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Teaching and Being Thaught


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#1 Aria

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 08:55 PM

(I hope this is the right section for this topic, if it is not please excuse me!)

 

I have never had a teacher in witchcraft. However, when I started my path I was lucky enough to meet a group of older witches who, somehow, took me under their protection. The first approaches were terrible, and I the knowledge I gained from this encounters I had to work very hard for it. None of them formally took me under their wing as their students, but all them taught me pretty much everything I know today. All of them had been 'formally' trained, and had these weird relation with their 'godparents' (that's the term that is often used in the form of Italian witchcraft I know). They would be absent over periods to help them out in practical matters or to help them with particular workings. I had always been somehow jealous of these relationship, and of the fondness with which many of my teachers talked of their godmother and godfather, together with the funny jokes of the days of their training.

 

Fast forward fifteen years, and I find myself dating someone who's been playing with the idea of witchcraft for a while. He knows I practice, and I know he has read a bit about it and even tried something on his own. One night, pillow-talk, and he asks me if I would teach him. My immediate answer is: 'no!'. First, I do not mingle my witchcraft and personal relationship. I did it once, and it didn't go well. Second, I wouldn't know what to teach. My practice is quite personal, and I would not know how practically teach it.

 

I gave the thought some time, and I discussed it with one of my non-teachers over the phone. To  my surprise, she thought it would not be such a bad idea and would address my 'complex' of never having had a teacher. I am sure that I do not want to teach to someone that I'm dating, but besides that, it is true that I cannot imagine myself teaching someone as I've never had that experience. Also, when someone teaches you have a point of reference to understand 'when' you are ready to teach. When you learn on you own, how do you understand if you're ready to teach or not?

Has anyone had any similar experiences? Any thoughts on the subject?

Aria


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#2 hawkwind

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 10:08 PM

Hi Aria, I don't think that I would teach someone myself bc like you my practice is quite personal. In my opinion I would not teach your boyfriend it could possibly cause problems between you not only that if the relationship ever went south and you split up you would not want to be worried that they could hex you. I'm not saying that he is that type of person it is just is something to think about. Do what you feel is best for YOU.  :thumbsup:


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#3 Kowalski

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 10:11 PM

I don't know exactly how much advice I could give in this area because I've never really taught anyone but I never had anyone guiding me either. 

 

I think if you've been a practitioner for a long time and your foundations are strong and you have confidence and faith in your abilities, you have found and clearly defined all your beliefs, and have the open-mind and understanding that people on this path may have different beliefs from yourself then I don't see why you couldn't take someone under your wing. 

 

That's about as much as I can contribute. Hope it helps. :) 


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#4 Kowalski

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 10:13 PM

I just read hawkwind's post there. Forgot you're in a relationship with this guy! :P In this case it's probably not a good idea. Maybe you could point him in the direction of someone else who could guide him? 


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#5 Wexler

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 10:19 PM

I am a fantastic know-it-all, so naturally I want to "teach" everyone around me (but usually restrain myself, to their relief!)

 

If my immediate answer was "no" then I would respect that and carefully consider why I reacted that way. I do not believe all reactions are intuitive or should obeyed, but I don't think they should just be discarded, either.

 

I generally agree with hawkwind; not so much about the hexing, but I think it could be difficult to balance a romantic relationship and a student/teacher relationship based on something as personal as witchcraft. 

 

I also agree with Kowalski that it may be more practical to help find him a teacher. Then, you could have discussions about witchcraft and perhaps learn some new ways of practical teaching that you could eventually share with others.

 

On the other hand, if you become comfortable with the decision to do so, I want to say that it could work out. 


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Posted 18 November 2014 - 10:20 PM

Teaching is a big step.  For me I really wasn't given a choice.  It was here, this person is your student for this subject.  Sometimes assigned by an elder I respected, other times more or a your the hollow bone and we will speak through you.

 

Wicca has the notion of a year and a day concept but a lot of practices I've seen and practitioners i've known have used something similar in that the student has to prove they really want to be taught.  So they are placed under an observation period.  The length really depends upon the one setting it but for most its usually been for months at a minimum before they'd even consider taking the person on as a student. 


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#7 Mountain Witch

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Posted 18 November 2014 - 11:01 PM

I wouldn't teach someone I was in a relationship with - it's a recipe for disaster on too many fronts. Teaching is even more personal than having a business partnership with a love-interest and I've seen a lot of those fail miserably. (Hell, all you have to do is read the tabloids about the very public divorces that have affected companies...)

