Conversation between Ann, Barbara, and Arwen...
Arwen is your webmistress. =A
Ann is the webmistress of AstarteSpiritCrafts.=ANN
Barbara is the webmistress of TX Dragon =BB

This conversation took place on the Pagan Mindcrafters List.

A. Interview your teacher. Ask them questions about their training.

BB:  Most will ask you questions too - Listen to yourself about your feelings on their questions.  Any that make you uncomfortable or that you feel are out of line - listen to yourself.

A: And say so! Perhaps you are being tested with these questions. Many teachers do not want doormats for students. Do not be afraid to say..that question is inappropriate or I don't see a need to answer that question.

BB: I think it is because creative and/or critical thinking people face their own uniqueness and so many others in the world are terrified of theirs.  I think this is very true of the pagans that we all love and cherish in our lives - they have embraced their uniqueness so ours is welcomed and encouraged rather than discouraged or battered down. Maybe that is something else to look for in a teacher.

Someone else (Bronwyn I think):..she should go to a coven of that tradition.  If, however, she is interested in finding a path that works for her, there's nothing wrong with studying more than one tradition. Working with solitary practitioners may facilitate

A: There is indeed nothing wrong with studying more than one tradition. A good path will encourage that. In my Trad, the 2nd degree is obliged to offer a written treatise on the ways of another path.  Now, I do not think it is a great idea for a student to be haring off on this path and then that. If you are going to be a student, then be one. If you are still seeking, then seek with all your heart.
 

3. They say their teacher is their great granny who used a 300 year old 

BB:  Anyone but especially Fam Trad that behaves as though they are'classier' than you are because of their 'ancient noble lineage'. Snobbery is alive and well - it is also quite harmful to self-esteem - let it be their self-esteem that remains low rather than yours.

Ann:I gotta get in on this one!  Yeah, well, yeah, but wa about us what has us some class? Huh?  Ok, I confess. Running into a "Lord" or "Lady"  automatically makes the little muscles in the corners of my mouth pull up. I can't help it, I  find a giggle in it. On the other hand I use the name of my Goddess
mentor so .....

A: Anyone who Lady this and Lord that you is suffering from low self-esteem.  You will note that I signed that piece as Lady Arwen Nightstar. That is going up on my webpage and I intentionally chose to sign it that way. Sadly enough, some people will put more credit into it because of that. It doesn't matter that my title is valid within my Tradition only....and even these people need to get the message to be careful.

BB:Calling oneself Lord or Lady So-and-So isn't where I find the problem <g> - I find it in ppl trying to lord it over others.  Lord or Lady I find to be a term of respect, a request for respect on the Net in
particular, and sounds much better than MS or Mr to me in the pagan world.

BB:'Teachers' Recommendations Warnings:

BB: Astrology - Don't decide from the yellow pages or a store advertisement to sign up for someone's classes without meeting them unless you have the money, energy, and time to waste.

Ann: Teachers pop up in the strangest places. You can't rule out a flier at a head shop or a person you meet in the kewl local public circle. I'd teach about teacher shopping a bit differently.

A: Ok Ann, how would you teach about it? I agree with you that you can't rule someone out simply because they advertise, but if they advertise as a teacher of Wicca, then what?

Ann:You have to use your instincts; and hopefully by the time you are ready to actively search for a teacher you're at least enough aware to know that you have instincts. You're going to learn something from everybody who ever crosses your path. The trick to good scam artistry in any venue is pushing the buttons that incite "trust." So .... you watch what they do a great deal more intently than you listen to what they say. Do they "stand in their truth" or do they waffle according to audience? Would you want to know this person whether or not they had something you think you need?

A:What a good point, Ann! It is very important to see if your proposed teacher stands true to what they say. A real case of "as they do and not as they say".

BB: I wouldn't rule out but I would advise meeting the person and talking with them before paying money out for anything they are offering.

Ann:As for identifying scam artists or persons who crave power over ... if they encourage you to find your truth outside of yourself then they're leading you down ye ole primrose path. And remember that power corrupts (as does money .. which is power in our country). I know my

A:It is the love of money which corrupts..not money. That poor thing gets misquoted all the time! But you are correct....if you can not find it within yourself, then where else will it be? Wait! for 19.95 I can
get you the InstaWitch kit!

