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Author Topic: Creating your own tradition/coven...  (Read 9414 times)
LYKOURGOS
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« Topic Start: April 20, 2007, 07:07:22 pm »

I know according to "wise advice" one should have years of experience, high priest/ess or not, before considering to take other seekers under their wings...

I have been learning for over 2 years now and will admit I have a lot more to learn.  However, I feel I've been blessed to learn to teach.  Not now, but in the near future.

Is there any advice about such ideas?  Is it "illegal" (against magickal principles) to do so?
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« Reply #1: April 20, 2007, 07:53:41 pm »

I know according to "wise advice" one should have years of experience, high priest/ess or not, before considering to take other seekers under their wings...

I have been learning for over 2 years now and will admit I have a lot more to learn.  However, I feel I've been blessed to learn to teach.  Not now, but in the near future.

Is there any advice about such ideas?  Is it "illegal" (against magickal principles) to do so?

What principles?  Who's?  Teaching what?

If you're teaching Wicca, there are specific things involved in that.  And, y'know, you need to KNOW your stuff before you try to teach it.  If it's something else, that's a different story.

I'm doing a DIY religion, and other people have found my ideas good and incorporated them.  But I've been working on them long enough to know that the core of it is solid.  The stuff outside that core might change, but the core itself is solid.  I cannot change away from that core without becoming something else.

Has the core of what you believe been solid for some time?  Are you sure it's going to stay solid?  Can you share it with other people without it changing into something else?

There's nothing wrong with creating your own religion or path.  But be sure that it's cohesive and works together.
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LYKOURGOS
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« Reply #2: April 20, 2007, 08:51:21 pm »

Definitely wise advice HeartShadow.

That's why I said, I'm still learning... especially the Core Beliefs.

When I get to that point, everything will be solid, except maybe a few things, like you said, "outside that core might change."

I'm no where near ready to assume position as a teacher, I'm still a Witch learning his own self and his own Craft.

I just wanted to ask for future reference... I'm one of those who prefer to gather the facts first before jumping into something... except maybe when I'm having a brain fart (dumb moment).
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« Reply #3: April 20, 2007, 09:26:02 pm »

I know according to "wise advice" one should have years of experience, high priest/ess or not, before considering to take other seekers under their wings...

I have been learning for over 2 years now and will admit I have a lot more to learn.  However, I feel I've been blessed to learn to teach.  Not now, but in the near future.

Is there any advice about such ideas?  Is it "illegal" (against magickal principles) to do so?
You could compromise by creating a study group with like minded friends.  My partner and I did this - no one acted as a teacher, but four or five of us would get together to discuss different topics we were learning about.  Occassionally someone would give a mini-lecture on a topic that they did have a lot of knowledge in. 

I'd be very, very hesitant about studying under someone with as little experience as you claim, but I'd be happy to study with that person, if you understand the difference.

As for magical principles - I'm not sure what those are.  Ethics vary widely from practitioner to practitioner. 

As Shadow said, however, it's always a good idea to know what you're talking about before attempting to teach.  I'd say the ethical thing to do, whatever you decide, would be to be totallly upfront about your credentials with all prospective students and let them make their own decisions.
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LYKOURGOS
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« Reply #4: April 20, 2007, 09:52:59 pm »

You could compromise by creating a study group with like minded friends.  My partner and I did this - no one acted as a teacher, but four or five of us would get together to discuss different topics we were learning about.  Occassionally someone would give a mini-lecture on a topic that they did have a lot of knowledge in. 

I'd be very, very hesitant about studying under someone with as little experience as you claim, but I'd be happy to study with that person, if you understand the difference.

As for magical principles - I'm not sure what those are.  Ethics vary widely from practitioner to practitioner. 

As Shadow said, however, it's always a good idea to know what you're talking about before attempting to teach.  I'd say the ethical thing to do, whatever you decide, would be to be totallly upfront about your credentials with all prospective students and let them make their own decisions.

The reason why I studied under her was because we were best friends in college, and still are.  She was like my "away from home" mom.

I definitely am honest, I don't beat around the bush.  So I'd make sure whoever my students are know that they have a choice.

I also believe that any teacher who truly is passionate about teaching, will learn from his/her student as well as vice versa.

