Releasing the sprit, by Pagan art Me :)

When the Student is Ready
The Teacher Appears

This has been a saying for the Pagan way, for as far back as I can recall

Which is getting to be just a few decades :) and it's proved to be right over and over

I am what is commonly called an Elder

What the heck is an Elder..?
A teacher ? Maybe .. Ok

What is a teacher supposed to do ?

Read on :) For my opinion on that

The first thing that comes to mind when you say Elder
is an old person, for starters right ..?

Well that counts me in I guess hehehehe :)
as the next decade I see will be the big 6 0

An Elder in anything just means,
one who counts their experience in decades, not years

To wit, if they have learned anything at all from those years,
they can be a good resource for learning from, at least you hope so anyway :)

This one on one, apprenticeship we all the "Year and a day " is how most of the Pagan way
and almost all of the Craft is handed down..

Or was before the mass production of books,
the Internet and a whole raff of other things

But even the best of books etc. leave holes, gaps in knowledge and moreover in understanding
which is where the Elder/teacher comes in

All teachers are not created Equal

Some know as much as one can know in one life
Some don't .. for all they have tried
Some are working on it, which is most of us
and
Some never did and don't plan on it !

.. The best of all ..
Are the ones that do Know a good deal .. but also Know that they don't know it all !
And are not afraid to say so. At least in My NSHO :)

In a discussion I heard recently, the subject of Elders came up
and the gist of what was bandied about was,
that Most Elders are stuck up old biddies

Biddies by the way, as applied to both genders

Who play the" holier than thou" game and are on a power trip

Expecting everyone to kiss their feet for their gray hairs
( to put it politely.. :)

Well sad to say there are some that ARE like this.. and if you meet one like that,
Run. Do not walk to the nearest exit

But the conversation went on and a few people said

 The Elder should be kind and
not challenge what the student has to say,
or words to that effect

To which I say.. hold the press a second..

Not challenge..? So sorry, but the whole thing of teaching students is about challenge, you challenge
their self image, which very often needs work, you challenge their current knowledge,
which may be incorrect, you challenge them to learn, to grow, to have what it takes

To walk the walk
not just talk the talk

 Another was that the Elder must have patience
an infinite amount apparently :) to hear them talk

Yes, there should be understanding
Yes, there should be a fair amount of patience

As no one in their right mind takes on a student without expecting a great deal of two steps
forward, three steps back. This dance goes on for however long it must go on, as long as
progress is being made, and it's enough to make anyone pull out their hair from time to time.

( Now I know why my first teachers hair was so thin.. hehheheheehe )

Nor should the teacher nit pick every thing they have to say to death,
making the mistaken assumption that they, the student, have nothing to say
they do. lots :)

The Elder who does not learn as much
or more than their student is

A: A fool
B: A fool whose not listening

But soft.. gentle ..all the time.. ?

 Let's be real here, the job of teaching the Path can be a rocky one
It's all about the students self evaluation, and self re-creation, as it is about lore and ritual

Lore and most ritual in our age of books, anyone who can read, can learn,
by rote, learning the doing is why you have a teacher.

Not to mention 1/3 rd of the time.. the "student" fights you tooth and toenail

As very often, you are challenging their favorite preconceptions. :)

Particularly regarding the self and self justifications for actions and beliefs

 No one wants to give those up
As it means you have re-evaluate all the self, and horrors,
what if you where mistaken ? ? ? ?  And based it all on a falsehood..

! ACK !

Does anyone want to admit this one
No!
To walk the path well does one have to?
Yes
Is this easy for the student ?
NO
Is this easy for the teacher ?
Can you say NOT !

Another thing brought up was
Where ? Are all the Elders ?

Well a few words to that..
One, back in the day, ( read over 30 years ago ) any group of Pagans had a lot of Elders.. as most
self proclaimed Pagans were 30 ish.. when they came out of the broom closet, who in turn became the Elders

News .. these folks are in their 60s or more right now.

The Elders, that were their Elders
are for the most part, gone on .. Blessed Be their passing

The admitted Pagan force of today is huge
compared to before and growing daily

Before, a "gathering" meant at most 50 people, a third of which, were Elders

Now that same gathering is over 500 ! And is mostly the young
The ratio of Elders however is like a 10th now

Look at the ratio people, from every other one, to one out of every 10

Which also adds to the burden of teaching to the current day Elders to a level
that means for most of us, it will take the rest of our lives to do that duty

You can see why some might be tempted to take on a dozen or so students at a time

Which I personally think is nothing short of insane,
not to mention unjust to the student and the teacher

But with the current odds, is it any wonder that one is tempted to try ?

We in our 40 to 60 range are the Elders now
and there are not as many of US, as there are the young on the paths today

That's One

Two:

A lot of them have just flat given up

The current day student HAS information
lots of it , to be honest, before they ever get to a teacher

A lot of it .. incorrect

The rush to get on the Pagan bandwagon of book
writing, once the trail blazers had marked the way

Is immense .. and many of them..?