 

That said, I won't teach, period. I will happily coach someone who is finding their own path and have done so on many occasions. No offense to those in a tradition (family or not) but to me, witchcraft is a very personal path and everyone must find what works for them.


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#8 Horne

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 12:02 AM

My only experience with being taught was during my wiccan days, and that was like twenty years ago, and I must say my elders at the time were nice people and I learned a lot of things I'm still grateful for, BUT directly after being initiated the pressure rose way too high for my tastes. I joined the coven and decided to study with them because I was curious, and it seemed a nice and challenging experience to engage in group workings and celebrations, but all of a sudden they decided (without ever asking me if something like that was even a direct ambition of mine) that they wanted to train me for being one of the future coven leaders ( I was like, who, me? I just got here!), and not only that, they also wanted me to simultaneously be in training with another tradition of friends of theirs, and I was like WTF, how can I learn two traditions at once and focus? LOL

 

There was more that didn't feel right to me, they expected me to study (and excel at) so many things it just wasn't realistic, like learning about six different forms of divination at the same time, without even considering divination wasn't and would never be something I was particularly interested in or had talent for, they totally overlooked my own natural interests and inclinations and ways of being, I felt like they were forcing me to become something that I wasn't and never could be, and that was the beginning of the end for me.

 

They were like, go and find a tarot deck and study tarot, so I bought the one that spoke to me the most (the Crowley deck) and when I showed it to them they didn't like it as they preferred Rider-Waite, so I bought that one too, and within six months or so they came up with yet another deck, one that had been developed by one of the members of their befriended coven, so then I had three decks while I preferred just following my own methods I felt comfortable with. Try black mirror or scrying in a bowl of water, didn't like it, I use to listen to the wind, stare at ripples in water, etc. and get (to me) very satisfying results. My point here being that I expected them to encourage me in developing what I was already inclined to, not forcing me to do things that were opposed to my nature. I love to study runes and I use them in a lot of ways, they wanted me to use them for divination, which was also not my cup of tea.

 

Concluding they were knowledgable and skilled people, and they were good at what felt right for them, but they just totally sucked at teaching. They wanted me to become a copy of them, and that could and would never happen because they completely ignored my own talents and preferences, and so I finally made the choice to leave the coven and find my own ways again without feeling forced to become something that I wasn't.

 

This is also why I could never teach anyone myself. Giving some advice and maybe some pointers along the way, sure, but I could never teach anyone my exact ways, because every individual has his or her own background, talents, preferences and natural abilities, not to mention notions about what their lives as a witch mean to them and their own dreams and expectations about their future.

 

I was so relieved when I got out, it's hard to express it in words, and I studied a lot ever since, read all about what interested me, took from everything what attracted or spoke to me and left the rest of it for what it was.


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#9 Caps

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 05:24 AM

I had a guide once, she was a rude, crude, and rather insufferable wrinkly old hag that I am forever grateful for having the pleasure of studying under.  I wouldn't necessarily call her a teacher, but that is in many ways what she did.  She sought me out, not the other way around.  The circumstances surrounding our crossing of paths are very strange and rather creepy, but it all made sense once I begin to spend time observing what she did.  Apparently at one point in my teenage years I was literal beacon for local seers where I lived and didn't fully see why until just a few years ago.  She was very careful to never push her personal beliefs on me as they were theistic and old Germanic but she did often explain the reasons she was doing something.  My introduction into the LHP had begun years before I ever met her and if it wasn't for her caution with me I probably wouldn't have learned a damned thing, rejecting it as religion or dogma.  Much of the witchcraft I use has a lot of basis in things she showed me including my affinity for formal looking rituals, my morbidity, and a very deep inextricable connection to the remains of animals and plants.  She was from Belgium and I assume most of what she was showing both myself and her son were very very old practices.  I wish I had taken notes like I do now, I would remember so much more.

 

There are also a few practices that I learned from family members.

 

I've never considered teaching anyone but I can't say it will never happen.


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#10 bewitchingredhead

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 06:10 AM

I wouldn't teach someone I was in a relationship with - it's a recipe for disaster on too many fronts. Teaching is even more personal than having a business partnership with a love-interest and I've seen a lot of those fail miserably. (Hell, all you have to do is read the tabloids about the very public divorces that have affected companies...)

