So I have found myself drifting into thoughts about the future lately. Specifically about paganism and ways that I can give and make things better. I have been asking myself lately what the future holds for my pagan path, about being a third degree witch in my tradition and what lies both before I get there and after. I try hard not to dwell on the after because I feel it more wise for me to focus on how to get there. There is a prospect that really excites me and that is that opportunity to teach my fellow pagans. Our High Priestess and Priest believe that the coven should really teach itself. They encourage us to share the things they we have learned with our coven mates, and it is a refreshing idea. That way collectively we can grow and share the work of learning new things. It is interesting that I have been on this path for over 10 years now, but I still feel like I am in a learning stage. I wonder if that ever really goes away. Do sages and wise men ever really feel like sages and wise men?
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When I was a younger lad I had someone say something so overwhelmingly encouraging that it has stuck with me. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I don’t really remember the little stuff. Most of my memories are more about what I felt at the time and less about what people say and the details. It was at the end of Junior High School. The Lutheran Church I went to as a kid would split the youth into to groups, Junior High and High School, and at the end of the term our Sunday School teacher just took the last day to go around and tell everyone what she thought. Her name was Donna. I wasn’t sure what she did for a living but I know that along with teaching Sunday School she also played the organ and organized the music for the church. I was sitting at the end of the table so just by fate I ended up last. She looked at me and I’ll never forget how. She was proud, and hopeful. Donna told me that she admired me for the unique gift I had to be able to take the thoughts in my head and put them into words so someone could understand them. It floored me, and had an interesting effect that I don’t think was intended. I started thinking how I could use that gift and eventually arrived at teaching.
Since that moment I have wanted in some form to help others and teach. Soon after the comment I started helping my church out by helping the Sunday School teachers with their work. Later I remember assisting a teacher with the young adults catechism class. I gave piano and guitar lessons to other kids in High School. I taught climbing and repelling for the Boy Scouts. Even after I graduated from High School, I took on the role of Youth Minister at my church. During the next year I reveled most in teaching Sunday school classes to the High School class. I would spend every Saturday coming up with a lesson plan to go over the next morning. I also entered college declaring myself a Music Education major in hopes of someday teaching band in a class room. It was that moment that Donna poured into me the thought that I was good at something unique that has inspired me to use it to help others. It is a powerful thought that she guided me so absolute with just one sentence. It is quite possibly one of the reasons why I started this site, so others could learn from my experience.
This is one of the things I really appreciate about the Pagan Community and Wicca. In many ways Wicca is a Teacher/ Student based religion. Someone or something has to teach you those mysteries. Be it a book or a person, there is knowledge and wisdom that you have to get from somewhere. Becoming clergy in this religion means in many ways to pass your knowledge on to others that seek it.
That brings me to the root of my need to teach others. Some might be familiar with a psychologist by the name of Abraham Maslow. He was a psychologist in the mid 1900’s who came up with a hierarchy of needs. Early on it occurred to Maslow everyone has five levels of needs. At the bottom, Level 1, were listed the very basic needs or physiological needs like breathing, food, water, and procreation. From here the idea is that once we meet those physical needs that other needs arise of a different nature. Level 2 is the need for Safety, like having a good paying job and keeping your friends and family out of harm. Level 3 is about the need for Love and belonging; friends, family, intimacy, and being accepted by others. Level 4 is about esteem. Not only of the self but from others as well. Not only do people accept you but they respect you too. That brings us to Level 5. Originally this was the need for Self-actualization or in simple terms being the best one can be and realizing your potential. Later in the 70’s two levels were added before this level of 5) cognitive needs, and 6) Aesthetic needs. These are the need to know and understand and the appreciation of beauty and form respectively. That makes Level 7 Self Actualization. It is a terribly interesting theory of behavior that I could probably go on for hours about but there is a point. In the 90’s yet one more level (click to see a chart) was added to the very top, level 8, Transcendence. See, once we realize our full potential it is at this point that we have the need to help others self-actualize. Ultimately we need to step outside ourselves to help others find self-fulfillment. It is a eye opening idea.
I just think that along the way to my own self-actualization I can help other towards theirs. Hence my drive to teach and maybe the root of all teachers. Blessed Be.