Asking Questions

ASKING QUESTIONS

 

One of the most important skills you will ever learn in your life is learning which questions to ask and when to ask them.

You will never learn how to do much of anything in your life if you do not learn how to ask questions, and not only that, but to question the answers you get in return.

For instance, “I want to learn about wicca,” is not a question. It is a statement.

“Teach me about wicca,” is also not a question. It is a command, even if you add the word please.

Think about what you really want to ask. “Can you teach me about wicca?”

Ok, you’re getting closer to the question you really want answered. “Will you teach me about wicca?”

Even closer, but the topic at hand is a large one.

Look for where you actually want to start learning.

Good questions to start working with are “What makes wicca different from other paths?” or perhaps, “What is the first thing I should learn to start my journey of learning about wicca?” These last two questions are good questions because they are specific and and give the person you are talking with an idea of what you are actually interested in learning.

Here’s another example.

I want to learn how to bake bread.

First of all I find someone that knows how (the right person).

Then I wait until they have the time to help me and a place ready to show me how to bake bread.

I try to read up a little ahead of time if I can and show up well rested and ready to learn hopefully without any preconceptions (the right time).

Now I could ask them what the chemical structure of bread is, or why it browns when it bakes or what type of butter to use on it, but none of these are very good questions to help me towards my goal of learning how to bake bread.

True it might be useful information, but I can always learn the answers to those questions later once I have learned the basics.

So my first questions are, “What are the ingredients we use?” and “How do we start?,” two specific and useful questions.

A good question asked at the right time to the right person helps the person answering it almost as much as it helps the person asking it.

If the person you are asking questions to has no idea of your level of knowledge of the subject or your specific area of interest at the moment they cannot help you nearly as well as they could if they knew these things.

Good questions are one way of helping a person understand what you want to know and what level of difficulty you want it explained at.

A Pagan Students Bill of Rights

A PAGAN STUDENT’S BILL OF RIGHTS

1. You have a right to the quality of education commensurate with the medians in similar education for others in your chosen area. Check several teachers or schools to find just what those medians are considered to be.

Corollary: You do not have the right to expect your teacher to be a “SuperPriest/ess” who will fulfill your every need, want and desire. Today, many are advertising themselves as “teachers” with little more than a few years experience themselves, much of which may be book learning. Truly experienced Elders and “Grand Masters” are exceedingly few and far between. Consider yourself astoundingly fortunate if your teacher falls into this category, but within reason, expect a teacher of Paganism to be human and fallible – resolve for yourself to learn what you can from the situation you are in.

2. The terms of your education shall be agreed upon in advance of its commencement by mutual contract between both teacher and student. Either party may at any time with prior advance notice, rescind said contract. Don’t accept an amorphous “well, we’ll just take it easy and see what happens” approach. You have the right to know exactly what to expect in terms of time, commitment and subjects learned.

Corollary: You may not drop out of tutorial with a teacher without making a reasonable attempt at telling them why you are feeling uncomfortable enough to do so. Be specific, they need to know how their behavior affected you and your potential for learning from them.

3. You have the right to expect a teacher who is compassionate, has a good sense of humor, has respect for you and others and who has a healthy level of self- esteem. A good teacher will admit when s/he is wrong in the moment and will usually heark back to their own novice days with anecdotes of their own trial and error to share with you. A good teacher knows how to maintain the delicate balance between friendship and appropriate discipline.

Corollary: Any teacher who projects as “too perfect” definitely isn’t. Beware also the teacher who is continually in a state of personal woe – these people need too much of your energy that you won’t have to give them. Walk out the door and keep searching.

4. You have the right for the teacher to always be truthful with you. Choose teachers whose styles permit you to question freely, who “lead by example” and show you as well as tell you the things you are learning. You can’t learn herbalism solely by reading books, some day you have to get out into the garden and root in the dirt. Look for a teacher, whatever their specialty, who does the equivalent in their particular form of practice.

Corollary: Beware of teachers whose main boast is how many books they’ve read, or that all of their knowledge is “book learned”. Such teachers will not be giving you anything authentic that you cannot learn on your own from the same books. A person “teaching” like this is perpetrating little short of plagiarism. To bring in the danger factor, you do not want someone “teaching” you the art of soul travel/astral projection who has never really done it themself. Don’t be someone else’s guinea pig. A teacher is a rich resource not only of the literary materials they have consumed, but of their own experiences: those triumphs, failures and illuminating moments of true enlightenment that cannot be learned from any book in print.

