Thursday, August 20, 2009

Something In The Air

I imagine it's something about late August.

For most of my life, I would feel it: that awareness that, no matter what you did, Summer was going to end, you were going to have to put on shoes, and the time by the creek every day was just about over. The one thing that would make that worthwhile for me was the coming of cool, crisp Autumn days, new notebooks, cracking the spines on new textbooks, a chance to start over, the hope that this year, this year, this year, I could "do better," and "get it all right." You know that you know that feeling.

And, now, it appears to be impacting the Paganii in Blogistan. Livia is remembering what it was like to be a newbie to Wicca, untaught and unaware. And, several of the leading lights of the Pagan Blogiverse are offering Wicca 101 classes. If you live anywhere near Gus, you'd be v lucky to study Wicca 101 with him. Friday a friend and I are getting together to plan our Wicca 101 class this fall. Some time ago I discussed how Pagans nationally lack teachers who have had experience in what they teach. I had thought about starting up a Wicca 101 class this spring, putting my energy where my mouth is. But summer is a bad time to have classes, because so many people are always traveling around.

Fall and winter are better, though for us Wiccans I think it's important to begin before Samhain or after Yule.
Similarly, in Asheville, Byron Ballard is teaching 101: I haven't taught a beginning Wicca class in a long time and am teaching one now. It is true that one learns most by teaching something to others. And the class is holding me to the standards I set for them, which is good.

We start each class with a check-in period and then go on to talk about daily practice. They all shared what they'd been doing and then one of them asked me--so how's your daily practice?

Ha, terrible. I'm the worst Dianic ever. I haven't done daily practice in about a week and I would feel so much better if I did.

So--busted by my class.

It's a good thing.
BTW, how's yours? Daily practice, I mean.

If I lived in San Francisco, (next year in Jerusalem, next year, in the Holy Land), I'd sign up for Nature as a Sacred Text with Starhawk. Whether we are looking to heal and transform our personal hurts or the huge wounds our society inflicts on the earth and other human beings, the earth herself is our greatest teacher and healer. The ancient Goddess traditions had no sacred texts or dogmas; instead, their mystics learned to read the book of nature. Understanding how the earth's cycles work, how change occurs in nature, and how mother earth designs co-evolving, interdependent systems can help us be better designers of the changes we want to see in our own life and the world. Our connection to earth is our deepest source of hope, renewal, and strength.
This course weaves together readings, lecture, and experiential practices from earth-based ritual traditions with insights from permaculture and nature awareness, to open our ears to nature's communications, help us connect more deeply with her great transformative powers, and bring those creative energies fully alive in our lives, homes and communities.

Finally, Lunea's teaching an online class, which is great if you DON'T live anywhere near a meat-space class. Ninth Wave is a year-long journey of spiritual opening and centering. Ninth Wave is not a spiritual or religious tradition – it is an eclectic, Goddess-focused approach that allows each Seeker to explore herself and her own relationship with Spirit. The purpose of this exploration is that the Seeker make meaningful changes in her life, and that her spiritual path and practice become the foundation of all that she does in the world.

I'm a v good student. I love everything about "school" -- the chalk dust, the taking notes, the memorizing (honest, I do!), the research and the writing. I had some amazing teachers growing up, and, like playing the balalaika, that's a gift. Merci, Sr. Michael Anthony, Sr. Tarsisus, Miss Snyder, Mrs. Ichangelico, Mrs. Kaplan, Mr. Lineberry. None of whom, you must trust me on this, expected me to be promoting classes in witchcraft at the ripe old age of 53.

If you're aware of other classes that I've missed, please post them in comments. And go buy a nice, new notebook.

Photo found here.

Postscript: Several times a month, I get emails asking how one begins to study witchcraft. Well, we don't make it easy and, IMHO, that's as it should be for a mystery religion. But if you can't take a class, you can read Starhawk's Spiral Dance. Go from there.

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