teaching and training

I love teaching, and I especially love teaching on topics related to Paganism, religious witchcraft, or finding and using information to make our lives better. This page covers some practical notes, topics I’m willing to teach, and then some background on my past teaching experience.

My teaching style tends to be discussion-based (sharing information, then talking about it) with as much in the way of practical exercises as the topic and time allow. Obviously, there’s more space to try things out when we have more time together. I include handouts and other materials (electronically or in print, depending on the setting).

In my teaching, I also try to make sure to cover not just how to do something, but why doing it a particular way might be useful. (Usually with several different examples.) I pay special attention to topics that don’t get discussed much. My Seeking site, aimed at people interested in learning more about Paganism and religious witchcraft (in particular) gives a good idea of many of those things.

There are of course lots of things I don’t teach or prefer not to teach for reasons of time/energy/focus – but if you hit one of those, I’ll tell you (and it’s pretty hard to offend me unless you’re actually trying to.) So, if you’re not sure, feel free to ask.

practical notes:

Location: I’m glad to consider driving (weather and other details permitting) to teach – how far depends on a variety of factors, but a two hour drive is generally manageable. Time and finances allowing, I’m also glad to consider trips further afield.

Cost: I do not charge for teaching material about religious witchcraft. However, I would prefer not to be out of pocket to teach: finding a shared way to cover costs for room rental, printed material, or supplies (plus gas costs for trips I wouldn’t otherwise make) is strongly preferred.

Timing: Due to my work schedule, I am primarily free to teach on weekends, but if my schedule (and vacation time) allow, I’m glad to talk about some other options. Please ask.

workshops and other short-term teaching:

I am definitely open to either single-session or a short series of classes on a variety of topics. Topics I’m particularly interested in teaching are listed below with some possible areas of focus, but I’m definitely open to discussing other related workshops or areas of interest, so please ask if you have an interest not listed below.

101 basics:

  • What is modern Paganism? What are some of the different paths or options?
  • What is Wicca, and how is religious witchcraft the same or different?
  • How do you find other people to talk about this stuff with, or learn from?
  • What resources are particularly good, and how do you tell?

intro to religious witchcraft:

  • seasons and cycles of ritual and practice (Sabbats, esbats, daily/weekly practices)
  • finding other people to talk to or potentially work with (etiquette, finding groups and teachers)
  • basic ritual theory (what a circle is for, basic methods.)
  • developing a personal practice (core skills and useful tools, ideas, resources)
  • building up your knowledge and practice over time.
  • working around limitations (limited finances, health concerns, time-consuming obligations, privacy.)

core practices:

  • centering (knowing what’s you and what’s not you)
  • grounding (releasing excess energy – or recharging when you need to.)
  • shielding (managing your energy and what affects you)
  • creating a personal sacred space (altar basics, daily practice ideas, and more.)

deepening ritual practice:

  • ritual theory (figuring out what suits your needs, goal, and personal preferences)
  • tools (when they’re useful, how material or design may affect how they work)
  • different models of seasonal or cyclical rituals, and what they offer
  • adapting rituals for different sizes (individual, small group, larger public ritual)
  • different approaches to scheduling magical or ritual work.

seeking knowledge: (finding and evaluating resources for Pagan learning)

  • how Pagan-focused research is different than the methods you probably learned in school.
  • how to get the most out of your public library and other sources of information.
  • making sense of different sources – who’s right? Is ‘right’ actually the best word here?
  • ways to evaluate and integrate what you learn in ritual, meditation, or divination into your practice.

more advanced skills and topics: 

  • integrating music into ritual and magical practice (with an overview of relevant theory and background)
  • shrines, altars, and other sacred spaces
  • how group leaders and teachers can guide students or group members in better learning and research techniques, different approaches to teaching and learning, etc.
  • group ritual roles, approaches, and other methods of handling more complex ritual.
  • accessibility and Paganism: how to manage if you have chronic medical or access needs or how to plan events that include the widest range of the community.
  • technology and Pagans : topics ranging from interesting tools to deepen and expand practice to issues of privacy and online interaction. (Really, if you’ve got an interest in this area, feel free to ask. )

Finally, I am open to discussing leading a public ritual event. Right now, this is not my first choice for a variety of reasons, but I’m definitely glad to talk about what would make it practical for me to do so (combination of size, style, setting, etc.)

ongoing training

general teaching:

I’m willing to consider teaching non-initiatory material over a period of time (covering all of the topics above, as well as an introduction to several kinds of divination, a variety of magical techniques, a much deeper look at ritual practice and methods, a range of daily practice ideas, a wider range of approaches and techniques, etc.)

In this setting, I’m able to be a little more flexible about fit and interests than I would be if teaching someone toward initiation. If you’re interested in this, check out the coven site for more information, and how to get in touch.

teaching my tradition/pre-initiatory training:

I teach my tradition’s specifics only to people who I feel might be a good fit as potential initiates in the tradition – and really, the only way to know that is to get to know one another, and talk about a lot of things. (You can find out more about this process on the coven website, but it’s one I expect to take a couple of months.)

That training has a wide range of topics covered, but also needs to cover some topics and practices in a specific way (because that’s how the tradition works.) There’s still a lot of flexibility for someone’s personal practice, however. The tradition is also joined by shared practice, more than shared belief.

You can get an idea of topics I might cover in that time from an essay on my Seeking site.

teaching experience: 

Pagan teaching experience: 

  • Taught 5 class series of Seeker/introductory classes 3-4 times a year from 2003 through 2006. Lecture/discussion format for people curious about Wicca and Paganism. Topics included basic background, things to know before attending public rituals/group events, basic ritual theory, some common approaches to deity and elements.
  • Primary teacher for the group Dedicant classes in 2007, teaching 3-5 hour classes ever other week. (Topics similar to those discussed here.)
  • Created and taught 5 pre-Dedicant series of classes to encourage learning. Topics included group practices around altar and circle roles, interacting in the broader Pagan community, music in ritual practice (common chants, different ways to use music), and guided book discussions.
  • Created and taught specific topics for initiates in 2006, 2007, 2008. 2-3 hour class and discussion sessions. Topics included common ritual texts (the Charge of the Goddess, the long Rede poem), various approaches to language in ritual, etc.
  • Workshops for community elders on research tools, and teaching students and less experienced group members more useful approaches to Pagan learning and research.
  • A variety of workshops at Twin Cities Pagan Pride events, including:
    • 2004 : Better Pagan Research (research techniques)
    • 2005 : Finding and evaluating groups and teachers
    • 2008:  Better Pagan Research (finding and using information)
    • and facilitating a range of discussion topics (Q&A sessions, daily practice discussions, technology and Paganism, divination discussions, finding community resources) between 2006-2010.
    • Workshops at Paganicon in various years on topics including Pagans and privacy, research, and related issues.

My professional experience includes:

  • 10 years working in a secondary school environment, offering one-on-one teaching and guidance with research and other topics, as well as working with some very talented teachers.
  • a range of experiences teaching short class sessions and workshops in school and educational settings.
  • coursework in creating meaningful teaching and learning experiences, how students learn, how people find and integrate information, and related topics.
  • regular instruction sessions on library and technology topics as a routine part of my work day.

[Last updated July 2017]

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