After all their dedication and commitment they truly deserve to teach...they made it! The class was large, half of those people made it to the finish line (this is usually the way it is). No matter what happened, they went to rituals every new and full moon and classes in between constantly journaling doing homework, and sticking to one deity while working jobs, and having healthy relationships! Now that is a balancing act! That does not count that they were involved in the Temple, they became active in their community and they learned or found themselves walking their talk!
They will call us all into circle singing our blending energies/come to ritual song:
"You approach the sacred grove,
with heart and mind and flesh and bone,
Join us now in ways of old...
You have come home!"
The circle will have been smudged and cleansed, all of us will be challenged, we will be purified, the circle will be cast by them, the elementals called in by them, the God and Goddess called in for us by them, and then they will dispense the message of their Gods to us, and share the sacraments with us.
A couple of nights ago they all came over to the Temple and "practiced their ritual" in the circle. Constantly questioning.."were they doing it right?", going over what they were going to say, and do...when you lit the candles, rung the bell, sang a song, how to draw down a circle properly, etc. Finally, Rev. Allison and I explained that when it happened it would be different. She and I know that "circle time" where you are between the worlds and beyond the boundaries of time, and in the real plane are completely different. She and I realize that when you truly lend yourself to a deity for them to speak to the people things come out of your mouth not planned; and you sing songs and do things you have no idea where they came from...but they are what the community gathered needed to hear and needed to see. We were proud of them, for they are a new generation of pagans that will leave their mark, and we had a "little bit" to do with that. After we encouraged, reassured, and bouyed their spirits...they left. Tonight, I get to experience it all, playing the drum as they raise that cone of power. Just think most of them had no idea what a cone of power was a year or two ago!
My husband after they left, pointed out that back when we were trained the only way we learned (since there were not many pagan books back then are if there were we could not get ahold of them here in the south) we had to listen to our priest or priestess and then just practice...over and over again. I remember drawing circles over and over until I got it right . I remember invoking and evoking deities, and working with elementals until I got comfortable...no one was there to guide me; only a person to check up on me when I was done for back to circle I would go only to show what I had "learned on my own" after the ritual with the Priestess. This was a good way to learn, for there is much to be said for hands on learning. In fact, I feel that having a teacher, curriculum, hands on learning, and a team full of people mentoring you (not just one that might be hours away) is the best way I can think of to learn. I pray this class looks back on this system lovingly and think the same...and if not that they improve on this method. Hopefully, we get better as a community of Pagans as time passes there are more books, more of us, and more possibilities of training.
I bring the hands on training up, because while I realize many cannot find teachers other than on the internet or in books written by a highpriestess/highpriest or advanced witch...that there is ALOT to be said for hands on learning, and having a circle to practice and worship with every other week, and having a team full of mentors to constantly encourage you and listen to you! I understand not everyone has that, but I do want those of you out there that do not have that opportunity to realize that if you have a chance to go to a coven or any kind of community event that this is an opportunity for learning! If it feels uncomfortable (and not the kind of uncomfortable because you are being asked to do something against your personal ethics) then remind yourself that when you are asked to leave your comfort zone it is scary! But you cannot learn, if you do not leave your comfort zone. DO IT AFRAID! Seek out others of your path, even if it is someone you just met in a bookstore ( I have made lifelong witchy friends that way).
When you witness another persons circle, you are truthfully witnessing their tradition. They were taught by someone (usually not themselves) to do things a certain way and they adjusted that into a way that worked for them. It is so fascinating to get all the different groups up here together and see what we all have in common and what we all do differently even though some of us are only a few hours apart! Some of the circles have the same deities, or pantheons and then you have weird mixes like our Temple where they are really eclectic (Celtic Hps, Hindu HP an HPS, Eclectic HP and Egyptian Kemetic HPS). How fun to learn about others "ways of doing things"! How fun to learn new ways to call in elementals, draw circles, or songs that the other regions sing every ritual...how wonderful to realize you like your way and prefer it to the others!
Tonight, the second group of Temple students will finish their final exam and I will cry I am sure, and I know I will be prouder than a pig in mud. On Imbolc they will receive their degrees and jump the fire of IMBOLC and I will really choke up...but what gives me hope in this world is seeing others love and do what I love to do. What makes me keep on going no matter what is being able to share with others what I have been taught by others "much smarter and much more witchy" than I (PS I Still have elders and others sharing lessons with me though I am not formally training now). What will make my year, will be handing those students whom I love as family and realizing that many of them will now be entering my third degree class and I will get the chance to walk with each one of them as they continue their personal spiritual paths and let me coach them, and choose me as a mentor!
If you know some things please share and teach! Realizing there can be no greater gift than to Teach our traditions, Share our Spirituality, and take part in the Legacy that we will inevitable leave behind! If you want to learn, well do so..but keep in mind that no matter what you read, no matter what online course you take until you get out there in the cold, and rain, and heat and Practice; you know nothing more than facts. Magick is experienced, and I will swear it is better than sex! To those of you learning, and dedicating yourself constantly doubting yourself...DO not Doubt! You are going to get there, and we are all so very very proud of you for taking time out of your busy life and dedicating big portions of it to our Gods and Goddesses and our communities!
As always...Thank you for reading, and thank you for the gift of your time!