The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Back To Basics: How to Get the Most Out Of Your Magickal Teacher!

Greetings and Blessings My Witchy Reader,

 To continue my Back to Basics series, I am touching on a number of areas that I feel have been left largely unsaid, by not only myself but by many elders of the Craft. Many of us, and I define an Elder as someone who has been on this path for at least 20 years and if they have been on the path for 20 plus years and have worked with covens, groups, have taught classes and have dealt with students and magickal practitioners who have been on the path.

 I do know my words and my opinion will upset and start fires amongst those in the magickal realm, especially those who specifically feel I am speaking of, but be that as it may be, if it applies to you, or you think it does, then stop for a moment, please try to give me the respect of 30 years of being on this path that I deserve, and try to learn from what I have to offer.  A standing rule if it is meant for you take it, if not leave it alone. But I do assure you, if it upsets you, angers you, then it is pushing buttons that you need to pay attention to, because it is striking much closer to home than perhaps you wish to admit.

I have seen a concerning trend of late. That is of magickal practitioners, and it matters not if you call yourself a witch, a wizard, a pagan, a Druid, call yourself what you choose, it really matters not, except to yourself.  The trend is, to be crystal clear, of a magickal person with very little real life experience portraying themselves as a Master, Elder or a Professional experienced enough to charge money for services.  This is flooding our magickal community with misinformation, ill informed so called 'expert' opinion and causing a heightened lack of respect amongst ourselves between one another.  Magickal practitioners who have been on the path a year or two or even five, who have taken a course of study, maybe a year or two and perhaps have peppered this course of study with many additional workshops, lectures, seminars and classes.  They may have a certificate of completion for energy work, Reiki, herbal studies, divination and of course they have read copious numbers of websites, unfortunately more websites than actual books nowadays, and then they actually call themselves Elders. I have seen students who have less than a year of experience in reading tarot cards start to go out and charge people for tarot card readings, even if it is only $5.00 or $10.00 a reading, that is completely inappropriate and gives the person getting the reading the absolute wrong impression. 

Let me show you how. If you are one of these individuals, try this. When setting up your table at a fair or a show and advertising you are doing tarot readings, list your prices. Then in writing just as large, write that you have a total of 3 months or 6 months total experience reading cards. Then sit back and wait and see how many people feel like spending even $5.00 on a reading.  You may get a friend of yours, but that will be it.  I think it is imperative you let people know you are training and when training you should never accept money for developing a skill.  That simply gets in the way and muddies the water.

There is nothing wrong, with being in a place of learning, a place of training. There is no shame or embarrassment in not being a master or not being at the pinnacle of mastery.  That is a serious issue in this day and age, everyone wants to be a master!! I have heard of some people taking energy or Reiki classes, a weekend course, 2 days, a few hours per day and leaving with a certificate that actually reads "Reiki Master" which is highly insulting to those I know who are really Reiki Masters who have put in real effort and time and have a lot of experience in this area. 

Also anyone can call themselves a witch, and not be 'Of the Wicca' which is The Craft of the Wise. The difference becomes apparent when you get to know the person and their core attitude and behavior. How they treat others, how they interact with their elders and others in their sphere. A mature, well developed, well adjusted adult and magickal person knows they do not have to like everyone they work with, but they are able to be respectful, polite, civil and kind. Kind .  .  .  a word that is becoming more and more rare these days.

I have seen more arrogance, rude, entitled, disrespectful, hateful attitude and it boils down to immaturity and a strong desire to be better than the next one, to be the High Priestess' 'favorite' to be "The High Priest" or "High Priestess" and to have the accolades and "power' those mistakenly feels should automatically come with it, simply because they lack these things in their lives and they need to artificially create these things.  So they build a coven, and any group of two or more can be a coven, as my last discussion went over in great detail. But a coven should be a gathering of like minded people, not an opportunity for one person to collect 'disciples' and the numbers should not be the most important part of the group.

In truth if a 'coven' is created and has regular members, and there is no official, initiated fully designated third degree High Priest or High Priestess, then the position of running and officiating the circle should be switched off and everyone should be allowed the opportunity to run the circle. It should not fall simply to the person who opens their home to others, and allows their home to be the official covenstead. 

It is up to the group itself, but if a person puts themselves in that position they do need to brace themselves for the not so nice aspects of that position which will inevitably come their way, as it always does. There will be someone in the group another does not like, there will be dissension, or some may wish to do this while others want to do that, and the High Priestess will be expected to make a decision which will make everyone happy.

