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Author Topic: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?  (Read 2764 times)

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FairyQueen

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What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« on: November 17, 2011, 11:32:35 PM »

I hope you don't mind doing this little survey for me. I'm so curious to see how different everyone's answers will be, should you choose to fill them out. Also, based on similarity, it'll help give me an outline - since I've been feeling so overwhelmed. Of course, a lot of this could be considered personal, so of course only answer what you feel comfortable!

If a newbie asked you for help what advice would you give them, based on your own personal experience?

Where would you have them start?

Would you tell a newbie to read and learn one thing that is relevant to their spirituality at a time?
or
Would you tell them to read a little here and a little there?

What specifically would you have a newbie research?

What aspect of your path do you find most important?  Least so?

Looking back, what would you have differently as a newbie yourself?

What do you enjoy most about the spiritual path you have chosen?
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Zlat

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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2011, 12:22:13 AM »

Read as much as you possibly can before you start asking people about specifics. You will learn what you need to on your own time, experiences you go through are yours alone. Others can help guide you on the details, but many won't if you don't put in the legwork first.

Study based on what works best for you; this is logical guidance for anyone pursuing higher education as well. Same concept, do what works for you and don't worry what works for others.

Begin with the basics, read a broad variety of things and build upon the ones you feel you need to.

Ethics and understanding of the universe around us is more important to me than the rituals/spellwork/scientific theory and debate behind esoteric topics.

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treeforest

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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2011, 07:57:30 AM »

If a newbie asked you for help what advice would you give them, based on your own personal experience?
Take it slow. You can't jump into these things. Religion is a major choice. Don't do anything unless you are 100% confident in what you're doing - don't perform a ritual where you're going to stumble around with the words and have to constantly refer to a note sheet. (Oh, and if you have something very specific you want to say, don't be afraid to use the note sheet though! Sometimes I get caught up in the moment and having what I've thought written down helps ground me)

Where would you have them start?
I'd say start on the internet - read forums, websites and blogs. From there, get a scope of what books people recommend. There are a mountain of Pagan books out there and a great many of them are rubbish. Especially if you are spending money on buying books, wait until you see some out there. Check out the author's website - if it's completely dedicated to selling you products and services and they seem haughty....

Would you tell a newbie to read and learn one thing that is relevant to their spirituality at a time?
Would you tell them to read a little here and a little there?
I'd read a little here and there. In your wide scoping internet search, what catches your eye? If the elements are interesting to you, read about those. If you are drawn towards circle casting or specific magickal creatures or a certain aspect of the Divine, go from there.

What specifically would you have a newbie research?
At first, everything as a more general approach - then narrow it down as things catch your eye.

What aspect of your path do you find most important?  Least so?
What I find most important is to continue feeling my connection to the Universe. I worship the life force of the Universe - what makes the trees grow, what makes the clouds form, what causes the Earth to orbit the Sun. It is important to me to continue to feel that connection. Least important - formal practice. I do love performing rituals, and I try to at least once a week because they are a great way to accomplish the above, but I do not hold myself to unrealistic expectations.

Looking back, what would you have differently as a newbie yourself?
Hmm, I'm not really sure. Maybe I would have gotten more serious, quicker - as there was a good 4-5 year gap in between initial research and real dedication. But, it is a little better this way.

What do you enjoy most about the spiritual path you have chosen?
I can feel my connection, physically, in my body. I feel the energy flowing through me almost at all times. At times it's a better wake0up call in the morning than coffee. I have a certainty about my life, that I will be taken care of because the Universe takes care of itself and I am a part of the Universe.
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Eternal Seeker

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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2011, 09:09:30 AM »


I, too, would begin with advice to read- but not to read just anything, because there's a lot of crap out there, and a beginner wouldn't be able to differentiate. I would recommend these two online sources for the very beginning: for the academic and historic aspects, http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/ For the daily practice, http://www.duhovnirazvoj.com/ElektronskaBiblioteka/Maiden%20Moon.pdf  Oh, forgot one- if the beginner has children, this is a good resource for kids- http://www.pookapages.com/ Those are enough to start with, to get a grounding. Once you have that basic understanding, you will be able to tell if any other books you read are stuff.

The reason I would give that advice is that it's impossible to tell what will work for you from reading about it- you will have to practice, and then see how it affects you. You will then have some idea of what touches your soul and what doesn't, and can move from there- but it's only a fair test if you're practicing properly, and those sources are the best I know for Wicca. After you've practiced a specific path for an adequate test- I would give it one full turn of the wheel- then you would know whether you wanted to pursue Wicca further, or maybe Druidism, or another... but you would know, whereas without that experience you'd merely be guessing.

