Tag Archive | wicca 101

Why be a Wicca 101 teacher? – Back to School for Witches

This is my Back to School for Witches posting http://bookofshadowsandblessings.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/back-to-school-for-witches-too-blog-party/ – There is a lot of things you can read about how to find your first teacher but not a lot on why or how to become a teacher. I don’t think you should teach unless you get forced into it. That might be quite a weird thing to say but it is necessary. It’s the only way to make sure you are not teaching to stroke your ego.

Teaching 101 is not just teaching a single subject and you are setting yourself in a placement of power in people’s lives. This is not like teaching a Math class. Math class doesn’t generally turn people’s lives upside down and inside out. Do you remember how your life changed when you started on the path? If you were serious about it you probably went through some pretty big changes. When you offer your life to the Goddess she always takes you up on it. Are you ready to and willing to watch other people go through that and not step in? Because you can’t step in, it’s their path to walk.

Because by teaching Wicca 101 you are about to accelerate your own learning curve, do not set out to set yourself up to be a Wicca 101 teacher, you will fall. I got into it because my first HP was on the Board of the Pallas Society (as was I) and we had been hearing about some 101 classes in the area that had gone horribly wrong. So somehow I got maneuvered into it by my old HP and another friend on the Board who would be my teaching partner.

Someone else found us the teaching place in one of the student’s houses. I don’t recommend that now because what if that student backs out or you need to tell them you aren’t going to teach them? Then you are stuck.

You have to write your curriculum. You have to put together materials. You have to have the gas money to get there. We charged $10 for the 6 week class and the money went back to the Pallas Society not us. I wouldn’t have done it to make money. If churches don’t charge for Sunday School then we shouldn’t charge either except for money to rent the space or back to the sponsoring organization just like a church offering goes to the administration of the church. You have to give your time not just for classes but for planning and sometimes some student hand holding.

You have to be willing to say this is not about me. This is about setting other motivated people on their path. You are a facilitator to that. You cannot set yourself up to be a guru or a leader because you will get yourself into a huge can of worms and the Goddess will slap you down hard. What will happen if you have the right attitude is that you will have more joy than you know what to do with from making new friends and seeing them grow.

You have to be willing to step back and not interfere with student’s growth. If they have a significant other that is not good for them they may shed it. They may lose a job. They may have health problems that call attention to unhealthy patterns. You have to be willing to watch and not make it better you cannot rescue them from their path and that will hurt if you have any compassion at all.

You have to have the strength to say to some people this might not be the right path for them. No one is going to tell them what to do and that if they want or need that maybe Christianity or a religion with rules is better for them. You have to tell people Wicca is not a fashion statement or another excuse to rebel against the parental unit. You have to tell them that that this is a path of personal responsibility.

Teaching Wicca 101 will change your life and you have to be ready for it. If you aren’t willing to change then don’t do it.

Surprises while teaching Wicca 101 A pagan blog post

When I was teaching Wicca 101 I was almost always graced with students that had already done some reading and were invested in learning. A lot of my students were referred from covens that didn’t want to teach a rank beginner even the basics so their potential HPs sent them to me. This was very flattering but I did get one whopper of an idiot that way.

I think the HP wanted me to find a way to convince this student that maybe being a pagan wasn’t the best path for her. She had been to many open pagan events and had gone to this coven and the HP had sent her on to me. ( maybe sicced is a better term) It was one I could have easily done without. She was what I would politely call willfully stupid. To be quite frank, she was a donkey’s anal sphincter.

She had not done any reading and when confronted with the reading list informed me that she had not read a book since college and she wasn’t going to start now. The rest of the class just stared at her, a pagan that doesn’t read? Not possible. I should have bounced her right there.

At one point I was explaining about the human’s part in the web of life and she got incensed informing that that no human was an animal. SHE was above animals and again the class stared at her and like always she seemed to be immune to anything anyone else felt or thought. It was readily apparent that she was the center of her world and no one else’s opinion but hers mattered. By the 5th week I couldn’t believe she was still coming and had decided if she did show up for the 6th I was not going to allow her to participate in the path commitment ceremony because it was like talking to a door and about as useful. Thankfully, she finally did not show up for the last class much to everyone else’s relief. But having her in class made the other students think and participate more as if to show me they at least had brains and did care to be there.

She did have some really funny things happen to her though. She always sat next to one of my bookcases and once one of my brooms decided to fall on her for no reason anyone could see and every time I put it back in the corner it fell on her again. It happened 3 times in a row before I decided to move the broom across the room. That broom had never done that before. My familiar bit her. The only one he ever bit in all the years of teaching I did it in my apartment. And my harp fell on her after my broom was moved. If nothing else, we got entertainment value out of her.

