On being responsible for your own education.
Okay, I don’t know who is responsible for this, but I want to kick the crap out of them for this culture of “I NEED A TEACHER TO TEACH ME TO BE WICCAN!!!!” that I keep seeing.
Know how I got my education in Wicca? Know how I got to know what to do and how to do it and the theory behind it? I taught myself.
When I was 12 to 18 and above, there was no Internet to do research on. The vast shelves of books that are there for you at the local Barnes and Noble and Books A Million didn’t exist for me and those in my generation. We had to look in things like “Self help” and “religion” for thse books.
We read books on things like the Pyramids, Stonehenge, Bigfoot, Atlantis, UFOs and crystals. I read about the Crystal Skull long before they make a TV show about it. I knew about psychokenesis and I didn’t need a Llewellyn book to teach me about it, because I went out and I found those books. I looked for Edgar Cayce, for Alice Bailey, for Aliseter Crowley, for the history of the Salem Witch Trials, for Edith Hamelton’s Mythology?
How many of you out there know who Bullfinch is? I bet not many. But ask people older than 28 who Bullfinch is and they will immediately tell you that he’s THE author of THE text on mythology there is. His works are used as standard texts in college courses.
How many of you have actually sat down and read Joseph Campbell? These books I’m mentioning and these authors were THE references we used. If you were lucky (incredibly lucky) you might be able to find a copy of “What Witches Do” or something by Doreen Valente or the Farrars, but more often you found books on why Atlantis sunk, the Bermuda Triangle, psychic phenomenon and experiments in psychokenesis or astral travel.
Those were our teachers. “The Golden Bough” wasn’t just a reference that sat on our shelves, it was a book that we poured over trying to find some small sliver of truth in it so we could learn about the religions of old.
Where do you think we got all this knowledge? Do you honestly believe we were born with it, or that we had teachers that poured all this into our heads one thought at a time? Didn’t you see the shelves of reference material that we had? Did you think it was for decoration?
Start taking responsibility for your own education. Start using some critical thinking skills and start asking questions. You say you would do anything to be Wiccan? Then start learning about it from the references that Silver Ravenwolf used to gain her knowledge, the same books that Cunningham learned from. Want to know about the magickal properties of herbs? Read the medevial grimoires and Culpepers book of herbs or some other similar lexicon of herbalism instead of depending on Cunningham to teach you, or worse a physical person to teach you.
Want to be respected in the communities you interact with? Then demonstrate that you have knowledge that is worthy of respect and start looking at what you know versus what you should know.
A good starting place? Go out and get “Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft”. Read it. Read EVERY book he references, the whole thing. Then read the books those books reference. And keep going. Keep reading. Check them out of the library, borrow them from friends, pick them up at used book stores and swap meets or flea markets.
Don’t cry to me about how hard it is to learn about Wicca because no one will teach you. I was NEVER taught by anyone in what I know about Wicca, but when I started interacting with other Wiccans, most of them were very respectful of my knowledge and my studies, even earning places of respect and honor in groups I was part of due to that same study and knowledge.
Want more wisdom? Go sit on a park bench in the shade and watch people. Watch what they do, how they interact. Still yourself and just be. Listen to the tree and the wind. See if you can hear what the chipmunk is saying to the mouse. And watch the patterns of the pigeons. Go to a mall and look at what people are doing and why. Look at how they act and think of possible motivations behind how they are acting.
Then consider that you have vastly more opportunities to educate yourself in metaphysics and magick and wicca and mythology and paganism than ANY of us “teachers” ever had. We had probably a few dozen books, and most of them were not too good then. But we learned. We studied, we occasionally managed to sit down with others we knew were into metaphysics and have a discussion on tarot or runes or energy work. We shared ideas and read and practiced.
Do you know how many hours I spent in meditation between the ages of 12 and 18? I meditated for an hour a night, more if I had Karate that day. That is 2192 hours for those of you who can’t add. How many hours have you meditated? How many hours have you tried to move a piece of paper with your mind? How long have you tried to hear the thoughts of others? Have you played Jedi before?
All these relate to Wicca in very fundamental ways, and you won’t understand how they relate until you understand the concepts behind ESP and so on. So start studying them.
Don’t whine about how there are no teachers to teach you. You have the SAME teachers to teach you that I had, that each and every elder out there had. Say you will do anything to be Wiccan? Prove it. Start reading and studying.
And skip those books with the crescent moon on the spine. They will just confuse you right now.