What is the most important aspect I would advise? Actual practice. As important as research and reading are, sooner or later you have to start doing. And I say sooner rather than later. There is no teacher like experience.

peace,
ES


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FairyQueen

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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2011, 10:58:31 AM »

Thank you Zlat, Tree, and ES! I appreciate that you took the time, in your way, off your advice.
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earthmuffin

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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2011, 11:40:13 AM »


If a newbie asked you for help what advice would you give them, based on your own personal experience?

Follow your heart.

Where would you have them start?

I'd have them sit down and really think about what their beliefs are, what they think is really important to them spiritually, and what they know about themselves and write it all down in as much detail as possible. They might have to do some research to do this sort of assignment. It's not easy for most people.

Would you tell a newbie to read and learn one thing that is relevant to their spirituality at a time?
or
Would you tell them to read a little here and a little there?

I'd say start with some really good basic 101 type books in their main path first and build upon those with other readings as they find areas they are interested in. Always read with a critical eye so you can keep away from the published horse-dung that's out there.

What specifically would you have a newbie research?
Assuming the newbie is a fledgling Wiccan or pagan, I'd have them research the history of Wicca/paganism, starting with reading Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler.

What aspect of your path do you find most important?  Least so?
Hard question.... I think it's all important. I find the most satisfaction and spiritual progress in the doing of it, the least in the book-learning.
[/color]
Looking back, what would you have differently as a newbie yourself?
Nothing.
[/color]
What do you enjoy most about the spiritual path you have chosen?

Another hard question to answer, perhaps because I feel more that the path has chosen me than that I have chosen it. I feel compelled to follow it and that feeling of compulsion is not always enjoyable as the things I learn are not always enjoyable. A lot of the time I muddle through but here and there are brilliant moments of clarity in which I feel a wondrous connection to the divine. I enjoy the support of my guides and the wisdom and love they impart and the joyful moments when I am able to connect genuinely with nature and with people around me.
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vordan

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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2011, 11:41:49 AM »

In my coven we have the people study many topics and practice for a long time. The difference between those who stay and those who don't seems to be if they can feel it at a gut level. I don't know how to explain this except to compare it to an apptitude toward music, some find playing music easy some hard, everybody can learn to play in theory but some will become real musicians while others have a dusty guitar in the corner they haven't played in years. I would want someone to go with their feelings. Try to feel the energies around you in the seasons and nature, they will lead you down trails of mystery. Listen to the wind, watch the river flow, visit the sites sacred to those who have been there before you. Dance in the moonlight. Someone who has a mind open to the energies around them will understand what they read more while those who have their mind closed will often never understand. Fairies, divination, magic and all spirituality is meaningless to most people. Millions go to Churches, Mosques, Temples or profess some religious affliation very few could really say they have faith. Faith is something you feel and is not obtained through reason.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2011, 12:19:15 PM by vordan »
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BronwynWolf

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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2011, 12:05:56 PM »

My advice would depend on the person. Age, background, easily available resourses, and a few other factors all play a part in determining what I'd tell anyone. For example, someone who is underaged and living with parents who aren't exactly open-minded....you can't tell them to get Cunningham or Ravenwolf. Instead, I tell them to read mythology, comparitive religion studies, herbology and basic things of that sort.

And I always stress Personal Responsibility and ETHICS.

Read. Then leave the books, get away from the computer, and go take a walk in the woods.
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FairyQueen

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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2011, 06:40:53 PM »


If a newbie asked you for help what advice would you give them, based on your own personal experience?

Follow your heart.

Where would you have them start?

I'd have them sit down and really think about what their beliefs are, what they think is really important to them spiritually, and what they know about themselves and write it all down in as much detail as possible. They might have to do some research to do this sort of assignment. It's not easy for most people.

Would you tell a newbie to read and learn one thing that is relevant to their spirituality at a time?
or
Would you tell them to read a little here and a little there?

I'd say start with some really good basic 101 type books in their main path first and build upon those with other readings as they find areas they are interested in. Always read with a critical eye so you can keep away from the published horse-dung that's out there.

What specifically would you have a newbie research?
Assuming the newbie is a fledgling Wiccan or pagan, I'd have them research the history of Wicca/paganism, starting with reading Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler.

What aspect of your path do you find most important?  Least so?
Hard question.... I think it's all important. I find the most satisfaction and spiritual progress in the doing of it, the least in the book-learning.
[/color]
Looking back, what would you have differently as a newbie yourself?
Nothing.
[/color]
What do you enjoy most about the spiritual path you have chosen?

Another hard question to answer, perhaps because I feel more that the path has chosen me than that I have chosen it. I feel compelled to follow it and that feeling of compulsion is not always enjoyable as the things I learn are not always enjoyable. A lot of the time I muddle through but here and there are brilliant moments of clarity in which I feel a wondrous connection to the divine. I enjoy the support of my guides and the wisdom and love they impart and the joyful moments when I am able to connect genuinely with nature and with people around me.