 

That said, I won't teach, period. I will happily coach someone who is finding their own path and have done so on many occasions. No offense to those in a tradition (family or not) but to me, witchcraft is a very personal path and everyone must find what works for them.

This!! I've coached the hubby and prepared things (to a certain extent) for him like mojo bags, dressed candles, etc. and have "shown" him how to do the rest, since he really has to be the one to do it (especially "giving life" to his mojo bags, writing his own petition papers, etc.). He uses them for school/academia purposes mostly. I've walked him through the steps, but it's up to him to actually follow through with them. 

 

This raises another interesting question that I hope the OP won't mind, since it pertains to something similar. What about your children? How do the parents here feel about introducing their children to the craft? Have you taught them and if so, at what age did you start? Are there any married couples and/or couples in general on this board who share similar practices with their significant others?


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#11 Aria

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 08:54 AM

Thanks everyone for the insightful answers :smile: Few comments:

 

Hi Aria, I don't think that I would teach someone myself bc like you my practice is quite personal. In my opinion I would not teach your boyfriend it could possibly cause problems between you not only that if the relationship ever went south and you split up you would not want to be worried that they could hex you. I'm not saying that he is that type of person it is just is something to think about. Do what you feel is best for YOU.  :thumbsup:

 

Hi hawkwind. However, once I had an ex who was a witch. We were still very young and both learning, but we had feelings for each other and we experimented a lot. When we split up, the amount of shit that was thrown upon the both of us was legendary. It was like all the magic we had done together was turning against us, with important emotional consequences for both. I don't know if that is always the case, it probably has to do with the fact that we were both young and unexperienced, and much of what we did was four-hands improvisation. However, I'll think thrice before doing anything witchcraft with someone I'm in a relationship with.

 


I also agree with Kowalski that it may be more practical to help find him a teacher. Then, you could have discussions about witchcraft and perhaps learn some new ways of practical teaching that you could eventually share with others.

 

 

 

Teaching is a big step.  For me I really wasn't given a choice.  It was here, this person is your student for this subject.  Sometimes assigned by an elder I respected, other times more or a your the hollow bone and we will speak through you.

 

Wicca has the notion of a year and a day concept but a lot of practices I've seen and practitioners i've known have used something similar in that the student has to prove they really want to be taught.  So they are placed under an observation period.  The length really depends upon the one setting it but for most its usually been for months at a minimum before they'd even consider taking the person on as a student. 

 

He is currently under observation to see if it is worth to get him a teacher :wink:

Regarding Wicca and relationships, I've always wondered how Gardnerian and Alexandrian manage. For what I understand of their magic and tradition, the ideal for the HP would be to have, where possible, (heterosexual) couples join the coven. I wonder how one keeps a coven functional with marital relationships all over the place :/

 


This is also why I could never teach anyone myself. Giving some advice and maybe some pointers along the way, sure, but I could never teach anyone my exact ways, because every individual has his or her own background, talents, preferences and natural abilities, not to mention notions about what their lives as a witch mean to them and their own dreams and expectations about their future.

 

I was so relieved when I got out, it's hard to express it in words, and I studied a lot ever since, read all about what interested me, took from everything what attracted or spoke to me and left the rest of it for what it was.

 

This is why I appreciated the informal way in which I was 'trained' by the first group of witches I met. They recognized none of them had the resources nor the time to teach me, but they worked as my 'helpline' and with time would allow me to join and share their rituals. So basically, I learnt on my own with parti-time supervision. This allowed me to explore whatever I was stupid enough to get into, and to cry for help once I was in trouble. At the time, I really regretted the situation and was secretly mad ad them because I thought they wouldn't consider me worth formal training. Of course, as a teenager I was sure that if I wasn't the one that should be taught, then who else? Now I appreciate they're approach, and with the friendship I have built through the years with many of them, I also understand why none of them considered it feasible to teach me, and I am grateful for their consideration.

 

I had a guide once, she was a rude, crude, and rather insufferable wrinkly old hag that I am forever grateful for having the pleasure of studying under.  I wouldn't necessarily call her a teacher, but that is in many ways what she did.  She sought me out, not the other way around.  The circumstances surrounding our crossing of paths are very strange and rather creepy, but it all made sense once I begin to spend time observing what she did.  Apparently at one point in my teenage years I was literal beacon for local seers where I lived and didn't fully see why until just a few years ago.  She was very careful to never push her personal beliefs on me as they were theistic and old Germanic but she did often explain the reasons she was doing something.  My introduction into the LHP had begun years before I ever met her and if it wasn't for her caution with me I probably wouldn't have learned a damned thing, rejecting it as religion or dogma.  Much of the witchcraft I use has a lot of basis in things she showed me including my affinity for formal looking rituals, my morbidity, and a very deep inextricable connection to the remains of animals and plants.  She was from Belgium and I assume most of what she was showing both myself and her son were very very old practices.  I wish I had taken notes like I do now, I would remember so much more.