I really hope no one thinks I'm jumping the gun or may potentially do so, but like I said, I'm a growing Witch... I'm still trying to transition from soft foods "basic magickal practices" to the solid foods "more advanced magickal practices."
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« Reply #5: April 20, 2007, 11:00:26 pm »

What principles?  Who's?  Teaching what?

If you're teaching Wicca, there are specific things involved in that.  And, y'know, you need to KNOW your stuff before you try to teach it.  If it's something else, that's a different story.

I'm doing a DIY religion, and other people have found my ideas good and incorporated them.  But I've been working on them long enough to know that the core of it is solid.  The stuff outside that core might change, but the core itself is solid.  I cannot change away from that core without becoming something else.

Has the core of what you believe been solid for some time?  Are you sure it's going to stay solid?  Can you share it with other people without it changing into something else?

There's nothing wrong with creating your own religion or path.  But be sure that it's cohesive and works together.

Agreed. I'm also creating my own path, and when I started, it was more as a way to get my beliefs written down. My writing IS my devotion. The work I put into it is my sacrifice. At the same time, I am learning and understanding something more with every essay that I write.

Now, I'm taking it a bit more seriously, getting things a bit more cohesive, thinking about holidays and rituals. But actively seeking followers is still a LONG way off.

I really hope no one thinks I'm jumping the gun or may potentially do so, but like I said, I'm a growing Witch... I'm still trying to transition from soft foods "basic magickal practices" to the solid foods "more advanced magickal practices."

Based on what you just said I would advise that you wait before attempting to teach others anything. I don't think you are jumping the gun, I just think that you need a lot more experience. Are you even sure what you would want to teach at this point?

Someone mentioned a study group, and I think that's a very good idea. Not only will it give you a chance to bounce ideas off of other people, but it will give you a taste of what working with others is really like. Then when you ARE ready to take on the role of teacher, you will understand group dynamics a little better. Smiley
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« Reply #6: April 21, 2007, 01:02:14 am »

However, I feel I've been blessed to learn to teach.  Not now, but in the near future.
Is there any advice about such ideas?  Is it "illegal" (against magickal principles) to do so?

Many pagans will have heard some variation on the adage "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear."  But some also consider .... "when the teacher is ready, the student will appear".

As for advice:  make sure you have all your own ducks in a row before you start looking to teach others what to do with theirs.


Caroline



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« Reply #7: April 21, 2007, 01:49:59 am »

Many pagans will have heard some variation on the adage "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear."  But some also consider .... "when the teacher is ready, the student will appear".

As for advice:  make sure you have all your own ducks in a row before you start looking to teach others what to do with theirs.


Caroline

I've never heard the adage "Make sure you have all your own ducks in a row before you start looking to teach others what to do with theirs."

I definitely do not feel ready to teach, but as I said... I'm just asking for future reference...

My biggest fear is that if I pass onto the next life, who will pick up my studies where I've left off... I'd be afraid to be a Witch that has no "next of kin."
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« Reply #8: April 21, 2007, 08:56:16 am »

I know according to "wise advice" one should have years of experience, high priest/ess or not, before considering to take other seekers under their wings...

I have been learning for over 2 years now and will admit I have a lot more to learn.  However, I feel I've been blessed to learn to teach.  Not now, but in the near future.

Is there any advice about such ideas?  Is it "illegal" (against magickal principles) to do so?

Experience is good. Really.

Here's the thing: there's a lot more to teaching people (long term, rather than specific small contained stuff) than knowing it  yourself. You need to be able to help fix problems, to resolve conflicts, to provide organisational structure, and so on. It really really really helps to have worked through a bunch of your own baggage and hot buttons, so that you can act thoughtfully, rather than react. (Because you will be working with people with different experiences, etc.)

I'm also personally convinced that healthy religious or magical teaching requires the teacher have a good support system of other people doing similar stuff that is stable and tested, so that *they* have resources for help when they need it. That takes time to build.

I've been working with a group for nearly 6 years, and I'm approaching the point of hiving. It's taken me 3-4 of those years to build enough contacts in the community (both locally and online) that I have resources to turn to outside my HPS and HP for ideas and approaches (and just plain comiseration.) Seeing multiple sets of students go through when I was not the person with final responsibility for the group's wellbeing has helped me figure out how to problem-solve, different approaches, and also a bunch of different common stuff that comes up.

