Monday, April 4, 2011

Gotta Change The Name of This Blog

     Seems the focus lately has been teaching and what-not. So what the hell, I'll go with it. Also, sorry about the rambling, but isn't that part of what folks do here on these things? Ramble their thoughts out?
     Over the years (ooh that sounds so pompous)   uhh, let's try again:

     damn, I had a good lead-in while I was outside smoking, now I've forgotten it.

     I want to quit wasting my time. That doesn't mean never farting around, or turning into a hard-core bootstrap-type; I just want more of what I do to be productive. I've learned a lot in my life, I think, even though I did not attend college, or have a career, or have a showplace home, umm, or stay married so far longer than seven years a pop. (don't ask. I mean it--don't ask. More than once, okay?) I now understand that you learn more from your mistakes and bad choices (when you recognize them as bad, lol) than you do from the actions or choices that turned out well. Pretty basic stuff, huh? In theory, yes. I think I would have turned into a pretty smug person if most things I ever did all turned out well.
     Point being I believe I'm reasonably qualified to spout off here, give the ideas and suggestions I'm giving, and so forth. I guess I had an unsure moment, wondering if I should be doing this. Who am I to give advice to anyone?
     Well, that may be a good jumping-off point. What qualifies any of us to give advice is being asked. Does that mean the answer is necessarily coming from a font of accurate knowledge? LOL--No. We were asked; we answer presumably in an honest manner based on our personal knowledge and life experience, and hopefully don't give in to the occasional impulse to satisfy an impish sense of humor.
     I've been asked certain things often enough to feel comfortable with setting down some standard answers to those standard questions. Most of those questions have come from aspiring witches and have little to do with the business of witchery, ie, spellcraft and workings.
     So I guess where I'm going here is I think there is a segment of magical training that is often ignored, either unintentionally or out of an understandable refusal on the part of the teacher to deal with it, and that segment is exactly what I've been talking about here so far: The Domestic Witch---Life-Skills 101.
     It IS necessary!! Without these skills, much of what new witches learn can take oh-so-much longer, and for no reason!

     Wow......has blogging just allowed a multitude of decades-long thoughts to coalesce into a cohesive new concept? I think maybe so, folks. Damn---I wonder if you can print this stuff out?

     I think I may be starting a new blog soon! Hooray! FINALLY!! Some damn direction for all this!!

     Well, I for one am very excited about this. More later. I need to do a little thinking.

More On Students

     7) Don't Go To Them.

     Are you rolling your eyes yet? Thinking I just don't have a generous bone in my body?
     I resent that---I do, too. If I didn't, I wouldn't have learned these things, lol.
     The reasons you don't go to them are that: One, if they aren't willing to find a way to get to you to learn, they don't want to learn that badly. You have to go out of your way to be Pagan, or a witch. The sooner they learn all this isn't necessarily easy the better off you'll both be. It weeds out the people who are serious from the ones who are bored and looking for a novel way to waste time. Yours.
     Two, it establishes that you are not at their beck and call, and politely sets a boundary that really needs to exist.
     How to do this? Well, remember when I suggested earlier that we need to set "the rules" from jump? Okay, that is the time to make this point. Heck, write a hand-out you give to all---and I do mean all---people who ask you about learning. You state or write down "I teach from my home." And that's it. When asked why, you can say "Because that's where I'm most comfortable teaching."

     But moving on, one of the things I've gotten in the habit of doing over the years and am now seeing doesn't work (the way I do it, I mean), is making sure the person has basics of life in order before we start on any magic or pagan learning. They approach this notion with all the enthusiasm of a French nobleman meeting Madame la Guillotine. What are those life basics? The students I've had have nearly all been women, so I'll just go with that.

        Bathe daily. By the time they get to me, mine are usually super depressed and overwhelmed by their domestic life-management, and a shower can just seem like a low priority. I can dig it, but it ain't happenin' here, so wash yore fanny. Wear some make-up if you're a make-up kind of gal. Do the laundry, dishes, keep the house sanitary, cook for your family, manage the money and household resources, etcetera.

