Tips for People Seeking Groups, Covens or Teachers
For those who are seeking to find a teacher or coven to join there are somethings you should be aware of.
I would like to first recommend Isaac Bonewits' Cult Danger Evaluation Frame to anyone who is starting to get a feel for a group or a teacher. The frame can help you determine wether or not a teacher or group could be harmful to you, and your spiritual growth. (not to mention your bank account!)
Now, onto some points you should be aware of:
There are many good teachers and groups out there in the community... but there seem to be just as many bad teachers and groups as well. I hope the following will help you along your path when seeking a good group or teacher!
1.Just because someone SAYS they are a pagan, doesn't mean they are! It's a good idea to try and get some references for the person (or for any group for that matter) if you can.
2.And to add to #1, just because a person says they are a "third degree" or a "high Priest/Priestess" or whatever,doesn't mean they are. It worries me, the number of people I have seen who have studied the Craft for a year and a day (or less!) and then call themselves a "High Priest/ess". Also, even if a person was given a ceremony for their 2nd or 3rd degree doesn't mean they have the skills or the knowledge to teach you or even Wicca for that matter.
3.Beware of groups or teachers which will accept you as a member or a student right away. A good teacher will generally get to know you first before accepting you as their student, and a good group will usually do the same. Generally, if someone/group accepts you right away, they are doing so for their own benefit, and your personal growth (which is the important thing!)
will end up playing second fiddle, if it gets played at all. And that's not to say that worse things wont happen. The only acception to this rule that I can think of are the larger "mass market" type Wicca 101 classes.
4.To add to #3, also beware of groups who take the Amway approach in trying to get you to join. Any group who bugs you/begs you to join is not going to be worth a damn. A true teacher who cares about your growth knows that your choice is yours and that they could cause you harm by "talking you into" joining or becoming their student. Either way, if someone is doing this to you, ask yourself "Why do they want me so bad when they don't even know me? What is in it for them?" Chances are, it's either to boost their self esteem, for the power they can try and hold over you, or worse...
5.While sex is part of the Craft, it is NOT a REQUIREMENT for anything in the Craft! You don't have to sleep with anyone to be a student, you don't have to sleep with anyone to get a degree, and you don't have to sleep with anyone you don't want to: PERIOD! If someone is suggesting to the contrary, leave. It's generally considered a bad thing within the community for a teacher to sleep with a student, either way.
6.Use your instincts!! If something doesn't feel right, or a group or teacher makes you uncomfortable, you don't have to stay! Your best allies in determining wether a teacher or group is good or bad can sometimes be your own common sense, intuition and instincts!
May the God and Goddess protect you on your search, and on the path you walk!
So Mote It Be!
(History, Salem and the Malleus Maleficarum)
(Page 1) (Page 2) (Page 3)
(Getting Started in the Craft)
(Tips for finding a Coven)