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Author Topic: Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?  (Read 3315 times)

softlight

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Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?
« on: August 18, 2015, 02:51:29 pm »
I am kind of looking for some mentorship on my spiritual path; something where I could weekly or every other week check in, create reading and to do lists and give and receive feedback.

I do NOT want to become a priestess or a high priestess or a shaman or an anything at this time and I feel uncomfortable with the design of a lot of schools, they seem to be assuming the goal is to become a priestess or to not study at all. Obviously I could simply be missing schools or mentorship opportunities that I simply haven't seen!

Does anyone know of any teaching or mentorship space that operate simply for the sake of furthering and supporting people with their spiritual path rather than assuming the goal of any student is to become a for hire witch/priestess etc?

I also am not interested in secret teachings or teachings that I'm not allowed to share for free, because I feel that I am called to help those in need when I am able and it's a good cause and I have a hard time charging for spirit/energy work. (Trust me I have thought it trough and see a lot of different ways of looking at it, including the ways that "women's work" of emotional and energetic labor is often devalued and refused payment and this is problematic etc)... all the same I have lived because of the charity of others and I know I needed it and there are others out there in need through no fault of their own. Whether it's money or love or energetic support, I like to help when I can.

I have also sort of imagined maybe a peer check in group, where people weekly or monthly check in with their spiritual growth and goals and learning experiences and instead of money, the peer support itself is the exchange.

Has anyone seen things like this out there on the nets? I would be fine with paying for the mentorship, (just not with charging others for sharing any benefits I get from my own spiritual growth.) just haven't really seen any groups advertising this service outside of a priestess type learning program.

I guess to me, if someone shares teaching and support that helps m grow and strengthens my healing powers, that becomes part of what I will have to offer charitably, and I know some places are very protective of letting their teachings go toward charitable causes (which I respect, it's just not for me.)

I lean mother goddess/social justice/compassion/and probably a little jainist/hindu (in terms of value toward each life form) but a bit heathen in respect for my ancestors and the spirits who may have shaped and supported my ancestors and myself existing. I'd like to go through ayurvedic and Chinese medicine health recommendations and build in European history/herbs etc into the healing model since the thousands of years of techniques were build by and for people in those specific cultures and Ayurveda is designed to discuss the practice of doing what ones ancestors did for healing and connection.

I guess I know what it is I want to be working on, but I'm hoping to find some real life people for support and nudging- especially since I feel I've been nudged by my spirit guides (or inner wisdom whichever) that I need to be talking to more real life people about all this or I will get weird and detached from humanity. I live way to far in the spirit realm than is good for my human body/self sometimes! Plus I feel getting too far lost in the realm of UPG can get unhealthy without checking in, learning from others, and admitting frequently and regularly that it's a very subjective realm in which determining if any other beings than yourself are involved at all is never all that certain. I always come back to agnosticism and uncertainty because I think it's the most respectful position even if other beings ARE involved- how do I know what messages they are ACTUALLY trying to say vs what I am making up in the equation? Plus I think a great source of strength, health and wisdom is in connecting with others and love is exponentially more powerful when shared and received. (Like if you hug yourself, you don't get as much health benefit as sharing hugs with others, or kangaroo care will do for a baby vs being left alone to use "self love" to nurture themselves).

Darkhawk

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Re: Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2015, 03:48:01 pm »
Quote from: softlight;178986
I am kind of looking for some mentorship on my spiritual path; something where I could weekly or every other week check in, create reading and to do lists and give and receive feedback.

I do NOT want to become a priestess or a high priestess or a shaman or an anything at this time and I feel uncomfortable with the design of a lot of schools, they seem to be assuming the goal is to become a priestess or to not study at all. Obviously I could simply be missing schools or mentorship opportunities that I simply haven't seen!

Does anyone know of any teaching or mentorship space that operate simply for the sake of furthering and supporting people with their spiritual path rather than assuming the goal of any student is to become a for hire witch/priestess etc?

