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Author Topic: Neo-Wicca, Buckland and Cunningham  (Read 5921 times)

Yei

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Re: Neo-Wicca, Buckland and Cunningham
« Reply #30 on: March 24, 2015, 06:51:16 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;173347
None of which makes "synthesize various books, to take classes, to go through the process of seeking out a coven and years of training" something that doesn't have a high bar for people.

Some people can't afford books.  Some people who can't afford books don't have access to libraries that would cover Craft books, and given that some of the books I have highly recommended for my training are only findable used for $100 and up I wouldn't expect a library to have them.  Some people live places where the books in the library aren't in their language.  (Such as, I believe, Allaya, who was the one who pointed out that this stuff is not just "wave your hands and it happens" easy.)

This doesn't say anything about "watering down".  This is a statement that initiatory training is not available to even all the good candidates who want it.  And no amount of "really wanted" is going to change that: the access to traditional initiatory paths is necessarily limited, and not just in terms of who's suited for them.

 
Surely though, this is not a problem with the material itself, just access to that material. After all, if one lived in a Wiccan or NeoWiccan society/community all this stuff would be second nature. More even, just nature.

I mean, if Wicca was more common there would be:
1)More books available, either in libraries, bookstores, or in the personal collections of fiends
2)More formalised education and practice classes
3)There would be more people who one could ask, personally, questions about Wicca beliefs and practices, which leads to
4)More groups where one can actively practice

Sure, many areas are devoid of covens, books can be expensive and difficult to get, and concepts might not be easy to grasp. But that is not really Wicca or NeoWicca's fault, or the fault of any of our faiths. If there are not enough people to support this stuff, there are not enough people to support them. And there is no easy way to change that.

Marjie

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Re: Neo-Wicca, Buckland and Cunningham
« Reply #31 on: March 24, 2015, 07:18:14 pm »
Quote from: Yei;173323
I'm getting the impression from this thread that Neo-Wicca is not especially well liked. Is this a general sentiment or just something felt on this forum?

Or is it something else? Have I misunderstood?
I think what's going on is that Neo Wicca has basically become the face of paganism to outsiders and beginners; Neo Wicca = Wicca = Paganism.  This isn't true obviously, but as a newcomer, Neo Wicca is the most visible path by far, to the extent that you may not be aware of other paths at all until you spend a great deal of effort researching.  That was certainly my experience.

Since this is the case, newcomers and those casually interested in paganism tend to identify be Neo Wiccans. Newcomers and those casually interested in any field often make mistakes, say unintentionally offensive things, and generally have lower status in the community.

I do also think there's at least a little bit of a hipster thing going on - "We're the real Pagans, we were doing real original Pagan stuff before the Neo Wiccans took over and made Wicca all mainstream" 😜

Darkhawk

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Re: Neo-Wicca, Buckland and Cunningham
« Reply #32 on: March 24, 2015, 08:07:46 pm »
Quote from: Yei;173367
Surely though, this is not a problem with the material itself, just access to that material.

 
Has anyone claimed otherwise?

Pointing out that a claim that these things are accessible to anyone who just cares enough is flatly false is rather explicitly a comment about access, isn't it?
as the water grinds the stone
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as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Micheál

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Re: Neo-Wicca, Buckland and Cunningham
« Reply #33 on: March 24, 2015, 08:08:26 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;173342
No, not necessarily, they won't, and it has nothing to do with "sitting back and waiting" or being "spoonfed".

I know it's fairly popular among a lot of traditionally trained witches to say, basically, "Well, if you really wanted it, you would do whatever it takes to get it", but the actual facts are that some people live where there are no practitioners, do not have the contact knowledge required to meet practitioners (it's not like Amber and Jet is broad cultural knowledge), live in places where there may not be people who could train them in their country, where there may not be people who speak their language, have disabilities that limit their ability to do extensive travel, and so on.

Wow that's like one of those psycho crazy high school football coach attitudes! There's nothing right about that, and I don't know about other initiatory Craft paths, but in Wicca one is supposed to approach it on their own will and hopefully(those that wouldn't I don't think should be elders), make sure the seeker is in a good place and able before beginning training...

Having said that though, I don't know anyone that hasn't had to sacrifice a good deal. In our coven a good lot travel. I have to drive four hours, where I have to budget my wages to afford fuel, give up my only free day off of work fortnightly often getting back home from circle only a few hours before starting work on no sleep. We have a Neophyte that flys from Israel every other month for training, almost everyone with children, some that had to wait til their children grew up to commit to the Craft, we've all had relationships suffer, e.te, so actually having someone that has it convenient for them is a minority in my experience.