5. You have the right to expect your teacher to hold a broad education themselves, with specialty areas in which they might be considered to hold above-average knowledge. Anyone purporting to be a teacher of Witchcraft, Shamanism or one of the other forms of Paganism is held to a standard of excellence in their own community, and usually will have specialised in some branch or another of its components. Bonus points to a teacher who has cross- cultural initiations or similar expertise/other cultural referents to draw from. A broad educational base generally lends another primary desired quality of a good teacher: a broad mind.

Corollary: Ask your teacher to name their teachers or others in the community who know them, and talk to them before signing on to that particular teacher’s list. You may find they have an expertise in permaculture, spellcasting or soul retrieval – or you may discover knowledge that might lead you in another direction. It never hurts as a consumer of a service, to obtain references.

6. You have the right to expect discipline from your teacher. You have the right to expect that they will not let you get away with slackness in your learning, presentation or commission of your duties to them. When learning, expect no less than to apply yourself with the diligence most would reserve for a graduate school degree. A good teacher does their own research and give credit where it is due – expect the same of yourself. Be on time; ahead of time even, for lessons and coven/circle activities as your teacher should. Do one more bit of homework than is expected of you. Expect no less than excellence of yourself and you will be richly rewarded.

Corollary: You have the right to expect your teacher to be firm, but flexible within reason. Teachers should be expected to keep their committments to you as you do to them. Overly regimented structures are not conducive to learning, although sometimes in some traditions, such strictures may be put into place specifically to challenge you and help you grow. Look for teachers who walk the balance between firm and flexible for the best learning environment.

7. You have the right to expect change. Do not expect a smooth ride. Life is its own powerful teacher – learning the arts of Shamanism or Witchcraft are seriously advanced study in the crafting of your own soul. By virtue of this process, your issues will be brought out into the open and you will be expected to deal with them and act/react accordingly. How you react will be noted by your teacher and you can expect to have such reactions become the topic of discussion for your further growth. You have the right to expect during these “spiritual crises” for your teacher/s to be there for you to consult, lean on just a little bit and to provide you resources for getting through. You do NOT however, have the right to call the teacher in the wee hours every night of the week with a new crisis, to monopolize your teacher’s time for weeks on end due to a major crisis or series of smaller ones. Some support is to be expected from a teacher, but not unlimited support. Ask prior to your training what level of support the teacher is comfortable giving you and adhere to that. Know also when to refer yourself to a competent psychotherapist or healer. And if your teacher suggests you do so, take their advice without quibble. Clinginess from crisis-prone students who do not engage competent healing staff at the appropriate times is one of the behaviors that can be incredibly abusive of the teacher. If such clinginess is particularly time and energy consuming, it may cause the teacher to end their relationship with you.

Corollary: Your teacher does not have the right to use information concerning your spiritual crises against you, or to pass you off without seriously attempting to help you. Any teacher who does this you should immediately disengage from. Such a person is not the one to be trusting with your soul and your psyche as is required from a teacher of the metaphysical arts.

8. You have the right to be listened to, to have your questions answered and the right to expect a reasonable amount of your teacher’s time for the discussion of issues you might have with your training, different areas you wish to explore, etcetera. A good teacher like a good psychologist learns to listen more than talk in order to know what is important and relevant to you, the better to help them custom-craft your learning experience. Walk away from teachers who refuse you time to state your concerns, pooh-pooh your questions or who motormouth over your every utterance.

9. At the appropriate time, you have the right to expect your teacher to either inform you that it is time for you to move on into your own practice, or to be open to your suggesting something similar to them. A good teacher expects their students to mature and progress beyond them and will be quite pleased for you when this happens.

Corollary: Any teacher who keeps you hanging on indefinitely for initiation, advancement, further training et. al. with prolonged and continual protestations of “you’re not ready!” when you know you are is not behaving in a mature manner. If it gets to this point, leave and seek those who will support your spiritual growth and advancement.

The Answers You Seek

The Answers You Seek

Author:   Lady Wolfwind 

My daughter tells me that the answers that I seek are in the Bible. Oh, if she only knew. She doesn’t know me very well. I laugh to myself. I don’t seek any answers. I am at total peace within myself. I know that the answers will be revealed to me when I am ready. The more you chase after them, the least likely you are to find them at all.

True, at one point in my life I ran here and there. I was never satisfied. I was always reading and questioning everything. Surely, the great knowledge that I seek must be in a book somewhere. I was impatient and surrounded by chaotic thoughts. Caught up in the mundane world where money mattered above all else.