 
I don't believe, of all the training programs I've seen, even the sketchiest of them, I've ever seen any that were assuming someone was trying to become a "for hire witch/priestess".  What gives you the impression that that is common?  I'm genuinely curious.

It's worth keeping in mind that a lot of religious witchcraft oriented programs will have "becoming a priest/ess" as one of their goals, because the word for 'someone who actually knows what the heck they're doing' in those traditions is "priest/ess".
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

softlight

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Re: Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2015, 04:03:58 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;178993
I don't believe, of all the training programs I've seen, even the sketchiest of them, I've ever seen any that were assuming someone was trying to become a "for hire witch/priestess".  What gives you the impression that that is common?  I'm genuinely curious.

It's worth keeping in mind that a lot of religious witchcraft oriented programs will have "becoming a priest/ess" as one of their goals, because the word for 'someone who actually knows what the heck they're doing' in those traditions is "priest/ess".


It is helpful to know that! I thought priestess was more of a job title, so there might be the confusion.  My personal goals are to do things like strengthen compassion and symbiotic relationships between beings, protect the vulnerable, increase access to needed resources and supports for those in need... etc etc. I don't really want to have a specific title or status, I guess as someone who wants to be available as a nurturer,  feel like having an emphasis as being a superior kind of takes that away?

I want to be the sort of person people with great mourning can come to and I can build the spiritual resources to have a lot to offer, in terms of support, presence, protection and resource allocation and assistance.

I would like to do some of the charitable things done by many other larger churches/religions but from more of an earth based/goddess oriented philosophy... to increase the options people have in terms of feeling like they have to accept Christian resources or none at all if they are in need which is often the only option in a lot of US cities where I am. I also feel like a spiritual base can help people build community and unite in a common goal more than I've seen atheists be able to create (though I a hopeful more intentional non-religious humanity/compassion oriented communities and services will grow). If I can grow my spiritual resources and physical health, then I will be able to achieve the goals I am seeking and have strengths to be there for myself and others in the world. I don't really understand applying a title to myself to work on myself spiritually, I guess.
 
I guess part of the issue is some of the programs I've looked up seem very vague about what I am getting myself into... and you have to pay in order to find out what it is you're going to be doing or learning or trying to achieve. It's possible some of these programs fit what I'm looking for, it's just hard to know when things are secret until you're initiated!

How do I know if I want to be initiated into the secret teachings if I can't know what they are until I join? LOL

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Re: Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2015, 06:37:45 pm »
Quote from: softlight;178986

I do NOT want to become a priestess or a high priestess or a shaman or an anything at this time and I feel uncomfortable with the design of a lot of schools, they seem to be assuming the goal is to become a priestess or to not study at all. Obviously I could simply be missing schools or mentorship opportunities that I simply haven't seen!


I have some ideas! But before we get there, some context. (Um. I can tell right now this is going to be long, but I hope it's helpful!)

First, as Darkhawk said, the term 'priestess' or 'high priestess' is generally not a 'this is a job people pay you for' title. Occasionally it is, but it's pretty rare. (Shaman is both a more problematic term in some ways, and somewhat more likely to have people want you to pay them for it.)

A lot of the witchcraft derived religions (Wicca, but also other forms of religious witchcraft, of which there are many) hold to the idea that being a priestess (or priest) is a commitment to deities or their particular tradition, and it has obligations and responsibilities, but that everyone who reaches a certain point in being able to understand and pass on the tradition is a priestess or priest.

(In some traditions, this is initiation. In some traditions, especially those with multiple degree systems, it's a higher degree. In my tradition, first degree initiation is 'you can take care of your own stuff' and second and third degree are 'you have learned enough to take on regular priest/ess duties in various ways *and* have agreed you want to take on that responsibility/commitment, and that's where the term kicks in.)

Likewise, how a given tradition or practice handles secrecy, privacy, and so on, varies. My tradition has oathbound material - i.e. stuff I've agreed not to talk about with other people. A lot of the specific stuff covered by that is either keeping confidence about other people's information, or taking care not to talk about specific experiences with people who haven't had them yet.