 

There are also a few practices that I learned from family members.

 

I've never considered teaching anyone but I can't say it will never happen.

 

This resonates with me a lot Caps, thanks for sharing. The first witch that I met, and who taught me the most, was 'rude, crude and insufferable'. The beginning of our relationship was terrible. I was a smug teenager, and she was the one who didn't think twice on slamming my own ignorance right in my face. She died last year, and although I'm sure she knows, I still regret not having had the chance to thank her for all that she gave me. Some of her lore is at the heart of my practice. I also learnt a bit from family members, but in a very disconnected and incoherent way. Funny that you mention Belgium, that's where I live.

 

Aria


Edited by Aria, 19 November 2014 - 08:57 AM.

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#12 Pikkusisko

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 08:56 AM

In some cultures couples are chosen to practice together and it would likely involve one teaching the other to begin with. So while I believe it's possible to teach someone you're in a romantic relationship with a little of this, a little of that, if you're really intending to teach them fully you need to be directed to do so. It could be quite a risk otherwise.


Edited by Pikkusisko, 19 November 2014 - 09:21 AM.

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#13 RoseRed

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 02:26 PM

If there's any possible chance of a breakup in the future instead of a lifelong marraige - I wouldn't.

 

Caps - there's a meditation technique where you can go back into your memories and watch them play out.  You have to be careful not to change them.  You're there to observe. 


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#14 Barnstock

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 05:21 PM

I'm in this exact scenario right now, and have decided to teach my girlfriend, after long, careful consideration on whether I should or not, and how I should go about it. I came up with what I think is a pretty decent plan that will a) set her on her own path, and b.) minimize any damage or repercussions if things go sour. In a way, the first is the key to the second. I intend to reserve teaching her anything that is extremely personal to me for when and if she has come much much farther along, if it is even necessary at that point.

 

I recommended Paul Huson's "Mastering Witchcraft" as a starting point for her because it is eclectic, and non denominational for the most part. But also pointed out things in the book that I feel are unnecessary, such as reciting the lords prayer backwards, and the witches jewelry, but was clear about it being for her to decide. In addition to that, I've demonstrated how different disciplines would approach achieving the same goal, so that she can get an idea of what's out there, and find what appeals to her the most.

 

I've learned that it's difficult to resist the urge to try to condense roughly thirty five years of learning into one little package, and allow a person to start on their path one step at a time.

 

 

 

Edited to remove errant emoticon. Seriously, what the hell....


Edited by Barnstock, 19 November 2014 - 05:24 PM.

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#15 Lilitia

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 07:06 PM

I too agree with the general consensus of not teaching one's significant other, but rather, coaching them towards a viable point to start with and then recommending an instructor that fits them personally if they so choose.  I teach for a living but would not choose to teach my craft or beliefs to anyone but my own kid. I guess that is mostly in response to bewitchingredhead's question on that note, however. 

 

Maybe I am just jaded however, but I know, much like MountainWitch so sagely noted, that getting into a business relationship with one's partner can lead to disaster, and I think that the same type of awkwardness would ensue if you start the teacher-student dynamic with your significant other.  It could lead to unnecessary competitiveness, feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, or at the very least residual anger at some random criticism given during a lesson.  I get these feelings every day from my 8th graders and can't imaging having them in the same house with me. I won't teach my son in the classroom, but I will teach him the craft, which is weird. Maybe I am just weird. 

 

If you feel okay with it go for it, but the relationship between teacher and student can get hairy.  I try not to teach my friends' kids in the classroom, it might get weird.  Just food for thought.


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#16 Autumn Moon

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Posted 19 November 2014 - 11:10 PM

Guess I'm different in opinion regarding this. Why not teach him? If you are comfortable in yourself and are able to convey ideas, concepts, methods, etc. then I don't see a problem.

 

Using it against you at some point, as in using magic against you, if one is afraid of that, then me thinks one needs to hone up on their skills and knowledge - imo.

