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Switch to Forum Live View Does the age you embrace Paganism matter?
6 years ago  ::  Jun 16, 2009 - 7:54AM #61
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

 


TM,


Please do.


C.H.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 16, 2009 - 8:00AM #62
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

RW,


This isn't a SST thread so digressions off the topic are not only normal but expected. Think of any longer conversations you have had around a dinner table, did those stay on the same topic for their duration?


"Perhaps this is where I derive my multi-sized glass thoughts. Perhaps they don't have that capacity to achieve the same fullness as some, due to limitations placed on this incarnation, either by the Self (as I believe) or by divine will...as other might."


If one perceives someone from the snapshot of a current incarnation, then a multi-glass analogy might indeed seem to fit. Yet...if limitations in that incarnation do not lend themselves to achieving the fullness or perhaps seeking to do so, that doesn't address the capacity to do so - given opportunity or extraordinary or life-transforming circumstances. IMB, it is not the Self that places those limits or divine will but a combination of four factors.


First, the Self chooses to be reborn in order to complete healing work that my ability translates as the breaking/reforming of habits no longer needed as well as patterns of relationships with others. A Self will search for parents whose circumstances MAY provide opportunities to do so. This is never guaranteed.


Second, with rare exceptions, being re-born places past life memories including those patterns and habits into the subconscious. The sheer physicality of being reborn into a human body and the developmental stages of an infant make these the priority. If circumstances including faith and beliefs do not nurture or support a connection between the subconscious memories and incarnational awareness, these memories will remain providing perhaps no more than phobias, instinctive habits or likes and dislikes that cannot be explained.


Third, is the human capacity to change which some term the principle of free will. Those selected parents may make choices that negate or change radically the circumstances the Self envisioned and choose. Everyone connected with that incarnation as it unfolds including the 'self' also make choices that will change those circumstances. Free will however comes with adaptation built in and thus the healing work still remains a potential choice.


And fourth, pan-human and natural events will alter those circumstances. Global warming, hurricanes, earthquakes, war, famine, migration and so on, all these will alter the original circumstances. My mileage of course. I just don't buy into pre-destination and one's fate being decided unequivocally.


"I would interpret this as the self - the awareness from ones latest incarnation; and Self - the cumulative collection of all previous selves. Is this what you mean? I'm not sure if I follow your linear vs. simultaneous distinction. I have trouble seeing it as anything but linear."


Close enough. I don't think one can place human labels around the depths of the Self limiting it to just a collection of incarnational memories. I think there is something before, beyond and after my human concept of the Self and that it is not that which I - being currently incarnational - can know or need to know. When I return to the Self that my self is part of, then perhaps I will need to know. I'm comfortable with that.


All human beings IMB have the potential ability to perceive past life memories. For some practitioners who are aware, past lives are perceived as all happening simultaneously, all at the same time but at different points of historical time. My ability however works in a linear fashion so like you, I have problems seeing past lives as anything but linear. I perceive lives following one another like beads on a string and what came before influences what comes after. There is no one true or right way to perceive past lives, IMO, just different ways like different tools that work for some people better than others. Does that clarify?


"Would you agree that each Self may be at different mile-markers on the journey towards maturity? Would that then mean that each Self has a varying age? Would the "younger" Self look up to the more "mature" Self? Could such a difference be detectable in an incarnation? As say one to another?"


I would certainly agree that each Self is at a different stage towards maturity. Though whether we as human beings can define what maturity means to a Self or what those markers are remains limited. When I intuit the major characteristics of a Self, I use the human progression through age/life as my markers so I would be comfortable with describing the Self as having a varying age. My own Self for example is roughly early 30's in maturity. Made some progress with some major healing work in this incarnation but I have a long way to go before considering myself to be anywhere near to an old soul.


I don't know if those younger look up to those older amongst Selves. The playing field between incarnations may have its own rules and perceptions. I would think for those in incarnations that it would vary between those involved. What is to stop a younger Self in an incarnation from behaving maturely or a more mature Self from behaving immaturely? What would you consider the most important? A self's track record as a Self or how that self behaves in a new incarnation? Is maturity of a Self meant to be a title or rank? Does it impose a hierarchy of seekers? We tend to enshrine the 'guru' or teacher as someone superior but cannot one learn as well from someone less mature? Or is maturity more a label for or a recognition of as you say, the cumulative collection of past incarnational experiences?


I'm inclined myself to judge folks on the basis of what they do here and now. Not on what they say or feel but rather on what they choose to do or not to do. To paraphrase Tolkien, it is what we do with the time we have.


