?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
09 December 2012 @ 04:57 pm
YaaD Work: Class 12: Specialties  
This is one of the reflection papers I wrote as part of my Year and a Day (YaaD) of study with Fieldhaven Coven.

The question is drawn from the Greenhaven Tradition; the YaaD course is not published on the Greenhaven Tradition website, but is made available on a person-to-person basis. Material that is not so closely held is available at http://greenhaventradition.weebly.com/

Class 12, Paper 1 (after reading, before class discussion): 1. Make a list of five things you do well. How could you use these in relation to magic or spirituality? (For instance, growing or cooking with herbs would match magical herbalism.) Discuss your findings in a few paragraphs.

2. Make a list of five magical or spiritual skills which you do not have but would like to have. Where did you hear about them? What could you do to learn these skills yourself? Discuss your findings in a few paragraphs.


Normally, I would have been asked to answer one of the above questions as my pre-class paper; I was instructed to address both. Similarly, for my post-discussion paper, I was instructed to focus my additional reading on the skills I wanted to acquire and write a paper on each of them.

This is the second rewrite; it was accepted with reservations.


Assignment submitted August 7, 2012

Writing Assignment: YaaD Class 12 - Specialties


Part 1) Make a list of five things you do well. How could you use these in relation to magic or spirituality? (For instance, growing or cooking with herbs would match magical herbalism.) Discuss your findings in a few paragraphs.

Things I think I do reasonably well:

  • I type fast and fairly accurately, and take really, really detailed notes.
  • I am a decent public speaker.
  • I have reasonably good Google-fu.
  • I have a decent but no longer an outstanding memory.
  • I'm usually fairly good at explaining things to people.
  • I'm generally pretty good at seeming patient and understanding.
  • I have slight tendency for empathy.
  • I can often convince software to do what I want. Hardware can be another story.
  • I have decent pattern recognition, including sometimes the ability to spot a pattern in what is not being said or done.
  • I'm reasonably good at customer service.
  • I'm reasonably good at copyediting.


Things [my mentor says] I do well:

  • Cooking.
  • Networking (I assume he means the people kind rather than the Ethernet kind).
  • Writing.
  • Handicrafts, especially those involving yarn.
  • Kink.
  • Organizing (finding places for things, filing, event planning, herding cats, and getting people to join and become active in their local [union]).

Ways these skills could be useful to a Pagan community:

Individually

  • Note taking – Mentor suggested: as a 'for instance', it helps assure that ritual planning sessions become actual rituals.
  • Public speaking – Mentor suggested: effective in rituals.
  • Research – Mentor suggested: component of ritual design (I came up with: and, related, spell design).
  • Memory – Mentor suggested: useful in general, but particularly in the event of performing rituals without scripts-in-hand, or in spellcasting when the hands will be occupied with material or somatic components.
  • Explaining – Mentor suggested: related to teaching.
  • Appearing patient – I can't think of any way for this to be useful on its own, only in combination with other things.
  • Empathy – I can't think of any way for this to be useful on its own, only in combination with other things.
  • Software wrangling – possibly useful for record-keeping; could indicate a potential talent for Technomagick.
  • Pattern recognition – Someone with consistent control of this skill could be very useful as a sort of "institutional memory."
  • Customer service – useful at public events.
  • Copyediting – possibly helpful for ritual preparation.
  • Cooking – bringing things to pot lucks.
  • Networking – matching up people and skills.
  • Writing – I can't think of any way for this to be useful on its own, only in combination with other things.
  • Handicrafts – Someone with consistent control of this skill could be very useful as a creator of relevant items (e.g., garb, altar supplies and tools) for a group and its members.
  • Kink – I can't think of any way for this to be useful either on its own or in combination with other things.
  • Organizing – for example, making sure everything needed got to an event and got back to the covenstead afterward.


In combinations

  • Typing/note taking, research, and writing would be a good combination for a coven secretary or historian.
  • Public speaking, research, explaining, and writing would be a good combination for a ritual designer.
  • Memory, copyediting, and organizing would be a good combination for an assistant to a coven leader.
  • Explaining, patience, writing, and organizing, plus subject matter expertise, would be a good combination for a teacher.
  • Networking, speaking, and organizing would be a good combination for a public voice for a coven. fatfred suggests that these could be used in a public relations context.





Part 2) Make a list of five magical or spiritual skills which you do not have but would like to have. Where did you hear about them? What could you do to learn these skills yourself? Discuss your findings in a few paragraphs.

In revising this assignment, I realized that I couldn't come up with five magickal or spiritual skills that I don't have and that I want to have. This is not because I think I already have all kinds of skills and don’t need any more. It’s because I’m not good at blue-sky wishing. When I try to brainstorm for this assignment, almost nothing gets past the initial filter of “yeah, like you’re really going to put in the time to learn that,” even knowing that is specifically not a criterion for this assignment and that this is meant to be a wish list. There were a few things that did get past the filter that aren’t listed here, because they were things that work in fantasy but not, as far as I’ve ever heard, in common reality (e.g., it would be nice if I could teleport) and so there's no path to learning them.