The first category covers not identifying someone as Pagan without their permission, or as a member of a particular group/path/tradition without their permission - a lot of people still have jobs where this can be an issue, or custody issues, or whatever. Basically, it's not nice to out other people.) It also covers things people may say in private religious settings (whether that's a small group ritual where everyone knows each other well, or something said during training, or when someone is working through a difficult situation.) I suspect from other things you say here, you wouldn't find any of that particularly troubling.

The other part is not sharing certain kinds of material with people until they put in the work to get to the point where that's an option for them. Sometimes this is so they can go through a ritual experience (like an initiation ritual) without anticipating what might happen. Sometimes it's that there's an experience that makes the people sharing it with you vulnerable, and they're not going to do that with a stranger. A lot of the time, it's an experience that just isn't very relevant to people who don't want to commit to ritual work with a particular group.

(Sort of like what my apartment looks like might be interesting to you, and I might choose to share photos - but most people would also understand if I said "Showing people my home is a really big intimacy for me, you know I really like you if I invite you over" and *especially* understand if, say, I'm fine with guests in my living room, but my bedroom is off-limits.)

A lot of it also doesn't have a lot of direct bearing on someone's ability to do the kinds of things you're interested in doing - I've had *plenty* of times when I've been a support to someone in hospital, or at a funeral, or a dozen other times of stress, and where *my* experience with that oathbound material helps me handle it better, but they don't need to know any of the details, except that I'm there, able to be a stable point for them, and have my own anchors and skills and deity relationships to draw on.

(There are some skills in learning how to navigate some specific settings, but they're fairly easy to learn once you have a solid grounding yourself in whatever you choose as a path.)

And as an illustration - I have an oathbound practice, but I also have a website with over 120 essays about various parts of my religious witchcraft practice, training, etc. (it's at http://gleewood.org/seeking, and you might find parts of it very useful, particularly some of the 'finding and evaluating groups' bits.) It doesn't generally prevent me from teaching or helping people.

Occasionally, there are people who've made noises about wanting additional, deeper work (and there are a lot of parts of my practice that I don't mention there, because I can't explain it easily without hitting oathbound stuff), and if that's the case, then we can have conversations about if that makes sense/it's logistically practical/we might be a good fit/I have energy for teaching at a given point in my life/etc.

(I have a whole longer essay about the oathbound bit here: http://gleewood.org/seeking/broader-questions/oathbound-material/ and an essay about charging for training and things to be aware of here: http://gleewood.org/seeking/broader-questions/charging-for-training/ of possible interest, too.)

Quote

Has anyone seen things like this out there on the nets? I would be fine with paying for the mentorship, (just not with charging others for sharing any benefits I get from my own spiritual growth.) just haven't really seen any groups advertising this service outside of a priestess type learning program.


Peer checkin groups are - complicated. I've seen a few work, but they've usually been people who had a pretty strong connection with each other to start with, or settings where there's actually someone providing a lot of structure and underlying 'here's what we're focusing on here'.

(One of the other things you should be aware of when you look at training is that a lot of teachers do not invest a lot in interested students until they've demonstrated they're going to stick around: in the group I trained with, we had a pretty reliable average of, say, 50 people expressing interest, maybe 20 showing up at an initial free public class (chance for mutual checking out), maybe 4-5 making it through to the end of a short series of classes, and only 2 or so actually deciding to start structured ongoing study in the tradition. (Of whom at least 1 would often decide it's not for them within the first couple of months.)

In a lot of ways, that's very healthy - people should find the places and people they fit with! - but it's also really really exhausting on the teaching end, and there is tons of emotional labour on the teacher's part.)

Anyway. There are Pagan groups out there that do these things, though whether they're where you are is going to vary a lot. (Do you mind sharing the nearest larger town/city/whatever you might be able to get to at least occasionally?)

Some options for building skills:

1) Some other religious groups that are not Pagan may be of interest.