I think I'm going to take a stab at this assignment. It might help me organize my thoughts and work forward. What questions would you have me ask of myself?
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Eternal Seeker

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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2011, 07:54:23 PM »


Here are some of the basic questions you need to consider: http://www.paganjourneys.com/index.php?topic=1579.0

peace,
ES
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earthmuffin

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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2011, 08:18:38 PM »

I think ES has summed it up well. I would also suggest those same questions re. your view on the nature of divinity, deity, spirit, afterlife (if any) and humanity.

In addition, I would suggest an exercise to define yourself for I do believe as Doreen Valiente wrote that you if you don't find what you seek within you, you'll never find it outside of you. My mentor had me do an exercise in which I drew a circle on a paper and then wrote words to describe me inside and words that don't describe me outside the circle. Where is the boundary that separates you from everyone/ everything else? Include adjectives that describe the emotional as well as the physical.

Some additional questions:

What is most important to you in life?

What is your biggest fear?

What is it about paganism that draws you to it?

What sorts of activities give you the most spiritual fulfillment?

These sorts of questions will all help you to understand yourself better and perhaps suggest avenues for further study.

Hope this helps.  ()

« Last Edit: November 18, 2011, 08:23:43 PM by earthmuffin »
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bluefire

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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2011, 08:29:02 PM »


Where would you have them start?
I will second Bronwyn's reply regarding personal responsibility and ethics. In my view, paganism requires enormous personal awareness. We need to accept and own our relationship with the Divine. We absolutely must accept that our thoughts words and actions have an impact.

Quote
Would you tell a newbie to read and learn one thing that is relevant to their spirituality at a time?
or
Would you tell them to read a little here and a little there?
There are many correct answers to this, but I personally would direct a newbie to Scott Cunningham, Doreen Valiente, and the Higginbothams.

Quote
What specifically would you have a newbie research?
I'm not sure that "research" is the right word, but I would have a newbie search within him/herself as well as in other resources to start to define the Divine and man's relationship with the Divine. I think that's a tough place to start because it often evolves. Howevever, since I believe that we need to be very deliberate in our practice regarding our relationship with the Divine, I think it is critical to know what we believe and to act according to those beliefs.
 
Quote
What aspect of your path do you find most important?  Least so?
At different times in my life, different aspects have been important. At this point, my path and my life are so intertwined that the most important thing is to live and celebrate life every day. I observe the wheel of the year and the wonderful evolution of nature. I heed the phases of the moon because those energies impact my energy.

Quote
Looking back, what would you have differently as a newbie yourself?
Same as EM -- nothing!

Quote
What do you enjoy most about the spiritual path you have chosen?
Experiencing the world energically. At this point in my life I am finally comfortable with that. Everything is so simple.
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FairyQueen

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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2011, 09:51:15 PM »

I think ES has summed it up well. I would also suggest those same questions re. your view on the nature of divinity, deity, spirit, afterlife (if any) and humanity.

In addition, I would suggest an exercise to define yourself for I do believe as Doreen Valiente wrote that you if you don't find what you seek within you, you'll never find it outside of you. My mentor had me do an exercise in which I drew a circle on a paper and then wrote words to describe me inside and words that don't describe me outside the circle. Where is the boundary that separates you from everyone/ everything else? Include adjectives that describe the emotional as well as the physical.

Some additional questions:

What is most important to you in life?

What is your biggest fear?

What is it about paganism that draws you to it?

What sorts of activities give you the most spiritual fulfillment?

These sorts of questions will all help you to understand yourself better and perhaps suggest avenues for further study.

Hope this helps.  ()

I plan to answer these questions as well as work on and ponder ES' post. I think this is an excellent starting point. I thank both of you very much!!
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smd6290

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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2011, 10:05:14 AM »

I appreciate everyone's answers too, since I am a beginner too.
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dragonspring

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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2011, 11:47:13 AM »


Sorry I am a little late responding.  I have been really busy starting my formal training and wanted to wait until I had time to give detailed answers.


Where would you have them start?
Definitely with some study of ethics and personal responsibility.  Most of the traditions around here start with the book "When, Why, If" by Robin Wood.  I also think some study on the history of Paganism is a good thing.

Quote
Would you tell a newbie to read and learn one thing that is relevant to their spirituality at a time?
or
Would you tell them to read a little here and a little there?
This would depend on their learning style. I read multiple sources simultaneously but some people might find that to be confusing and prefer to work on one thing at a time.  I would also recommend Scott Cunningham and the Higginbothams.  I also recommend "The Spiral Dance" by Starhawk because it has some good exercises to actually practice.

Quote
What specifically would you have a newbie research?
I think I already provided some starting points above.  However, I would also recommend some study on the history of Paganism and looking at different traditions and paths.