Think about this for a second: you are working with someone. They have a major problem that's outside of your experience or comfort zone. What do you do? That problem could be in their personal life, it could be a psychological issue, it could be a physical health issue, it could be a magical issue. All of these happen sometimes with students. Who would you turn to for help? What would your boundaries be about how you would feel able to help and not help? Realistically, we're not going to deal with all problems with the same degree of expertise - but a broad range of experience, conversations, and interactions helps a lot in being able to figure out what will really be helpful or necessary.

On the purely magical level: people learn in different ways. The ways that I approach magic, energy, or other aspects may be very different than the ways you do. It takes time to learn how to navigate those differences and teach effectively. (For example: my primary mode of energy sensing translates into music. This is great if you're me, but very hard for many other people to work with, partly because English doesn't have very good non-technical language for music and sound. I've had to learn how to work with people who see energy, those who feel it, and so on - and to be able to translate what I do into their terms. My teachers have had to learn how to explain some stuff in ways that made sense to me.)

In many traditions, taking on students also carries a particular obligation - if they mess up, you're expected to clean it up, so to speak. Because of this, it's good to be very thoughtful about what you do. (Even if your path doesn't involve this, presumably you'd be teaching people you liked, and wanted to leave functional, right?)

Starting as a study group is an excellent idea. Doing some further reading on teaching this stuff is also good - I'd suggest Amber K's CovenCraft and Judy Harrow's Spiritual Mentoring as a start, as both of them outline a number of common issues that come up. Further thought, experience, and work with people where you're explicitly learning together is a great thing, too.
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« Reply #9: April 21, 2007, 09:03:54 am »

I know according to "wise advice" one should have years of experience, high priest/ess or not, before considering to take other seekers under their wings...

I have been learning for over 2 years now and will admit I have a lot more to learn.  However, I feel I've been blessed to learn to teach.  Not now, but in the near future.

Is there any advice about such ideas?  Is it "illegal" (against magickal principles) to do so?

It unfortunately means that you are limiting yourself to working with people who have less than two years experience in order for you to function as head of household.  People with five, ten, fifteen years practicing - and there are many more then you would imagine floating around; might have trouble reconciling a "teacher" or group leader with limited experience.

There are a few who come in running, and have great charisma, and strong learning curves, but the danger of "cult" groups happening, where the entire group is limited to the knowledge base of the leader, becomes higher than had you waited till you had a feel for the already existing "pagan community" at large.  Learned to play nicely with others on terms sometimes not your own.

I think there are usually two big calls to leadership when you start to come to an understanding of your own spirituality.  The first one comes early, when you first realize paganism is a good thing for you.  The local groups either seem distant, difficult to connect with, or you just haven't figured out where they're hiding themselves yet.

You want to share your spirituality with people.  Your learning curve is high, your enthusiasm is high, but outside of a lot of partially digested information; don't really have much to offer a group as a founder and leader.

You've just received your compass, and now you want to lead the troop.  To follow someone else and their compass seems like it would take away from what you are learning.  Standardize it, and make it less yours.

You want companionship, but companionship that already accepts that they don't have control over you or your path.  If there must be hierarchy, which sometimes when looking at the whole coven, tradition factor seems unavoidable, you want to be at the top, since coming into an established trad means coming in at the bottom.  You may find though, that although you are familiar with directions and the castig of the circle, their are nuances of the more subjected knowledge that haven't even crossed your mind. 

At 14 years in, I still have d'oh moments that bring things clearer.  It's taken time, and framing life lessons from a path oriented viewpoint for this to happen though.  It's taken looking at and experiencing first hand many paths that weren't "the one"  how can you know you don't like Mustangs if you've never driven one?  How can you talk about how a mustang brakes if you've never put foot to pedal?  You can't claim to be a gerneralized sports car expert to others, if you don't have the concrete experience to back it up.

I think the primary difficulty, or discouraging thing I see in this is that as you move along your path, and you start to have more unusual experiences, you need someone to bounce them off of.  People to tell you when what you've experienced is profoundly spiritual, and when it's something cause and effect mundane like boiling water that you're assigning great significance to for absoloutely no reason but getting a little full of yourself.