I don’t know when it changed. A few years ago. I’m not sure why. Some inner voice was whispering, nagging me. I wouldn’t ever listen. If I listened I knew I would have to take a different road, one no one else understood. I would stand out, I would not fit in. Long ago these were important things to me.

One day something changed. A new thought appeared. I had read and studied most of the world’s major religions. None of them appealed to me. What did appeal to me? Something I had heard long ago. A distant memory of quiet words spoken. “Follow your heart, for it will never deceive you. You are one of the few who has been chosen to walk with me.”

It seems like forever that I ignored that voice. That beautiful musical voice that one day would show me a path so magical that it seems an injustice that more people cannot hear. I now understand all that She had to tell me. To be quiet and listen. That all is not silent. The Universe speaks volumes to your soul. That I was born to be different; to march to a different beat and it is okay. That I have a purpose here on Earth to do Her work. To stop asking the questions and chasing answers.

The answers that I seek are on the wind. They are in the raindrops and the stars shining at night. Departed ancestors who deserve to be honored whisper them to me. They are heard in my children’s laughter and felt in my cat’s soft breath. They are all around me. I had to be still to hear. They’ve always been there.

When I first set foot on my path I was overwhelmed and could not learn enough. I read everything I could find, I researched terms and tried to find groups to join. I wanted to buy everything I thought I needed. I still wasn’t paying attention. Soon I learned to meditate, to open and heal my chakras, yoga. I learned and I practiced how to be still. Then I began to hear.

I am now a solitary and a very happy one at that. I don’t need all those fancy tools. Our ancestors and fellow wise women did not buy their tools. They didn’t gather together in secrecy. Most were loners who loved nature and knew how to use it to make the lives of everyone better. There is no chaos within me. I do not seek answers. The Bible, which my daughter speaks of, holds no interest to me. I feel that she is the one who has been blinded by false leaders and it saddens me.

Witches of old were wise women and men who knew the value of the silence. Great secrets are not written in books. They are not shared with just anybody. The witches of yesteryear listened and learned and healed. It was a mistake to forsake them, to bury them in history, to make them creatures to be feared. The true witches know the secrets and know how to keep them and who to share them with. The true witches are full of love for the world and all of the creatures in it. Witches do not need manmade laws to control their actions. We have a strong moral code within us that makes it impossible to hurt what we view as divine.

My daughter made a last ditch effort to convert me. It was a mistake. It made me think deeper. It made me realize how peaceful I was compared to others. She does not see the happiness in me. I sat and thought and really understood who I had become since I took the Goddess’s hand and began to walk with her. I am happy, I am wise and I am powerful. I am beautiful and I see beauty in everything around me.

I’m not so sure that her Bible will teach her any of this. Her words were filled with anger and disdain. Words that a child should never say to their mother. I had to step back and think about all that she had said. Were her words true? If so, I had made some terrible errors in my life. I talked to others who know me best, who have been with me for years. No, they didn’t understand what she was talking about or where this anger came from. It had been an attack that was unprovoked.

I listened and chose to write back. Why does it matter so much which path that I follow? Is this what she learns in her church? I chose not to send the letter. It is my belief to never do anything preceded by strong emotions. This is my child; I will not use words to hurt her. My answer is silence.

I say a blessing for her and her family. I shield my two younger children and myself. If anything, her mistake was to ingrain in the two younger ones the realization that Christianity may not be all that it is said to be. They asked me how her god could create such anger and pain. Didn’t her Bible teach her to love and honor her ancestors? Deep questions that I need to take the time to answer.

I suppose things will be a little different this full moon. We will need to send positive energy out to my daughter and her family. We will need to talk about forgiveness. We will need to discuss anger and pain and how it can be a bad thing as well as a good thing if dealt with properly. We will need to address how to deal with it properly and learn not to become consumed by it. I’ll need to teach them what happens when these emotions take control of your mind, how it will destroy you and those around you. How you cannot hear the Goddess speak to you if your mind is full of hate and not tolerance for others and their beliefs.

This morning I smile to myself. No, the answers I seek are not in the Bible. From what I can tell the answers my daughter seeks are not in the Bible either. All of this has confirmed that I am treading the right path, gently guiding the others who follow me. The Goddess has shown me how difficult life can become, even between a mother and daughter. I’m sure in time this will all heal. I know that I will forgive her, just not yet. I am human and first I must deal with the hurt.

