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09 December 2012 @ 04:31 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 paper failed spectacularly and required two rewrites before being accepted with considerable reservation.


Assignment submitted August 5, 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:
  1. I type fast and fairly accurately, and I take really, really detailed notes.
  2. I am a decent but not exceptional public speaker.
  3. I have reasonably good Google-fu.
  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 spectacular.
  6. I'm reasonably good at acting patient and understanding in the moment, but I bitch about it later.
  7. I have enough empathy that it might qualify as a low-level Talent.
  8. I can often convince software to do what I want.
  9. I have decent pattern recognition, including sometimes the ability to spot a pattern in what is not being said or done.
  10. Customer service.
  11. Copyediting.


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):
  1. Cooking.
  2. Networking (I assume he means the people kind rather than the Ethernet kind).
  3. Writing.
  4. Handicrafts, especially those involving yarn.
  5. Kink.
  6. 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 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 magickal or spiritual context: I have no clue.

However, and here I'm extrapolating on the assignment and so am probably missing the point entirely, I can think of ways I might be able to use some of the skills to help support a Pagan community:
  • Combining 1, 3, and C might suggest that I might learn to be a coven secretary or historian.
  • Combining 2, 3, 5, and C might suggest that if I were willing to put a lot of effort and focus into it, I might develop some skill at ritual design.
  • Combining 4, 11, 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, if I ever developed enough knowledge about something to teach it.
  • Combining 6, 7, and 9 might suggest that if I were willing to put a great deal of effort and focus into it, I might potentially develop some form of healing skills.
  • Combining 8 with my elemental connections seeming to be Fire and Earth, might suggest that if I have any Talents, Technomagick might be one of them.
  • Combining B, 2, and F might suggest that at some point I might be a public voice for a coven, if such a thing were ever needed. fatfred suggests that these might be used to help with some kind of PR.
  • D by itself might 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. ditenebre suggests that combining 4 and D might suggest that I might be able to teach others how to make things.
  • I can't think of any way to use 10 in a magickal, spiritual, or Pagan context.
  • I can't think of any way to use A in a magickal, spiritual, or Pagan context, other than the obvious "bring stuff to potlucks." catsittingstill notes that A could also be part of ritual design and prep.
  • I can't think of any way to use E in a magickal, 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.
    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 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 not 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.

  2. Kabbalah – I'm not sure this qualifies; while it is something I'd like to learn more about, I don't know I want to take it up as a long-term course of study.
    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.

  3. Tarot – 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 felt about the question).
    1. I have no idea where I heard about 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.

  4. Ritual design and development
    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. 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.
    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. Then I'd have to start writing bits of rituals, finding people to test them, and – here's the hard part – asking for and listening to and learning from criticism about what I should have done differently, then repeating the process, ideally failing better each time (cf Samuel Beckett).

  5. Event planning, especially larger events
    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. I would have plenty of opportunities to do this (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 might take me up on it if I'd shown some degree of responsibility in other areas. There are also workshops, books, and websites on the topic.

  6. Technomagick – noting that it's possible I have this Talent in some degree but haven't expressed it. Well, okay, I have had occasion to tell people, "I believe you that it wasn't working for you, and that you did exactly the same thing with me watching you and it worked. I have the Mechanic Nature, and stuff sometimes just works around me."
    1. I have no idea where I heard of this; certainly in the Babylon Five episode, but I'm fairly sure I'd run into it previously, probably 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 ask in the local Pagan community if anyone has this skill set and might be willing to teach it.


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