Archive | September 13, 2012

12 month Challenge – School’s in

If someone was to approach you about teaching them paganism how would you handle it? What would your lesson plans look like?

Since I taught Wicca 101 for many years for different pagan organizations in the area that for the most part no longer exist, I’d have to decide whether I wanted to do it again. It’s a lot of fun and a lot of work, at least the way I did it was. When I started I had a partner who I loved dearly to teach with but she moved back home to Texas after the first few classes and then I started teaching on my own. I have to admit I loved it and I learned as much as I taught but finding a venue and drumming up enough students to make it worthwhile is a challenge, I usually liked at least 7. It can take time and energy I don’t always have now.

I vet my students. I have to like them and they have to be willing to engage and do their part. Teaching is a two way street. A student cannot just sit like a lump. I like them to question and challenge me and not take whatever I say as gospel truth. It may be for me but it might not be for the student. I can give you wings but the student must be willing to take the leap and fly. If you aren’t then I won’t teach you. Teaching is an energy exchange just like a good tarot reading or a ritual. I’m not a guru. I’m a teacher with knowledge I don’t mind sharing.

My classes were supposed to be 6 weeks but rarely ended up that way. I found a problem with teaching more advanced classes because once people start learning about different things that take in depth study it becomes like herding cats and there are too many directions to go in and everybody wants to go a different one. I think that’s the biggest reason there are so few advanced classes. One teacher can’t specialize in all forms of study. At that point it’s got to go one on one usually. Classes were supposed to be about 2 hours but somehow always ended up way longer.

Lesson plans? Hmmm, it’s been awhile but the first week was the history of the Craft, the different traditions, and getting to know what people have been exposed to and read, handing out my ridiculously long reading list that probably needs updating badly. A copy may be found here: http://www.mothermountain.org/?page_id=13. And yes, it’s heavy on fiction because I found for some reason it penetrated better and people were more likely to read them.

The second week was ethics and how the Rede works and doesn’t work and how to translate the read into every day life. What is the meaning of “intent”? and various other things that tie in. If people did not grok it they did not go any farther in the class. Period. Mainly because I think ethics are important and if you aren’t willing to examine your personal ethics and yourself then I don’t want you in my class and it wasn’t a matter of whether you used the Rede or not but that you had a personal ethical philosophy that you operated under. And could you verbalize it?

Week 3 was the Wheel of the Year, holidays and how do we celebrate the sabbats and esbats. The Elements and how they work.

Week 4 was Tools and toys and whether we need them at all. Tarot decks, divination.

Week 5 was spells, herbs and crystals, basically more toys. How do you craft a spell? Do you need or want to use correspondences? Does it have to rhyme? Should you use other people’s spells? (my personal feeling is no!) And anything that would come under that topic. Gardening and plants, scrying, etc.

Week 6 was ritual and how to frame a basic ritual and then a really basic commitment ceremony for them to commit to continue to study on their own. I refused to dedicate them to any particular tradition and I only taught a generic Wicca 101 and not my coven’s tradition and not even my own personal tradition because I feel that each person has to construct their own personal practice. That everyone should be a solitary or quite frankly, you aren’t doing the necessary work. I just give you the tools and the frame to hang something on.

Sometimes I included a field trip or what I used to call my Magical Mystery Tour and where I took them was different every time. Places I felt were easy to feel the spirit of place. Places to get supplies like General Wax and Candles factory and outlet, a pagan/occult shop, a bead shop. Everyone likes pagan jewelry and what’s better than making your own. This usually ended up in a further class of how to do it. Once we even ended up at Cal Tech for a tour of the earthquake center.

Anyway, that was usually what I tortured my students with.