"As we continue this discussion I can see how the self in a particular incarnation could easily mistake another as an old soul based on our glass analogy. But it also strikes me that your last sentence above might apply to my hypothetical questions above."


Hmm... To use human ages as a way of illustrating this, someone who is 15 will see someone who is 30 as old but someone who is 60 probably considers the 30-year-old to be young?


I agree. We place a great deal of emphasis on the graduation of maturity through human ages. To some degrees, this underpins how the generations function socially and in the familial. I will have to think through your questions again as I am almost out of time right now to be online.


You have raised some interesting questions, thank you for posting them.Smile



C.H.


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5 years ago  ::  Jul 04, 2009 - 2:28PM #63
Trekgirl
Posts: 3

There are some very good responses here which I agree with. This was also a wonderful topic to start.  In my opinion and experience, the age that we approach Paganism or truly connect with it does have an effect on what sort of Paganism we embrace. To clarify, I will give an example: when I was in high school, during my sophmore year, I picked up the book "Teen Witch" and discovered the world of spellcrafting. Silver RavenWolf's view of Paganism as described to the teenage reader formed my entire idea of it. Everything was about casting spells, finding a group of friends to start your own teenage coven, and other such things we see in the media and movies. My young mind could not see in any broader sense. Now that I am through with college and in the working world, I have left spellcraft and also the Wiccan aspect of Paganism behind. I understand that, at going on 25, what I need is not a rigorous spellworking ritual, but simple beliefs that I can connect to. So I started really exploring Neo-Paganism and understanding just how broad it was. The Pagan I am now is not the Pagan I was almost ten years ago. I am glad to have evolved in such a way from that person, and I think as the years go by I will always change a few of my beliefs and ways of being spiritual.

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2009 - 9:55AM #64
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

 


Trekgirl,


Your post encapsulated quite eloquently some of the thoughts I had starting this topic. I think we change over time and also that the age we embrace/find Paganism (however defined) does matter. Not just in what we access but how we view it or as you put it, your first author's view of Paganism as described to the teenage reader formed your entire idea of it. I think (regardless of age) we all tend to start out on that foot. My first author (I was 27) was Diane Stein, for example and for those first seven years, I read, practised and thought of Paganism as mainly being Feminist or Women's Spirituality. Now, nineteen years added to that, still practising within that part of modern Paganism but certainly not as I once did and with a far broader idea of what Paganism or can mean.


Where you start out and what age you are doesn't necessarily determine where you will end up when older though they can foreshadow this depending on the person. They do remain IMO important factors as to what paths, roads or traditions you take upon along that journey, the resources that you access or pursue and those that you never bothered with or dismiss. For that reason, it is useful to consider one's starting points and both the benefits and limitations that go along with each age. And if along the way, as you discovered, what one needs is a foundation of faith that one can enact within one's life even when and especially when it gets tough, then this too will be a pivotal factor in one's spiritual journey. As is self-knowledge at any age. Would you agree?


C.H.

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2009 - 12:08PM #65
The Celt
Posts: 258

Mar 1, 2009 -- 6:26PM, CreakyHedgewitch wrote:


While the topic here is does age affect how one approaches Paganism, perhaps age should be situated rather as where one fits in the generational shift that is now taking place within Paganism rather than age merely being a chronological progression. For example, there are two so-called generations under the age of 31 today, the Generation Y and Z they have been dubbed. Now the Z's are still 10ish and under but the Y Generation represents the teenagers and young adults that today are interacting with Paganism. Now as I in my myopic dinosaur 50ish fashion was researching on this generation and checking out what I learned in reference to the Generation Y folks that I interact with, two thoughts occurred to me in relationship to Paganism. I'll see if I can articulate them here.


My first thought was this. Whenever I labor to figure out the younger generation(s) as they are interacting with Paganism, what I fall back upon unconsciously is, "what was I like at that age?" First of course, in my teens, I couldn't have envisioned Paganism or being a Witch or posting online here at Beliefnet. Second, these younger generations aren't what I was like at that age. I'm a product of schooling based on a medieval model adapted by the Industrial Age to churn out compliant workers/consumers. The majority of my life happened before the Internet. My teenage years were spent spinning vinyl records, borrowing library books and dominated by watching the world at large passively through the filter of TV. I remember wondering what the heck was wrong with the first person I saw walking along with a cell phone up to his ear. Granted this particular old dinosaur tapping at the keyboard has changed a bit since then. Grayer yes...that is a given. Got rid of the TV along the way and still don't own an IPod but I do have a CD player, a PC at home and I use one at work and a cell phone. None of which even existed when I was a teenager. The world back then seemed far larger, much safer. Even the seasons and the weather I remember as almost predictable. Times have changed indeed, both pros and cons. My parents' generation grew up between and were shaped by two world wars, the Great Depression and the Spanish Influenza. Yet in many respects, I feel closer to that generation and understand them better than this unnerving adaptive multi-tasking and wired-in Generation Y. So when we boomers fall back on "what was I like at that age?" , can we truly imagine what it is like to be their age? Or are we just seeing them as 'us'?


