First thing to say tonight is that I’m sorry I’ve been away from the keyboard for this past week. I decided to take a little break from the computer to start getting ready for Thanksgiving. I still have to clean the house up a bit; but if I do it right now, I’ll have to do it again next week too. I’m thinking maybe Sunday and Monday for that…my son’s days off of work. (I can always use a little help!)
The next quick note is about the upcoming posts that I’ve been working on. I do have one herb list started and should be posting them in the next few days. There will be two more of them posted then I’ll be posting the information on Yule as well as the Yule Ritual. I want to get the traditions, games, crafts and Ritual posted in time for everyone’s celebrations. Now that I’ve got that taken care of, I’ll get to tonight’s post.
I was thinking about teachers of the craft the other day. I have noticed that there are many new Neo-Pagans; of all traditions, that are trying to find someone to teach them. So I asked myself, “Why are so many new Wiccans and Neo-Pagans trying to find a teacher for themselves?” More importantly, What should they be looking for in that teacher?”
These days it is not always easy to find someone willing to become a teacher; or wise woman, as they were once known. When you do find someone that wants to take on a student or students; you may find that you have located a “teacher” that simply wants justification of their own beliefs. Far too many times, all a “Priestess” is looking for is the unquestioning “sheeple” to blindly follow whatever she tells them is correct in Wicca; or in any other philosophical belief system, for that matter. (Maybe I am just cynical right now because the local “Craig’s List Job Scam Murders” just came back from the jury for the “Follower Kid”.)
In mid-evil times; when someone wanted to learn the healing arts and magick of the Old Gods, they would hike out into the woods or climb the mountain to ask the Wise Woman/Healer to take them in. To have help gathering herbs, planting, harvesting, cooking and whatever else needed done; an apprenticeship bargain would be struck. This also gave the older “Witch” some company from another human, since most of them lived alone; separately from the rest of the community for many years at a time.
The apprentice would follow the wise one around, do all of the chores assigned them and depend on the wise one for all of their needs to survive. After many years of this, they may be able to try some of their own spells and recipes on a very limited basis. Then; when the old “teacher” finally passed on to Summerland, the apprentice would finally be the Wise One for the villagers. This was the way that it went for many centuries; passing the torch from one Witch to the next by death only.
Today, the way that we live makes the old ways obsolete. We have the internet; and as such, we have the World at our disposal. With access to the internet, we can keep looking for the answers until we have discovered what we wanted to know. Then quickly move on to the next question and finding the answer for that one as well. However; if someone still wants a teacher to show them what the questions are, they first have to know what to look for in that right person. (I guess I am saying that you must be willing to “Interview” your prospective “Teacher” as much as they should interview You as the student.)
So…What should we look for in a teacher?
- Your “Teacher” should be your “Friend”
- You are going to go to this person for advice so you should be able to call her/him your friend. Read their bio, profile, blog, MySpace, Twitter, Facebook and poetry or general thoughts. Get to know who they are as a person as well as a Priestess/Priest so that you know their belief system is similar to your own. You may be asking their opinion on the worst day of your life so you don’t want them to be a stranger.
- Make sure that spiritually you sync with their beliefs.
- Understand the teacher’s beliefs and know that they are the same as yours. If you don’t follow Gardnerian Wicca, you certainly wouldn’t want a Gardnerian teacher. If you want to follow Fairy Lore, make sure your teacher isn’t going to tell you that fairies don’t exist.
- You should try to answer YOUR OWN questions
- When you ask a question, the teacher should be willing to help you with that but ultimatly; you should be finding your own answer. You should never come away from a session with the same question you entered with. But you should always come away with a different question to contemplate for the next time you see her/him
- Your teacher should be willing to learn
- None of us are ever to knowledgeable to learn something new. If you have an idea that may change something for the better; your teacher should be willing to listen and try it. You should make certain that your teacher is always open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.
- Make sure you always have room to GROW
- You teacher should be happy to see you explore new options when they arise. If you find a new spell that you wish to use yourself, you need to be free to try that spell. If there is a new book out that you think will enrich you spiritually you should feel that you can do that. Your teacher should not only celebrate your growth but should (if possible) also explore the area of your growth. (Once again, no one is too knowledgeable to learn something new.)
- You should not have to PAY for knowledge
- Our ability to think for ourselves in a gift that we have been given by the Goddess. To increase your knowledge, you should NOT have to pay for it. If someone wants to charge you for a spell; but does not give you the supplies, they are only trying to take your money. You also should not have to pay to go to a Witch School, they are only charging you to show you how to acquire the knowledge you already have within you. We are not to profit from our gifts; that includes doing spells to get something for ourselves, but also charging someone for knowledge.
- Make sure you interview with your prospective teacher
- Your teacher should have time to sit and chat with you. You want to know that this person has time for you; whether it be on the IM, webcam, phone or at the local coffee shop. If this person does not have an hour or two to get to know you, they are not the teacher for you because their life is too busy.
I think that is about all that I can think of right now. I will probably come up with a few more points after I post this but I’ll go with this. I can always add more later; or if you have a few other ideas, feel free to post those in comments.
The reason I decided to write this post was because of my son, Phillip. He was talking to a friend about Wicca the other day and he told him that he always goes to me for spiritual advice. When I said that he did that because I am “Mom”, he pointed out to me that I am also his Priestess. It isn’t something that I often think about but he is right. I am his Priestess and he is my student, I was the Priestess that dedicated him and then initiated him into the craft all those years ago.
I wrote most of our Book of Shadows then passed it onto him so that he could add his ideas, spells and rituals to it. From the time he was a small boy, I was the Priestess that led him through rituals and taught him how to visualize for spells. He now has the freedom to start preforming those to his own pleasure in his own way.
Even though I am still adding to my own Book of Shadows; he has also started writing spells and riutals of his own to put in his personal Book of Shadows for he; (and his children some day), to use themselves. I will always be his Mom and his Priestess but he now has moved beyond the title of student. Now; for the first time in 20 years, I don’t have an apprentice under my wing.