I understand it isn't possible for everyone though, and attitudes like what has been described unfair. We've all been seekers before too, and for a lot of us it wasn't possible either. I waited many years, and luckily the right opportunity became available after moving country. One thing I do see,  because of reputations about coven entries,  is people that are too intimated to even try, when it could possibly be as simple as that.  I don't believe in the attitudes mentioned,  but I am of the belief that if you're called by the Gods, the way in which to serve them(aan initiatory priesthood being just one), an opportunity will be there when the time is right. For some it may not be the right time, or they may be meant to answer that calling by other means.

Darkhawk

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Re: Neo-Wicca, Buckland and Cunningham
« Reply #34 on: March 24, 2015, 08:20:55 pm »
Quote from: Micheál;173371
Having said that though, I don't know anyone that hasn't had to sacrifice a good deal. In our coven a good lot travel. I have to drive four hours, where I have to budget my wages to afford fuel, give up my only free day off of work fortnightly often getting back home from circle only a few hours before starting work on no sleep.


My income for the quarter would cover maybe a half-day of childcare in the event of my absence.  Travel costs not included.

Quote
actually having someone that has it convenient for them is a minority in my experience.


So, yeah, "convenient", not really what I'm talking about here.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

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Re: Neo-Wicca, Buckland and Cunningham
« Reply #35 on: March 24, 2015, 08:28:00 pm »
Quote from: Micheál;173371


 
Honestly, this attitude reminds me a lot of the research on fraternity hazing.  The whole "the higher the bar to entry, the more it means when you get the gold ring" thing.

What does it mean to the people that don't make the cut?  To the people that can't even FIGURE OUT if they're looking in the right place, because everything's blocked off?

I spent years waiting for the teacher to appear.  And y'know what?  No teacher ever showed.  Spent years trying to prepare, only to never be enough whatever.

I'm not saying there can't be a high bar.  Everyone gets to make their own choices about those things, and there's always practicalities to it.  But ffs, this whole valorization and "you just don't understand" type stuff .....

it hurts.  it hurts real people, and it hurts a lot.  That it hurt you when you were a seeker and you went through and did the thing anyway doesn't make the hurt RIGHT.

Jenett

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Re: Neo-Wicca, Buckland and Cunningham
« Reply #36 on: March 24, 2015, 08:43:42 pm »
Quote from: HeartShadow;173373
Honestly, this attitude reminds me a lot of the research on fraternity hazing.  The whole "the higher the bar to entry, the more it means when you get the gold ring" thing.

This. I'd also note (um, with my 3rd degree senior priestess in the trad hat on. It's a very shiny hat) that it also creates entirely unsustainable dynamics on the part of a coven, in my experience.

I do not want to be the group for whom someone sacrifices their life. I do not want to be the thing they pivot around for years. That way lies an extremely uncomfortable pedestal, and among other things means *I* don't get to have a life.

I want them to *have* a life. I want them to have time with the people they love, with their friends and family and kids if they have kids, and their pets if they have pets, and their imaginary purple unicorn if they've got one of those.

I want them to have a job that sustains and support them in practical terms and emotional ones. I want them to have time and energy to volunteer in their community, or make art, or be an activist, or whatever else makes them happy. I want them to set boundaries and say things like "Y'know, I like you all a lot, but travelling 8 hours a weekend a month just isn't a good thing for me."

One of the most important skills of a witch is self-knowledge. And particularly the sort of self-knowledge that comes when you poke at something, know it makes you uncomfortable, and dig into why.

This unhealthy community standard  - that sacrifice is praiseworthy - would be why I do my best to make materials available online. It's why I've put time into creating physical spaces that don't require a vast commitment (hi, Paganicon). It's why when my own health and energy allow it, I'm totally up for meeting people somewhere and teaching stuff.

There's things I won't teach except to serious students in my trad - I don't want to break my students, and some of the techniques we use have risks (about on a par with learning to drive in my experience, but learning to drive has a bunch of risks). And there's some stuff I've agreed not to teach outside of oathbound settings. And some practices just don't have relevance outside of group work.

But if I could figure out better how to be sharing more stuff in a way that was consistent with my ethics (and my own job, health, and non-Craft commitments) I'd be doing it.

