Monday, January 3, 2011

Scholars, ranty.

Scholar: A specialist in a given branch of knowledge.

Paganism is not a branch of knowledge. It's a forest. Someone might be well versed in the modern origins of Wicca, or the Qbl, or Norse lore, or Italic deities.... One will not be a scholar of "Paganism." There is just too much.

I don't put much stock in folks who style themselves as "Pagan Scholars." I trust the research done by several anthropologists, especially when they admit when they don't know things and are willing to change previously held opinions. But again, I can take it or leave it. Give me the information and I'll process it myself, tyvm.

I'm not a scholar, nor do I pretend to be. I know a little about a lot, and a lot about a little. I'm the muggle's "Pagan Friend." I can give you the basics of many different traditions and tools like astrology, tarot, numerology, etc. I can point you towards resources and teachers for your interests, but I will never try to teach something I have not Mastered. When I am asked to teach a subject I have not Mastered, I will point the person to trusted sources where they can get the information they need. If that isn't possible, only then will I agree to impart what I have been taught, including full disclaimers on my level of learning and progress.

I am not a Tarantella expert, but I know enough to lead others through the dance, introduce them to the tool, and point them towards teachers who can take them to the next level. I am not a labyrinth scholar, but I can build one and lead you through it. No matter how much I learn, no matter how close I come to "mastering" a subject or being a "scholar" in a certain area, I know that there will always be others who have information to add: I will never stop learning new things about these subjects, even if it's through personal gnosis, a highly underrated form of learning.

I suppose that brings me to my next point of annoyance: Not all scholars can teach and not all teachers are scholars. Just because you know something (or everything) about a subject, doesn't mean you have the ability to impart it. Just because you learn something doesn't mean you can teach it. Just because you read a book doesn't mean you're qualified to impart that information. It makes me sick that some people have the audacity to hold workshops on a subject after reading a book or two and dare to charge you money for the privilege of regurgitating what they've read.

I've seen more confusion in the Pagan community over the last 20 years thanks to unqualified teachers as opposed to unqualified students.

Thanks, I felt the need to get that off my chest. 

So where are my scholarly interests these days? Lately, Pre-Roman Italy. I'm once again reading Roman Religion and the Cult of Diana at Aricia and The Aeneid and studying the maps of the time. I would love to know how the Triskelion emerged in both Sicily and The Isle of Mann well before the Normans showed up in Sicily around 1000 - 1100 c.e. Sicily is the triangle shape, not Mann. Just sayin... I'm also quite interested in the Orphic and Homeric Hymns, but they will have to wait. I have two other books to read first.

And now that I've gotten off topic and I don't want to gather up my rant steam once again, I'm signing off!


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