Let me tell you a secret. It cannot be done. Ever.  Because while you initially will think you are working with adult, mature, well developed, magickal people, you will in turn find you are working with humans who have come to your group dragging behind them the baggage they left their last spiritual path or religion with, disgruntled. If you, as the leader of your coven, have not done hard work with everyone to get them past their own issues and helped them work through these challenges, their personal challenges, then they will then turn their issues upon you, along with the blame and persecution. 

So, you will make the decision which is best for the group, and some will be satisfied with it and some will be bent out of shape and then the simmering of discontent will start, slowly under the surface.  It will simmer, and start to steam and eventually come to a boil, because another very key point is the disgruntled ones will never come to you as High Priestess and tell you the issues and why they are unhappy!! No, no, that would require them to take responsibility for their own part of the situation and not blame others including you!

Me, you say!!?? Why would they blame me!? I'm the High Priestess, I made a decision which was best for everyone and it wasn't personal, I had nothing to do with the actual situation to begin with,  so how could they put any blame on me!!?? .  .  .  . 

Allow me a moment .  .  .  (witches cackle!!)  Not only will they blame you, but in short measure you will become the main antagonist, the one whom which all of the blame for all of the troubles, issues, the bad luck, bad energy and possibly rumored evil spells and curses will be accused of!!  And some people, not all, but some, and students you have taught, people you have treated kindly and fairly will believe this about you!! No matter how untrue and unfair.  So, if you can read this discourse above and understand precisely what I am referring to, then you are probably already a High Priestess and have been on this path a while.

If you are shaking your head and can't quite grasp it, then either give it time or heed my words carefully and do all you can to avoid this pitfall. Yes, the pitfall of running a large coven and putting yourself in this position because if in any fashion you expect there to be glory or glamour or accolades or any of that nonsense, know that is not what walking the "Priestess Path" is all about, not at all.

One walks the Priestess Path, in my viewpoint, to continue a connection with Deity, and for me to allow the magick to course through me and to manifest as I wish it to in my life. Of course the fellowship of other like minded people is so lovely and a blessing in and of itself. 

The beautiful, magickal people I meet everyday are certainly a worthy trade off for the occasional "troll" which is a term for one who pretends to be a magickal person but they really aren't. They are just around to suck off of your love and light and they spew darkness and chaos and hope to create mischief and discord.  A well seasoned, experienced troll can even get really close, perhaps best friend status close for a number of years before you become aware of their peculiar troll-ness. But do not beat yourself up, it has even happened to me. Some experienced trolls are really hard to spot! But you do get better with each one! More experienced at warding them off also!

You do not have to live and work in a magickal world to find "trolls' in your world. They are everywhere. In your work environment, perhaps in your family, maybe even in your circle of social acquaintances!  You can recognize them by wanting to be away from them and when you are finally away from them you feel drained, and there is nothing good to say about the encounter.

The Witches Path is easy enough to set down in steps, it is trying to stay on the path that proves the challenge. Here are the steps as I have learned them and lived them from my personal experience over thirty plus years:

1.) Learn -  start learning some where, somehow and realize right from the beginning your learning does not have an end, ever. For once you think you have reached that place, where you know it all, you need to stop. And go back to the beginning.  Never stop learning.

2.) Find a teacher -  It can be a different teacher every week, or month or year. It can and often will be more than one teacher at a time, but find teachers and be quiet and listen, watch and learn. Realize you do not know it all, you know very little and if you can understand you know nothing, then, and only then can you learn everything.

3.) Do Not Rush To Teach -  A solid, serious, good rule of thumb should be when it comes to teaching others, you should never attempt to teach others until someone comes to you and asks you to do so. It is as simple as that.  I never once, ever approached anyone and offered to teach anything. Every single teaching assignment I have ever had, even in my own school, my students approach me and ask me to teach them. When and if you are meant to teach, you will, you will not be given a choice.

4.) Practice - whatever your magickal path is, practice, practice, practice!! As often as possible, every single day in some way or another. I cut my tarot cards daily to see an oracle card for the day. I light a candle or two or more on my love/ancestor altar every evening. I use my pendulum almost every week to speak to the spirits. Make your own potions, incense, oils, whatever your practice is to you. Do it, do not wait.  Truly the life of a witch or a magickal person is not a religion, it is living the life of. So what would you be waiting for? Live life today.

5.) Pay Attention/ Record in BOS -  The Witch/Wise One/  practices the Craft of the Wise and much, most of this comes from observations of the natural world, the manifestations of our spells, the phases of the moons and how they affect the world around us, the seasons, etc. Pay attention record your observations in your Book of Shadows and use these recorded observations to make informed magickal predictions and prophecies.

