I really enjoyed this post by Nimue in Druid Life, so much so in fact it got me writing my own thoughts on the subject :-). Enjoy Nimue’s post …

Gold Torcs by Wendy Davies
Gold Torcs by Wendy Davies

Teaching …

As a teacher, I so agree with Nimue about allowing students … I call it enabling. I encourage questions and actively discourage any form of acceptance – of me and of the otherworldly powers they work with. Nobody has any use for yes-men and that includes our powers and goddesses! I make mistakes in my everyday life and share these with the students – my dad, my main teacher through childhood, used to say the person who’s never made a mistake has never made anything and he’s absolutely right. I tell the students this and encourage them to have a go and make a cock-up … and to learn from them. At the end of the course I push them out, send them off to do their thing – not mine, but theirs. A long time ago a student asked me why I don’t offer either certificates or franchise my teaching. I answered that I have absolutely not wish to produce a collection of flower pots that look and act like me! Ye gods, what a horrible thought !!!

The goddess, my mentor and teacher and guardian, has the wish and the need for many teachers, enablers, and she has need of folk who can offer many styles of path. What I hope I do for the students is help them find their own paths. The follow the deer trods in their own ways, not clip-clopping along in my muddy footprints.

In the tradition I follow one of the teaching ways is to go into the Enchanted Forest. The tradition says that each of us has to enter the forest in our own way, we never follow another person’s path. This helps me not to get caught up too often in personal hubris. It also helps the students to find themselves … not me but themselves. I suspect this goes for perhaps all our shamanic traditions, if we do walk them truly then we lose ourselves and centre into the work rather than personal kudos.

It’s just so important to remember why we do this work, this teaching work. It isn’t for ourselves, it isn’t as missionary work either, we’re not here to convert anyone. We’re here, we do this work, to help the goddess, to help otherworld and doing this helps others join us on the path. We all walk the deer trods … but we all walk them in our own individual ways.

PS – I’m not a druid, I walk the old British shaman’s path 🙂

PPS – I chose this picture, by artist-friend Wendy Davies, because it gives me such a good feel of the teaching work. For me it’s about finding the threads, learning them, sorting them. Wendy’s magic picture of the twisted gold bronze-age torcs she found when out rabbiting with her uncles one morning way back in the 1950s. You can see the torcs themselves at Cardiff museum.