The only other problem I ever had was with a High Priest who turned out to be really creepy. I got two really excellent students from our Feral newsletter. They showed up with their book of shadows that I didn’t get a chance to look at for the first few weeks until they started expressing a lot of surprise at what I was teaching about how a HP should treat his students and working positively and not negatively. It turned out he took hair and nail cuttings from his students and told them he would use them to hurt them if they left. My first clue that I might be in trouble was that I got a threatening email from the HP saying I was stealing his students and that he would “get me”. It wasn’t until the next class that I got a look at the book of shadows and it was full of the nastiest sets of spells I think I had ever seen. Mostly focused on how to hurt people that somehow were all out to hurt you. There were spells for controlling people. There were hardly any positive spells in the Xeroxed book. I then found out one of them was going to be my client at the AIDS Service Center where I was on call clergy for anyone pagan.. (I’m not divulging anything here of someone’s privacy since the gentleman in question has passed on to the Summerlands.) And that this poor student rented a studio behind the HP’s house. The threats escalated wildly from this HP and I upped all my wards and when he tried to attack me at one of our Hallows gatherings he was met by several of the Asatru guys who saw him start to follow my car. They informed him in no uncertain terms what would happen to him in detail if he ever touched a hair on my head. If I hadn’t been so scared at the time it would have been amusing since it was an unlighted parking lot and it was at the only open business for blocks. . One of the reasons I wasn’t real happy with him was he lived on the continuation of my street on the other side of the freeway. Quite literally, less than a mile away from me. Thankfully he never followed the student to my class. Not fun! It takes quite a lot to scare me and this guy did.

He didn’t bother me again and the students finished the class but not too long after, my client died of a rather strange drug overdose they labeled an accident but during a meditation not too long after I got the impression that he was very surprised to be dead and not quite sure how it had happened and I wondered. The woman student disappeared and I don’t think I’ve seen her since. The night he went after me was the first time I had ever seen this HP at a pagan event so thankfully he isn’t out and about that I know of in the community. I never found out how my students connected with him but he was one bad dude. That Book of Shadows made my hair stand on end.

Hands on healing

The topic of hands on healing is a touchy one. All puns intended.

Both because some people don’t believe it exists and because of the ethical aspect.

The technique is simple enough. You can perform the basic tree meditation or any other meditation that borrows energy from the earth or you can do a meditation that draws from the sky. I personally prefer earthen meditation. You will have to experiment a bit to see what works best for you.

When you have drawn the energy up through your body focus out your hands rather than out the top of your head or your feet. This is a shorter circuit and may feel peculiar at first. As if trying to do this in the first place isn’t peculiar enough?

Your hands should start to feel really warm at the hand chakra in the center of your palms. Now place your hands above whatever needs healing. Try it first on yourself. This isn’t a party trick. This is work. Direct the energy out of your hands and into the area that needs healing. For beginners this technique works best on things like sinuses and headaches.

Form a circuit back to the ground with the energy not in to yourself. Failing to make that circuit may take that problem into your body which is not a good situation. If you see auras this is a good time to check out the colour of the area that needs healing.

If you see a muddy colour work on clearing that colour or you can visualize the colour you feel it should be flowing clear and bright out and through the area. Always make sure the energy returns to the area you are drawing it from, either the earth or the sky.

Some people find the temperature change to a cooler one and that will also signal the end of the treatment.

When you feel your done GO WASH YOUR HANDS! You do not want to be carrying their problem around with you. Put your hands on the earth and if necessary place your hands in the earth. Even if all you can find is a potted plant. I did this for a few people at work who got migraines and sinus headaches and for years afterward the phone on my desk would ring and I would hear a small voice that said, “Help!” Of course I disguised it with some acupressure and massage techniques because if they really knew what I was doing they would have lost it completely.

Now, for the ethics portion of this lesson. Always ask first before you heal. Study the situation and what you know about this person even if they are driving you nuts radiating pain. Some people have a vested interest in being sick. It makes them the center of attention and they gather energy that way to make themselves feel better. No matter how loud they are, don’t do it. They will blame you ever after for their problems and you really don’t need that, do you? And for heaven sake don’t tell them you did it to shut them up that also will come back to haunt you. To them it makes it a selfish act rather than to satisfy a need to help. It is partially a selfish act but usually it’s also an act of love. People don’t generally want to heal people they dislike. If you don’t like them if you are truly being selfish you would rather they suffer. Just not in proximity to you.

