Thursday, September 17, 2009

Energy Exchange, Gratitude and Teaching

There is a very interesting discussion happening on Face book in my area(Denver).

A Wiccan priestess and mental health care professional that I respect very much is
asking the question, "how do we live in a alterni-culture that expects a lot from us, and mostly for nothing. I know this has been an ongoing discussion in the larger community for years, and I'm not looking at the idea of money so much as what happened to gratitude and the notion of caring about our priestesses and how they live. Or what about gratitude and willingness to be aware of give and take, and how do you convey that to students in ways that work?"

For the record, I do not have an answer. It's been something I've been thinking about lately. One of my colleagues is writing about guidelines for practitioners and healthy boundaries between energy workers and clients, so obviously the thought is in the ether and therefore should be addressed by as many people as possible.

I'm not Wiccan now. I'm technically a priestess( I preside over rituals both seasonal and transitional), but most of the work I do now is more personal rather than congregational.
I did get my 1st and 2nd degrees in a Neo-Gardenarian tradition, so I know how the student/teacher paradigm works. It is a very solemn, oath sworn teacher responsible for student relationship with strict controls over what the student is doing magically and spiritually.

I realized that paradigm didn't work for me as a student(stemming from my own lessons about control, cults of personality and discernment), so I have been reluctant to impose it on anyone else. So I started a study group a few years ago. Since heathery is described often as the religion with home work, the first year was split equally between studying the Norse world-view and elementary energy work, sensing energy, sensing auras/chakras/wheels/energy centers, grounding, shielding, centering. The second year we spent studying the world view as it applied to present life, runes and more advanced energy work, sensing auras and working with elemental energies. Now in our third year, we've moved on to spell work, journeying and healing.This evolved practice has resulted in I don't have formal students along the Wiccan paradigm as much as I have students-colleagues.

I teach the skills I've learned over many years of trial and error, supplemented with books like Diana Paxson's Trance-portation or the Eddas or Blain's Nine Worlds of Seid Magic. They read, do the work and come to me if they have problems or issues. But there is no intimate life entanglement that I have seen and experienced with the Wiccan teacher/student model. They take responsibility for what they do and they try to work out their problems themselves first. I only get consulted or asked for help if they can't find their way through the issue themselves. Sometimes that makes me nervous, sometimes that makes me relieved. I'm still working it out in my heart.

So what does this have to do with the original question?
To be fair, the person I'm quoting is a very prominent person in the local community. Therefore I'm sure she gets called upon much more often than I do, as I am not a prominent member of my local community, either Wiccan or Heathen.

I believe there is a great deal of gratitude shown by my colleagues, just by the fact they continue to show up to rituals and classes. They are all professional people with very busy lives. If this wasn't important to them, they'd find something else to do.

As far as give and take is concerned, I get as much as I give. They are all kind, generous people that are willing to help me out if I have any problems or issues. The year and a half I spent unemployed they were all very encouraging. I got job interviews with two of their companies based on their recommendations and my son and I never went hungry.

Perhaps the reason that my colleagues understand the give and take is that they were not students in the traditional Wiccan sense. That by leaving them with their sense of self-reliance, they are then more able to and comfortable with giving and taking as part of learning.

Or perhaps my colleagues are different from normal people. Aliens or higher evolved beings or Colorado School of the Mines alumni :)

Like I as at the beginning, I don't have an answer.

As usual, your mileage will most certainly vary.

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