Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Thirteen Reasons Why You Don't Want Me for Your Teacher



So, you want to learn the Craft, eh?

Great. Let me give you thirteen good reasons why you don't want me for your teacher.


I'm a beginner myself.

After almost 50 years in the Craft, I not infrequently still feel like a beginner.

After 50 years in the Craft, chances are, you will too.


I don't bother with basics.

I'm not going to waste either my time or yours with the basics. Those you should know already. If you don't, go learn them.


All I teach is basics.

Once you know the basic principles, it's just a matter of applying them as you go.

After that, it's all experience.


It's all on you.

The initiative is yours. If you want to know what I know, you need to come to me. I'm not going to set up times to meet, or give you assignments, or provide you with a curriculum.

All that needs to come from you.


I'm not going to draw your conclusions for you.

Ask me a question, and I'll tell you the story, or sing you the song, but you'll have to reach your own conclusions.

By the way, I'll expect you to remember the song or the story, too.



You need to know the sacred songs of the Witches, all 900 of them, and you need to know them now. The poems, the stories, the rituals: you need to learn them all. If they came tomorrow and took away all the books, would you have enough in your head for the Craft to survive?

I tell you, it's the work of a lifetime. I'm still working on it myself.


I expect you to watch, to listen, and to ask.

Don't expect any preemptive explanations. If you want to know the insides, you need to ask.

This, of course, means that you need to pay close enough attention that you'll know what to ask.

This much can I promise you: I do know an answer to your question. I just may not know that I know until you ask.

So ask.


We'll spend a lot of time together.

Really, the best way to learn the Craft is by apprenticeship. I know lots that I don't know that I know; there's much that I assume everyone can do, simply because it comes naturally to me.

So we'll need to spend enough time together for you to observe me in lots of different situations, and so learn what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I'll get it right, sometimes I won't. In the future, these will become part of your repertoire of precedents from which to draw, so you'll need to attend carefully, and store them away.

Really, you'll need them all.


I don't want students, I want peers.

Witches think actively. When I'm in the process of working something out for myself, I'm going to come to you and ask.

I'll expect an answer, and I'll expect you to know why that's the answer.


I'll expect you to know why.

Just knowing the answer isn't good enough. I'll expect you to know why the answer is the answer.

I'll always expect you to know why.


I'm going to expect you to be your own witch.

When George Gershwin was a young man, he went to Paris to study music with Maurice Ravel. After a year of study, Ravel said to him: Well, Gershwin, you have two choices. Either you can stay here in Paris and become a second-rate Maurice Ravel, or you can go back to New York and become a first-rate George Gershwin.


Once it starts, it will never stop.

There won't be any tidy little initiation ceremony to pat you on the head and tell you that you've learned it all, either. The Craft is a Sea, and it never ends; there's always more to learn.


Well, there you are: thirteen excellent reasons not to take me for your teacher. Doubtless my students could give you plenty of others as well.

If, knowing what you know, you still want to dive in and swim the Moon Path with me, well...first, a test question, just to make sure.


What's the anomaly here?


Last modified on
Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


Additional information