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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.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Warning to All Students of the Craft

 Caveat discipulus.

(“Let the student beware.”)

There may be some things that unquestioning obedience can teach you.

The Craft isn't one of them.

The Wise take initiative. The Wise know how to say No.

Alas, it needs to be repeated in every generation.

If your teacher wants you to do something that you don't feel right doing, Grab your broomstick and get out of there.

Last modified on

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Twists and Turns

Long time, no write. Although I do have three drafts started on the Word app on my tablet, my son had commandeered my tablet after his high school graduation and I had only been lucky enough to touch it two brief times since then.  

Now that I'm on a training trip away from my family, I find that I have pockets of free time.  And, bonus, I have my laptop back!  Had to use it when I worked from home for a large retail company.  But now that I'm in training for another work-at-home job (much better than the previous one), I get to have it back.  At some point I will grab my tablet and transfer the drafted blogs and post them.  So I was getting ready to leave my training day thinking that all I wanted to do was sit and decompress and write when I received a lovely "missing you" email, gently reminding me that I have a warm place to write - exactly what was on my brain.  Someone was reading my thoughts.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Teaching Folk Dance at the Moot part 3

In the last great Ice Age, when cave bears roamed the snowy earth, peoples across Europe, Asia, and North America all honored the Bear. Because bears hibernate, they return in the spring, along with the sun, the warmth, and the fertility of the land. It would make sense to do a dance with loud drumming in the spring to wake them up, thus bringing the blessings of springtime, but Tot Ursi is still performed to this day in Romania, and it is part of the winter solstice celebrations. Like winter solstice traditions of burning a Yule Log to keep the light alive while the sun is god, Tot Ursi is danced to keep the Bear spirit alive while the bears are gone. (For further reading on Bear spirituality, see Alan Leddon’s book Religion Laid Bear.)

In Tot Ursi, meaning "All Bears," the dancers can growl and make bear-like sounds, but they also make “brrrrr” sounds, which don’t sound like a bear at all. I think the “brrr” sound may be a form of lalling. Lalling is making nonsense sounds such as “lalala” in a song, or for ritual purposes. Lalling is named after the Germanic god Lollus. I found Tot Ursi while doing genealogical research on my last name (for more info on that topic, see my blog post  Lollus, Löhl, and Ursul din Lăloaia )

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    I remember that song!
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I suddenly remembered the childhood song: "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" when I got to the last line of this article.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I’m preparing to teach Basic Folk Dance at Southwest Frith Moot. My time slot between the other things on the schedule is a half hour, so I’ve selected two dances, Hora and Tot Ursi. Tot Ursi is a procession dance and the Hora is a round dance. Tot Ursi is so simple that I can teach it before I teach any actual dance basics, so I can teach Tot Ursi, do a short lecture teaching dance basics, and then teach the Hora. The dance basics I need to teach for the second dance include what “line of direction” means (move to the right, starting on the right foot), how to hold hands (dancing in a circle round, left hand up and the right one down,) and how to cut in.

My mom and I dance with the Ethnic Express Folk Dancers. We dance to bring people together—ourselves, most of all—and to preserve the world heritage of dance. I’m the only heathen in the dance group. Mom and I originally got into folk dance as an activity we could do together when I was in high school. Even when she can’t dance, our folk dance friends are a big part of our life.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Schedule change for Pagan Pride Day 2017, I'll be teaching Folk Dance at 2pm instead of 1pm.
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Babatunde, I will be teaching this Basic Folk Dancing class again at Las Vegas Pagan Pride Day 2017, Sept. 30, at 1pm, at the Unit
  • Babatunde
    Babatunde says #
    can you teach me and where are you thanks??
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Babatunde, the moot is in Arizona, but the event is full. I'm in the Las Vegas, Nevada, area. I do plan to teach this dance at the

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Folk dance is ritual. Dances are performed for holidays, weddings, the agricultural cycle, and to bring people together. I’m going to teach folk dance at an upcoming heathen gathering.

At the dawn of agricultural, newly settled villagers who needed to work together on farm tasks danced together to learn how to move as a unit and co-ordinate with each other, and to build team spirit. Those are also some reasons for military marching. There are folk dances that actually are forms of military drill, such as the vari hasapikos, a Greek men’s dance for a four man team, that teaches how to read a leader’s hand signals and follow them in unison.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Dancing Goddesses is a fantastic book. I recommend it.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    My local library has a copy of Dancing Goddesses: folklore, archaeology, and the origins of European dance by Barber. It's a fasc
The (witch's) Apprentice

I was a magician’s apprentice once.  True story!  I worked in a small metaphysical shop where I was employed as a personal assistant/store clerk/apprentice.  It was a fun and useful job in some ways, and terrible in many others.  I don’t want to get into too many personal details, but I can say that a few years later and after some valuable and hard lessons, I’m thankful for the overall experienced but so relieved that those years, that place, and those people, are far behind me.

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