One of the precepts of Wicca you don’t hear much any more is the one about keeping silent. This would be a good time to start that one again.

Seeing?? Hearing or Feeling Auras

First off, Miss Kat doesn’t quite know how to describe this particular skill that anyone can do. Auravoyance? Auricle? Auronics, Aurakinetics? How about people who see, feel, hear, touch (which is not the same as feel), smell or taste auras?

The last statement needs to be explained because everyone talks about “seeing auras” and that isn’t always true. We use what ever sense happens to be our primary “other” sense. Most people trust their eyes more than their other senses, hence the term “seeing auras”.

We all have a complement to each of our primary senses such as: extrasensory hearing, seeing, feeling, touching, smelling and tasting. Empathy is extrasensory feeling. Telekinesis is extrasensory touching. Telepathy is extrasensory hearing. Sensing aura can combine any of the above senses.

Miss Kat was born blind in one eye and partially sighted in the other and was until she was seven years old. Sight is not her primary sense. Hearing, touching and feeling are. She had almost no sense of smell until she became a Witch so she sort of wonder sometimes is she’s actually smelling something physical since she has to concentrate so hard.

To see an aura, Miss Kat either has to concentrate very hard or someone has to ask her about what color is it and then she just “knows”. On the other hand, She can immediately hear and feel people’s auras. If she knows you well enough, she can immediately sense if something is different, i.e., if you are upset, happy or nervous. It’s written on the surface like Braille.

Some people project their aura a great distance away from their physical body or keep it very close and tight. Miss Kat doesn’t know much about tastes and smells although she knows people who smell first. One was a pastor of healing at her parent’s church. He could walk into any hospital room and tell by smell (which wasn’t a “real” smell) if someone was going to die or get well. He also had a very healing touch and used to collect children who wanted or needed to be held. Miss Kat used to snuggle up with his grandchildren and feel safe. His son is also a doctor and she suspects he has the same sense because sometimes he knows what’s going on without a whole lot of information.

I also have a coven sister who tells by smell if you are okay or not. I haven’t found anyone who tastes auras but I suspect they are out there simply because of the phrase “ he left a bad taste in my mouth”.

I hear, touch or feel people depending on where they enter my space. I project quite a distance. If I’m hearing, it can be loud or soft. Sometimes it’s rather like the difference between rap and classical and I guess you could call it “ easy listening”. I particularly dislike rap so you can tell what I think of people whom I hear that way. Everyone carries “music” in their voice that you can also hear.

When I feel someone’s aura it is in textures, scratchy, itchy, rich velvet, burlap, emery boards, diamond bright or diamond hard, a warm towel, sparkly, warm, hot, cold, in constant motion or placid. I get more information than just sight would give me and I do depend heavily on that information. (Do not use “Rescue Remedy” while trying to feel auras, it makes you head blind and can drive you nuts.) If your words and actions do not match, I’ll either ask you point blank “ what’s wrong?” (Not one of my more endearing traits), or avoid you like the plague because I don’t trust you. I especially don’t trust people who project black or gray thick fog. I’ve learns that people who do that just hide too much of themselves and aren’t trustworthy.

How do you feel an aura? Rub your hands together and let them float from your sides slowly. You should feel something tangible, soft and warm. If your aura is thin, you should feel a distinct edge. It will be egg shaped with the longer point of the egg in front and fairly close in at the sides. This exercise may take some practice but just about everyone can do it.

To see an aura, do not look straight in front of you. This usually takes a lot of practice. While looking forward look at a person out of the corner of your eye. This also works for ghosts and elementals. Let your focus ease and soften to start. You should see at least a lighter colored area and with practice you can delineate the edges and see color.

You can reach out and touch someone with your aura. I have been known to tickle people’s auras and quite a few people have gotten vastly amused ticking mine since they weren’t even touching me. Stroke gently and don’t poke! It’s also kind of fun during sex to tickle or stroke someone’s aura. You usually get quite a reaction and your partner may ask what the hell you just did. Giggle, giggle and no, I don’t give free samples.

Another exercise you can try is with a partner. Face your partner with hands outstretched and palms about a 1/4 inch to a 1/2 inch apart. Stare into the other person’s eyes. Have one person start moving their hands, the other must try and follow by sensing energy flow. When done right, the lead will shift from one person to the other back and forth. To anyone watching it will look like a choreographed dance and is usually quite beautiful. You will start to use your whole body and when it works, it’s quite a magickal experience.