Some people pick up the kinds of 'support in time of need' skills you mention wanting from Buddhist temple training and work, the Quakers, the Unitarian Universalists, or occasionally other religious groups. (You might look at what such groups near you say about things like chaplaincy or even the term 'psychopomp', which is the term for helping with the journey of the dead to the next life in various forms.)

2) Cherry Hill Seminary (http://cherryhillseminary.org/) is a Pagan seminary that focuses not on a specific religious path (or teaching it) but teaching the associated clergy skills.

Some of their programs are open to anyone, some (like the more degree-type programs: they're working on accreditation) require you to meet some academic standards in advance. And in whatever case, you probably want to spend some time developing your own religious path before diving too far into those courses. But they exist. (And tuition charges are roughly comparable to many community colleges - not free, but reasonable for professional instruction.)

3) Workshops, conferences, festivals
There are a lot of different events out there, and some of them are more focused on education than others, but many have at least *some* ways to make connections with like-minded people that can then turn into additional resources.

The Reclaiming Witchcamps have been running in various places for years, and if you want a week-long immersion that will teach you some core skills, let you see a bunch of different approaches (in the same general model), meet a moderate number of people, etc. they can be a really good choice. (If you think this might be interesting, I'd recommend reading Starhawk and Hillary Valentine's _12 Wild Swans_ - if what's in there doesn't sound like your thing, the witchcamps might not be either, but if you're curious, you mght want to explore more.)

Beyond that, there's a wide range of conferences and festivals (the former are usually hotels, the latter usually involve camping.) I was involved in founding Paganicon, a conference in Minnesota, before I moved out of the area (it's still going, and I hope to make it this year again - a good handful of Cauldronites have gone now) but there's options in a bunch of other areas. Again, this can be a mixed bag, but it can be a really good way to get a taste of a lot of different practices/meet people/learn specific things.

4) Related: localish events
We're currently in Pagan Pride season, which means a lot of regional public events. The actual ritual quality and workshop quality varies a lot, but it can be a fantastic way to meet people, figure out if there's anyone local to you that does things you're interested in, etc. http://paganpride.org/

5) Related interests:
For people interested in healing, some people find that training in massage therapy, reiki, acupuncture, herbalism, etc. give them ways to share a desire to help, while also having some real skills to help people with that are easier to talk about. You might find that looking into networks for these interests might net you some people you'd connect with on a spiritual/religious level as well.

Ok. Very long. Stopping now, feel free to ask more questions if I've been confusing, which is entirely possible.
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softlight

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Re: Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2015, 07:05:59 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;179009
I have some ideas! But before we get there, some context. (Um. I can tell right now this is going to be long, but I hope it's helpful!) ....

Ok. Very long. Stopping now, feel free to ask more questions if I've been confusing, which is entirely possible.

 
This has been extremely helpful, thank you so much!! I had an experience where I felt like I was told to look up a specific group and there's still so much I feel hesitant about it, like I feel like at this point I've got crazy magical experiences going on and I really need some people to talk to about them, but I'm not sure who has had these kinds of experiences or who to talk to about it, and sometimes it's kind of scary and I just wish I had people to talk to, like I don't even want "trainings" I just want help understanding what is happening and what it all means. Again that's something I would be happy to pay for (although I want to create a world where spiritual support is more accessible to all regardless of ability to pay or even do heavy emotional labor) but we aren't in that world yet. Maybe someday! I know creating that framework requires a LOT of involvement and strength and community building by people who are healthy and able enough to do it and that just takes time even when people want to and are trying.

softlight

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Re: Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2015, 07:25:33 pm »
Quote from: softlight;179013
This has been extremely helpful, thank you so much!! I had an experience where I felt like I was told to look up a specific group and there's still so much I feel hesitant about it, like I feel like at this point I've got crazy magical experiences going on and I really need some people to talk to about them, but I'm not sure who has had these kinds of experiences or who to talk to about it, and sometimes it's kind of scary and I just wish I had people to talk to, like I don't even want "trainings" I just want help understanding what is happening and what it all means. Again that's something I would be happy to pay for (although I want to create a world where spiritual support is more accessible to all regardless of ability to pay or even do heavy emotional labor) but we aren't in that world yet. Maybe someday! I know creating that framework requires a LOT of involvement and strength and community building by people who are healthy and able enough to do it and that just takes time even when people want to and are trying.

