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05 August 2012 @ 02:48 pm
Help me with my Year-and-a-Day homework?  
Thanks for your help; I've submitted the assignment.

I have specific permission from my mentor to ask for help with this assignment.

Here's the assignment:
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.


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 well:

1. I type fast and accurately, and I take really, really good notes.

2. I am a decent but not exceptional public speaker.

3. I have reasonably good Google-fu, and in general I'm pretty good at finding information that's already out there.

4. I have a decent but no longer an outstanding memory.

5. I'm usually fairly good at explaining things to people, although when I fail it tends to be pretty spectacular.

6. I'm reasonably good at pretending to be patient and understanding in the moment, assuming I can bitch about it later.

7. I have enough empathy that it might qualify as a weak, low-level Talent.

8. I can generally convince software to do what I want.

9. I have decent pattern recognition, including at least sometimes the ability to spot a pattern in what is not being said or done.

Things my mentor says he thinks I do well (and I said I wouldn't argue with him, so I'm not, and let me tell you it's hard to type when I'm sitting on my hands):

A. Cooking.

B. Networking (I assume he means the people kind rather than the Ethernet kind).

C. Writing.

D. Handicrafts, especially those involving yarn.

E. Kink.

F. Organizing (by which he says he means all of: finding places for things, filing, event planning, herding cats, and the union definition of getting people to join and become active in their local) – and both he and his partner have especially asked that I include this in my list because it's a less-common skill in their community.


Ways I could use these skills in a magic(k)al or spiritual context, or (and here I'm extrapolating on the assignment, so I am probably missing the point entirely) to support a Pagan community:

Combining 1, 3, and C might make me a good candidate to be a coven secretary or historian.

Combining 2, 3, 5, and C might suggest that I'd be halfway decent at ritual design, eventually, given a LOT more experience.

Combining 4 and F might suggest that if I were willing to put some effort and focus into it, I might be a good assistant to a coven leader.

Combining 5, 6, G, and F might suggest that at some point I might be qualified to teach.

Combining 6, 7, and 9 might suggest that if I were willing to put some effort and focus into it, I might potentially develop some forms of healing skills.

8, especially given that my elemental connections seem to be Fire and Earth, may suggest that if I have any talents that haven't yet come to light, Technomagic(k) might be one of them. (However, I still think that I'm only claiming a connection to Fire because it's flashy and pretty, and that I'm not really entitled to it.)

Combining B, 2, and F might suggest that at some point I could be a public voice for a coven, if such a thing were ever needed.

D by itself could be useful in that many Pagans prefer using handcrafted items rather than commercially produced ones. However, I'm not so great at actually finishing projects, so this might not be a good thing to take on.

I can't think of any way to use A in a magic(k)al, spiritual, or Pagan context, other than the obvious "bring stuff to potlucks."

I can't think of any way to use E in a magic(k)al, spiritual, or Pagan context, because I'm not one of the people for whom kink is spiritual; it's just fun.


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.

1. Healing – I'm pretty sure this doesn't qualify, since I'd never be able to learn enough to do it safely.

a. I have no idea where I first 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.

b. I'd want to be very, very cautious about taking this up, because it would be so incredibly easy to harm someone. I'd feel obligated 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's already my age and not likely to offer a significant return on investment.


2. Ritual development – I'm not sure this qualifies, since I've participated in a tiny amount of ritual development and wouldn't be starting completely from scratch.

a. I have no idea where I first heard of this; I can't remember a time when I wasn't aware that rituals have to be written. Even the most traditional rituals had to be developed at some point in history, and are often modernized to be more relevant to the current culture.

b. The only way to learn this would be by observation and practice. I would need to read widely about psychology in general, the psychology of ritual, and ritual design. I would also 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. Then I'd have to start writing bits of rituals, performing them and/or finding people to perform them, and – here's the hard part – asking for and listening to and learning from – criticism about how badly I'd screwed it up and what I should have done differently, then repeating until something approaching competence is achieved. "Only next time, try to fail better." – Samuel Beckett http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/samuel_beckett.html#FBSuYVLCGcGc9f9Q.99


3. Event planning, especially larger events – I'm not sure this qualifies, since I've already done some event planning for small groups and small events.

a. I have no idea where I first heard of this; I've seen event planning from more-or-less the inside since I was a child.

b. The best way to learn this would be to practice, practice, practice. I have plenty of opportunities to do this in the mundane world (e.g., IAAP events, including the annual statewide conference; UCW events, including the annual statewide conference), and I'm sure that if I volunteered to help the local Pagan community they'd take me up on it. There are also classes, workshops, and books on the topic.