When you start to find your zone, sometimes you need your feet put back in reality. 

In a group where everyone is in this stage, but no one is saying wait a second here, we're moving into the *uhhhhh yah* zone, then it has the potential to implode, leaving everyone with a bad taste in their mouths when they come to their line where they are no longer willing to suspend disbelief.  The game gets boring because there's no where to go with it.

The second call to lead comes much much later, if at all and usually comes upon you slowly.  It sneaks up, and before you know it you find yourself in a position of leadership.  Whether it is within a particular demographic, or within your day to day social circles.  In time you find yourself, and you naturally become your own leader.  Other people then choose to follow you not based upon allegiance or acceptance, but because you seem to be having a good time and doing alright for yourself. 
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« Reply #10: April 21, 2007, 10:48:00 am »

At 14 years in, I still have d'oh moments that bring things clearer. 

Isn't that the truth? Darned lightbulbs Wink
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« Reply #11: April 21, 2007, 12:15:42 pm »

It unfortunately means that you are limiting yourself to working with people who have less than two years experience in order for you to function as head of household.  People with five, ten, fifteen years practicing - and there are many more then you would imagine floating around; might have trouble reconciling a "teacher" or group leader with limited experience.

There are a few who come in running, and have great charisma, and strong learning curves, but the danger of "cult" groups happening, where the entire group is limited to the knowledge base of the leader, becomes higher than had you waited till you had a feel for the already existing "pagan community" at large.  Learned to play nicely with others on terms sometimes not your own.

I think there are usually two big calls to leadership when you start to come to an understanding of your own spirituality.  The first one comes early, when you first realize paganism is a good thing for you.  The local groups either seem distant, difficult to connect with, or you just haven't figured out where they're hiding themselves yet.

You want to share your spirituality with people.  Your learning curve is high, your enthusiasm is high, but outside of a lot of partially digested information; don't really have much to offer a group as a founder and leader.

You've just received your compass, and now you want to lead the troop.  To follow someone else and their compass seems like it would take away from what you are learning.  Standardize it, and make it less yours.

You want companionship, but companionship that already accepts that they don't have control over you or your path.  If there must be hierarchy, which sometimes when looking at the whole coven, tradition factor seems unavoidable, you want to be at the top, since coming into an established trad means coming in at the bottom.  You may find though, that although you are familiar with directions and the castig of the circle, their are nuances of the more subjected knowledge that haven't even crossed your mind. 

At 14 years in, I still have d'oh moments that bring things clearer.  It's taken time, and framing life lessons from a path oriented viewpoint for this to happen though.  It's taken looking at and experiencing first hand many paths that weren't "the one"  how can you know you don't like Mustangs if you've never driven one?  How can you talk about how a mustang brakes if you've never put foot to pedal?  You can't claim to be a gerneralized sports car expert to others, if you don't have the concrete experience to back it up.

I think the primary difficulty, or discouraging thing I see in this is that as you move along your path, and you start to have more unusual experiences, you need someone to bounce them off of.  People to tell you when what you've experienced is profoundly spiritual, and when it's something cause and effect mundane like boiling water that you're assigning great significance to for absoloutely no reason but getting a little full of yourself.

When you start to find your zone, sometimes you need your feet put back in reality. 

In a group where everyone is in this stage, but no one is saying wait a second here, we're moving into the *uhhhhh yah* zone, then it has the potential to implode, leaving everyone with a bad taste in their mouths when they come to their line where they are no longer willing to suspend disbelief.  The game gets boring because there's no where to go with it.

The second call to lead comes much much later, if at all and usually comes upon you slowly.  It sneaks up, and before you know it you find yourself in a position of leadership.  Whether it is within a particular demographic, or within your day to day social circles.  In time you find yourself, and you naturally become your own leader.  Other people then choose to follow you not based upon allegiance or acceptance, but because you seem to be having a good time and doing alright for yourself. 

Talk about having a "D'oh" moment right now...

Geez, thanks... I never realized that... (Although I wasn't planning on teaching any time soon anyways.)