     As stated, I typically encounter a great deal of resistance to this idea. Well, what is has to do with magic and being a witch is that I learned witches do not live in squalid, untidy surroundings; witches do not ignore the health or appearance of their own bodies; witches try not to waste their resources; and witches take care of the business of life---part of which is attending properly to their home and all within it. Letting things go does not make any "point" to the spouse/partner, except to make him or her puzzled and frustrated. Witches do these things because it is what we do; it isn't a duty, but a privelege. Many of my girls have felt, rightly so, that the things they do are not appreciated, and that they are not getting the respect as equals they deserve. My answer to this is the same. You do this first for YOU. If, after you have met your life responsibilities as an adult, you are still unsatisfied with your status in the relationship or household, then change your life situation.  
     Lack of knowledge has also been a barrier for many, the main reason I finally just started tackling this subject first. Stresses, depression, anxiety, and general upset over the home, how they look, and so on winds up interfering with learning anything magical, because who do they come to first? You. They are comfortable with you and they trust you, so you hear everything. Not to mention that when spells don't--literally--magically fix everything, they get disgusted and want to quit. Sure you can tell'em magic doesn't work that way, that witchcraft is as much a way of life as it is mysticism & spell craft; they don't believe it, though. So I just started getting through "life situation" first, and I physically helped. If you all only knew how many homes I have helped clean, provided cleaning supplies for, and much more..........
     Now, though, after this personal awakening, I see I am not really up for this anymore. Plus, they either get bored and quit, or are so happy with the results that they no longer care about learning witchcraft. Sigh. Okaaayyyyy. Did I waste my time? Not exactly. In the bigger picture it helped them, but was that what I'd offered to do in the first place? Quite a conundrum, because I feel strongly about people's success in life partially hinging on having good domestic skills.
     (We've drifted a little far from shore today, haven't we? Sorry about that.)

     I think what I'm going to do is get a little more formal: pull together a manual/handbook for people who ask to learn including all this information. Set weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks for them to accomplish. Come visit me on the days we've set, bring your handbook, and we'll see where you are with meeting those expectations.
     I've let myself get too personally involved, is the problem, in a sincere desire to help. Well, I helped, alright, and still didn't accomplish myself what I set out to do! I have kept banging my head against the same brick wall for years and years...tweaking here and there, but not taking a hard look at what I was doing wrong. I don't think I had the life experience before to see the mistakes, really.  ......aaaannd maybe I might possibly have been lazy about wanting to make a formal lesson plan & handbook? Maybe thought about it and didn't persevere? yeah, yeah, yeah.
     Crap. More on this later. Just remembered one of hubby's clients will be here this morning to drop off paperwork.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Back Again, Continued

     6) Don't compromise your solitude.

     Again, your value to this person--student--is you as is. Don't compromise that by bending, giving in, or "just this once" having ritual with them. ESPECIALLY NOT A STUDENT. Ritual is a very personal time for Solitaries. By sharing this with a student, you are in a way conferring a status on them they have not yet earned. Sitting in outside THEIR ritual is another kettle of beans. Student may feel insecure about his/her performance and want you there to give the nod. That's fine, in my opinion, if you are okay with holding their hand, and some of our babies need that. I would also limit what real workings they witness you do beyond ritual. Again, examples are one thing. When you start including them in spells, magical or ritual acts, you are no longer really Solitary. Why is this important? Because it is a line drawn from day one. If that line is broken or violated, it paves the way for any other rule you've made to be similarly "bent"---BROKEN. If you have been asked to teach, you have the right, the prerogative, to set the terms of said teaching. Your student will learn nothing of value from you if from the outset they discover they can manipulate and influence you to their own satisfaction.   

Back Again...

