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Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.

Comments on "Teach Me, My Way"

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C550866538/E1051186160

Juliaki wrote an pretty good piece on teachers and students in the Craft

Before I go on with this post, I want to say upfront that I am a paranoid solitary. In my earlier days I worked more with left-hand path stuff, my experiences with established covens and groups has not been good. But I have worked with successfully with groups brought together for one specific purpose and set of workings.

In her blog This Page Left Intentionally Blessed, Juliaki wrote on how would-be students often look for a teacher and then second guess what the teacher can give them.

She has good points, people look for teachers because they want the experience and guidance that a good teacher can provide. There is not much point in having a teacher if you use them as a glorified reference and not as a teacher.

Often what looks like a shortcut at first just slows things down in the long run. Just because someone has picked up a few things about carpentry along the way doesn't mean they can build a house. If you don't know anything about plumbing or electrical work and don't make provisions, carpentry can actually get in the way of accomplishing your goals.

Just as with any master craftsman, there are hundreds of little touches that won't make it into any books. It's the difference between a kit bought at a store and making something elegant with what is already there. The kit may do the job, but it is not very often that a kit enhances everything else around it.

Now, having said that, not every coven is created equal.

Pardon, I need to scream that.

Not every coven is created equal!

Thank you.

Although I will admit that my guidelines are not absolute, I've found that trendlines can tell a lot. This is where I am about to offend some of my teen readers.

I've yet to meet a teenage HP or HPS worthy of the title. I'm not saying it can't happen, I am saying that it would be extraordinary. As in Beyond Extra Ordinary. As in rare. As in I haven't even heard of one. It could happen with a very gifted individual and a special set of circumstances, but I have not seen it yet.

The fact is I wouldn't want a 16 year old HPS anymore than I would want a 16 year old lawyer. And for much the same reasons.

So assuming that everyone in the coven is at least 18, is that enough? Not really. I'm going to dip into my Corporate Clone experiences, people do a lot of growing up between 18 and 25. In a coven, partially that is just so everyone is "legal," but part of it has to do with the "adult" mindset and responsibility. There might be younger members (special circumstances again), but most of the people in the coven should be at least 25. Again, I am not talking about exceptional individuals, but of general trendlines. If you have a "coven" of a 15 and 16 year olds, either they are prodigies or they don't understand what a coven is. Which is more likely?

Despite the poetry of "a year and a day," three to five years per degree is probably closer to the truth. Assuming a give or take of a couple of years, and suddenly it looks like most of the people with new first degrees should be between 20 and 30 years of age. Going by that same rule, most of the people with new second degrees should be between 25 and 35 years of age new while third degrees should be at least 30 and probably 40.

Then there is the matter of group history. How old is it? What have they done? Do they have a lineage? Is the lineage traceable? What connections do they have, who do they associate with?

After all that, I'd pull out the Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Frame and do some serious checking.

Groups aren't the only way or even the best way in all cases. I will admit as a solitary it's harder to evaluate someone's ability and soundness without a group. Lord and Lady know that I wouldn't want to teach anyone formally. But in general, the same rules apply. Look at how well (and how long) someone lives their Craft before agreeing to be their student.

Now I am a little biased here, but I think self-initiation is valid. I will also say that what most solitaries call self-initiation is really self-dedication. I know that many coven members won't agree with the whole idea of self-initiation, but this section is NeoWayland Beliefs, not Coven Beliefs or Pagan Beliefs.

Posted: Wed - May 18, 2005 at 05:49 PM

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