Pagan Perspective: Learning Different Ways

Question: from MrAbhainn
–“Recently the group I work with had an open event for seekers to come and ask questions and test the waters before applying to the group for membership. There were a few people who’d practiced personal paths and had pre-established correspondences already. This is not a problem though seeing some of these individuals take the correspondences as doctrine they found it a shock to see differences. I’d love to hear host’s experiences learning correspondences and developing associations beyond the ‘Wicca 101’ material. Have you any techniques for learning pantheons or crystals etc.? How about complexity of herbs?”

The Vast World of Correspondences

Learning as one goes seems to be the way for this poster, which I sort of get because its tough enough learning everything and sometimes meaning does lie in the moment. I like that he identifies with the role of memory and the sensory experience of the process as well.

To be honest I hadn’t really expected the question to be read to literally but to offer options for the different vloggers to discuss so I appreciate that he went to the bother of examining everything from herbs and crystals to pantheons (which if I were asking now I’d probably ask about more grimoiric borrowings such as angels and then more shamanic or Traditional craft of spirits).

Learning Associations

Cara does seem to identify that most books and tables of correspondences are caveated with the phrase that “these are the author’s own views” or similar. Thankfully Cara also goes to other views from blogs, vlogs and talks with other practitioners too.

Pantheons: Very much a run of experiences based on need much like the previous poster’s methodology.

Crystals and Herbs: Books and Internet help Cara immensely and looks for commonalities between sources and then exploring discrepancies. For her its more of a scientific methodology as she will also go to friends and experienced workers. She also interesting looks to what is in her possession and what is familiar from books before exploring exotic herbs and crystals.

Trial and error comes into it more with Elements and Directions. This time she went with basic feeling around positioning her altar.

For me personally, having listened to Cara’s experiences, I find myself realising there is a synthesis of knowledge and experience to work a system of magic that works for her.

Wednesdays with Eric: Associations and Correspondences

Eric is pretty forthright in that his knowledge is limited. He’s very clear on herbal work and correct use of herbs as medical work and magical work.

Interestingly the group gnosis concept is an interesting facet behind this line of questioning because I’ve met so many groups whose associations and world-views are so far removed from my own that I have struggled. Some of this was learning to be more pliable myself but mostly it was learning that we just weren’t a good fit.

Correspondences

Charlie explains that her own experiences have been influenced by the wide diaspora of practitioners of modern magic. For Charlie there is a natural tendency to synthesise her own praxis with tips and suggestions working for her.

She does note that for her energetically North makes more sense that East as the starting and end point of the ritual Circle. Interestingly, she spends time building up her own associations to each element and from this she seems to pick up on the various influences on the crystals or energetic make-up (spirits?) of stones and crystals with her analogy to Amythst. Herbs, however are based on natural medicine and a more orthodox perspective.

What I LOVE here is that Charlie really drives home praxis rather than study… getting out there and learning to build up what I would call an energetic language to work with that is beautifully complex but honest.

Are these Facts?

PurpleKillJoy offers some insight into the jumping off point. From the perspective of Pantheons PKJ is interesting because he works with patron gods moreso than a range of gods from a particular pantheon. Also he explores the role of fun in learning with a board game he played which helped with Herbs. Flashcards and hiking are some of his suggestions.

PKJ suggests this is rather easy because they are all “just theories”, I’m not sure I would agree with this because even if some theories hold true a lot of these theories flow very strongly into the egregore of a tradition or a group. Essentially forming the backbone for the student’s development within the system.

Many Paths…

DancingRabbit does a little more to distinguish between approaches to running a coven or group. DR comes from the CUUPS which is a pagan branch of the Unitarian Church moreso with a variety of influences in their open group. DR acknowledges the syncreticism unique to their group which offers each member to lead the group in turn with their own tradition or spiritual outlook.

DR seems to be confusing associations with the concept of sympathetic resonance – which to be honest I was hoping more of the speakers would pick up on behind the question. Associations have a basis in comparative obversation often following cause and effect i.e. fire creates ore for metalurgy to create the knife or sword. Sympathetic resonance, can owe a lot to comparative observation but also plays off against symbolism in ritual use.

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