Hah! Shit, font again...there we go. I know, I know---AGAIN? But who cares, it's my damn blog. It's been an interesting day, if a bit quiet. Lots more computer time than usual. Dunc' is home, as aforementioned, on Spring Break. We're both limited in activities since the weather went bi-polar on us.
     Oh. ha-ha. Unintended, but that was kind of funny, you have to admit. (it got freakishly cold, changeable...?) 
        I subscribed to someone else's---dammit! Why does that happen? I keep hitting the tab button. I think that's it. Subscribed to someone else's blog today; a person who seems interesting. We'll see how that goes.
     Well, this is supposed to have a purpose, so I'll work on that. Maybe more sophistication will develop with time. It's not like anyone is reading this, anyway, ha-ha.
     On the occasions I've taught, I haven't been very good at it. I'm Solitary, period. The ramifications of this fact should have been obvious from day one, but they weren't. What can I say? I love the idea of teaching; sharing what you've learned over the years, all your dumb-ass mistakes (especially your dumb-ass mistakes), the light in someone's eyes when they finally get it, and all the rest of that feel-good rhetoric. It's true. Teaching is great----when it's rewarding. The rest of the time it's a freakin' hassle: Deciding whether to adjust your own snobby attitude and dumb down the curriculum, or stick to impractical ideals rooted in Ego and choose to deny that wide-eyed Disney-esque student knowledge they could put to good use if it was altered to suit their...uuh, intellectual ability. And who am I to decide such a thing anyway? I have a high-school edumacation; I'm no genius or go-getter.
     So, after this recent epiphany about just being happy, I finally think "You know? Fuck it: I have some things to share. Some may find them of value." The only realistic way for me to do this is just blurt it out without being interrupted. 

     You Solitaries who choose to give in to pressure and teach? I advise:

1) Stop the give-aways before they start.

     I know--it's just an ink pen and a notebook, or a journal you aren't using. It won't hurt to let her copy a few pages out of your books; you have a copy machine after all and she's so broke? You grew a ton of that herb last year and she could use it. You really aren't USING those empty jars and s/he doesn't HAVE any.....
     ....blah, blah, blah. I know. I did the same thing, over and over again, then couldn't figure out why my students morphed into needy people who couldn't seem to figure anything out on their own, much less make an effort to help themselves. I'm not saying don't ever do it. I'm suggesting instead you offer a barter. I have this to give in exchange for__________. Let them make an offer. If your student isn't that Earthy or confident, a suggestion may be in order, and make sure you have a small box of things or gift-bag-full to send. In other words, one notebook or other item they need is going to be obvious and they'll feel like a charity case. The flip side of that is an otherwise nice person who is also perfectly willing to take from you. Forever. If they're still either shy or obtuse, mention casually that you have a box of stuff you can get rid of in exchange for whatever job or trade of your choosing, and do they know anyone who might be interested? Even the shyest, meekest person can't miss that. 

2) Don't change what comes naturally to you. 

     In other words, don't bother. The reason this person wants you to teach her/him is because of how you came across to them in the first place. They are willing to learn from you as-is or not. If not, then so be it. Don't dumb it down, don't change the order of what feels right to you, don't lessen requirements you believe are necessary; and DON'T let or expect the student lead, even if you are not a rigid individual and are not conferring "degrees". I did this too, thinking mistakenly that they would appreciate the freedom. They don't. People who approach someone for teaching either want the guidance, or they're after what they think is a quick-fix for their life. Either way, you find out quickly who is whom.

3) Lay it on the line from the get-go: "This is what I expect, period."

     Be specific, and try not to think about who you might be offending. Me, I've had to tell people (more than once) that personal hygiene is expected, and to what level. Don't think for a moment that you won't have to tell someone this at some point. I advise including that cleanliness in their environment is also expected, because sooner or later you will be in this person's home, but expect to help get it clean once. Don't be ridiculous in your demands; you aren't a dictator, after all. Just make your standards clear.


