I am a teacher. I presided over a collegiate classroom for three and a half years, teaching students about Information Technology, automated business processes, and what Big Data is and how it applies to their everyday lives. I wasn’t your typical instructor, though. I took the classroom material, which admittedly is some super boring shit, and turned it on its head. I crafted discussions and exercises to showcase points that the book’ author clumsily tried to amplify. I didn’t just want my students to learn, I wanted them to experience. We crafted a paper airplane manufacturing line to emphasize the need for tight quality control. I brought in older pieces of information technology, along with newer ones, to give them an eyes-view of electronics micronization – where they could literally hold the technology in their hands and see its advancement right in front of them. We had discussions about data breaches, the misuse of data, social hacking, and even Julian Assange, all taken directly out of the news headlines – just to bring them up to speed on the issues of the day. I had a reputation for being a very “different” instructor. I am a teacher.
People ask me to help mentor them in their Paganism studies or even in their approach to Druidry. Here is where the issues for me arise. Ninety-nine percent of the time, I push these people to other individuals (if the querent is local to the DFW area in Texas), or I do my utmost best to get them in touch with other individuals who have online courses of study (if they are not local to the area I know better than others). I know that disappoints the people who approach me, but I’ve always felt that others can do a better job at this than I can. In about two weeks, much of that is going to change, as I relocate to Little Rock, Arkansas.
Essentially, I will have nowhere to hide any longer. I’m an open Pagan; I don’t hide who or what I am. But I’ve always kept my religious practice as a solitary approach. I’ve done that because its efficient for me. No discussion of how ritual is to be done. No discussion of the verbiage that is meant to be used. No back and forth over what God and/or Goddess should be the focal point of the ritual. No debate over the use of drawing a circle to create sacred space. Each of those points are my understanding and perspective. But going forward, I am likely to not have that option anymore. See, I’m sure there are Pagans in the Little Rock area, just not sure of how many OBOD folks there. I’ll continue to be open about who I am and what I am, which is likely to draw interest from others contemplating the same Path. I have nowhere to push potential adherents to the path off to. And I don’t think that my Gods are going to let me do that any longer, anyways.
The reminders have been there. I teach, and I’m good at it. I can formulate where somewhere is getting hung up on terminology and design creative ways to getting past those snags. Many dreams and meditations have had points made to me that I can no longer say “no.” I believe in the future of Paganism through the eyes of new adherents. In a sense its hypocritical of me to not embrace being there for those that would want more about my perspective than what I write here.
I bitch, I moan, I kvatch about labels such as “Priest,” “Elder,” and “Teacher.” The problem is…I can’t hide all of that away and still rage on about the coming waves of the future for Paganism. Hiding in the forest just doesn’t cut it. I have to wander the trails in the forest too, and eventually encounter those trying to make their way through it.
::big sigh:: What this doesn’t mean – I’m not going to be setting up an online class format, charging monies, and what not. That’s a world that is decidedly not for me. Rather, it means that I am now planting the ideas for forming a potential Seed Group in the future. I’m not sure that anything will occur from the ideas that I am planting. In fact, I’m not sure what these ideas will germinate into. I can’t sit back and just not try. It means embracing terms I have pushed away for a long time. Many of you who are reading this recognize a lot of the issues I have had with all of this over the last four to five years of posts here on the blog. In a sense, I’ll be rehashing these points out again…some here on the blog, many not. I saw you wipe away the anxious sweat over me writing about all of that again. But that’s ok. Just think about those posts like re-examining a rock you’ve picked up before. In going through this, the idea is to see the rock from a new perspective, examining it for its texture, its color, the feel of its sharper edges under your fingertips or even feeling the soothing, smooth caress of the rounded edges that have been smoothed from the wear of weather and the constant rubbing from the contact of your skin.
Sometimes, we find our footsteps back on parts of the path that we have already walked. Sometimes, we’ve walked those steps in every imaginable direction and we feel there’s nothing new on the Path to see or experience. But its not the footsteps that changes our perspective when we come back to familiar territory. It’s the change in our mindset that brings new experiences from this weary, overly familiar landscape. Our footsteps are not as heavy, not as quick, we step livelier rather than dragging our feet…all because we think a little differently than before.
This is where I am now. New steps on familiar ground. An idea planted. Now its time to be patient and help it to grow. Into what? I have no idea. But I’m interested to see. Brave new steps into a familiar old world.