It will be interesting to see what lesson comes from this situation and who was meant to learn it. I suppose there will be something for each of us. The question is, who will listen?

You


Witchy Comments & Graphics

You

by the Whyte Bard

You are a child of the goddess, a daughter or a son of the god, and you are here in joy. Live your life to its fullest, taking the good with the bad and learning from each.

Enjoy love, giving yourself to your lover as you will, but not so much that you lose your Self, and take that which is given by your lover, but not so much as to empty them of Selfhood.

You are both individuals who are walking together, side by side, in equal partnership, and if your paths should seperate, then so be it. Seperate in joy, not hate.

Love. Love life, love your fellow humans, and love our Brothers and Sisters in fur, feather and scale. Love your Mother Earth. We are caretakers of this planet; this is our Home.

Work. Do not live from the bounty of others, but live of your own, as an independent member of the whole. If you must take charity, take it in good grace, and return what you have been loaned therefrom when you can, be it in kind, or by whatever means you have.

Give. Give to those in need, and to those that hunger or thirst. Give not to inflate yourself, and to show others your magniminity, but give from a love for your fellow humans. Give of your substance, but more importantly, give a helping hand, that the person helped may support themselves, free from obligation.

Teach. Teach your children and teach others, not by words, for words can twist and lie, but by your own example. Teach kindness, and Understanding, and Joy, but most of all, teach Love. If you must discipline your children, discipline in love, not anger.

Think. Think before you speak. Think before you act. Consider your words and actions, and the effect they will have on others.

Learn. Learn from all, for even a fool may speak wisdom unknowingly. Most of all, learn thru the wide eyes of a child, seeing for the first time.

Ask. If you do not know, ask. If you are unsure, ask. If you are sure …ask again.

Speak the Truth. Live the Truth. Love the Truth. Seek after the Truth.

Harm none. Love all. For it is written, and it is undoubtly so, that what you have done to the least and smallest, you have done to the deity.

~Magickal Graphics~

Explorer Phase of Witchcraft: The Do’s and Don’ts…

Explorer Phase Do’s and Don’ts…

DO… Continue to read, study and record notes in your journal or Book. Why did you choose this athame over that wand? Why do you prefer sandalwood to jasmine? Should you hide your altar when Granny comes to visit?

DO… Begin to think about which Way appeals to you…Celtic? Egyptian? Druid? Can’t decide? Maybe you are the Eclectic type?

DO… Understand that you will be challenged as you begin to speak and interact with other Pagans. It’s our hobby. And it makes you think about what you say you believe in. It will tell you a lot about your commitment to the Path that you have chosen for yourself.

DO… Keep a sense of humor. It puts things into perspective. You will be laughing at yourself for a lifetime as you look back on your early days. We all do. We were just learning when we began and we weren’t always very good in our first attempts. (I’m laughing right now just thinking about the first time I cast a circle by myself!) But we did learn and you will, too. And since we all are continuing to learn each day, you will never run out of things to laugh about!

DO… “Talk little and listen much”. Lurk around the chat rooms. Peek in on a cybercircle. Check out your local area for open circles or workshops. Keep your eyes and ears open…opportunities for learning are everywhere.

DO… Continue to ask SPECIFIC questions. It is easier now that you have some real information under your belt, isn’t it? Instead of a broad-based “I dunno anything about this!”, you can ask “Well, what about THIS?” At last those answers are beginning to make some sense!

DO… begin thinking about Deities and ritual structure. Who of the Old Ones speaks to you? What sort of relationship would you have with the Deity of your choice-or the One who has chosen YOU?! What are the symbols associated with these Deities? Learn Their stories.

 


DON’T… Get ahead of yourself. All worthwhile lessons take time to become integrated into your spirit. The mind is usually the last to know! That is because your subconscious is learning through dreams and visions and symbols while your conscious mind is still struggling with the words. Continue to spend time alone to allow all your new feelings and thoughts to become clear. Take a walk and enjoy your life!DON’T… Put all your spiritual eggs into one basket. Even though you may have a favorite author, continue to read other viewpoints. Even though you may respect a Witch or Pagan, continue to listen to other voices. Read about the latest “conspiracy theory”. It may be ridiculous, but it does train the mind to be on the look out for alternatives. (However do know that if you are abducted by aliens, they didn’t hear about you from us!)

DON’T… Tell all that you know and don’t pretend to know about something that you don’t. Complete honesty may be difficult with other people, but it is essential to be honest with yourself. Lies waste energy.