 
I'm really enjoying your link and reading it through, and realizing to I feel strongly about this "many people feel that it’s inappropriate to set a price on helping someone develop their own religious understanding and path.) Training and teaching in this setting is a very emotionally intimate thing: just like you don’t charge your friend to hang out and go to the movies, you don’t charge someone to come over and talk about a subject you both care about deeply."

I feel like right now what I really wish for (not to say that means someone else has to provide it!) is to just have the equivalent of a priestess that you go to to consult about your spiritual path or for guidance and support. I guess it reminds me, knowing how hard this is to find, if I got the skills to it is something I wish I could provide to others as well, as well as providing the kind of economic support and stability that spiritually inclinded people weren't hurting so bad financially that they have to factor that in the equation any time someone is in need of help. I guess like I believe in socialized medicine, I wish we offered socialized spiritual support as well.

When I get all the super powers I will totes make it happen! (This might mean in my dreams lol... but I like to dream big!)

I guess I just wish there was a spiritual community here where I am with compassionate pagan friendly perspective. I did find a UU church but I was having a hard time with the particular group and I'm not a Christian so it made it hard to try to stuff into it. I guess the other hard part is that as a single mom I don't have childcare to go to pagan meetups and while they said child friendly, there were no kids there and my son felt very ackward, plus I don't think he's ready for a lot of the heavier content nor should he be, so it wasn't really young child friendly. Maybe I need to make a family friendly compassionate side of paganry group here...

Jenett

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Re: Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2015, 08:07:59 pm »
Quote from: softlight;179013
This has been extremely helpful, thank you so much!! I had an experience where I felt like I was told to look up a specific group and there's still so much I feel hesitant about it, like I feel like at this point I've got crazy magical experiences going on and I really need some people to talk to about them, but I'm not sure who has had these kinds of experiences or who to talk to about it, and sometimes it's kind of scary and I just wish I had people to talk to, like I don't even want "trainings" I just want help understanding what is happening and what it all means.

 
This forum is a great place to talk out some of that. It's not therapy (and sometimes that's a more appropriate place for sorting though some kinds of things) but lots of people here have had lots of experiences, and can often give some pointers.

Not the same thing as being in person, and you need to evaluate what you get based on that (we only know what you tell us, *as* you tell us, and we can't get more information from your tone of voice or body language or things like that, like we could face to face, and some things I might suggest someone try in person are a lot harder to explain online.)

The other really good part is that you get multiple perspectives: if I'm having chronic health issues, I know that in most cases, other people will pick up most of what I'm likely to say in a given conversation. If someone else is on vacation or busy, they know that people here will likely cover a lot of the basic ground.

If you're at all comfortable with real-time chat, we have one of those too. (Right now, it's usually busiest after work into mid-evening Eastern US time, but a couple of us are in there at odd times.) Whether anyone's up for a more complex conversation right then is a good thing to ask - people may be at work, or making dinner, or whatever, but generally someone is glad to chat if there's more than a couple of people around. More here.
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Re: Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2015, 08:25:48 pm »
Quote from: softlight;179016

I feel like right now what I really wish for (not to say that means someone else has to provide it!) is to just have the equivalent of a priestess that you go to to consult about your spiritual path or for guidance and support. I guess it reminds me, knowing how hard this is to find, if I got the skills to it is something I wish I could provide to others as well, as well as providing the kind of economic support and stability that spiritually inclinded people weren't hurting so bad financially that they have to factor that in the equation any time someone is in need of help. I guess like I believe in socialized medicine, I wish we offered socialized spiritual support as well.