Please experiment. Find out what your primary sense is. Sit in a room with people and close your eyes. Rooms have auras, as do parties and gatherings which are the sum total of the people in the room. Some gatherings feel like a big hug, some hurt or are painful and some itch or annoy. Try being aware of what you feel walking into the room. Trust it!

When Miss Kat was little, She saw everyone as an animal. She lost that ability around puberty so that’s what She’s practicing now. When she was young, she had friends who were dogs, cats, squirrels, an elephant and Jeanabeth was a ladybug. This had nothing to do with personality type, it was just who they were. The animal was just there.

So see, hear, feel the World!

Warning! Warning! Danger Will Robinson!

There are some things that the Craft has been accused of but if someone asked you to do them it would not be the Craft. These are things like blood sacrifice, sex and hexing.

The Craft never practices blood sacrifice. The closest we get is a few burnt herbs. We don’t even sacrifice living plants. Although having been at rituals where people got a plant to nurture as a symbol of their commitment to a project maybe the plant would have been safer as a sacrifice. Withering on a windowsill is worse.

No one should ever ask for your blood as a commitment. Miss Kat has occasionally given blood unintentionally when trying to clear the wick on a corner candle with her athame. But never give blood intentionally unless it is the Red Cross or hospital blood drive or at your doctor’s office.

In Wicca, no animal should ever have its life taken, period. Other traditions such as Santeria or Yoruban traditions do sacrifice chickens but they also eat them afterward with reverence. They do not do it lightly. It is done in ritual by trained priest/esses.

We honor the animals we eat but unless we live on a farm we generally don’t kill them. A lot of Wiccans are vegans or vegetarians. Miss Kat was once lectured on why she should be a vegetarian at a pagan gathering but as the person doing the lecturing was wearing leather boots and a hand-painted leather jacket she didn’t think the source was very valid or very bright.

Miss Kat gives thanks for any animal that gives its life for her dinner. She has had to kill animals to protect the children she was in charge of and knows it is not something to be taken lightly. In fact the first time she had to kill an animal it scared her to death. No one knew that but her because if she had missed she might have died. The first was a rattlesnake that was under her Arts and Crafts refrigerator. She uses a sharpened shovel and it was very quick. It was eaten at dinner and she still treasures its gift of skin. It did not taste like chicken. It tasted more like boiled innertube.

If some one ever tells you that you have to be initiated with sex. It is not the Craft. There are traditions that have sexual rituals. These traditions use them between consenting adults and established couples and not done just for fun. It’s done in private not on the flaming altar. If someone says anything different is practicing manipulation and not the Craft.

There is also no sex with the Devil. Yuck! There is no Devil. He was a perverted version of Cernunnos or Pan that the medieval Church picked up. The Dominicans that thought this up had very dirty minds and were obviously celebate way too long. It would have been much better if they had become shepherds or farmers and much safer for a lot of women.

Some traditions practice ritual flogging. Miss Kat thinks that went out with the Royal Navy and the Catholic Church. She sees no purpose in tormenting the physical body as ritual. If you really want to beat yourself up go to the gym. Far too many people were abused as children or in relationships for this to have any meaning in ritual.

We do not Hex! This comes out of that pesky “Harm None” thing. We don’t do it period. If you want to banish something put it in a positive fashion. Want banish poverty? How about a ritual to cure world hunger and need? Want to hex a rapist? How about wishing the police all the clues they need to solve the case? Or that the perpetrator be lit up so all can see his true self? Want to end war. Pray and demonstrate for peace.

Hexing doesn’t do anything but put you in a bind worse than the thing you are hexing. In fact that’s exactly what it does. It binds you to the negative. Do you really want that?

Addendum: Yes, some people say it’s okay to hex and some people say the Rule of Three only works if you believe in it. But there is also the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Confucius was right. Positive energy follows positive energy and a negative mindset can mire you in a very dark place that can be hard to snap out of.

Telepathy or Shut up! You’re thinking too loud!

We’ve covered empaths and telekinetics, now it is time for telepaths. There are two kinds of Telepaths, Sending and /or Receiving. Usually people are better at one or the other.

Sending or Broadcasting:

It is a lot easier to send than to receive. In fact, anyone stressed enough can and will do it without realizing it. Some people go around broadcasting all the time. If you are one of those people, tone it down! Everyone does not need to know you are horny, hurt or angry, even if you are bored or lunch is late. If you are not sure if you broadcast, ask your friends. You could be surprised to learn that what they feel from you is not what you are saying. If they can tell the difference you are broadcasting way too loud, and you have very forgiving friends.