4. Technomagic(k) – I'm not sure this qualifies, since it's possible I already have the skill but am not expressing it.

a. I don't remember where I first heard of this; certainly in the Babylon Five episode, but I'm fairly sure I'd run into it previously, perhaps in a D&D game.

b. I could read books on the subject (e.g., The Wiccan Web by Telesco and Knight) and attempt any exercises given in the books. I could ask in the local Pagan community if anyone has this skill set and might be willing to teach it. I could search on WitchVox for any groups with this focus.


5. Kabbalah – I'm not sure this qualifies, since it is something I'd like to learn more about, but I don't know at this time if it's something I want to take up as a long-term course of study.

a. I have no idea where I first heard of this; my background is Jewish, so I may have picked it up from there, or from early reading about NeoPaganism and such things as Tarot and numerology (I have a vague idea that gamatria is linked to Kabbalah).

b. I have signed up to attend an afternoon introductory workshop. There are a myriad of books and websites about Kabbalah; I could ask the local Pagan community; I could search WitchVox.


6. Tarot – this one I think might actually qualify, since I would like to learn more about it and think it could be useful for meditation and decision-making (that is, the interpretation would clarify how I – or the person being read for – felt about the question).

a. I have no idea where I first heard about this; I know a family friend gave my mother a book on Tarot when I was a pre-teen, but I might have heard about it before then.

b. 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.


7. Help?


So, my questions -- and again, I have permission to ask for help on this one --

1. Given the list of things I think I do well and my mentor thinks I do well, are there other contexts or ways in which I could use those skills?

2. Can you suggest other skills that I might want to learn? I'll do the research on how to learn them, obviously.
 
 
 
Fat Fred the Otter and Skippy: iotterfatfred on August 5th, 2012 06:54 pm (UTC)

What you said about B, 2 & F...
Oddly enough, PR for a group.
Sometimes a group needs to communicate with others that don't believe the way they do. Sometimes both sides need a translator. I can see you doing that.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 5th, 2012 07:02 pm (UTC)
I'm intrigued that you suggested "translator" -- for a very short time, right after my Dad got an internet account -- I was posting as "xlator@magenta.com". I'm not sure where I picked up using "x" as short for "trans", but "translator" is more than eight characters.

And I described my visit to Phoenix as "playing Speaker to Bureaucrats and Speaker to Doctors" for Cris.
Fat Fred the Otter and Skippy: iotterfatfred on August 5th, 2012 07:13 pm (UTC)

Does that mean I guessed right? :-)
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 5th, 2012 09:03 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure I'd phrase it that way; I wasn't trying to ask people to guess what I was hiding, but rather to help me see what I was missing. Does that make any sense?
Fat Fred the Otter and Skippy: iotterfatfred on August 5th, 2012 10:34 pm (UTC)

Yes it does. My phrasing was wrong.
Have I pointed out something that helped?
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 5th, 2012 10:42 pm (UTC)
Yes, most definitely, and thanks!
(Deleted comment)
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 5th, 2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
I hadn't, no, but it's certainly something I could look into.
tassie_galtassie_gal on August 5th, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
seconding the Reiki. Taught properly, and with a decent attunement (not one of the back of book jobs) it can be very powerful. Also Kineseology which I have had lots of success with in helping me move blocks etc.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 5th, 2012 11:40 pm (UTC)
Kinesiology is a multi-year program of study, yes? I'm not sure I'd be willing to commit to that.
tassie_galtassie_gal on August 6th, 2012 01:37 am (UTC)
not sure. I know here in Oz you can do it in a unit type manner.
Cat Sitting Stillcatsittingstill on August 5th, 2012 09:33 pm (UTC)
Regarding A I know there are pagan rituals where sharing food is part of the ritual. Might there be a place for a ritual where preparing food is part of the ritual? For instance baking bread is redolent (if you will pardon the pun) with history, connotations of home and hearth and plenty and comfort, etc. Would it be possible /worthwhile to make, say, a double ritual, one where the participants make the dough together and a second where the participants put it in the oven and it bakes while the ritual is concluded?

I guess this might be kind of hard to manage and you might not have much call for a double ritual like that but I wonder if it could be some kind of community-building thing or a blessing for a new home or something?
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 5th, 2012 09:48 pm (UTC)
I have actually participated in a ritual based on baking bread and then eating it -- I think for Lammas one year. So, indeed, cooking could be tied into ritual design / ritual prep. Thanks for the reminder!
Angela di Tenebreditenebre on August 5th, 2012 10:10 pm (UTC)
You said something about D on its own not being particularly good for you, since you claim you're not good at finishing projects. However, if you combine D with 5, you could still help those who prefer to use handcrafted items by teaching them to make their own. (The "teach a man to fish" approach.)
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 5th, 2012 10:23 pm (UTC)
Good point.
une idee fixeideealisme on August 5th, 2012 10:33 pm (UTC)
I notice when you praise yourself, you qualify the praise with "not very good at", or "not as much". I think you should give yourself full and unalloyed praise :)
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 5th, 2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
Um, er.
Johnjohnpalmer on August 6th, 2012 07:26 am (UTC)
It's true, though - and not because you deserve ego-puffery. It's a deep part of knowing yourself.