With that information I think I'm going to be content just following Hekate's torch until I find the Path that She knows I'm ready for. That's all I can say about that.

Thanks bunches!
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« Reply #12: April 21, 2007, 01:35:33 pm »

With that information I think I'm going to be content just following Hekate's torch until I find the Path that She knows I'm ready for. That's all I can say about that.

Mandi's comments are wonderful. A couple of other thoughts, given what you say here.

One of the things I've tried to keep in my head is that I'm only going to get one chance to have this particular part of the journey - of being a student in a tradition, of taking on some responsibilities for the first time, etc. It's not impossible I may get to go have similar experiences in the future (learning a new tradition), but they're always going to be affected by the first time.

It was really important to me to give myself the gift of taking time with that, and enjoying the process. It's also been really important to me to give that gift to students - of time to *learn* without other expectations outside basic courtesy. (We have an initiation tonight: I've been thinking about this a lot recently.)

My own experience with the deities I work with personally is that they are *very* patient. (To the point that it's a little nervousmaking: I know they have stuff in mind, but I have no idea *what*, and they're not giving me hints right now.)

I have a strong suspicion that a big chunk of that is getting other parts of my life stable and functional, so that I have the foundation to sustainably support the work they really want me to do. (And part of it is that what I'm doing - finishing my grad degree - is, I believe, part of their greater plan. When I poked at going back to finishing the degree last year, all the pieces fell into place with a rather startling click, even the bits I had no control over, like departments deciding to accept previous credits and such.)

Point is, you can still be working towards a deity's plan without formally teaching others, or leading a group, or doing a lot of the other visible markers in the Pagan community. It may be more important to spend time setting everything up so you can do that later, and really excel. It's sometimes hard to tell, naturally.
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« Reply #13: April 21, 2007, 01:39:35 pm »


My own experience with the deities I work with personally is that they are *very* patient. (To the point that it's a little nervousmaking: I know they have stuff in mind, but I have no idea *what*, and they're not giving me hints right now.)

I have to second that - various stuff meant that for a while I had trouble even functioning as a human being never mind anything else, and they were very patient about it. Presumably because I wasn't any 'use' to them until I could function again lol
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« Reply #14: April 21, 2007, 04:23:37 pm »

Mandi's comments are wonderful. A couple of other thoughts, given what you say here.

One of the things I've tried to keep in my head is that I'm only going to get one chance to have this particular part of the journey - of being a student in a tradition, of taking on some responsibilities for the first time, etc. It's not impossible I may get to go have similar experiences in the future (learning a new tradition), but they're always going to be affected by the first time.

It was really important to me to give myself the gift of taking time with that, and enjoying the process. It's also been really important to me to give that gift to students - of time to *learn* without other expectations outside basic courtesy. (We have an initiation tonight: I've been thinking about this a lot recently.)

My own experience with the deities I work with personally is that they are *very* patient. (To the point that it's a little nervousmaking: I know they have stuff in mind, but I have no idea *what*, and they're not giving me hints right now.)

I have a strong suspicion that a big chunk of that is getting other parts of my life stable and functional, so that I have the foundation to sustainably support the work they really want me to do. (And part of it is that what I'm doing - finishing my grad degree - is, I believe, part of their greater plan. When I poked at going back to finishing the degree last year, all the pieces fell into place with a rather startling click, even the bits I had no control over, like departments deciding to accept previous credits and such.)

Point is, you can still be working towards a deity's plan without formally teaching others, or leading a group, or doing a lot of the other visible markers in the Pagan community. It may be more important to spend time setting everything up so you can do that later, and really excel. It's sometimes hard to tell, naturally.

I'm not saying this in flattery, but whoever is taught by you will be wise indeed.

I fully understand what you mean and you are right.  Today I've focused on reclaiming parts of my life that I've never been given the chance to really think through.  I've had my license for over 3 years and never was allowed to drive because my mom was too nervous to let me.  I've drove to WalMart and back almost 5 times.  I got my ear pierced (left cartilege & lobe).  Set up my altar.

Your wise words are ever true, and definitely Goddess-spoken... Thanks.
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Μάιος οι Θεοί σας ευλογεί
(May the Gods bless you!)

Previously known as )O( Night.Wolf )O(

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