So, last night, I had a dream.
In the dream, my mom (who, for context, is a 3˚ initiate in a Wiccan tradition) found out that I was planning to consecrate a good luck/warding bad things amulet for my girlfriend. She told me point-blank that I shouldn’t be doing these things because I was winging it, that I had no teachers or mentors, that the correct way to go about being prepared for doing such things was to have them, that she had had them, and that I needed to get my act together and actually do this.
Basically, “HOW CAN YOU DO COMPLICATED THINGS LIKE THIS ON YOUR OWN. YOU HAVE NO GROUNDING OR FOUNDATION.” (Yes, in all caps.)
This sounds like something my mom would actually say.
IRL, I received the Delphic Maxim γονεῖς αἰδοῦ (respect your parents) during my weekly divination, which in Opsopaus’ commentary on the Maxims in The Oracles of Apollo can be taken in a broad sense to mean teachers:
The plain meaning, “respect your parents,” is commonplace in ancient Greece, as in many cultures. However, I think we must interpret “parents” in a broad sense. In the ancient world it was common to adopt other people’s children for political and social alliances; it was a kind of fostering. Moreover, spiritual teachers often adopted their students as spiritual children. They would address their students as “son” or “daughter,” who would in turn address their teacher as “father” or “mother.” Establishing this relationship constituted a spiritual rebirth.
(65% of the way through the book)
In the dream, I remembered it just as, “You received a Delphic Maxim that said to respect teachers. Your mom is calling you out about not having any.” My mom, while she’s practiced Neopaganism since I was a small child and we were going to Circle, didn’t join an initiatory Wiccan tradition until moving back to the Finger Lakes. She was at least in her late 50s, if not early 60s, when she started pursuing formal Wiccan education for initiation. She does have teachers.
And obviously, I was defensive in the dream because from my perspective, I am not winging it — reading and study, even self-directed, yield important benefits, and I was raised in Neopaganism. The authors I’m reading often write very conversationally, even if it’s an artifact of the translations, and it’s a lot like listening to someone who is actually there. I have a good idea of what’s what and have learned a lot through just observing the mistakes and successes of my elders.
I like learning by observation because it means I can try things out on my own without other people seeing my mistakes and ridiculing me for them. (The Internet is basically identical to my experiences being bullied in elementary, middle, and high school — if you show weakness, someone will go for your throat with no mercy. This is why I’m getting increasingly vocal about how we all are treating each other — I strongly dislike that kind of behavior.) Formal education is strongly associated with judgment in my mind, which is probably 30-40% why I haven’t pursued another master’s degree or a Ph.D. since getting my MLIS.
However, IRL, I am uncertain about my skill level with consecrating amulets. It’s something I have only done once — the gorgon ring I wear for protection — although all of my jewelry (apart from screw-back earrings) is religious jewelry that I’ve requested to be blessed in consecration ceremonies. That seems very different, even if the process for consecrating such things does seem straightforward — I don’t do magic, so I’d do what I normally do, AKA ritually purify it and then ask the gods for assistance. The main reason I want to do this is that a few years ago, my girlfriend’s brother killed her plant that was given to her by a spiritual practitioner whom she saw as a youth, and she was told not to kill it, and a string of ridiculously bad luck has followed her ever since the plant was killed. So consecrating a protective amulet seems like something that should happen because I love my girlfriend — I want her to have relief from the bad luck so she can focus on getting back on her feet. It’s hard enough in this country for people when one is just dealing with mundane barriers, let alone with a thing like that.
I’m not 100% certain how to interpret this dream. Is it telling me that I do need to affiliate with some kind of teacher and that I just need to get over my lingering baggage? Is it saying that I’m inexperienced at the type of amulet consecration that’s required and that I should seek a specialist? (And, if the second, we don’t exactly have a Yelp to evaluate people, do we?) Is it saying some combination — that if I had a teacher, I’d have the foundation to do this safely? I’m really not sure.
Any thoughts are greatly appreciated. 😅