A: I do think that the old saw "when the student is ready, the teacher appears" is a very good one. And anyone who fancies themselves a student had better be studying, shouldn't they! A teacher is a teacher is a student is a teacher. smile

BB: Beware anyone who wants/encourages you to be dependent on them.

Ann: Same with anything; choosing a teacher (which I usually find is actually done vice versa .. the teacher chooses you); making a choice in any form is better done by following the gut.

A: Can we put this in flashing lights out on the web? I hate blinking text with a passion, but if anything ever called for it...this is it!

BB:Maybe we could talk The Witches Voice into this one to get the message out to all the newbies since I think they all get there sooner or later. <G>

BB: answers to their problems.  Many want shortcuts {read instant gratification} to religion and magic.  Those shortcuts get them in real trouble and most of them truly have no clue how to listen to themselves - the mundane world does

A:There is an urgency in beginning.  A real 'have to get there yesterday' when you first start. I know I was always one to push the river.

Ann:(?)think it has to be mutually equal for both.  If you're used to unhealthy relationships, without recognition of that, you continue to draw more unhealthy {damaging} relationships to self and continue to be part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

A:This is pattern-repeating. If you can't identify your patterns, then you are doomed to repeat them. This is written by someone who still struggle with this aspect.

BB: Tarot cards - I advise anyone interested in learning to read Tarot cards for example to be very cautious about anyone advising learning book meanings and limiting the cards meanings to what is found in the book. I also advise ppl to decide which deck to get by 'feel' not by someone else's recomendation - what works for me may not work for you.

BB: Rocks - book meanings may be very helpful but be willing to throw it out the door if a rock says something else to you personally. 

BB: Books - think about how you feel about what it says, read another by a different author and think about how you feel about it - compare the two and your feelings and thoughts for samenesses and differences.  Find alternative books of thought and read them.  Reread all the books and see how you feel about them the second time through.  Keep a journal of your thoughts as you do this and discuss the books with others and find out how you feel about their reactions to the same books.

A: No no no! Listen to me and I will tell you what books are bad and which are good. Go away Barbara! Quit telling people that they can make their own decisions! ;-)

BB: ROFLOL!

BB: Nudity/Sex/Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco/Blood/Hair/Body Fluids/Tattoos - Anything which makes you uncomfortable or does not feel right to you for you - get the heck out of there and don't look back.  Never give up yourself to something you do not want to be part of for whatever reason at any time. Beware anyone who encourages such for you without regard to your feelings. Look for others who feel similar about such things.

A: This is also something that needs to be tattooed on foreheads I fear.  People just giving themselves over to others and being remade. Wicca is not for sheep!

BB: Sorry Arwen - there are sheep in every religion and Wicca isn't an exception - I wish there were no sheep in life at all but the world has a long way to go for that - maybe that is one of our goals with our websites and our lists - I think it gets the message out faster.

BB: Remember that Pagans are humans and there are just as many wolves and sheep in this community as anywhere else.

Ann: Sure, if you're super curious and hungry for something titallating there are lots and lots of people ready to allow you to give them money, or adoration, or the extremely highly valued commodity of trust. That's the way one aspect of the world works. And if you connect with them it's usually because there's something you're supposed to learn from them .. even if that lesson is "this one is a gargantuan assholioudactyl."

 If people aren't learning the power of instinct, then they're going to land in all sorts of weird places. The trick is that learning to trust your own instincts is initially pretty much a solo act.

A: Y'all are preaching to the choir with me on this one. But, the real question is HOW do we spread the word? How do we inform these students and keep them safe from themselves. Is that our responsibility?

Ann:...eventually we all learn the path always starts within us; and hopefully we all eventually learn that anything worth having is worth working for.

Ann: We can learn a hell of a lot from our mistakes, and those who look outside rather than inside are eventually going to learn a hell of a lot more than they bargained for <G> That's a keystone to growing up.

A:And unfortunately not everyone is growing up. Some are just like kudzu.
 

Ann:...a scam or two, I'll confess. The one thing I learned was that you don't put your faith outside of yourself, you make yourself into a person that you can truly enjoy being with.

A:I think we have all been taken for a proverbial ride at one time or another. It is part of the growing process. And in the growing, learning what to prune is a major segment.

Please feel free to let any of us know your thoughts on this!

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