Experience beats study?

27 05 2008

This posted by Cat Chapin-Bishop on The Wild Hunt. Saying, more eloquently and concisely than I could ever dream of doing, precisely what it’s all about.

We can theorise and make theory our God, or we can experience and learn and be. I know which I’d rather.

Andy talked recently on Somerset Pagan about simplification, going back to the roots, and about releasing ourselves from ourselves, relinquishing the ego. How right he was, and how clear it is that the simplest experience can be utterly revelatory, can remove the self, can be worth a thousand words printed on paper. Especially, I might say, as 90% of the words on paper extant are absolute drivel!

I’ll have a rant-a-thon about what I perceive to be the poor quality of many Wicca publications another day. Suffice to say, for now, that we need more educated, well-researched and thoughtful commentaries. If we are going to read, and we should, because we cannot do it all by ourselves – at least let the books be brilliant!

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4 responses

27 05 2008
Tess

I wanted to thank you for this post for a couple of reasons. Firstly the links: I really enjoyed Cat Chapin-Bishop’s post at The Wild Hunt, which of course led me on to her own blog, Quaker Pagan Reflections, which I’ve skimmed prior to sitting down for a good long look with a cup of tea.
Second for your throw-away comment at the end about the poor quality of many Wicca publications. I haven’t wanted to say anything about this, but so much of my experience, on the web at least, of Wicca and pagan sites has been negative. I really, really don’t want to be snobby or offensive about this, but until I found yours and a few other sites I was beginning to think garish design and poor spelling were obligatory. I haven’t read many books, but I haven’t yet found anything that really speaks to me.
For a Christian with Pagan yearnings like me, looking to explore what it’s all about, that can be kinda offputting, and I found your comment reassuring.

27 05 2008
The Green Witch

You’re welcome indeed, Tess. I’m going to check out Cat Chapin-Bishop’s own site myself. Her writing is refreshingly direct; she speaks sense!

I have long felt there to be a hard core of good, sound writers on the subject of Wicca. Spoiled as I am, I spent too long at University and in further studies; without a decent bibliography, sound research, correct use of sources and an intelligent argument, I feel a little lost.

I’m not saying the mainstream or the popular books don’t have nuggets of wisdom; you just have to dig for them. My reading partner said recently of a new book we are reading that, if it had one new thing to tell her, it would have been worth the cover price. I find that I get frustrated by the superficiality of many supposedly well-researched and much-vaunted books on the subject.

I suppose I should stop being snotty and put my money where my mouth is, hey? Well, maybe. Just picking my moment!

I think if we took all the guff at face value we’d be deluding ourselves. I don’t want to strip away all the wonder; but to paraphrase House (!), if you do, and the wonder is gone, it was never there to begin with.

27 05 2008
Ceri

A druid friend once said to me, “Be the Awen”. It’s something that I’ve never forgotten 🙂

27 05 2008
The Green Witch

Three words; but how to do it? Challenge!

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