You know, I actually think - that for witchcraft religions, at least - it's often actively *unhealthy* for someone to base their livelihood around it. I know some people who do it, and do it well, but I've known a lot more people, proportionately, where it really isn't in either their best interests, or the best interests of the people they want to help.

(That's a whole other conversation, really, but putting that out there.)

It's not the financial piece for me. I have a job I adore - I'm a librarian, and I started a new job 3.5 months ago that is still taking a *huge* amount of mental effort (I come home, and I'm basically good for watching TV shows I already like, knitting, and petting the cat) and I have a couple of other major projects I've been a part of for years that are wrapping up in the next month.

I also love priestessing, but I think I'm generally a much better priestess when it's not a thing I'm doing all the time. Besides the part where I like having a steady and predictable income, and health insurance and other benefits, and on the whole, the Pagan community is not set up to provide that, my day job is also a religious thing for me, nad I couldn't do a lot of what I love about it solely in the Pagan community: we just don't have the infrastructure or the support. And not doing it all the time makes it easier for me to have clear boundaries about some things, and some years I really need that.

(I am not doing a lot of active priestessing right now because 5 years of on-again off-again health annoyances, two long distance moves, two job changes, and a partridge in a pear tree mean I'm doing better now, and much closer to friends and other resources again, but it's been sort of exhausting.)

That said, two other things you might try: (again, if you're willing to do a really basic location, like nearest big city, there may be people who can make much more specific suggestions here...)

1) If there's other UU communities near you, do consider trying them.

UU churches, in particular, vary *hugely* from congregation to congregation. Some are very Christian, some have CUUPS or other Pagan or women's or men's spirituality or related groups or subgroups, that can be very supportive. (And they also often have the infrastructure for childcare and such.)

2) If there's a Pagan store near you, and that store has Tarot or other readers, they're sometimes very skilled at helping connect you with ways to make sense of experiences, find resources, etc. (If there isn't a store near you, browsing for stores who have readers who do phone/Skype/etc. readings can be good too.)

I hesitate to suggest people who aren't associated with a store that also does a lot of general Pagan community events - there's a lot of people out there who do divination for money more for  the money, but a store that's been around for a while has a lot of reputation invested in not encouraging the more problematic stuff.

Quote
I guess the other hard part is that as a single mom I don't have childcare to go to pagan meetups and while they said child friendly, there were no kids there and my son felt very ackward, plus I don't think he's ready for a lot of the heavier content nor should he be, so it wasn't really young child friendly. Maybe I need to make a family friendly compassionate side of paganry group here...

 
Some Pagan groups are not great about child care. A lot of it, though, is that in a small group (say, 10-20 adults), a limited number of them are going to have kids of a given age range at a given time, and dealing with a baby in arms is different than a toddler, is different than an 8 year old, is different than a teenager. (And that goes twice over if you're meeting in rented space, or a back room at a restaurant, or somewhere else where you don't have a lot of physical resources for kids to play with while their parents talk.) And see my earlier comment about how a lot of people who express an initial interest in a group wander off, very quickly, for all sorts of understandable reasons, so that groups may not want to make tons of changes to how they do things until they know someone's serious/going to be around for a bit.

(This does get complicated, and it's sort of not fair to anyone, but it's also sometimes the reality of who's willing to do the work to make the group go at all, and the spaces that mostly work for everyone, and so on.)

If a group says it's child-friendly, asking what that means for them is good. (And I tend to think that taking them at their word, at least once, is good too: if they say "Bring your kid along!" then bring them, even if it's a bit awkward, and see how it goes. Bring stuff to occupy your kid, too, of course, but it can work.)
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Re: Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2015, 12:48:32 pm »
Quote from: softlight;178986
I am kind of looking for some mentorship on my spiritual path; something where I could weekly or every other week check in, create reading and to do lists and give and receive feedback.

I do NOT want to become a priestess or a high priestess or a shaman or an anything at this time and I feel uncomfortable with the design of a lot of schools, they seem to be assuming the goal is to become a priestess or to not study at all. Obviously I could simply be missing schools or mentorship opportunities that I simply haven't seen!

