a "nerd" or "geek". This kid is usually a lone kind, with no friends and no social interests. The only thing he or she thing about is the studies. He or she work very hard at school, and study a lot on their spare time. They are much wiser than most adult people, and are most certainly wise. They have every criterion for being an "elder", except for the age.
So, what is an elder anyways? We have cleared out it's not a "wise, old person", it's not a "wise person", and it's not an "old person". Yet it can be all of that. Can it be something else too, or is it something that includes all of this, but is in fact different? If I were to come up with a general meaning of the word "elder", I would have to say it's a "guide". Just think about it. After reaching the age of 70 and above, you have experienced quite a lot throughout your life. When someone experiences something for the first time in his or her life, someone can "guide" him or her through the experience. How can you find the best place to get fish? Easy, just let someone "guide" you to the best places. Even when you are two weeks from exam at college, you can be in need of better teachers. Someone can help you, someone that knows the stuff more than you do. This someone would have to be a wise person, and usually an old person. But not always! As someone said it, "the people who knows the most about dinosaurs, are professors and six year old kids." It doesn't really who guides you; as long as the guide meets the simple criteria he or she knows what he or she is about to guide you through.
So an Elder can be explained as a Guide. So where did we end up, anyway? Does "Elder" mean "guide" now? Didn't it mean "old" or "wise"? The easy way out is to say the word "elder" mean any combination of the three other words. The easy way, so how about the difficult way?
The difficult way of explaining the word "elder"? Let's see. It can mean a person that's old, it can mean a wise person, and it can mean a guide. Does that make a regular road map an elder? After all, it is a "guide", right? And what about an old house, can it be an "elder"? It is old, and "elder" means "old".
The map are not an elder, the house can be. That's the difficult explanation. Why? Because the map are just a piece of paper, and can be replaced in no time. A house on the other hand, are a lot harder to replace, and harder to get rid of. More, a house can easily go from generation to generation for centuries. Over the years, it becomes like a family-member. It is not a guide, it is not wise, but it is old. And old was one of the criteria, right? So an "elder" is a "thing or person that's wise, old, a guide, or a combination of all three." If we really want to drag this out into the eternity, I guess we can discuss this topic even more. I.e. how about a teacher? A teacher can easily be an elder, after all a teacher "guides" you through knowledge.
So the word "elder" no can mean "thing or person that's wise, old, a guide, a teacher, or a combination of all four." But then, how about a man around thirty, dumb as a banana, working as a gym-teacher, and no one cares about him. He's not old, he's not wise, and he is not a guide. He is teacher, thus he is a guide. But a guide no one listens to or follows. Does that still make him an elder, or does it take away his status as one?
As I said, this topic can be dragged into eternity and not get anywhere if we want. I suggest we go with "elder" meaning "thing or person that's wise, old, a guide, a teacher, or a combination of all four" and leave it with that.
Roger J Sandbakk
Location: , USA
Bio: I am 23, male and live in a bit north of the middle of Norway. My spiritual journey started somewhere in my early childhood, and have studied a lot of religions to some point to find out where I belong. Some years ago I almost found a match, it's called Wicca. But it didn't fit entirely, until I learned you can be both a Wiccan and a Witch. Now the religion(s) finally fits like a glove, and I'm happy as ever as a Wiccan Witch.
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