Sunday, November 27, 2016

Headscratcher: Nevermind the misspelling man behind the curtain

It really is annoying when ever I hear or see the red herring terminology like this little gem I found online, by someone in my area who promotes himself as a local leader and is taking students, for a minimal fee, to teach Craft:

"I call what I teach, a modified form of Gardinarian Wicca. What that means is that I use traditional methods for teaching, and very traditional forms for ritual. Any Gardinarian coming to my ritual would immediately recognize it... The difference is that I have modified some elements in ways that work better for me. This is the basis of Witchcraft..."

Yeah.  That.

So my fellow pointy-hatted many things are wrong with this diatribe?  Let's count, shall we?

ONE:  This guy charges for training in the Craft --- this in and of itself tells me that he hasn't had British Traditional Training, because if he had, he'd know we don't ever charge for training.  It is bad form, bad juju, bad manners.  If he is teaching his own form of the Craft, he can do what he likes in so far as charging for it ---although as a potential student, how would you know the value of the teaching is worth the cost of the class?--- but his stuff isn't BTW-based then, since he's ascribed a financial value to it.

TWO:  Spelling it 'Gardinarian' is a sure-fire way to say you are either too lazy to spell-check Gerald Gardner's name and thus the namesake tradition....or else you were being purposefully sneaky by not using the correct spelling, thereby giving yourself the ability to say "I used a variant of old Gerald's name to denote my stuff is a variant of the real Garderian tradition."

That latter bit then brings us to...

THREE:  Saying your stuff is a variant of something to which you are not privy is ridiculous.  It is impossible to truly know what encompasses Gardnerian traditional Craft practice unless you are an initiate of that how can you say yours is a variant of something you do not know first hand??!?  Moreover, you wouldn't be exposed to all of the teachings of a Gardnerian tradition unless you were brought all the way through to 3rd Degree, and then given permission to teach it, with duly made oaths to not expose what you've been foresworn in your practice and revelatory experience to others, unless they too are proper people, given similar initiation into the tradition and likewise foresworn to protect it?

Thus, what we have here is someone once again wanting the "pagan street cred" of claiming knowledge of things he may only have barest gleanings about, then making assumptions and suppositions about those little bits and then "making it his own" in some fashion and claiming his is a "modified version" of the whole encompassing reality of a tradition to which he isn't a member.


I think not.

But there are folks like this out there, gang.  Still.  They think people like me --the people who call them out on their verbal slight-of-hand and dubious integrity in Craft teaching--- they think I AM A BIG MEANIE POOPYHEAD.

With all due respect, I'm just protecting my tribe, my tradition, good sir.  I'm doing what my oaths say by shining a big spotlight on you.

And if you DID have the initiation you claimed to have, you'd know this.  You'd know better.

Go do you your own Craft thing.  Go teach others, and do so with all good intention and aplomb.  I applaud you and wish you all good success.

Just stop trying to ascribe some vague notion of that my tradition, however you may bastardize its spelling, is a "stamp of approval" toward what you're doing.

To Tree or Not to Tree? THAT is the question!

Well, as you can see, I said yes to the tree. 

Surely there is enough precedent for tree-hugging and nature worship within paganism as a whole, enough allegory for the Tree of Life in ceremonial magics to see the whole useful symbolism of having a decorated tree in the house during the holiday season.

For me it serves the purpose of making my Catholic parents happy because they look at it and see Christmas.  It reminds me of my childhood too, with all the family gathered 'round and enjoying company and Santa with all the trimmings.

For me today, the tree gives me thoughts of happy Winter Solstice celebrations with my witch-family and carrying on the traditions of burning the Yule log  (NB: mines a fake tree, I have a separately collected wood specimen for the Yule log burning).

And besides all that....I like the whole hoopla of getting the family together to decorate the tree and the house with lights and branches and pine cones.  I love the smelling all the wintry smells of pine needles, of mulled spiced cider, of gingerbread and cinnamon.  I love being out in the cold long enough to appreciate the warmth of the fireplace and a cup of cocoa with whatever marshmellows are left over, those that didn't fit atop the sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving.

This year's tree is special for me.  This is the first holiday season that I am spending with my fiance since moving in together.  Like so many other things, we came into the relationship with our separate stuff and are now learning how to combine it into OUR stuff. 

I'm enjoying the process of seeing what familial traditions are sacrosanct for each of us and which we want to jettison and create anew, just between us.

So this tree is one, mulligan.  I had the tree itself, but the old decorations reminded me of a past life with my ex-husband.  Similarly, the stockings that my fiance had held too many memories of his ex-wife and kids, now estranged and distant.

Thus, we went out to pick something else for OUR future together.  Something that would speak to the colorful and bright new life beginning together while we're both somewhat beaten down and jaded and steadily approaching 50. 

Never too late for a happy ending, kids, so ELECTRIC PEACOCK it is!!