Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Where are the Teachers?

I, like many Pagans, am no fan of pop teen authors like Fiona Horne and Silver Ravenwolf. However, I would like to propose that they, and authors like them, have emerged because we, as pagans searching out a new path, need them. There was time when finding such esoteric knowledge meant finding a teacher. A wise woman or man willing to spend time and share experiences with a younger acolyte in order to impart their own sense of the Goddess and their skills. This would involve lessons on spellwork, herbal craft, stonework and anything else that the teacher felt was pertinent. A student might even find numerous teachers and go to each one for a particular specialty, in the hopes of learning all that she could. Learning the craft was a much more interactive process passed on through stories, crafts and actions. There was a time when we relied on our teachers.

Now, we read. It seems the teachers in the world have disappeared. We have become a society so bent on individualism along with our own sense of privacy that we no longer seek to share our knowledge with others. We have become so determined to allow others to "do as thou wilt" that we shirk from academic discussion and instruction for fear we might insult someone's own beliefs. Even the ancients in our community spend so much time bickering with one another that they cannot possibly have time left for one on one instruction!

So I propose that writers like Horne and Ravenwolf have emerged in such rampant popularity because there are generations of witches out there searching for answers and thirsting for knowledge and the best we, as community, can offer them are a few books from which we expect them to glean some spark of information while being knowledgeable enough to discard any over-the-top and ridiculous notions that were simply added because of a) the author's extreme bias or b) the publishers need to soften a viewpoint, scandalize a viewpoint or find some angle to sell books.

If we continue to ignore our young pagans by patting them on the head and shoving a mediocre book into their hands they will continue to spread misconceptions and half truths. We must claim the youth of our community, we must take responsibility for their learning and we must bring back the teachers!



Anna said...

This is a great post. When I was young and knew that there was something else out there for me not a person in sight willing to make themselves known (understandably) and not a book in existence that I could find. I went on with my life like I was supposed to (a good Christian) until the magic of the internet and books finally made themselves available which also allowed me to meet other people :-) I took on my family's spirituality and welcomed any young people who were looking for more meaning than what they gleaned from "The Craft" LOL...I think its important that like many other spiritual paths that we see the young people as very important to continue and pass on the beliefs to future generations.

PhoenixWitch said...

Merry Meet Anna,
I think, in pagan culture, it is too easy to brush off the young because we get so many young dabblers who explore a little and then disappear. It is a shame that we are not more open to teaching youth and helping them find a path of their own. We often shove them aside and then complain about the negative stereotypes being perpetrated by these same youngsters. If we don't teach them, they don't know the difference!

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