Saturday, July 16, 2011

The High Price of Withholding Information

Everyone's talking about secrecy right now. Some for, some against, and probably most of us mixed somewhere in between. Some is good, no doubt - there are things we do in our private relationships with gods and spirits and nature that are private. I don't need to openly explain the down and dirty details of how I do a thing, but I see no problem with it being public that I do it. If someone wants to know more, or are trying to learn, they can ask. Maybe I'll tell them, maybe I won't - that truly is a matter of personal discretion.

The discussion going on isn't about Paganism or Wicca or the sorts of things covered in books available at your neighborhood corporate storefront. It's about the things that really separate from that and deal with Witchcraft as a calling, something you can't really avoid once you're aware of it. We're talking about hedge-crossing, dealing with spirits and gods on a regular basis, and all of the rites, tributes, offerings, and responsibilities that go along with those relationships and experiences. It's not for everyone, nor should it be.

There's a huge space between the bulk of what's in the Llewellyn catalogue and being taught, in detail, how to journey to the Underworld and Get Shit Done. That space is where we are miserably failing people. Those who are foolish or power hungry can easily piece together enough information to get themselves into trouble, but not enough to get out of it or to know what precautions they should take. Those who are inundated with experiences and spirits are largely without practical, essential resources to understand what's going on, let alone resources for finding help or a teacher.

There seems to be too strong a drive to hide things away that I feel should be accessible. Protection and defense is a big one with me, mostly because there's no reason at all not to teach people to take charge of their own self-defense. I'm not talking about sage sticks and salt, but about teaching people that it's ok to take ownership of their space, their thoughts, their dreams, and kick spirits out if they're hassling them. Anyone who sits around saying that anything beyond politely asking them to move on and doing some smudging has obviously never had to deal with anything particularly nasty. What about the people that do? What about the people who are called and highly sensitive from childhood?

We can't stop people from doing stupid stuff if they're going to be reckless and play with big powers for fun. They're going to do it with intent or just because they opened something up and looked ripe for an opportunistic demon or spirit. In a foolish attempt to police these people, we spite a whole community of people like ourselves. Where are people supposed to go when they ask the right questions and the priestess or the magic shop owner have no resources to point them toward? Sitting around being snide about fluffy books and Wiccan dabblers who don't do the Real Serious Witch Stuff is just asinine when those are the only things people of any witchy orientation have ready access to. For most, something is better than nothing, and they will take what they can get in the way of an education. If we aren't providing educational and community resources, how can we expect that people will grow into the practices and disciplines beyond intro-level magics?

1 comment:

  1. I think the general attitude is, "I learned these things on my own, and so can you!" (or, perhaps somewhat less frequently, "I found people to teach me, and so can you!")

    Which is true, I suppose, but maybe it's not the best teaching model.