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.