What I won't do is do someone's work for them. And part of that work is learning how to set limits, have boundaries, understand when your boundaries are healthy. We talk about that with shielding, with circle casting. The same thing applies to calendars and scheduling and the question of how much time and energy we commit to something.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2015, 08:44:49 pm by Jenett »
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Jenett

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Re: Neo-Wicca, Buckland and Cunningham
« Reply #37 on: March 24, 2015, 09:10:14 pm »
Quote from: Yei;173367
Surely though, this is not a problem with the material itself, just access to that material. After all, if one lived in a Wiccan or NeoWiccan society/community all this stuff would be second nature. More even, just nature.


Not my Craft you're talking about there. Certainly some things are things that can be picked up by observation and mild discussion, but a lot of the details of my practice are things that require specific detailed instruction.

(Actually, not all that different from the difference between being a lay Catholic and the training required to become a Catholic priest.)

I don't think everyone needs that instruction. I just think that the labels for what people are doing work better when we recognise there are differences in practice there.

Some examples:

* Designing ritual for yourself is different than designing ritual for a group of known people, and different than designing ritual for a group of unknown people of varying experience levels, ability levels, health and energy levels, etc. If you are only ever planning to design ritual for yourself, the other two bits might be interesting, but they are not essential.

* Some kinds of group ritual work - such as guiding people through rituals designed to root specific changes (such as initiation) - are not entirely intuitive and their necessary health and safety precautions are even less so. Again, if you're not planning to lead someone through that, not a thing everyone needs to know.

* Some things depend on having the ability to connect people to functional streams of energy - I have that ability for my trad, but it's not something that I just decided I could do, first I had to build a relationship with that energy, then I had to learn how to connect it (and learn how to spot the times that's a really bad idea for everyone involved), and I have to invest ongoing time and energy in making sure that energy continues.

Quote

I mean, if Wicca was more common there would be:
1)More books available, either in libraries, bookstores, or in the personal collections of fiends
2)More formalised education and practice classes
3)There would be more people who one could ask, personally, questions about Wicca beliefs and practices, which leads to
4)More groups where one can actively practice


This assumes a lot of things. More books do not work with a religion that is not book-centered. Or at least not automatically.

Beyond that - I actually *did* my training in one of the most Pagan dense communities in the US (the top three are almost certainly New York City, San Francisco, and Minneapolis/St. Paul - I was in the last.)

There were, most of the time I lived there, 2-4 running sets of Seeker classes. There were at least two Pagan stores in town, both of which had workshops, classes, resources for connecting with the community. There were reasonable ranges of books in the public library systems.

There were open rituals for full moons for a long time, and at least half the Sabbats (and getting invitations to at least 2-3 others basically involved a "Hey, may I come?" - the invite part being that they were held in private homes.) There are regular public events that aren't rituals.

I saw a lot of Seekers come through classes (which I taught as the primary Seeker teacher in my trad for four years or so).

Some people complained that there wasn't a coven they liked on the same side of the city they were on (for a major metro area, the traffic is very reasonable in the Twin Cities, except right during rush hour - you can generally get straight across the cities in 20-30 minutes)

Some people found the "No, we're not going to teach you magic magic magic and tiny bit of religion" off putting. (We did mostly religion and very little energy or magical practice, partly because of the physical spaces we were teaching in)

It was extremely common (both for us and for other groups in the community) that you might get 8 people show up for the first class, and maybe 4 for the second class (what, you have assignments? Reading to do? Expect us to discuss it?) and maybe 1 or 2 who'd stick out a short series. Maybe half of those would get as far as considering dedicating as as student. Sometimes you'd show up for a class and no students would, without any warning, and you'd have wasted the time/energy/parking costs to get there yourself.

In other words, having people available doesn't automatically create a promised land. Having a wide range of traditions in an area doesn't mean a specific tradition will be present (or taking students) at a useful time for the individual. Having books doesn't help with the stuff you can't get from books - that's *always* going to be a more personal negotiation.

It especially doesn't help for the stuff that's emotionally intimate, that requires vulnerability. I'm not going to invite every random interested person into my home: the same is true in many of my rituals. Some people, yes, but not everyone who expresses an interest.

What I wish, in hindsight, is that we'd had more support as a community for the people who don't really want initiatory Craft, but who *do* want some pieces of it - seasonal ritual, a way to celebrate the good times, get through the hard times, light connection to a large community (for things like weddings, funerals, and hospital stays), and who also understood that having those things requires some ongoing investment.

We did have UU communities in town that fed that need for some people (at least 3 Pagan friendly congregations that I was aware of) but a lot of other attempts fell down on the 'We want people to be priestesses/priests for us, but we want it on demand and without committing to a give and take to support what we need'. That's a more complicated thing than can be solved with books or people willing to answer questions.