Does anyone know of any teaching or mentorship space that operate simply for the sake of furthering and supporting people with their spiritual path rather than assuming the goal of any student is to become a for hire witch/priestess etc?

I also am not interested in secret teachings or teachings that I'm not allowed to share for free, because I feel that I am called to help those in need when I am able and it's a good cause and I have a hard time charging for spirit/energy work. (Trust me I have thought it trough and see a lot of different ways of looking at it, including the ways that "women's work" of emotional and energetic labor is often devalued and refused payment and this is problematic etc)... all the same I have lived because of the charity of others and I know I needed it and there are others out there in need through no fault of their own. Whether it's money or love or energetic support, I like to help when I can.

I have also sort of imagined maybe a peer check in group, where people weekly or monthly check in with their spiritual growth and goals and learning experiences and instead of money, the peer support itself is the exchange.

Has anyone seen things like this out there on the nets? I would be fine with paying for the mentorship, (just not with charging others for sharing any benefits I get from my own spiritual growth.) just haven't really seen any groups advertising this service outside of a priestess type learning program.



Hello! I am currently trying to set up something similar-ish: 30 Days of Magic

It's supposed to be a magic school, without any of the nonsense (no secret knowledge; hierarchy; money). It has some of the things you are looking for: a peer support network; check-ins on how you are doing; a sense of community, growth, and being able to track your progress.

It doesn't have everything you want - there is no mentorship, the emphasis on teaching yourself. You do some research; set your own reading lists; and then share them so that people coming after you can follow and benefit from what you researched. I hope students will help one another, but there is no guarantee of that. If you want work marked, we mark each other's work.

I see this as a benefit - I have too low trust in people to be mentored because of poor community experiences in the past; and it builds resilience and research skills, and encourages enquiry over dogma. But if the primary thing you are looking for is the guidance of a teacher, I'm not certain my mad little project will suit you ^_^.

Hope this helps!
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Re: Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2015, 12:50:06 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;179009

And as an illustration - I have an oathbound practice, but I also have a website with over 120 essays about various parts of my religious witchcraft practice, training, etc. (it's at http://gleewood.org/seeking, and you might find parts of it very useful, particularly some of the 'finding and evaluating groups' bits.) It doesn't generally prevent me from teaching or helping people.

 
It's wonderful ^_^ I cannot see a day where I am so advanced in my practice that I don't come back to this site to check up on skills.
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Re: Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2015, 11:32:26 am »
Quote from: softlight;178986
I am kind of looking for some mentorship on my spiritual path; something where I could weekly or every other week check in, create reading and to do lists and give and receive feedback.

I also am not interested in secret teachings or teachings that I'm not allowed to share for free, because I feel that I am called to help those in need when I am able and it's a good cause and I have a hard time charging for spirit/energy work. (Trust me I have thought it trough and see a lot of different ways of looking at it, including the ways that "women's work" of emotional and energetic labor is often devalued and refused payment and this is problematic etc)... all the same I have lived because of the charity of others and I know I needed it and there are others out there in need through no fault of their own. Whether it's money or love or energetic support, I like to help when I can.

Quote from: Jenett;179009
Likewise, how a given tradition or practice handles secrecy, privacy, and so on, varies. My tradition has oathbound material - i.e. stuff I've agreed not to talk about with other people. A lot of the specific stuff covered by that is either keeping confidence about other people's information, or taking care not to talk about specific experiences with people who haven't had them yet.

I just wanted to toss my nickle in here for this part...

I really like what Jenett said here but there was one thing I think, personally, she missed.

Sometimes information can be dangerous; especially to the un-initiated. If the recipient has no framework within whch to fully understand what they're doing then they can cause immense harm. Likewise, you can cause immense harm to their psyche if you expose them to things they can't cope with or defend against.

