Tuesday, July 17, 2012

N is for Newb

This post is brought to you by the Pagan Blog Project.

Go to any pagan message board, and chances are the most active threads are in the "beginner" sections. There's a good reason for this - whenever you're new to anything, you have a million questions and boundless enthusiasm. So you look for answers, advice, and tips on how not to make a total tit of yourself.

Which you'll fail at. Consistently.

I've talked before about how amazingly dumbassed I was when I was first setting out to learn magic. In my defense, I was a teenager and all teenagers are inherently dumbassed even when they're really smart. That's the whole fun part of being a teenager.

But here's the other thing... old farts can be needlessly hard on beginners. It's like you're so desperate to prove that you're no longer a newb on the path that you develop a sort of jaded attitude about them. "Oh, you read Silver Ravenwolf? Don't you know she's like, full of crap?"

I'm guilty of doing this myself in my twenties.

Deborah over at Charmed I'm sure just posted a short piece on how many of us witches got our start, and honestly it should be required reading for anyone who would rather pretend their early years never happened.

Celts = DRAGONS!
While I'm currently considered a complete occult nerd, it certainly wasn't always so. Like I've admitted in the past, I wanted to learn about real magic because of The Craft. I read Buckland, yeah, but I also read Silver Ravenwolf and DJ Conway. That's bottom of the barrel in terms of actual facts, right there, people. 'Celtic Magic' was watered-down Wicca 101 with Celtic god names pasted overtop.But I owned it! I read it! I totally used some of the shit in it, I'm sure!

My first altar was a cardboard box I painted black. Oh, and we painted a silver pentagram on top. My incense came from the dollar store and smelled like burning diapers, and my candles were from the same place and tended to be scented. My first 'athame' was a letter opener. But you know, as ghetto as all my supplies were? I tried damn hard with them.

You can't learn everything at once. You learn through education - which takes time - and through experience - which takes even more time. Along the way you might buy into somethings that you later regard as bullshit, but that's okay. Everyone does. (I mean, lots of people apparently thought feathered mullets were a good idea in the 80s, you know?)

So. Newbs. The thing to remember, I think, is that yes, you should always use the manners your mama taught you but if someone's giving you sass just because you didn't knwo something? Remember that once upon a time they were making the exact same mistakes as you.

Ain't nobody born with all the answers.

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