(Depending on where I end up next, job and home wise, I have some thoughts about this. We'll see what comes of them)
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Yei

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Re: Neo-Wicca, Buckland and Cunningham
« Reply #38 on: March 25, 2015, 02:05:19 am »
Quote from: Darkhawk;173369
Has anyone claimed otherwise?

Pointing out that a claim that these things are accessible to anyone who just cares enough is flatly false is rather explicitly a comment about access, isn't it?

 
I think you misunderstand. I am not disagreeing with you, just pointing out something that is often forgotten.

Yei

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Re: Neo-Wicca, Buckland and Cunningham
« Reply #39 on: March 25, 2015, 02:09:03 am »
Quote from: Jenett;173376
Not my Craft you're talking about there. Certainly some things are things that can be picked up by observation and mild discussion, but a lot of the details of my practice are things that require specific detailed instruction.

(Actually, not all that different from the difference between being a lay Catholic and the training required to become a Catholic priest.)

I don't think everyone needs that instruction. I just think that the labels for what people are doing work better when we recognise there are differences in practice there.

Some examples:

* Designing ritual for yourself is different than designing ritual for a group of known people, and different than designing ritual for a group of unknown people of varying experience levels, ability levels, health and energy levels, etc. If you are only ever planning to design ritual for yourself, the other two bits might be interesting, but they are not essential.

* Some kinds of group ritual work - such as guiding people through rituals designed to root specific changes (such as initiation) - are not entirely intuitive and their necessary health and safety precautions are even less so. Again, if you're not planning to lead someone through that, not a thing everyone needs to know.

* Some things depend on having the ability to connect people to functional streams of energy - I have that ability for my trad, but it's not something that I just decided I could do, first I had to build a relationship with that energy, then I had to learn how to connect it (and learn how to spot the times that's a really bad idea for everyone involved), and I have to invest ongoing time and energy in making sure that energy continues.

Of course. I was not speaking of your religion specifically. I was being very general. It would obviously be different for different religions of for those who were interested in being part of the priesthood.

Perhaps wicca is a bad example to use as I don't really know much about it.

Quote from: Jenett;173376
This assumes a lot of things. More books do not work with a religion that is not book-centered. Or at least not automatically.

Well again I was being very general. Take that list as an example, rather than a prescription.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2015, 02:18:23 am by Yei »

Micheál

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Re: Neo-Wicca, Buckland and Cunningham
« Reply #40 on: March 26, 2015, 12:00:40 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;173372
So, yeah, "convenient", not really what I'm talking about here.

I understood what you were saying, and wasn't intending that to take the place of what's possible, and not. I only meant to relay that we all sacrifice, and that was implied for attitudes I've encountered before, and still do, towards those that have trained in an initiatory line somehow fortunate enough to have convenience on their side, which is rarely the case.

Micheál

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Re: Neo-Wicca, Buckland and Cunningham
« Reply #41 on: March 26, 2015, 12:21:13 pm »
Quote from: HeartShadow;173373
What does it mean to the people that don't make the cut?  To the people that can't even FIGURE OUT if they're looking in the right place, because everything's blocked off?

I spent years waiting for the teacher to appear.  And y'know what?  No teacher ever showed.  Spent years trying to prepare, only to never be enough whatever.

I'm not saying there can't be a high bar.  Everyone gets to make their own choices about those things, and there's always practicalities to it.  But ffs, this whole valorization and "you just don't understand" type stuff .....

it hurts.  it hurts real people, and it hurts a lot.  That it hurt you when you were a seeker and you went through and did the thing anyway doesn't make the hurt RIGHT.

Sadly that's a part of life which is unfortunate, however there will always be a tomorrow. It's not like one's lifelong dream to join the military was shot down because of colour blindness or something, but in situations like that where it's not possible, there are ways and paths to serve.

I was a seeker for over ten years before I was accepted for training(which was a lengthy process too).  In that time I developed much of the spirituality that remains with me today, who I am when I'm not in circle,  which would remain unchanged had I not found my coven. Also, for the same reasons that prevent people from joining initiatory lines (changes in work, family, relationships, jobs, locations,  income, e.te.) also force those that already are, to stop. There are many that have to leave their covens, which equally hurts, but we all still have our personal  spiritualities. We just have to adapt, snd overcome. You never know what's in store for you, or just around the corner.

Never would I think less of someone who "didn't make the cut." I'd never view it like that.....unless they're unstable and there was a good reason why. Not because they were unable. Life's full of circumstances like that.

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