My second thought was this. Paganism was essentially created by and for Boomers in the 20th century, the dinosaurs still in the room as it were. The orthopraxic forms of Paganism - such as mystery religions - operate/operated based to a certain degree on passive principles that align to and make sense to someone trained under a 'medieval' education model. Yes, these are still experiential but one is still being taught, transmitted to and passed down a coherent and intact belief system. Moreover within a mystery religion, those being prepared are taught certain consecutive and interlocking aspects of that faith. Experiencing the mystery - that is unique to each individual but the preparation is usually implicit within the overall model of the faith. Books in the 60's then opened up these oral traditions to far more new practitioners than could be provided for by teachers, traditions or groups. Other than authors providing a more semi-passive means of 'lecturing", teachers for the most part were dragged kicking and screaming into that role. Then came the Internet. Paganism entered this cyber universe where roams the incredibly kinetic Generation Y. (All boomer dinosaurs, please watch before you put your foot down...over there...!) These young folks, teenagers to roughly 31 years old are the first truly global generation. They consider the Internet, wireless communication, iPods and social networking the same way we consider the fridge. When was the last time you got all curious about or fired up about how a fridge worked? Or the TV? To this younger generation, technology is a given, invisible, part of every day life without the painful learning curve that this dinosaur remembers re PC's, VCR's(!) and even (gasp) electric typewriters back in the techno-Paleolithic era. This younger generation are not passive consumers. They are not comfortable being herded into classrooms and churned out on masse. This generation is tuning out in schools and workplaces that are still mired in the medieval/Industrial Age teaching mindset. Evidence is starting to emerge that within the malleable stage of adolescence their brains have literally become wired differently than their parents. They process faster and multitask more easily. For them, it isn't what they know, it is what they can learn that counts. They are active and engaged participants, collaborators, initiators to whom discussing, arguing, critiquing, investigating, playing or articulating anything and everything is second nature. They don't want to be the audience listening to the lecture. They want to be engaged. They want to be taught how to learn, not what to know. They want teachers who ask questions and listen to their answers and listen to the questions being asked back at them. They want to discover the answers that make sense to them. Where their parents laboriously copied out and then looked up the acceptable answers to regurgitate, this generation wants to tinker with the same questions, take them apart, talk and brainstorm with their peers and then see what develops when they put their answers back together again. They not only want but expect to have a broad range of accessible choices for everything with the ability to customize \whatever they want and need. Integrity for this generation is apparently also a given, they have BS filters built in and fully functional. They literally expect and need learning to be fun, not hard work.


Now at this point of my research, this old dinosaur was starting to get decidedly twitchy.... constantly watching underfoot for oncoming mammals dashing by. Obviously generalized descriptions above aren't monolithic in application. Yes, this is a generation that has access to education in ways that their parents didn't and who value higher education. Yet there are deep divisions between rich and poor. Many drop out, often burdened by student loans and a surprising number drop out even in high school. They sit in classes that are too big within underpaid lumbering medieval/industrial age school systems, though some of those are listening and changing albeit painfully. Think about this. We baby boomers learned a profession or trade in college or university and moved on into a career. Education and work for us were separate steps on that path. You crammed as much as you could to create an inventory of knowledge in the classroom and used what you could when working. A lot of it proved to be redundant or useless. Where technology was concerned, half or more of what one learns in college was obsolete by the time one graduated and still is today. Now think about some of the traditions associated with Paganism. Us baby boomers (aka dinosaurs waving over here) still cling to our paradigms of familiarity based on what we grew up with. If you were lucky enough to get a teacher in the first place, well, they were your elder, a wise one, the one who had the knowledge you were there to learn. You practiced what you were taught while learning to trust your own experiences. To move to the next level, you had to master what was offered first. Depending on the type of Paganism, you might even have to agree to work within a tradition's consensus of practice while what you do or believe personally might be different. Copying out a tradition's BOS by hand. Gathering up everything to stuff into your BOS that are so unwieldy, nothing can be found easily. Learning rituals, chants and charges by rote. Studying herblore correspondences including exotic and unusual ingredients that one may never even see let alone have a use for. Learning divination by manuals that come with the box-set. Learning magical systems out of how-to-be-a-Witch books. We store whatever is learned into our short-term memory, practice and repeat as often as necessary so we can recall it when we need to use it. No wonder we start off in our learning slower!