6.) Respect and be Humble -  This one should be the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega! For The Goddess' sake, realize that you like everyone else had a first day on this path. And no the chances of you being born into a hereditary magickal witch family is very rare, there are a few, but even so, if you had been you would know to be respectful of the elders who have gone before. Whether you agree with them or not. But to disparage, insult, demean and be downright rude and disrespectful to those, some who have been on this path for 30 years or more, and I say this because I have seen what is called 'witch wars' on social media amongst pagan groups, is disheartening. To even do so of those who have just started this path or are ignorant of this path is even more disrespectful, rude and beneath one who would call him or herself one of the Wise Ones.

What is even more sad is I have seen a rare few elders themselves jump into the fray to take shots at some really lovely people who have consistently risen above such non magickal, not nice behavior. So I guess even some who are old enough to know better and who can be officially considered an elder and High Priestess/Priest can still be guilty of acting like children, but at what cost? 

There have been those in our witchy genre since the 1970's who dress like anyone else, and it is touted "we are just like anyone else", we work in all industries, we wear the same garb, we drive the same cars, we live in the same kind of houses, we eat the same kinds of foods, in an attempt to demonstrate to lay people we are in effect human beings and real people, just like them.

Well, maybe medically when it comes to getting a physical, I'll give you that. But no, we are not the same as ordinary people, and we the magickal ones know that. We are special, the children of the stars, the daughters of the Moon and the sons of the Sun. We dance the Wheel of the Year as we dance around the bon fire and the magick circle and we feel the energy flow between us and it tingles all through our bodies, and that is not something everyone else feels. 

We are the magickal and yes we flow between the veils of the worlds of the magickal and the mundane but we see and feel both worlds and we can choose. I wish we would choose to be the magickal, to be the respectful, to be the special all the time.  To not give into the petty, the childish, the small and mean spirited dark part of ourselves when a High priestess tells us to do something in an attempt to better ourselves and become more like the witch we keep telling her we wish to be!  And not take it as a personal criticism, because it would take effort and time and care on our part.

But if you show respect, are quiet, humble and listen and wait, well then .  .  .  ahhhh then, you will start to learn because when there is mutual respect between you and your "teacher" no matter who the teacher is, then you will learn in a manner and level that before was not available to you.  Your teacher will start to show you things she would not show others, even if that teacher is a tree.

I wish that the middle world of magickal ones I will call them, would remember what it was like coming into the magickal world. You have three levels, like the three worlds. The first world when you enter into the magickal world and everything was new and exciting and scary and you wanted it so badly it made your teeth ache. You wanted to dance around a bon fire under an oak tree at midnight under a full moon!!

I wrote earlier about the upper world, where High Priestesses and Priests dwell and have to deal with all sorts of stress/grief and we do so trying to remember our blessings every day and commune with Deity every moment if possible.

But the middle world, where the magickal ones who have been on the path for a while, maybe a few years or longer, reside. This is the dangerous place. Some have stopped really practicing, on a regular basis. Some still read. Some just hold coven gatherings. Some do rituals. Some just decorate the house and dress witchy. Do not get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of the above, each and every one of the things I mentioned is wonderful and perfect if you choose to do that.  But it is at this level that I find the respect level wanes for some, and if not for others, then others sit back and see  and allow others to display their lack of respect. As a magickal community it is appropriate to speak out to others and say, no, that is not appropriate. Show respect.

Just expecting people to glean it, does not work. We each need to share our feelings with others and let them know how we feel. And the other thing I see in this middle world is the area of responsibility. It does get difficult and challenging, the life tests the universe or the Goddess/God will send your way after you have been on the path for a while, especially if you persist in moving upward in rank. Getting through these tests without casting blame on others and accepting responsibility is part of the tests, in some cases is the test in its entirety!!

Simply taking entire responsibility.  How few actually pass this one.

I am proud to say there are a few High Priestesses I am close to at Enchantments who have passed this test and they are the most wonderful example of the very best in having done the work of the Wise Ones.

I hope this listing of things to take into consideration makes you think. There are many, many layers to the world of the magickal, and to make it work, and glimmer and shimmer and manifest in the most magickal of ways one needs to be aware of all layers and be able to work them all!!

So I will conclude this portion of the series Back to Basics. I'll be back with a few more discussions covering the basics and how it pertains to magickally working with others!

Live, Laugh and Always Love!  Ms. Faith

© 2010-2018 Faith M. McCann. 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 or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited. 

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