 

It could deepen the relationship between you. Also, if you say no to his request, how would that affect your relationship - probably not in a positive way.  

 

When a teacher teaches, the teacher also learns from the student, and also gains a deeper understanding of what is being taught. 

 

I would outline the commitment he would need, and if he is serious, start with the basics and go from there.

 

ETA: teaching usually requires a great deal of patience and understanding. Nothing worse than a teacher with no patience.


Edited by Autumn Moon, 19 November 2014 - 11:14 PM.

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#17 bewitchingredhead

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 07:25 AM

If there's any possible chance of a breakup in the future instead of a lifelong marraige - I wouldn't.

 

Caps - there's a meditation technique where you can go back into your memories and watch them play out.  You have to be careful not to change them.  You're there to observe. 

Would you mind sharing that w/me perhaps via PM? I meditate almost on a daily basis and am really interested in this technique. Thanks in advanced if you don't mind. :)


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#18 Palemoon

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 02:20 PM

witchcraft is a very personal path and everyone must find what works for them.


This is 100% my sentiment. I have never been part of a coven or had a teacher, I don't believe there is a set "recipe" for how witchcraft works universally. I always thought the idea of using spells written by someone else bizarre, you can't speak from the heart with someone else's words??

You can certainly explain to him the properties of things such as plants, moon phases, seasonal magic etc and the reason why things are done; but I'd let him find his own way from there.....

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#19 Aurelian

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 02:52 PM

My suggestion would be that this seems like insanity.  I've dated other practitioners before and things can get interesting.  

 

Keep the upper hand.  By any means necessary.  

 

If you had any idea how much knowledge I have of control and compulsion spells, how to control your partner, you would NOT even think about dating me.  

 

I anticipate that having a relationship with someone you are teaching could turn out very bad.  Just...no.


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#20 Aria

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Posted 20 November 2014 - 05:26 PM

Guess I'm different in opinion regarding this. Why not teach him? If you are comfortable in yourself and are able to convey ideas, concepts, methods, etc. then I don't see a problem.

 

Using it against you at some point, as in using magic against you, if one is afraid of that, then me thinks one needs to hone up on their skills and knowledge - imo.

 

It could deepen the relationship between you. Also, if you say no to his request, how would that affect your relationship - probably not in a positive way.  

 

When a teacher teaches, the teacher also learns from the student, and also gains a deeper understanding of what is being taught. 

 

I would outline the commitment he would need, and if he is serious, start with the basics and go from there.

 

ETA: teaching usually requires a great deal of patience and understanding. Nothing worse than a teacher with no patience.

 

As I stated in previous posts, uncertainty about the ways I'd be teaching is one of the main reasons why I chose not to teach. That I didn't say that a great part of my everyday work consists in teaching, especially for long term and in close one-to-one interactions. When I'm working with one of my students, there are some clear boundaries set in place and our exchange (because, as you say, we mutually learn from each other), although may fly over different topics, is mainly intellectual. This allows me to have a great deal of patience, and to weight much carefully what I say, which I think is one of the daily routines of someone who teaches.

My problem is that, as I sleep most of the nights with this person, I do not know if I'd manage to be the good teacher that I am at school. Where would those boundaries be?  I haven't done it, so I actually do not know, but it just doesn't feel right. I am sure that there are very many people out there who manage to be amazing teachers in witchcraft and boyfriend.

I'm just not one of them.

 

 

This is 100% my sentiment. I have never been part of a coven or had a teacher, I don't believe there is a set "recipe" for how witchcraft works universally. I always thought the idea of using spells written by someone else bizarre, you can't speak from the heart with someone else's words??

You can certainly explain to him the properties of things such as plants, moon phases, seasonal magic etc and the reason why things are done; but I'd let him find his own way from there.....

 

For me teaching witchcraft would be closer to your last sentence. The people from whom I learnt the most shared precise workings only when I was well on the way, and I appreciate it when I look back. Said that, I often do share some of my most tested and guaranteed workings. There are some that have passed into quite many hands now, among which a spell for the winter solstice that I know many of my witch friends have been using for years. I am very proud of that :smile:

 

I think there is value and knowledge in sharing, and I would not mind at all doing it with my boyfriend once he is a bit versed. But tutoring him and teaching from scratch, because that's what it is, no way. I wouldn't feel confident enough, and I like him a lot...I'd spare him :wink:

 

Aria


Edited by Aria, 20 November 2014 - 05:29 PM.

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