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HomeBeginning Wicca, Classes, My Articles, The Tree So, you’re new to the forum…


So, you’re new to the forum…

Erin

When posting a question for general consumption in a group, and this goes for ANY group, please keep these points in mind:

1. DEFINE THE QUESTION. Please figure out, as closely as possible, what you are looking for. Instead of asking “how do you shield?” try “I already know how to shield, what techniques do you use that may help others with this technique?” In the second case, you will get a much more specific answer to this question. The first is very general, and many who could be answering your request may think “this has been asked and answered so many times, search in the group” and skip the question.

2. RESEARCH. Google Works. The search bar in the group works. Facebook’s search works. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the question you are asking has been asked and answered by others in the group, and there are definitely articles about this topic on the Internet. Take your defined question and pull a few keywords and stick them in the search bar, you will get more than a metric ton of returns with the information you want. You’ll have a lot more satisfaction as you found the answer, instead of it being given to you.

(I’ll digress and mention the story about the guru who directs the seeker to do a long quest to find the answer to his query. When the seeker gets back to the guru years later, it’s revealed that the seeker found the answer on his own in the whole long quest without knowing it through the experiences they had, and earned that answer, rather than having it given to them. That results in an answer that means more to the seeker, and it makes sense to THEM. A spiritual path of any kind is not something you can be given like a book of formulas for mathematics. The answer changes for each person, and it is your responsibility to find those answers that fit to your understanding and experience.)

3. BELIEVE THE RESPONSES. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve given a long detailed answer to someone’s question, and had someone else come along and say “THAT ISN’T TRUE!!!” and then completely dis the answer I’ve just spent a portion of my life to answer. Being told on a forum that I don’t know what I’m talking about is the fastest way to make sure I don’t ever comment again. So if someone puts up a comment on your post, at least give it the benefit of the doubt and listen before completely dismissing it as useless to you. And if you are responding to another’s comment, DO NOT EVER jump in and say they are wrong or stupid or any variation of that. That’s guaranteed to make sure that the conversation train jumps the track and you don’t get your question answered.

4. REMEMBER YOU ASKED THE QUESTION. You can ask for clarification to an answer, you can clarify your question further. But when someone says XXX, try not to take it personally and don’t get personal. If you disagree, that’s your prerogative, but the answer they provided is true for them, and they have probably used this answer to this question for a LONG time.

5. PRACTICE AND EXPERIMENT. There’s about 50 ways to cleanse and protect an area. There are rituals and rites and spells all over. Look at suggestion 2 above, follow that point, find the resources out there, and then take what you see in those responses and try it. Then modify that some. Use it. Set down thoughts and meditations on what worked and what didn’t (this should be part of your journal or Book of Shadows or Book of Mirrors, whatever you call it. In fact, these musings compose the root of many people’s own Books of Shadows). Get rid of what doesn’t work and keep what does. Repeat this with another ritual or rite, in another spell, and do the same process. Then try combining the things that worked from both in another ritual. I will guarantee this is what EVERY Elder, Priestess, Old Witch, Senior Pagan, or whatever the title is, has done. This is trial and error, and it is invaluable. Experimentation is key, and it’s how you learn that you don’t have to light a candle made of virgin’s blood and beeswax, blessed on a full moon… etc. That a tea light works just as well, and that a LED tea light works even better in some cases. Take in all the information you can, learn all the things, read and read and read and read and research, combine them together, and then simplify till you get a practice you are comfortable with.

6. PRESERVE TRADITIONS. Write things down. Study this form of Druidism, and become this tradition of Wiccan. When you teach or share your experience, say “This is from this tradition of paganism and blahblahblahblah. I practice this way and found that this process works for me….” ALWAYS make sure your tradition specific techniques are noted as such, and the stuff you have learned and experimented is noted as well. CITE your sources (citing UPG [unverified personal gnosis, or a personal understanding or epiphany] is perfectly acceptable in these cases, but you must say so.) If you are stating a fact like from a mythological story, say that, and keep it accurate. CHECK the facts you are citing every time as you might have misremembered or better research or additional facts may have been uncovered, causing you to have to reevaluate it (this is a personal failing of mine).

This suggestion includes KEEPING SILENT on things you have been sworn to keep secret, as what is in an oathbound tradition. You don’t have to say “I KNOW A SECRET!” with oathbound material, you can just share your understanding, and if pressed say there’s some more lore that is under oath.

7. FACTS AND BELIEFS ARE DIFFERENT. A fact is repeatable by others, findable in multiple places by research, they are verified, replicated, supported by evidence. Facts can change, but only by other facts or better research. Beliefs and opinions are the same thing, they are something you believe for some reason, and while others may share your opinion, if it cannot be proven by others, and is unique to you based on your experience and understanding. Examples? Fact: “The sun is in the sky and it radiates light.” Pure observation shows us the sun in the sky, and that light is coming from it. Belief: “The Sun is made up of billions of fireflies and lightning bugs.” There’s no way to check it, nor is it able to be proven, there isn’t any evidence to support it, and is so far outside what science CAN prove that it’s something that just sounds wrong. But it is also something that each person must decide to either agree with or disagree with. That agreement or disagreement is not up for debate, as it is a personal thing. You can debate the facts of fireflies as the Sun, but you cannot EVER tell someone that they aren’t entitled to believe it if they want to. Please note, FAITH is considered to be BELIEF in this case.

After all, there are people who seem to believe the earth is flat.

8. ALWAYS BE GRACIOUS, PLEASE. If someone gives you some information you don’t agree with simply thank them instead of publicly calling them out saying you don’t believe it or it’s wrong. The beauty of paganism is that what works for one might not work for another… your mileage may vary. They took a segment of their life that they will never get back, attempting to help you on your way, to answer your question, and to give you encouragement. Always thank someone for their time and energy for sharing with you, file it away… or not. (I choose to file things away anyhow because five years down my path it may become relevant, I simply wasn’t ready for it). If you don’t agree with a post, don’t think it’s within the group’s purview, or don’t like the content, you CAN and SHOULD keep scrolling.

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