I hadn't perceived any of that on the first pass.

Finally, I know that they're not part of the assignment as stated, but I cannot write this list without the disclaimers specifying just what I mean by "want" in each specific case. (cf Kagan, Hellspark.)

  1. Kabbalah: I do want to know at least a bit more about Kabbalah. At this point, I don't know how much effort I'm willing to put into studying it beyond a basic level.
    1. I have no idea where I heard of this; my background is Jewish, so I may have picked it up there, or from early reading about NeoPaganism and such things as Tarot and numerology.
    2. I have signed up to attend a three-hour introductory workshop in September. There are a myriad of books and websites about Kabbalah; I could ask the local Pagan community; I could search WitchVox.


  2. Tarot: I do want to know at least a bit more about Tarot. At this point, I don't know how much effort I'm willing to put into studying it beyond a basic level.
    1. I have no idea where I heard of this; a family friend gave my mother a book on Tarot, but I might have heard about it before then.
    2. As with Kabbalah, there are a myriad of decks, books, websites, and classes that I could use to learn more. The primary aspect of learning to use Tarot, though, would be practice and memorization.


  3. Technomagick: granted this sounds cool, but I think it would probably take a huge amount of work to learn.
    1. I am not sure where I heard of this, but the more I think about it, the more I think my first exposure to the idea was in a D&D game.
    2. I could read books and essays on the subject and attempt any exercises given in the books. I could search WitchVox and ask in the local Pagan community if anyone has this skill set and might be willing to teach it.


  4. Ritual design and development: I don't precisely want this skill in the sense that I think it sounds cool or fun; rather, I know I should want it because it's useful in all my contexts (“ritual planning” in other contexts = “meeting facilitation”).
    1. I have no idea where I heard of this; I can't remember a time when I wasn't aware that rituals have to be written.
    2. The way to learn this would be by observation and practice. I would need to read widely about psychology in general, psychology of ritual, and ritual design. I would need to seek out public events that I could attend, and find people who would be willing to talk to me about how and why they wrote the ritual the way they did (this could include people I already know, like, say, you). Then I'd have to start writing bits of rituals, finding people to test them, and learning from criticism about what I should have done differently.


  5. Event planning, especially larger events: I don't precisely want this skill, either, because I don't enjoy doing it, but like ritual planning, I know I should want it because it's useful in all my contexts.
    1. I have no idea where I heard of this; I've seen event planning from more-or-less the inside since I was a child.
    2. The way to learn this would be study and practice. There are workshops, books, and websites on the topic. I would have plenty of opportunities to do event planning (e.g., IAAP events, including the annual statewide conference; UCW events, including the annual statewide conference), and if I volunteered to help with event planning in the local Pagan community they would probably take me up on it.


  6. Healing. This is the closest I can come to a blue sky wish; I think it would be cool to be able to heal, but I can't honestly say that I "want" it, since I don't see myself putting in the years and effort to learn to do it safely.
    1. I have no idea where I heard of this; I've been reading fantasy almost since I could read, and so I'm sure I ran across the idea in a book fairly early on.
    2. I'd want to be cautious about taking this up, because it would be easy to harm someone. I'd have to take college-level courses in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and psychology at a minimum, before looking for an experienced healer who would be willing to teach someone who – given my age – would not be likely to offer a significant return on investment.
    3. murphymom, tassie_gal, and aedifica suggested that I could look into Reiki. A brief glance at http://www.reiki.org/ informs me that there are books and study guides, as well as classes within driving distance of Knoxville. I'm concerned that a person can be "certified" after attending a weekend-long workshop; on the other hand, I know people who use and practice Reiki, and none of them strikes me as careless.


Tags:
 
 
 
tassie_galtassie_gal on December 10th, 2012 04:58 am (UTC)
I found it fascinating seeing your thought process through this. You have always struck me as someone who knows exactly what they want, and how to go about it, so I can see why blue sky dreaming is hard.
As for the Reiki, I would never ever even contemplate doing one of those "weekend" type courses. I did a weekend and got my level 1 certificate, of which I have probably forgotten more than I remember. One day, when I find someone who does not set my spidey sleaze/dodgy senses tingling I will go back and do my level 2/3 certifications. They take longer, the attunements can knock you around a bit (I remember my level one and not being able to speak for about 2 hours afterwards....hate to think what level 3 would do to me), and you are supervised and mentored beyond belief. I dont believe you can get a decent training in all aspects in a weekend at all.
however I think you should consider it. You obviously have some sort of energy connection, which is a good start.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on December 10th, 2012 12:22 pm (UTC)
You have always struck me as someone who knows exactly what they want, and how to go about it, so I can see why blue sky dreaming is hard.

Huh. I'm fascinated you perceive me that way, because I think of myself as someone who just kind of drifts along until I get caught up in something.
tassie_galtassie_gal on December 10th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
I guess its partially the way you write, but also the sense of you that I get from your writing.