If you know you are broadcasting stuff like the aforementioned, remember that this borders on manipulation and the Rule of Three may kick in. Not fun.

Receiving

Receiving takes being open. The first thing to learn about receiving is: Don’t walk around indiscriminately open. There are reasons for this:

1. It’s not nice.

2. You spoil surprises.

3. You may get your feelings hurt.

There are a lot of things out there that you don’t need to know. Pick safe people you trust to be open around.

Receiving sometimes happens in your sleep. If you don’t want this to happen call the Quarters around your bed before you go to sleep. To find out if you are receiving, start checking the things you know without being told. That is usually receiving. If on the other hand, you find you are hearing voices in our head and they tell you to do things you wouldn’t normally do you may need to see a doctor.

Warning to all Receivers:

Put those antenna away unless you have permission to snoop. No matter how much fun you are having with it, you will be swatted!

Both Broadcasters and Receivers can learn to visualize filters or earmuffs.

Sometimes visualizing shields works also. The first few times visualize silence in a quiet space. After a little practice you can so it anywhere although crowds can make it difficult. The answer is practice, practice, practice.

Shields

There are many kinds of shields. One of the easiest to do for some people is visualizing armor. Some times you only need a breastplate or helmet. Sometimes you need the whole suit.

Another is to visualize a ring of white or silver light between you and person you need to shield against.

Yet another way is to build a wall brick by brick and then practice taking it up AND remembering to take it down.

If you can’t get filters visualizes well enough, carry a piece of Hematite that is a protective stone. Since it is a reflective stone it will reflect any negativity and will ground you. Obsidian, Onyx and Tiger Eye also work. Be aware however, that if they are set in silver (a receptive metal) you may cancel the blocking effect.

If you want to enhance reception, wear Moonstone, Amethyst, Jade, or Lapis set in silver. Gold will cancel the receptive effects of these stones.

When Miss Kat wants to direct energy in some way she uses a sort of amplification device that she invented which she wears wrapped around her braids. When in crowds she wears one with Hematite, Obsidian and Onyx, along with a few other stones. Because of this she don’t have to expend excess energy on shields.

Wearing a crown of receptive stones can be highly entertaining in Circle.

To gain skills in the area of sending and receiving you should practice with a friend. Choose a time and an object or subject. Take turns sending and receiving. Sometimes it’s fun to see if someone emotionally close to you picks up what you’ve been broadcasting. It also lets you focus your field a little more accurately.

NOTE: Realize that if you get in trouble all your “Receiving” friends will know it. Be prepared for the “Are you all right?” phone calls and/ or letters.

If you are in therapy make sure that your therapist is like-minded. One of the things they look for in Schizophrenia is “magical thinking or odd beliefs” which according to the DSM III R is, “superstitions,( folk beliefs), beliefs in clairvoyance, telepathy, ‘sixth sense’, others can feel my feelings, unusual perceptional experiences, e.g., recurrent illusions, sensing the presence of a force or person not actually present”.

There are nine categories of which you need only 2 to be diagnosed. Miss Kat just listed 2 symptoms above. In other words, most Witches could be locked up for Schizophrenia. They wouldn’t need to burn us this time. Be careful with your gifts and whom you display them to.

How good are you at spelling?

Miss Kat does not believe in using spell correspondence tables. We all have personal correspondences that are more accurate and powerful than any table from a book. And if you rely on a book you are being lazy. Our personal correspondences come from our life experience and making your own table is your own great magical undertaking not one that can be delegated. This is especially true if you are a synesthete and have things that are tied together neurologically.

FYI: Synesthesia is when colours have smells or music has colour or taste. They still aren’t sure what causes it but it isn’t that uncommon. For me certain numbers have colours and certain smells have colours. The key synesthesia trait is it is always the same every time you confront that smell or trigger. It doesn’t very, ever.

So if a spell table says yellow means sunlight and cheery things and you hate yellow but love orange or another colour means sunlight and cheery things, use your colour. I guarantee the spell will work better.

Or if someone says this colour or herb = Gemini and you’re a Gemini who dislikes that herb and there is an herb that to you is more Gemini like because it flowers at that time of year or has other Gemini like properties go ahead and use it. Yes, the astrological ones have a history behind them but if you hate caraway and you have some knowledge of plants there is nothing wrong with choosing a plant like Brunfelsia uniflora also known as Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

This kind of correspondence table is more work than using a correspondence table out of a book but your spells will probably work better because that correspondence means more to you. A personal correspondence table will also change as you age and grow because of new experiences. Nothing has to be set in stone.