Quote
What aspect of your path do you find most important?  Least so?
The most important aspect of my path is the connection to the Divine and to my guides and learning to trust myself and my own spirit.  The least important is worrying about what other people think is right and proper.

Quote
Looking back, what would you have differently as a newbie yourself?
  I would probably say that I should have sought out more supportive people to associate with.  I was married to a partner who was not supportive in my early journey.

Quote
What do you enjoy most about the spiritual path you have chosen?
It is hard to beat the feeling of being connected to the universal web - that tingly feeling is absolutely incredible.
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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2011, 01:47:17 AM »

If a newbie asked you for help what advice would you give them, based on your own personal experience?

The first bit of advice is that there are no right answers. Only answers that are right for you. They may be similar if not the same as someone else's or they may be totally different. The Divine (however you perceive it) doesn't care how you honor it or its creations, just that you do honor it.

Where would you have them start?

That is largely going to depend on how they answer some questions of mine. Knowing what they are looking for is going to color my advice to them. After all if someone is looking at Paganism for the purely spiritual aspects of it would need different advice from someone who was looking at the spiritual side and was looking to get into magic as well.

Would you tell a newbie to read and learn one thing that is relevant to their spirituality at a time?
or
Would you tell them to read a little here and a little there?


Read, read, read and read some more. Pure and simple. There is no way any one can help you formulate your identity and where you fit into the grand scheme of things. It is purely your own journey. That said while no *one* person or source can help you, you can listen and learn from many. After a short while you start finding out the aspects that feel right to you and the ones that do not.

I'd advise a person to read something that is what I feel may be closely matching what they are looking for. Then I'd also suggest some general books that cover parallel aspects. Then when they start getting a feel for who they are, they will be better equipped to seek more knowledge on their own either by reading more or by talking to other pagans.

What specifically would you have a newbie research?

Well depending on what they seem to be most like I'd have them research that tradition as well as a few similar ones.

What aspect of your path do you find most important?  Least so?

The connection to the Divine Spirit and to the rest of its creation is the most important one to me. I felt quite lost for a while at one low point in my life. I turned to Paganism (Wicca more specifically) when I found that the rede fit my self-developed morals and ethics. After a few weeks I started to feel less alone, less of an outcast. I felt like and was an important part of the grand scheme. Knowing that I didn't feel quite so alone.

The least important part is a part that oddly enough I'm really good at...magic. I say that it is the least since I can function in my path without it. I do not need it. I use it and use it well. But considering that in reality anyone of any path can use it (I know of quite a few Christians who use it both knowingly and unknowingly), it is not a crucial part of my path.

Looking back, what would you have differently as a newbie yourself?

Honestly not sure. I made many mistakes starting out, but I find that you learn more from shagging it up than if you get it spot-on perfect every time. Even that love spell I cast was a learning experience because I learned that I needed to either set my parameters more tightly or take more time to do some introspection and find out *why* I feel the need to do something.

So I take the good with the bad and together they make up who I am. Without those experiences I would not be who I am today and if I did things differently I would be a different person giving different advice.

What do you enjoy most about the spiritual path you have chosen?

Power. Or more to the point, self empowerment. I felt lost all those years ago. No connection to anything, no family in the area, my first wife left me to follow her girlfriend (yes in *that* way) out to North Dakota and hit me with Divorce papers and damn few friends. I felt like a total outcast in the world universe.

Finding and starting on my path I found that connection. I found that there was something watching out for me. They were just waiting for me to call out to them for guidance. I found that I had the power to change my destiny. That I could find solutions to my problems and if I couldn't there were people and entities that could give me a nudge or a leg-up once in a while. I found out that unlike what far too many people in the world had told me, I was not powerless. Since then I have been a different person. A person that I can look in the mirror and look them straight in the eyes and not be ashamed at what is looking back at me.

I know that this answer may seem a little more...militant than the others, but everyone's reasons for being on their paths are different. I do enjoy seeing the universe in a whole new light. I love the connection that I have with everything. I like the way that this new vision has made me a better person about how I treat the world I live with.

But after years of being told that I was worthless, powerless, and a nobody...to finally find my own power and my own sense of self worth was the greatest gift that the God and Goddess and the Elemental Spirits could have ever given me.
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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2011, 07:38:09 PM »

Wow, FairyQueen! You're a genius. I'm new, too, and these answers have helped me a lot. I will also probably try that assignment. Thanks, everyone, for the answers!
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FairyQueen

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Re: What advice would you give a newbie based on your experience?
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2011, 09:53:36 PM »

Wow, FairyQueen! You're a genius. I'm new, too, and these answers have helped me a lot. I will also probably try that assignment. Thanks, everyone, for the answers!

Oh, gorsh... :blush:

Really, I was just a tad overwhelmed and needed a bit of direction. I knew these wonderful people wouldn't leave me hanging :)
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