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With the new year right around the corner just a couple of days away, I have been reminiscing about the good old days. Someone had mentioned how long we have been Initiated Witches. In many traditions of witchcraft, the more seasoned you are the more knowledge you are supposed to have gained which makes you more revered. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you are chronologically seasoned as in “old”. I know some seasoned Witches who are at least 20 years younger than me and have my utmost respect as a seasoned Witch.
So, traveling back through memory lane, I have some fond memories of when I was a Newbie. I didn’t know much about tools or divination with tarot cards or Runes. I didn’t really understand a lot of the terminology. I had a lot of questions that are so rudimentary that I can barely remember not knowing the answer.
There was so much I didn’t know. I made one mistake after another. My teacher had that eye roll down and I would pretend I didn’t see it. She was so patient with my gazillion questions and my lack of etiquette, diplomacy and a sheer lack of maturity. I was and still can be very loud and obnoxious. I tend to be hyper and theatrical. I love to tell stories and I often came across as flighty and indecisive although I have discovered that I am definitely not indecisive at all and being flighty is found in how fast I will change direction if I see in advance that I am about to crash and burn. I once didn’t understand that simple thing about myself. As a Newbie I didn’t know who I was or what I was and I allowed others to define me.
A little heads-up, just when you think you have it all figured out, be prepared to discover you don’t.
I see Newbies today and smile in remembrance of what I was 20 years ago and I think about how in many ways I am still the Newbie as I learn new things. In my own Tarot readings, I have been seeing a lot about a new teacher coming into my life. Learning new things and in the readings, I am getting messages about also being the teacher.
How Cool Is That?
I get to not only be the student and continue to learn cool stuff but now, I also get to be the teacher. I get to pass down what I have learned. My understanding of the same old lessons that repeat in life changes as I grow and learn. My rituals, my spells, my magick, and everything I understand changes flavor as I learn new things and season it with new information.
In my humble opinion, I believe that all newbies have a fresh and untainted perspective of witchcraft and the world. Much like a child, regardless of age, a newbie isn’t clouded with an over stimulated point of view. I saw this when I was stumped on what to do for an esbat that I have performed for many years. I needed something new and fresh and the best idea came from a fellow Teacher’s Student. A Newbie with a fresh perspective.
We all still have that little Newbie inside and I personally don’t want to lose that Newbie in me. Being a Newbie is super hard sometimes because a newbie is unsure of what he/she knows. When we mere humans are new at something, we haven’t developed the confidence in our skills or knowledge. What is often overlooked is the fresh perspective that has yet to be jaded with approval and rejection. The acceptance of our elders is extremely important to us and we covet the respect of our colleagues; Sometimes to the point of our own detriment.
As a seasoned “expert”, we sometimes are so busy trying to prove what we know and how much of a skilled expert that we are that we lose our perspective.
It is common for us seasoned Witches to walk around with our heads focused on our accomplishments that sometimes we don’t really look where we are going. That is when we have a very humbling experience as we trip up and fall down right smack on our smug little faces.
Being a Newbie is difficult but remembering when I was new and struggling with meditation and remembering when I couldn’t tell you what phase the moon was in what less the names of the season changes such as the difference between a Solstice and an equinox. Holy cow, and I remember not understanding the difference between astrology and astronomy.
I wonder sometimes what an old teacher would think of me today compared to what I was then. I remember I couldn’t grasp the concept of both a masculine and a feminine aspect of deity. I called on one or the other but had difficulty calling on them both. If my very first teacher was a fly on the wall watching me lead a group, what would she think? Would she be shocked? Would she be proud? Would she be able to see me beyond her memories of the past me? Like a mother who still sees her 30-year-old child as a baby and not a grown and responsible adult, I wonder if people who knew me 20 years ago would ever see me as more than the Newb they once knew.
I know a lot compared to what I knew 20 years ago. I am an expert in some of my skills. although not perfect. The biggest realization is when I am thinking I have a complete understanding and I know all I need to know, I find that I really don’t know much at all. I may be proficient in the Runes but I am finally learning Tarot. I am able to teach Runes but I am a Newbie when it comes to Tarot. The key to being wise is realizing that it is just fine not to know everything and learning from a colleague doesn’t make me any less of a seasoned witch. I am great with herbs while someone else is skilled with crystal energy. Not having all the answers doesn’t make us any less of what we are, it just makes us human.
My biggest fear has been that I will forget what it is like to be New at Witchcraft or Wicca or Tarot. If I forget what I didn’t know, I will not be able to teach what I currently know. If I judge my student for what they don’t know, I will fail to see their growth, achievements, and I will never benefit from their fresh perspective. The student teaches the teacher just as much as the teacher teaches the student. The best teacher/student relationship is one that is mutual.
If that statement makes you ask what it is supposed to mean or if you believe it doesn’t make sense, it is the lesson you still need to learn. Although we may have come far, we may have degrees or certificates, we may even be respected or Revered but once we think we know everything because we are the teacher, count on a tough lesson to come because the realization that we don’t know everything and we fail to listen to others from an open minded perspective ready to continually learn, the growth stops and we no longer have anything of value to offer.
As I struggle to hold on to the Newbie in me, I can feel proud of all that I have learned from the gazillion mistakes I’ve made and still giggle at the reminders of my personal mistakes as I watch my students make their own. It is best to keep in mind that the Newbie inside is to remind me of how difficult it is to learn something new and it is not that easy to understand the basics from a beginner’s point of view. Leaving with the first understanding that we all have to start at the beginning to truly understand what we are learning is one of the fundamentals of witchcraft.
It took me 20 years to get where I am today and hopefully I have another 20 years to learn even more. As I watch the mistakes and listen to the questions of my students, I am not only reminded of where I started but I also continue to learn from them as well. Getting a degree or accomplishing a goal is only the beginning. One never should stop learning because no one ever knows it all.
In Love and Light,