I’M NEW TO WICCA AND LOOKING FOR A TEACHER
Hi, everyone. You’ll find that I post a fair amount of articles that are designed for new seekers, but I only address “Finding a Teacher” every so often. And believe me, those of us who teach and who are writing about it on the web get approached a LOT. HOWEVER, most people who approach us end up pretty frustrated, and this is the reason for today’s post. I want to save you time, effort, money, and sanity. I’m also going to use some pretty strong words, as I tend to do throughout my posts on Wicca. Understand that I do this so you can make educated decisions. I speak strongly because I’ve spent the better part of 20 years in the learning, preparing to teach, and teaching cycle. I have taught eclectics and I have taught Traditional students. I have taught in a coven, privately, and at fests. So what I say is said by a crotchety, very experienced teacher, and that, my friends, is going to save you a lot of time, unless you get mad before finishing this article and stomp off, which about 20% of you will do. Don’t worry…I’ll have a post for intermediate and advanced practitioners soon.
A TYPICAL CONVERSATION
Seeker: Hi, I understand that you are a High Priestess and you teach Wicca.
Seeker: I’m looking for a teacher.
Me: What kind of teacher do you seek? I teach 3 degree Traditional Wicca with initiation and opportunities for High Priesthood in service to community; I also teach specific subjects of interest to seekers, such as Astral Temple Creation, Care, and Uses, Psychometry, Energy Healing, Crystal Gridding, and Ecstatic Ritual for Trauma Survivors (both for healing and learning to help other heal). What are you interested in, specifically?
Seeker: Just the basics.
Me: The basics of what, exactly?
Seeker: Anything you can teach me.
Me: I need you to tell me what you wish to learn so I can narrow that down and determine the manner in which any lessons will be given, and if compensation is appropriate.
Seeker: I heard that real Wiccan teachers don’t charge.
Me: We do not charge for training in the 3 degrees of the Craft, nor for initiation, nor other Craft elevations, specifically 2nd and 3rd degrees, correct. Other classes may carry fees that are reasonable.
Seeker: I want the free ones.
Me: If by “the free ones,” you mean “training in the 3 degrees of Traditional Witchcraft leading to initiation and a chance for High Priesthood,” then let’s talk about what that means.
Me: The 3 degrees are taught in person only, and require a time commitment of a minimum of 10 hours per week, with coven attendance at my covenstead for new moons, full moons, Sabbats, and classes. The training takes anywhere from a minimum of 3 years for initiation in my Tradition to upwards of 10 years or more if you want to go to 3rd degree, but you don’t have to decide that now. In order to determine if you are a good fit for our coven, please call me for a phone interview and if that goes well, we will meet at a coffee shop, and if that goes well, you will be invited to our coven as a guest. You can attend for several months to get to know us and if at that time, you wish to petition for Dedication, you can do that. I will e-mail you a copy of our by-laws and then if you wish, we can proceed.
Seeker: I don’t want all THAT. I want free lessons in Wicca.
Me: Those ARE free lessons in Wicca, honey.
Seeker: I just want you to teach me through e-mail, just the basics.
Me: You can get that through books. I can mail you a recommended list.
Seeker: No, I WANT YOU TO TEACH ME THE BASICS.
Me: You want me to spoon feed you what you can get in any Wicca 101 book at Barnes and Noble?
Seeker: NOOOOOOO! I want a Wiccan TEACHER!!!!
Me: No, you don’t. You have no idea what that even is. Please read some books and then look for a teacher if you still want one.
Seeker: You’re stuck up and you shouldn’t call yourself a Wiccan teacher if you don’t want to teach!
A SAD TRUTH
Solitary Craft is a truncated version of Wicca. That’s OK. It’s FINE to want to have a solitary practice and observe the Wiccan Sabbats by yourself with your Gods and such. But here’s a truth: Wiccan ritual in its original, Traditional form is taught in groups, and there are 4 officiants at minimum in a ritual that is “fully staffed.” Can one person do all those jobs simultaneously? Sure, if one knows what one is doing. Can one person who doesn’t want to do all of those jobs simultaneously reach the Gods anyway? Sure. But here’s the issue: Anyone teaching Wicca who is QUALIFIED TO TEACH IT in its original form is going to teach you the 4 jobs, for the ritual to be Wiccan. They are going to teach you the RITES: The Erecting the Temple Rite, the Invocation, the Great Rite, the Libation, the Simple Feast, and the Clearing of the Temple. That’s what makes up a ritual that is “Wiccan.” There can be others stuff in there, sure. But a teacher who is a qualified teacher is going to teach you that these are the building blocks, and if you’re alone, then you must TRUNCATE the ritual. Which is FINE TO DO.
