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Author Topic: Formal Schools of Witchcraft  (Read 1376 times)


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Formal Schools of Witchcraft
« on: September 04, 2011, 07:27:05 pm »
I am wondering if anyone has any feedback about established schools of Witchcraft, coven/temple affiliated or not.  I have a lengthy history of copious self study,  personal reflection, self dedication, Fraizer, Graves, mythology, llywellyn books, etc, etc, all the way up to some dabbling in Crowley.  Studied with a coven in my early 20's.  i have come upon several local, tax exempted temples that offer initiate programs with novice, middle and advanced classes, some leading to ordination.

But they cost, sometimes beyond what I consider realistic.  

Any suggestions?



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Re: Formal Schools of Witchcraft
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2011, 08:34:00 pm »
Quote from: nix;17889
Studied with a coven in my early 20's.  i have come upon several local, tax exempted temples that offer initiate programs with novice, middle and advanced classes, some leading to ordination.

But they cost, sometimes beyond what I consider realistic.  

Any suggestions?

That depends on what you're looking for to some extent. There are certainly groups in a wide variety of locations (including a bunch of places in New England) who don't charge. However, that is usually because they are small groups of people committed to working closely together: they don't take everyone who's interested, and because the groups are small, there may not be room for new members very frequently.

The larger question of paying for training is a complicated one. Some traditions forbid charging (these tend to be traditions in which building up close relationships over a long period of time in the service of particular Gods or practices is a major focus). Some groups do charge for some things, but not for others. And some are larger scale training organzations, as you've noted.

I'm recently moved to Maine from Minnesota: there, groups that charge more than a 'we're covering expenses for rented spaces' kind of amount are uncommon (though there are certainly a wide range of one-off or short-series classes that charge, especially in related topics like herbalism, astrology, etc.)

I haven't yet had much chance to be in circle with people trained in various of the larger New England training groups, though I expect I eventually will be. (Which means, I can't readily compare what they do with what I've done.)

However, from what I've gathered from reading and some online conversations, the best way to put it is that they're not doing what I do, Craft-wise - and they're mostly not doing stuff I *want* to do. The best of them are good at creating space for community and conversation, at teaching a variety of core skills and helping people develop a personal practice, and so on (but nothing that can't be learned other ways.)

But the mechanism of a larger organization, with costs (which limits participation for some people, obviously, plus the level of pre-determined 'this is how we're doing stuff" that also has to be part of the picture for larger organizations of any time) I think does a diservice to certain kinds of experience - and those are the ones that have been particularly rich and meaningful for me.

(Plus, larger organizations take more time to run. If you're renting or maintaining space, that's a big drain on a community. Coordinating over a large group of people takes more time and attention than over a smaller one. Resolving differences of approach, etc. can get a lot messier a lot faster - not that small groups don't have problems, but they tend to flare and resolve one way or another, and in larger groups, stuff can get uncomfortably stuck for a longer period of time, in my experience.)

So, on the whole, I'd tend to suggest people spend some time looking at other options (because there are other options out there...) and asking a lot of questions, so they can decide if a particular group is a good fit for them. I have tons of resources up on my website designed to help with that: pages I think might be particularly relevant to your question include: - about how to figure out what you're looking for - evaluating what it means that some groups charge and others don't. - an extended discussion about evaluating groups and teachers, including red flags to watch for. in particular, when money is involved, I'd be cautious of any group that can't explain it's philosophy of why it charges/what the money's used for/how they keep track of it. That may or may not mean sharing their entire budget, but if they're not willing to talk about it in general, that's often a sign it's being badly managed.

And just as a example of other ways to do things:

- I won't charge for training towards initiation in my tradition, but I limit it to people I want to spend that kind of time with, welcome into my home, etc.

- In general, I think it's my job to plan rituals (as the person leading them) that I can afford, but I'd be okay with "We could do this extra awesome thing if everyone wanted to chip in X" on an occasional basis, with discussion.)

- If doing a one-off or short series of classes *not* teaching my tradition's materials, and in a "anyone is welcome who behaves moderately well" sort of way, I might do it for free (and have generally done so in the past), or I might look to cover my expenses (especially if there's a lot time/gas involved), but I'd be clear about what that means.
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