DON’T… get frustrated because you STILL haven’t found out how to contact a coven. That will come later…if it is still what you want to do.

witchvox.com

Today’s Runes for June 20 is Berkana/Growth reversed

Berkana / Growth reversed

 

Aspects, hindering your growth are frightening you. Carefully revise your part in that process and the part of the others involved. If you realize, that you’ve put your own wishes above all, you might have found the source of the blockage. Gently free yourself from it and put new energy into reaching your goals. A positive outcome is guaranteed.

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for June 15th is 40: Deliverance

40: Deliverance

Hexagram 40

General Meaning: After a thunderstorm, or any period of extreme tension, a period of new clarity and fresh opportunity follows. The storm has the effect of clearing the air and suddenly reducing atmospheric tension. Deliverance is at hand. In the wake of a storm on land, deliverance appears in the form of new color and life, which bursts forth in all the fields and flowers. In the wake of a storm at sea, deliverance takes the form of land itself.

In the field of human relations, the rain of forgiveness washes the human landscape clean after a period of conflict and enmity. Great clarity of purpose and renewed vigor can follow the healing of old wounds. But care must be taken not to re-open such wounds by moving too quickly. In the same way, it is important to return to normalcy before moving ahead with new plans after periods of stress.

Following the resolution of a difficult situation, your first priority, should be to return to normal conditions as quickly as possible. Breathe a sigh of relief, but don’t relax completely. It would be a mistake to re-awaken the sleeping dogs of the immediate past before the new situation has crystallized. Look ahead. Attend to any residual matters that need resolution, and do so as quickly as possible. Make a clean sweep of the past, move deliberately and the future will bring good fortune

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for June 14th is 59:Dispersing

59: Dispersing

Hexagram 59
 
General Meaning: Nothing survives forever, not even rocks, not even the most rigid of structures. The erosion of that which has been solid is not necessarily bad: it can mean that something new is being created. The image is of ice floes, hardened in winter, dispersing in the warmth of spring; when the ice melts, a mighty river emerges.

Rigidity in the hearts of men and women tends to breed a separateness that can only be thawed by a greater force: typically, some strong spiritual stirring. The thawing of cold hearts always improves conditions.

The first thing to dissolve is any internal rigidity that separates you from others. Try to work more closely with your mates, concentrating on common activities which evidence your integrity and native goodwill. Sudden, strong action in support of a greater good can lift the spirit, and lead toward new possibilities in many areas. Spiritual impulses — including a strong sense of justice — should be honored, and acted upon. They can provide the initial impulse to important and constructive change.

And if you should have any lingering business or partnerships which are inactive or not working, you might consider dissolving these as well.

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for April 21st

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for Everyone:

50: The Cauldron

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Hexagram 50

General Meaning: The cooking pot symbolizes nourishment and rejuvenation. Sooner or later, good comes to those who do good; joy comes to those who bring humor to others; opportunity comes to those who persist in their dreaming. Rejuvenation is a returning to innate desires — and a re-charging of batteries through the fulfillment of these wishes. This reading suggests nourishment and transformation for people of goodwill. Great good fortune and success are indicated for nourishing relationships.

Healthy, regular sustenance is important, as symbolized by the cooking pot, which provides nourishment to all. When a cycle of humanity reaches its peak, each person’s sustenance comes in the form of his or her deepest needs and highest aspirations.

Rejuvenation means that men and women of talent and insight are being properly nourished and valued. When a society or group is functioning properly, these people are supported, and encouraged to contribute to their best abilities. A fresh approach to old habits is indicated in a period of rejuvenation. Look for ways of putting new life in old forms. Only when great vitality is present can breakthroughs be achieved.

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for 4/17

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for Everyone:

18: Repairing What is Spoiled

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Hexagram 18

General Meaning: Something is starting to rot and it is time to repair the damage. In the world of human affairs, indulgence and corruption grow like weeds in an untended garden; they must be faced squarely, and rooted out through bold action. Eliminating corruption — and the sloppiness that leads to it — is one of the most ennobling of all human enterprises. Correction of flaws in the system clears the way for fresh, new beginnings.

The time has come to become lean and efficient. The weeds must be rooted out now, before the garden is overwhelmed. Fighting decay, sloppiness and corrupt agendas is not a simple matter; all steps must be evaluated carefully. Planning must precede action. Resist the temptation to strike out prematurely. Gather strength behind you, and summon your inner resources, because arresting decay is no simple task. When you do act, make your strike as precise and clean as the path of the surgeon’s knife