     You will not get them back, or in the same condition, and will garner resentment for asking for the items back. If you are a "nice person" who doesn't want to offend anyone, IE, You do not like confrontation--then Practice This Statement:  "Oh, I'm sorry....I keep my books here for study, but you are welcome to come read them here." When you get the hard-sell from someone who won't be nice back, then you say more firmly: "I'm sorry, that's just not something I do." And let the silence be awkward. You offered use of the books YOU bought, YOU paid for, and that is generous enough. Also, be firm about how the books are to be handled. Make a joke out of it if necessary. "I know I'm about to be a jerk, but no cheese puffs while you read, don't break the spines, fold pages, underline, highlight........" and so on. You'd be surprised what people will do if not told.  Personally, I am about to do a book round-up. One person has borrowed a few. I can trust her, but after all these years I'm still just uncomfortable with them being gone. Plus, some of your books may wind up going out of print and being unavailable. Do you want to spend a fortune replacing them? Or worse--not being able to? Don't do it. An offer to read is plenty generous enough.

This post will be continued when I move to another computer!


     Well, I see I'm going to have to change the name of this damn blog. Serves me right for not being more creative. At least I know how to find this again, hahaha.


On a whim, I decided to try and make a blog spot. Or whatever you call it. Tried to tinker with the color and background, but it didn't take. That may have something to do with the fact that my eight year old knows more about the mysterious inner workings of computer technology than I do. I wonder if I can change the font? Let's try that. Aha! Verdana.
     Well, now I feel like the obnoxious four-year old who wants everyone's attention at a funeral, then doesn't know what to do once he has it.
     I suppose it's fair to say I had something of an epiphany recently with regard to my spiritual beliefs and practices: I am choosing to try and live more simply and more happily. "Simply" for me not involving giving up electricity, music, frozen dinners, appliances, or antibiotics. "Simply" meaning getting rid of crap and clutter I've carted around for twenty years for no good reason, 
     ......and some other things I can't think of right now because I've had about six interruptions to this train of thought.
     Basically, I've returned to my solitary witch roots. (LOL--only a Pagan would be secretly pleased she is finally old enough to have "roots". I guess now it's not so much of a secret, eh?) Something clicked in my head two and a half weeks ago--it was like waking up out of a coma of ten years. And I'm happier. It was that simple. I'm taking an interest in hobbies and other things I'd gradually developed an apathetic attitude toward, or which had just lost its zest, like magic.
     Ladies and gents, I don't know how that happens; how you can just "lose it" when esp/abilities, magic, pagan spirituality have been such a huge feature of much of your life, but apparently it can and indeed does happen. If anyone else out there is going through this, please don't give up. It comes back, but only in its own dang good time. In the meantime you just keep trying, and that's the best advice I can give. 
     I've been studying again, reviewing the basics--may take awhile, lol--and am slowly sliding toward learning some more advanced stuff. I'd like to make some witchy acquaintances in my area, but as an Elf in a novel I read once said, "The water for tea will boil when it boils, and not before..." Still, there is a lot I'd like to share. Here on a blog, I can hope those thoughts, ideas, methods, habits, and techniques might be read by someone, somewhere. I can see why these things are popular. It's the next best thing to a global human consciousness, yes? LOL. I can imagine a superior intelligence up there somewhere looking on us, thinking indulgently "Aww...they're trying so hard..."
     But, I digress. If you don't appreciate irreverent humor this isn't the spot for you, so please don't be nasty. If you are I'll do my best to ignore you instead of getting my feathers ruffled. Also, with a respectful nod to the Traditionals, I learned on my own, some of what I learned you may feel is incorrect. No offense intended, but your opinions on the subject are irrelevant here. There are plenty of spots where more traditional methods, information, and techniques can be learned, written about, and discussed ad nauseum. My little corner of the internet is for me and any other square pegs who may be interested in what is written here. 
     "Witches Alone", now that title wasn't the first I picked. I actually thought "WitchOne" was rather witty, but apparently someone else did, too, haha, so this is what I came up with instead. Folks, I like being Solitary. I wish I could have more social contact with other witches, though I guess it just comes with the territory. Maybe this blog won't turn out to be entirely futile in that regard.
     Moving on, I have an energetic seven year old at home on Spring break who is monstrously bored with me typing. Better sign off for now, and try to figure out out the rest of this blog shit works. Hopefully it won't be a month before I can get back on it. Or find it.