Generation Y on the other hand have already been engaged in a lifelong learning experience. Technology frees them to quickly master the basics of whatever, then in collaboration with others to able to discuss, argue, think creatively and critically at high speed on route to being innovative, agile and adaptive in an increasingly complex world. Along with newspapers and TV and like in the schools and workplaces, Generation Y seems to be tuning out traditional Paganism teachers and teaching. When they talk about what they think is going on amongst themselves, that's apparently when they really learn. When they have to explain it to someone else, that is when apparently it really sinks in. What is happening here is peer instruction. Knowledge is seen as that which needs to be connected to what they already know, skills as to how to apply that knowledge and adapt it to new and unfamiliar situations. A great lecture can still inspire but real learning for this generation is through collaboration and discovery. They expect to reinvent their knowledge base as they move from career to career. Why would they expect differently when it comes to spirituality? Moreover this is the generation that educators have to listen to when designing the teaching of the future and employers the companies of the future. So too are not the boomer Pagans passing on and down what was created in the 20th century as Paganism?. Perhaps this is part of why Paganism in general or traditions of Neo-Wicca and Neo-Witchcraft are so popular amongst younger Pagans. The older traditions are created for the few out of the many but what is part of what isn't happening today is that these as conceived and practiced just don't have what younger Pagans are looking for?  Accessibility, customization, choices, adaptability, peer teaching, all these seem to be there when Generation Y Pagans create and innovate out there where the Neo- ferns grow a hundred feet tall. If one experientially steps beyond, "it is in a book, therefore it must be right", is not the next step to question, why do I need to learn this right now?


I'm not sure where these two thoughts are leading me or anyone else except that this old dinosaur is beyond twitchy now. Actually starting to wonder if giant sloths would give me lessons in tree climbing. How do or even can we boomer Pagans pass on what we created? Certainly doing so as we were taught isn't going to work with this amazing younger generation except maybe when they turn up with those initial questions they want answered. Our teaching methods, those paradigms of familiarity, obviously won't work - they are already tuning us out. Our expectations so embedded in what we know and what we have learned would also need to change. Are any of us dinosaurs prepared to hand over the questions, listen to their answers and their questions and let them make their own answers work for them? Arthritic dinosaur here lumbering along and you pesky mammals want me to do what? "Yeah right after my afternoon nap, dear." We talk about lifelong learning within our Traditions. That if you learn to honor the mysteries, you will find the joy of discovering something new and unknown. Yet, will that or does that even mean the same thing for the dinosaurs as well as for the mammals who will inherit (Paganism) after them? Is the most important lesson for this next generation as Pagans, the one we can't even teach them, that of embracing a world that is constantly changing while remaining in awe of the world as it unfolds?


C.H.


Apologies for the length....

(Lumbering off to graze in the swamp with the rest of the brontosaurus'....and watch out for those annoyances with the overly long wings....>




As a member of Generation Y, I hope I can provide some insight here.


I think the way my generation learns is like a discussion; everyone get to ask and answer questions.  From my experiences in the classroom, I don't think we just want peer on peer discussion.  I think many of us recognize that we need our elders to participate in the discussion as well, because they possess wisdom and insights that we are unlikely to come up with on our own. 


I think we also have a different idea of what constitutes as learning compared to previous generations.  The older model of learning meant acquiring knowledge and being able to regurgitate it when asked to (usually on a standardized test).  My generation understands learning to mean acquiring knowledge and then figuring out how to use that knowledge in new situations.

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2009 - 5:31PM #66
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

 


The Celt,


Thank you for your insights as a Gen Y.


So how would you apply these different ideas to the available methods of learning about Paganism that we have today?


What would you like to see happen or to be done differently?


C.H.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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5 years ago  ::  Jul 05, 2009 - 6:35PM #67
The Celt
Posts: 258

Jul 5, 2009 -- 5:31PM, CreakyHedgewitch wrote:


 


The Celt,


Thank you for your insights as a Gen Y.


So how would you apply these different ideas to the available methods of learning about Paganism that we have today?


