Teaching and like that

I am human. Don't you forget it. And for all that we both hold holy -- Don't let me forget it, either.
Ellen Cannon Reed

I think that if the gods call someone, and that someone listens, there is a good chance they will be brought to a teacher or the teacher will be brought to them. If I am supposed to teach, then the students will find me. Hiding will not avoid them, nor will advertising bring them one jot sooner than my Gods have in mind (Iíve tried both, it doesnít matter).

In the Beginning

The first thing I do when someone is interested in learning Gardnerian Craft from me (from us, I should say, since although he is silent on the web mostly, my beloved runs the group with me) is to meet them. We pick a public place (Minnehaha Park is nice and nearby, so is the Riverside Cafe and Minnehaha McCoffee Shop) and stop and say hi. If either party is uncomfortable with the other; it's a good point at which to politely back off. Sometimes we have more than one initial meeting, sometimes not. Often there are two, one with 'just us' and another with the whole group (or as many as can make it) because any coven is a gestalt of all it's people.

If that goes well, the next step is to invite the prospective student to attend some classes. This does two things, it allows us to see how (and if) they handle homework (yes, there is homework). If we only had one meeting, then it allows the rest of the group to meet the person.

That goes on for a while, and if that goes well, the next step is inviting them to a pre-initiate ritual. We do student rituals on the Full Moons and on the Sabbats. That is we do them when we actually have students. So if we don't have students, someone expresses an interest, then the ritual we have is basically for them. Not a problem in and of itself; if we've allready met them and feel there is a reasonable chance the student/teacher thing can work well, then we are happy to. But we aren't happy if they no-show at the last moment. Especially if they don't even call (or at least e-mail). We are not likely to invite them back. Important point: waiting days to call about missing something and/or "I forgot", "I was drunk/high" and "I didn't think it was important to let you know" as reasons for missing classes or circles translate into "I am a poor fit for this group".

Our pre-initiate rituals are designed to convey some of the same energy as our Gardnerian ones. So if the circle doesn't feel right to the student, that's important - there is no point in going any further because this is not the right place for them. Note that 'feel right' and 'feels strange or uncomfortable' are not mutually exclusive.


First, some quick terminology. We work within the framework of an initiatory tradition that uses three degrees. Those that have been initiated and are working within the tradition are referred to as initiates; sometimes further clarified as "X degree initiate". Those that are working towards it are called pre-initiates. Those not interested in doing actual work, don't last long. The general subjects don't change a whole lot as our students progress through the degrees; the expertise and skill increases.

We start with the theory, and then go to practical application. This means that pre-initiate (the grounding in principles) and first degree (the application of those principles to Gardnerian specifics) are hard work. Because all students of whatever level are always welcome at classes at any previous level, the more advanced the student, the more possible classes (per week, month or whatever) could be attended. However, any given student chooses their own level of involvment. For Fight Club fans; you choose your level of involvement in project mayhem.

This is 1-a lot of hard work, and 2- not the way most groups choose to train. It's different from the way we were trained. It's interesting for us, we are learning along with our people. Maybe that can serve as insurance against the massive egos that can show up in some parts of the craft. I have learned that I don't have a lot of sympathy for me when I whine about there being too much homework :) That being said, if a student is interested in a more celebratory group, we do know other groups we could hook you up with.

Why do all this?

"You will never leave where you are, until you decide where you'd rather be."
Dexter Yager

Because we'll be doing it anyway, and if it sounds fun, come and join us. We teach from the material we will be working with, even if we had no students. What offer is to share what we plan on We plan on years of study, lots of books and discussions, research, field trips, rituals. Lots of Craft. Lots of work. No 'official degree', no job, nothing you can put on your resume. Okay, progress far enough, and you could gain Ministerial Credentials. However since it's not that hard to legally form a church (it took us about an hour and a half, and then another morning to register the credentials with the state), that really isn't much incentive. You would have to love it, and be willing to work hard, for reasons that make sense to you; love of the divine, love of the person you would have to become in order to do this.

Oh, another bit of jargon here; the above paragraph could easily be referred to as a scare off speech. At irregular intervals we will tell our students (or those who are considering it) some of the things that this path will require or cause. If that particular something is going to be an issue, or mean that student X would not care to be Gardnerian (or to be accurate, a Gardnerian in our group; as I mentioned above, every group is different) best they learn that as soon as possible. It's the ones that hear that sort of thing and say 'okay, now I want to even more', that are heading in the right direction.

So I guess the short answer to 'why teach all this' is 'why not'. We teach what we have. What we want to get better at.

Pre-Initiate Curriculum

The long answer to the big 'why', is answered in part by explaining a little bit of what we teach. Four basic topics, which eventually all support the student's experience of becoming a Preist/ess.

Discussion Topics

Core Beliefs There are several core beliefs that Wicca and Gardnerian Craft have, and it would make sense to begin to explore these principles and concepts before one considers initiation. If you really wouldn't want to work in a path that manifested these ideas, this wouldn't be a good home for you.

Don't let the opinions of the average man sway you. Dream, and he thinks you're crazy. Succeed, and he thinks you're lucky. Acquire wealth, and he thinks you're greedy. Pay no attention. He simply doesn't understand.
Robert Allen

If I haven't Scared You Off Yet

There are plenty of other books, tapes and such that I could suggest, or intend someday to read, or heard were pretty good. Here is a partial list.