It can also be important in other ways. If you sit there thinking "I know basic first aid, but not very well" and someone is bleeding, well, if you sit around waiting for someone who can do it better, that person keeps bleeding.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, even if *everyone else* can do *everything* better than you, they can still only do one thing at a time, so if you refuse to accept that you can do X, someone else might waste their time and energy doing X when they could be doing Y, which they would do better, and to greater effect.

Bladerunner: I feel prettybldrnrpdx on August 6th, 2012 03:24 pm (UTC)
As I read through the first list, that was my initial thought as well - I've thought this ever since I've read your LJ and was reading you on SSB-B. You have an amazing ability to qualify all of your interests, skills, and accomplishments.

I know it's hard to do the "I am not just good, I am great" thing. I would strongly suggest, however, trying the "I am good" and *dropping* the "but..." or "except..." that typically follows. When you stop saying it for yourself, you might just start hearing that other people don't say it much either. Heck, there's an outside chance you might even start to believe it. :)
aedifica: Religious studiesaedifica on August 5th, 2012 10:43 pm (UTC)
In groups I've worked with, you could also learn ritual design by working with the people who were designing a ritual, and asking them about why they made the choices they did. It doesn't have to be something you throw yourself into before apprenticing.

And I might not have thought of suggesting Reiki on my own, but I second murphymom's suggestion of it.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 5th, 2012 11:16 pm (UTC)
*nods* I was thinking I would need to find someone and "apprentice" to really learn the ins and outs and hows and whys.
Johnjohnpalmer on August 6th, 2012 07:52 am (UTC)
Hm. Yes, but writing a ritual is like writing a story. If you study writing, it doesn't always make you a writer... and the best writers probably start writing stories before they study how. I think it would be good for you to mix practice with learning. (That's just a guess, though.)

Basic ritual: Set intention, build energy, perform action, release energy.

(This is kind of like a scene - setting intention = getting into character/headspace - build energy includes warmup/build up activities, "perform action" would be kind of like the main event, and then releasing energy is coming back to normal headspace.)
tassie_galtassie_gal on August 5th, 2012 10:57 pm (UTC)
you need to trust yourself more. All your statements are slightly "not so sure" sounding.
Pattern recognition is a huge part of energy healing. Recognising the patterns in someones behaviour then helping them see it and change it is a huge thing.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on August 5th, 2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
That's because I am "not so sure" -- I look around me and see what others can do, and compare myself to what I see, and pretty much always come up at the low end of the scale.
tassie_galtassie_gal on August 6th, 2012 01:36 am (UTC)
keep in mind though our types of personalities always tend to downplay our strengths. (I suspect you and I are similar personality types, intense and focused by can be distracted by shinies)
Johnjohnpalmer on August 6th, 2012 07:36 am (UTC)
I can't think of any way to use E in a magic(k)al, spiritual, or Pagan context, because I'm not one of the people for whom kink is spiritual; it's just fun.


Um. Please tell me you see a lot of places where lots of skills transfer. If you don't, either you or your teachers need to be talked to. (Not necessarily in a bad way.)

Edited at 2012-08-06 07:36 am (UTC)
mujetdebois on August 6th, 2012 01:43 pm (UTC)
I whole heartedly agree that Qabala is a must. It is one of the support structures of the modern tarot deck and when I say modern I mean those that rose at the same time, The Rider-Waite, or as I prefer the Coleman-Waite Deck (gotta give the artist credit too), Case's B.O.T.A. Deck, etc. Please note I also use Qabala w/ a Q most as far as I know and through my Tradition we use the Q to signify the western Ceremonial Qabala or QBL for short. Most individual that use a K or refer to the Abrahamic uses of the QBL.

Tarot or some other divinatory system if you don't already have that under your belt.

Personally, right now I am working with mudras right now and seeing how one can move energy or assist body function by using them as well. I've also started training as a water pourer for sweat lodge, the possibilities before you are endless.

Maggiesillymagpie on August 7th, 2012 01:42 am (UTC)
I know I'm too late for your assignment, but perhaps something that harmonizes your intellectual and emotional/right and left brain functions would be good. You seem balanced toward the highly analytical, which is fine, but my understanding is that Wicca is all about harmony and balance. Learning to intertwine both of your "selves" would be great. Something that combines your empathy and organization--such as volunteer help?