What would you like to see happen or to be done differently?


C.H.





Well, I'm not quite sure how to approach that question.  I know fewer than 10 Pagans offline, and all of them are about my age.  I have never had the opportunity to learn from Pagan elders, so I can't really say how their teaching methods might be modified to work better with Gen Y learning styles.


I do know that you can't have interactive discussions with books.  And as helps as books have been for me (a proud bibliophile) they don't provide the same sense of community that people can.  The internet does help because we get to interact with other people, but as was said earlier, we don't and can't know people as intimately over the net.  So many Pagans in my generation (myself included) connect to the Pagan community only through the internet.  I think one of the best things we can do is get together with other Pagans in person.  And while covens are great, I think it's just as important for there to be study and discussion groups; people who get together to just hang out, get to know each other, and talk about Paganism.  At least that's what I want.

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 06, 2009 - 8:30AM #68
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

 


Well let me rephrase the question a bit.


I came into Paganism in the early 80's through the Women's Spirituality Movement. The WSM was mostly women only but very diverse in the beliefs that this covered. This Movement functioned (and still does though not as obviously) through the so-called Witch-camps and retreats, localised workshops, lectures series, conferences, gatherings and Sabbat celebrations and in some places, university courses. For those reaching out or wanting to stay in touch with those not from their area, there were magazines, newsletters, occasional meet-ups in the area, local metaphysical bookstores to make contacts through as well as mailing lists and later online discussion forums. Thus women met, to learn, teach, practice, discuss and ask questions. Through person to person interactions, beliefs were shared, discussed, altered and refined as it were. A range of spiritual practices was enacted, to test, try, hone one's skills or just participate. Along the way depending on the commitment level of the women involved, there was communities or Circles formed (broadly or intimately) re-formed or women discovered that they really preferred to work alone.


That is my background. The Internet is still a bit offsetting for me because as you pointed out, we don't or can't know people as intimately over the net. For me, it isn't a substitute for person to person or for practice either as sources of experiences. It has wonderful benefits though including being able to talk to those you might never meet otherwise. Now IMO covens only really apply to Wicca or Witchcraft Traditions, so Pagans (and there are a lot of Pagans outside of W&PW), seem to congregate in public gatherings or off the Pagan radar in smaller groups.


So rephrasing the question, would something like the WSM for Pagans address what is missing?


C.H.

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 06, 2009 - 7:20PM #69
meribast69
Posts: 11

Wow. Some really long posts which I don't want to quote as they will take up a lot of space.


I wish I was able to read all the replies but I've come late to the conversation and don't have the concentration anymore to go through 7 pages of posts.


CH posited that newer generations have some traits that are different than their predecessors. Having observed more of this generation than I really care to, I really don't find them any more unique than any other. As for the traits you noted, individuals from any generation have come to possess them and mark them as different than the common person.


I find intelligence to be more of a factor in developing the traits mentioned previously, and that seems to vary as much within the new generations as any other. Certainly they have more access to information from different sources. I personally developed my own BS filter through observation, experience and analytical thought. I'm considered Gen X by the way, but am often considered to have many of the good traits of older generations.


Coming to paganism was a function of my own personal BS filter at work. I could not worship the religion that my parents tried to shove down my throat (Christianity) as it was full of contradictions and conflicting messages and I could go on and on as to why I COULDN'T believe. I constantly read anything I could find about other religions that seemed to have little bias. Then I found a form of paganism which matched my beliefs at 18 in 1987. I have since refined that belief through experiences and learning. Gen Y has no lock in applying knowledge to situations. That's been a hallmark of thinking beings since evolution of the mammal brain. Chimpanzees can do it.


Although I consider myself nominally Wiccan, I approach it more as a religion and not as magical practice. My consumption of written work regarding paganism is probably different than the mainstream neo-pagan or wiccan and affects how I choose to approach it.


As for familiarity with technonology, but I see it only as a means to an end which for the most part in communication and obtaining information. I don't use it to entertain me, as I still prefer interaction with people for that. I also think that virtual interaction is a poor subsitute for the real thing, so I've never bothered to 'chat,' but I've known plenty who I consider to be addicted to it.


When I saw the question you posed I immediately thought: matter to whom? or in what way?


I prefer discussing issues of spirituality more with people who purposely chose their beliefs rather than those who mindlessly accepted those they were expected to follow. The unexamined life and all that. I don't like dogmatism in my own religion any more than I like it in others, and was something I've tried to escape but seems to exist anywhere there are personalities prone to rigidity of thought and belief.

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