Monday, November 7, 2011

Finding a Mentor/Coven.

Anon Asked: I know this isn't even your most recent post, but it felt too "off topic" to post this there. I would have hunted down your email, but I figured if you were open to that direct of contact it would have been front and center somewhere.
I've been wondering just how does one find a mentor. I've tried to obtain one through the means of internet and real life connections. I've had nothing but bad luck on both ends. Maybe my standards are just too high. Any tips (that go beyond "find a local coven = profit")?
Well, Anon... you're right - Direct Contact is not one of my strong suits. I do have this blog and my tumblr, though. My Tumblr (same name as this blog) has questions enabled as well, and I get some interestin' ones from time to time! To get forward with it... Mentors, covens... hmmm...

Wherein I Tell You What A Dick I Used To Be.

Once upon a time I was a young pagan. I had a demonic entity driving me mad, and then I ate it. And that sort of dietary change does things to a person - in short, I got in a massive heap of fucking trouble because I had a massive heap of fucking power coursing through me. And I found some folks that "jived" with me. I pestered them. A lot. And they said "No, you're too young, and too crazy."

I knew I was fucking up. I knew I was doing dangerous work - I was desperate. I crossed their fucking conditions, I jammed my fingers up their asses and yelled "1,000 years of pain!" (metaphorically), I hassled them endlessly - illustrating my knowledge of them, their system, and shit I should not have known. Until the Elder finally said "Alright, someone needs to train her, because she won't leave us alone, and she's one of us, and she's an asshole."  I was initiated into that system, and into another one of it's members was a part of - both places were squarely "Family".

So, my technique was "batter the gate until it falls" - that was stupid, and wrong, and assholish. Don't do that.

Wherein I Offer Advice Completely Not What I Did.

So, what do you do? Find the things that are important to you, and find parallels with others and their paths. Find someone you trust or admire who is a little further along the road you feel that you're on.

If they blog, or do classes... read/attend. Build a rapport, comment frequently.  Never doubt the value of Internet Occultists - I've known Jack Flash since the late ninties or early naughts on various journal and blogging sites. I'd probably jump in front of a knife-wielding madman to ensure his safety.

Ask them one or two REAL important questions (to you). See what the answers are. If the answers jive - if you feel like "AH! THIS!" then ask them what Trad they are part of, if their Trad trains, if -they- train (if they are non-trad), ask them about their sources of inspiration and Work. Ask them about avenues you might find proffitable - of course, that assumes they're personable and will answer.

And The Real Core Of It All.
The BIGGEST thing is to find someone/someones with whom you feel a connection - and that connection ought to be mutual. It may not be everything you asked for, but it may be more than you ever dreamed. Be flexible - be willing to accept a mentor who occasionally rips ass in front of you, or looks different than you expected. Be willing to travel, or at least jump through weird and seemingly nonsensical hoops to provide -them- with information on who you are magickally. Be willing to accept a No, or a Yes, or a "Yes, but not now." or a "The Gods are saying yes, but I say no. Because XYZ" But be willing to accept a "Yes. And not only yes, but come over here and give me a fucking hug, bro!"

Set firm boundaries,but don't consider your boundaries to be an immoveable force. You may never be called for the things that squick you, so never behave as though the demand is currently present (unless it is).

Wherein I Bitch And Moan About Being Lonely.
I get the want, and the need for Family.  My "Family" is no longer with me in the flesh - when I touch my feet to the Sabbat Hill I find fewer of them each year - some old, some hateful toward rogue upstarts like myself, some dead and gone. Where there was once a great, big, united coven... now it's splintered. Some have simply gone to other hills, and other ways - their blood a bond, but Family may not always meet for Thanksgiving. I sought it with CUUPs - and I did not find it. I sought it with Pagan Pride and Psychic Fairs - and I did not find it. I sought it with online communities - I did not find it. But between them, in the cracks and little places, I found a few people with whom I can converse openly - and honestly? Not in the places I looked!

Sometimes we ask for something, and we get something a little different. Eventually, longer than we'd like, we get something amazing. Keep your chin up - Witchpower does things, you don't step on the path without garnering notice.


  1. Rather than simply being "assholish," I'd say that you expressed yourself honestly, like Bruce Lee. It seems to have worked out well enough for you. ;)

    As for myself, my personal lesson seems to have been that I can't lean on anyone else for my magical education. (Which is not to say that I haven't learned plenty from my peers. But that whole master/pupil relationship was never meant for me, it seems.)

  2. @V.V.F. - I learned a weird style of mentoring. It was "Here is the problem. Here is how I solve it. Solve it the way I did, then solve it in your own way." It was more equal, less "master-student". He assisted me in learning, rather than teaching me directly. And that is the style I use when/if I dare to stick my dick in that bear trap.

    I miss the mutual learning and sense of family - but then again, I do find some of that in my blogroll!

  3. Thank you for this - it's rather timely for me. If there are no openly discoverable groups practicing any flavor of craft you're drawn toward being more involved in, is it worth paying visits to some of them anyway, or would that time be better spent in further study on your own? Learning all you can is great, but there are times when you need to be able to call someone and ask the kind of questions that would shock most pagans...

  4. I need to get a blog up and running so I can stop being anonymous @_@ Thank you for the reply.

  5. Your second half is good strategy, and about they way I go about things. The best one for me so far, was, find someone who is training and see if you can meet who trained them.

    Also, be willing to travel, super important. I can't tell you how many applicants to my pagan circle didn't follow through because half an hour drive once a week was just too far for them. If you can't make room in your life, be it doing what it takes to get transportation, or making time (stop watching TV, it frees up hours! Reduce the number of web pages you view a day, thin your blog roll, find time! Quit WOW), then you aren't really ready to train.

    Learning from a mentor is not like school. That is the thing, people hate school, and they won't put themselves in that annoying situation again, but working with another witch is rarely like that. (well unless you sign up for online witch school).

  6. Peeps,
    Yes it is worthwhile to pay visits to the local/regional 'open-ish' groups if for no other reason than someone there may be able to direct you to something more 'your flavor'.

  7. Sound, timely advice.

    Mostly commenting just to say that thanks to the Naruto shoutout up there I just realized who - or what, rather; more personality traits and abilities to be taught than A Specific Person - I've been seeking in a mentor. More awkward than that, I think I've succeeded in finding him in real life, without meaning to at all... eep. Thanks for the metaphorical bucket of cold water to the face? XD

  8. This is interesting.... I've been reading your blog for a few days now, after reading a few other similar blogs. Thank you for putting yourself out there. I'm hoping to find a mentor soon. Being an asshole isn't always a bad thing- I think we are all assholes from time to time ;)

  9. If you don't mind me saying, yes, we may have "drifted" but I still consider you Family. Life takes us on our peculiar paths but somehow never too far away from one another. You can probably see my temple over on yonder hill - I'm always available for Family. Things haven't quite gone the way we expected, but they have gone the ways they were meant to.