But here’s the problem. When beginners seek “a Wiccan Teacher,” and they find a Wiccan Teacher who is willing to teach without the face-to-face, group class type thing, what you’re getting most often, unless that person says to you, “I’m coven trained AND INITIATED through a VERIFIABLE TRADITION of Wicca,” you’re getting a person who learned through the self-same books you ALREADY HAVE ACCESS TO AT ANY BOOK STORE. So looking for a Wiccan teacher who wants to “teach you solitary Wicca” is really saying THIS: “I would like someone who read books about a truncated version of Wicca to teach me what I can learn from those very same books.” Now, if that’s what you want, great! You’re in luck. Just be aware that most of those books are not considered good sources by those of us with the actual training, and it’s not “arrogance,” but real concern that you’re getting very dumbed down information without having any way of determining HOW MUCH, if at all, the dumbing down is present.
HOW TO GET THE BASICS OF WICCA, AND WHEN TO FIND A TEACHER
OK, so basically, if you want instruction in solitary eclectic Wicca, you read recommended books and websites that require no in-person interaction with somebody you call “your teacher.” This is the 10% of basic Wicca that is available to any non-initiate who knows how to access this. Even if you already know all of this, you WILL START OVER in any coven you henceforth contact, by the way, so you can learn THAT TRADITION’S ways. You should NOT expect to find any qualified group who will “just initiate you now because you already know the basics.” Um, not going to happen. You starts at the beginning, just like Sally Newbie over here (wave at Sally). HOWEVER, there are a FEW online teachers who are qualified to teach in person and who have created teaching platforms and lessons for the new seeker. I know a few. I will link.
WHAT ARE DECENT NEWBIE RESOURCES?
This Traditional High Priestess thinks these resources don’t suck, and that’s a hard thing to earn if you’re talking about this particular High Priestess, because, as everyone knows, I’m “mean.” Here they are:
Here’s one of the few “online teachers” who I KNOW is actually qualified to teach on line and has attained appropriate initiation, and therefore will not fill your head with crap, requiring you to re-learn a bunch of stuff.
Here are books that don’t suck:
As much as I love Thea’s beginner book, she writes a book about how unqualified, untrained people can teach and train, so THAT’S where my recommendations STOP. If you’re qualified to teach, you don’t need a book telling you how to do it, THEA. Yes, THEA, I’m talking to you. Bad.
Learn the Erecting the Temple Rite here:
Learn Pagan history here, instead of the pseudo-history crap in a LOT of “Wicca 101” books:
For some great Pagan and Wiccan liturgies (if you can get over the unicorns, that is…we love Father Zell):
For a nice overview of Craft Ethics that is scholarly:
So you don’t run around quoting the Rede without bloody understanding it:
HOKAY, campers…So AFTER you have read this stuff and maybe contacted Mackenzie (who does NOT give me anything for recommending her site, by the way…I just think she knows her stuff), THEN, you might want to find a teacher. Because THEN, you will understand what a teacher of Wicca even DOES.
Good resources for teachers are:
Witchvox.com (Keep in mind that just being listed here doesn’t mean a teacher is legit, but most noobs don’t know this site, which helps)
Covenant of the Goddess (They have local chapters into which to put you in contact)
Cherry Hill Seminary (to find a teacher, study Pagan classes, and become a qualified Pagan teacher (not just Wicca))
Congratulations, you just might have the required attention span and ability to accept instruction needed to learn real Wicca! Go you. And don’t worry, guys…not all of these posts will be so in-your-face. OK, who am I kidding? Most will. Because I care about new seekers not wasting their time and money, I’m here for you, telling you what most others won’t tell you. Until next time, keep those cauldrons hot, folks.
Cross-posted with http://realwicca.info