For example, I was a local pagan-oriented social gathering that I've just started attending. (They have these monthly.) I've already won to a fair amount of respect there because of my knowledge and personal charisma and for this reason a young mother shared her experience with me of going into a graveyard on Samhain and trying to contact an ancestor. Fortunately she didn't know enough to do anything serious but I'm sure you can see how badly that could have gone.

She didn't understand my alarm until I reminded her of the other people in her life, like her young child, who could have been harmed.

All of this because someone put the idea in her head by telling her it would be easier to do this on Samhain.

In short, secrecy can also be to protect others.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2015, 01:24:49 am by SunflowerP »
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Re: Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2015, 01:29:42 am »
Quote from: Skumring;182425

Fortunately she didn't know enough to do anything serious but I'm sure you can see how badly that could have gone.

She didn't understand my alarm until I reminded her of the other people in her life, like her young child, who could have been harmed.

All of this because someone put the idea in her head by telling her it would be easier to do this on Samhain.

 
I'm not quite understanding how things could have gone that badly for her, even in theory. Perhaps if you were less vague about what could have gone wrong, as well as her situation/level of knowledge?

I understand the mechanics of spiritwork and deathwork--that's a large part of my own practice. Maybe that's why I'm not quite getting how earth-shatteringly dangerous her ritual could have been to herself and her family. I'm not gonna say it's not risky business, but it seems to me like the risk associated with doing a ritual in a graveyard on Samhain could be somewhat...blown out of proportion.
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Re: Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2015, 10:40:47 am »
Quote from: HarpingHawke;182447
I'm not quite understanding how things could have gone that badly for her, even in theory. Perhaps if you were less vague about what could have gone wrong, as well as her situation/level of knowledge?

I understand the mechanics of spiritwork and deathwork--that's a large part of my own practice. Maybe that's why I'm not quite getting how earth-shatteringly dangerous her ritual could have been to herself and her family. I'm not gonna say it's not risky business, but it seems to me like the risk associated with doing a ritual in a graveyard on Samhain could be somewhat...blown out of proportion.

 
I've known a few mediums in my life, including a few who had no training what-so-ever. I've also had the experience, several times, of having to learn how to fix things when someone dabbled where they shouldn't have.

I suppose an easy way to explain is that there are things out there, like spirits and whatnot. That much you know, I'm sure, and that some of these are not necessarily nice or have someone's best interests at heart. Now, you go messing around in their domain and it's like lighting a candle in the night. You attract a lot of things that were previously content out in the dark - only you're the candle and you don't burn. In fact, you may even taste good.

As for her level of expertise, that would be not much in her own Path. Absolutely none with death magic of any kind. Her husband and child of course have none of any kind.

I think part of the confusion here might stem from a dearth of mutual experience. I spent most of the last twenty-five years in the School of Hard Knocks for this after finding out my old man had actually been pagan and then having him refuse to teach or tell me anything about it.

More than this I'd really rather not say here as it's public and PG-13.
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Re: Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2015, 03:43:18 pm »
Quote from: Skumring;182482
I think part of the confusion here might stem from a dearth of mutual experience.

 
Unlikely.

A perfetly ordinary ritual like the one described is about as likely to cause trouble as an ouija board, and those things are party games.

Catastrophising and giving people unrealistic expectations of The World Is Full Of Drama has a good chance of either funneling people into the mental rabbithole of The War On The Astral [tm] or lead them to lose their faith entirely when they actually work up the nerve to do something and they don't have anything exciting happen.
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Re: Pagan/goddess/magic schools? Or peer mentorship groups?
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2015, 03:59:29 pm »
Quote from: Skumring;182482
I suppose an easy way to explain is that there are things out there, like spirits and whatnot. That much you know, I'm sure, and that some of these are not necessarily nice or have someone's best interests at heart. Now, you go messing around in their domain and it's like lighting a candle in the night. You attract a lot of things that were previously content out in the dark - only you're the candle and you don't burn. In fact, you may even taste good.

 
Is there something you haven't mentioned about her ritual? I'm failing to see how what she did, as you've described it, would have the results you speak of above.

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