The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Is knowledge dangerous?

 Good Evening,

Well, well isn't this a provocative topic.  People have commented that they are surprised I have so many topics to discuss with you. Most of my best topics come from my readers, customers and students.  This one came to me this week when a young couple stopped by the shoppe and had some questions for me.

Some of the discussion centered around their experience of meeting individuals in the magickal community, some who actually teach our ways and it came up that they had been told by at least one person, not to read any books or research anything while this person taught them.  When they asked why, it was explained to them that the information may contradict this teachers teachings, confuse them or otherwise make their training more challenging.  I make it a rule not to teach people under the age of 18, simply because they have other, far more important knowledge waiting for them to absorb, and young people can get a bit fixated on only one exciting concept, which makes it easier for them to neglect their necessary studies.  Yet those over the age of 18, who are reasonably intelligent and have no serious psychiatric issues (as previously discussed in my discussion on Jan 7, 2011 )  should be absolutely encouraged to learn as much as possible about all areas of the magickal world.

Honestly, if a person will read and without thought or question, take the information in any one book as absolute truth, well there's more work for them to do than what I can teach them. This is the basic challenge with the Bible. Not everything inside is meant for everyone.  Not in the Bible, not in any book, and not everything I teach is meant for everyone.

Now, I don't mean to bash anyone or anyone's teaching style but I will explain from my perspective a few concepts that this brings up.  I encourage my students to read, everything!! Not just the magickal masters such as Raven Grimassi, Laurie Cabot, Janet Farrar and Raymond Buckland to name but a few, but also the questionably dark authors like Allister Crowley and Anton LaVey.  I recommend my students read many books even the Bible.  I personally have used the Bible as a teaching aid in my classes, as it gives a serious insight into ancient peoples in an ancient time.

Does that surprise you? Why? Should the Bible be read only by believers? It contains knowledge. Even if its what you don't agree with and don't wish to use in your life.  Let me give you another example, I am not a Satanist nor do I follow their beliefs or practices. Yet I have read about their religion (and Yes, its a religion as defined by our Constitution) for how can I possibly answer students questions without having at least a basic understanding of the topic.

Our world is harmed by ignorance and history attests to this fact time and time again.  Ignorance of any kind is not helpful. Yes, knowledge can be scary and having knowledge of a situation or a concept absolutely makes one more aware and in many cases causes people to take action, and this can be a challenge. But to encourage a student to not read certain books or information because it may disagree with my concepts, or contradict what I teach is ridiculous.  An instructor of any topic or subject, especially in the magickal world had better be able to debate and handle disagreements because they will find you whether you like it or not.  The concept of encouraging students to not read certain information also speaks to the instructor being inexperienced or even not fully trained in their subject matter as to be unable to easily handle any discussion concerning their subject.

I myself have heard others warn new students away from some material because of the 'powerful' nature of the material. I've heard "Don't touch that book, it's very powerful and in the wrong hands . . . blah, blah, blah!" Really? Plleeeease! Stop it!! A book, any book, is just a collection of ink markings on paper. The power does not come from the book, the power comes from within you. And to be frank about it, if the student is not ready to assimilate and use the knowledge within it won't stick. An example I give my students is the difference of knowing as opposed to knowledge. 

Let's say for 'toadstools and cauldrons sake' that I give you a book on brain surgery. You read this book cover to cover, and actually memorize everything in this book. You have all the knowledge to do a brain operation. Do you think anyone will let you operate on their brain? Of course not!! And nor should they!!  This is where the knowing comes in.  The practice and experience of this world gives you a 'knowing." Knowing is what you absolutely know inside and no one can  take that from you, no matter how they try and debate. For me, I'm a witch and always will be. No one, regardless of who they are and how they argue can ever change that for me. I welcome disagreement, debate, and opposing opinions. Why? Because what works for me doesn't and shouldn't work for everyone. That's why I teach others to discover the world of magick and to learn how that world works for them. 

There are many people in our magickal world and many amazing, experienced teachers who have a lot to offer. Just be aware of those who use control inappropriately, warn you against gaining knowledge or try to convince you that there are some things you are not ready for, can't handle or are too powerful for you. Nonsense.  The ancient adage "When the student asks the question, the student is ready for the answer" is apt.

I have found that the student may not always be ready to use the information they receive from asking the question and many times they need to ask the question again and again, but to control or restrict that student from asking the question or from giving the answer again speaks to the instructor and the place the instructor is coming from.  I've learned one very important thing on my path as an instructor of the magickal arts, it's not about me. It's about the student. 


To answer the question that started this discussion, is knowledge dangerous? No. Ignorance is  and always  will be.


Peace and Happiness



© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. 

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