Let's be nice .. are full of mis-information

And the Elder/teacher often has the job
of convincing the student to Unlearn a great many things,
which needless to say, they often don't want to do

Three

:Fluff Bunny Pagans:

Meaning no insult to anyone, ! ! !
just using a term that will be understood by almost everybody

Read that to mean anyone who is trying to follow the path
with everything on one side of the fence

All sweetness and light ..  yeah right, ever hear of Kali ?
There are two sides to all things .. dark and light

This DOES NOT MEAN dark as in Evil,
which is how many tend to view anything not of love and light ..
does it deny life to admit that life can be a struggle ?
See my page on Into the Night for an example

Is it evil to say that sometimes ya have to open a can of woo-pass
and go to town with it..?

We are not passive, just because we don't pick a fight,
does not mean we can't or won't defend ourselves.

Which is all the darker aspects are,
the parts of the self that are able to handle these things
( which is putting VERY VERY basicly .. but you get the point )

But this gets old after a while if
Every time you bring up the less than sunny side
of Paganism ya get shot down for it.
By those who think you are trying to make
them into something evil, for trying to bring balance to the situation.

You cannot walk the paths of the Tree of life
without knowing this basic concept,
that light is defined by dark,
and each must have the other

Yin and Yang

Fight that War often enough and you stop talking

And then people wonder why the Elders
have nothing to say and the hew and cry is against them,
for "keeping the information" to themselves

If you get the above attitude just about every time
you try and speak, is it any wonder we are quiet ..?

This is the job of Elder-teacher
who has been there done that, already and knows it for what it is,
and if the fates are kind can help the other party
to become what it is they seek.

Down a Rocky and sometimes long road

But it's worth every rock ya trip over
As the person becomes, strong, whole, able to walk the path
as their own person for the rest of their days,
who will look back on the times of self turmoil and laugh at themselves

As was done for us all

But Easy..? Not on a bet !

Do all really want this.. ?

NO

Out of many students I have had, two ( to date anyway )
dropped off the face of the planet, as far as having anything
to do with me, as they did not want to learn.. yet ..

And no I'm not being self serving here, and hiding
that they ran off because I'm some domineering .. B***** well you get the point :)

I am, just ask anyone who knows me..  hehehehe..

But not when it comes to training .. they learn.. they don't
their choice..  Anyway, about these two

They wanted this and that
and this over here, without any preliminaries

What they did NOT want, is what I had to give them, which was a lot of hard work

I gave them Philosophy books .. they didn't read them
then complained when I tried to use concepts, that they didn't understand..

I showed them all the different paths that I know and said,
Take your pick

They were angry, because I had not chosen it for them

I gave them homework and things to study, and found them un-prepared
when we met next, all the while, complain complain complain..
about when are we gonna learn this, or that

They wanted to fly..
When they had not yet learned to walk..

These three people, did not want a teacher, they wanted
someone to corroborate their own conceptions,
and hand them lore on a plate ready made, with a bow on it

For this, they didn't need me, or any other teacher,
as learning is not what they wanted

Does this mean I think... myself better than they..?

NO.. it means they were not ready to learn
what I had to teach..

That's all

I mean consider this..
the typical "contract" between a teacher and student is a "year and a day"

For myself I have found, given modern day time constraints, it's a great deal more,
unless I am lucky enough to have them in the same household, which I have done
But anyway....

Which means one year, at least, of the teachers life.. is devoted to the student

But think about it for moment ...
The Elder, is taking a whole year of their life, and devoting it to teaching a person

Would you want to waste time like that
with someone who will NOT learn ?
Not Can't, Won't !

Not I. Not when there are many others
who need and WANT to know

It's not that I lack understanding
It's not that I am lazy
I will work like a dog, for as long as it takes

It's that I will not waste time, on someone who will not let me in
to show them around the confines of their own mind ...

They want me over there, off where they feel safe
Not inside their personal space and I'M sorry but I can't work like that
and do the matter justice

A student becomes a part of you, you are responsible for what they learn
and I can't do that with someone who wont let me get to know them

And sometimes it is, just a simple matter
of incompatibility with whatever is the
Elders specialty and manner of teaching and the student

Each teacher does so in her/his own way
If the teacher belongs to one of
the Traditions there is even More
subject matter and rules to learn

One has Many teachers along the path
One to help you knock down the walls of self imposed limitation,
One perhaps who is skilled in the herbal arts. One who works Magick
if that's your wish. Or diviner of Tarot or Rune lore

Or they are like me and are all of the above,
to varying degrees of skill :) It depends on what you
need at that time, even if you don't know what it is you need

Along the way you will go through many hands..

 There are many lessons to learn..

Bits to polish and refine the self..

A process that never Ends

The Elders job is to help a person, become a better ,
more whole person, help them, re create themselves,
into what they, the person, want to become

A fit servant of the God and Goddess

This is the job of the teacher,
with rite, ritual, and lore tossed in

Once the person is on their way,
they burn up the road blazing a trail,
with forays back once in a while for clarification.

Teach a man to see with open eyes
  and you have taught him everything
there is to know, as he will take it from there
for anything else he lacks

Telling the tale of the Goddess,
one learns many lessons

The first one being that the
 Great Mother tosses in a few
lessons of her own
... just to keep the teacher on her toes .. !

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