Oral Tradition’s Importance

The society that murdered thousands of witches also hid the nature of oral tradition, burying even a hint of its immense power to remove our shackles.

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I’m a dinosaur, but will not give up teaching oral tradition. Its power is needed.

The trend is online classes. There is also some good money to be made there for teachers. But I’m committed to oral tradition, so teaching online isn’t an option. It’s not oral tradition, at least not as I know it.

Mind you, I leave each person to their own definition, and I support each Pagan’s choice of teaching methods. I’m not here to debate what is or isn’t oral tradition, or what teaching method is best.

Instead, here I’m discussing my commitment to the indescribable experience of glory and power conveyed only through a certain style of teaching, whether you call it oral tradition or Francesca’s style or George. :-)

It’s interesting I used the words “indescribable experience.” The term oral tradition was originally used (in part) because there was no point in writing it down. No record could possibly convey it—it was indescribable.

The indescribable beauty and freedom of a lifestyle informed by oral tradition keeps me committed to it.

Beyond my students’ note-taking during classes, any record distorts—and might even corrupt—the original transmission. I don’t allow recordings of my oral transmissions. Nor do I provide transcriptions of them. Sometimes I ask people to refrain from taking notes.

Oral tradition can happen by phone (known as teleseminars). That is the medium I mostly use to teach. We transcend time and space to walk between the worlds together.

Past life memories tell me a communal knowledge of oral tradition was exterminated centuries ago: A society driven to murder thousands of witches also hid the nature of oral tradition, to bury even a hint of its immense power to free us from external and internal shackles. Thus, oral tradition is tangential to how our society as a whole represents it. It is not a discussion group, therapy group, or support group.

You know what? I don’t think I’ll call myself a dinosaur. I’m actually a gorgeous, powerful dragon. The gems in my dragon hoard are the treasures of oral tradition. I’ll keep sharing them, while my dragon tail encircles them and my students from those who would rob us of this heritage.

I don’t expect anyone to believe oral tradition provides benefits and beauty that cannot be received elsewhere, until they experience it firsthand. Something happens I can’t describe here—there’s that word “description” again—because it cannot be explained in writing, it must be experienced.

Technology’s seamless integration into our lives makes tech an extension of a person to some degree, but that does not turn online exchanges into legitimate oral tradition. I do not know a way to transmit oral teachings via vid chat, even if no record of it is kept. Once again, explaining that is beyond the limits of the written word.

No one can understand my underlying reasoning for my position unless they talk with me … talk, as in oral tradition.

Many people have been shocked or puzzled because I’m a best-selling author whose phone number is on her webpage. As hard as I am work writing books that transform lives—I’ll spend a decade writing a single book, because my standard is sky high—I work even harder on oral tradition, because my Gods told me to center there. As powerful as my books are—there are few better—my oral teachings are even more powerful. I love living in oral tradition.

So I put my phone number out there. 814.337.2490. For one thing, some people need a taste of oral tradition to know whether they want to work with me.

To enter oral tradition with you represents a willingness on both our parts to show up—take responsibly for the moment and be present in it. Then unparalleled magic fills us.

I’m blessed by students who take responsibility for their lives. Some live in the now so fully that they make a long-term commitment to learning my oral teachings, so we can moment after moment after moment create mind-boggling changes in our lives.

It’s hard to make that commitment. But even if they have insane schedules, relentless financial pressure, or other enormous, daily demands, they make time. Lo, their schedules become less crazy, the demands get fewer, the pressure relents, and they move into their dream lives. Oral tradition is about living life to the max.
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Wisdom and Fellowship

imageWisdom and Fellowship

Many spiritual teachers *always* respond to a student’s question by giving them information. That can be disempowering.

Mind you, sometimes, my job as a teacher is to give you information you don’t have. But, just as often, you already have the answer to your question, and you either do not see it or do not trust it. Then my job as a teacher is to be a guide, who helps you find and honor that inner answer.

We are both wise.

I find no need to choose between honoring my inner wisdom and respecting someone else’s. I celebrate wise fellowship in which we can draw on each other’s wisdom and take turns being guides.

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Celebrating Our Familiars

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Once a kitten, cute and shy, but she changed: The familiar comes of age.

I painted the above piece last fall, joyful at my little kitten growing up and coming of age as a familiar.

I also wanted to share that immense happiness about my kitty with you, in the spirit of celebrating all our familiars. Creating a painting seemed a way to do that (but I had no chance to post it til now, LOL).

Animals are far more multifaceted than some people understand, but we who live with familiars know better. Let me share a story about that.

After I painted the piece, I wanted to make a Merry Yule greeting with my kitty in it, just for my personal use. (You might have seen my post of it to wish you Happy Yule 2013.) I thought I’d try to adapt the above already-finished picture. The result surprised me and was interesting: Though the adaptation changed only the cat’s environment and the text, and left the cat itself exactly as is, a completely different facet of her became obvious.

In the original, I see her depth, nobility, and new maturity. But put her in a different surrounding with different text? Check it out below.

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What a mischievous no-good girl! Such a naughty look in her eyes! None of that was apparent in the original version.

I’m not sharing the story to credit myself as an artist. My point is to credit the complexity of animals, and how you and I both see it in these two pictures, when a lot of people would not.

Here’s to our familiars, the wonderfully complex and mystical beings that are our companions, teachers, co-conspirators, comfort, partners in magic, and all around friends. I honestly do not know what I’d do without them. They play so many important roles for me. I am grateful to recognize their many facets.

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No Need to Fit In!

People trying to decide if I’m the right guide for them often say, “I’m eclectic, so I don’t know if I’ll fit into what you teach.”

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Detail. Faerie Realm, silk painting, Francesca De Grandis

Oh dear! It is terrible that the prevalence of bad teachers requires that issue to even come up.

Most of my students are eclectic. I am, too. Those who look for the core of reality, the heart of magic, and the essence of mysticism do not want to be boxed in by labels (Wicca, hedge witch, Druid, Taoist, Christian), and are not looking for ego-feeding titles. They are drawn to teachers who, whatever their path, support students to find their own idea—and experience—of the core of reality, heart of magic, and essence of mysticism. I hope I’m one such teacher.image

During our lessons, we transcend labels and titles, to focus on finding our individual beliefs, personal myths, and shamanic gifts. If folks already have them, I help them polish their personal approach, even if they’re already master level.

Magic, Spirit, and life cannot be standardized.

I do tend to call my classes “Wicca” or “Faerie.” I’m of the generation in which “Wicca” and “Faerie” referred to (among other things) individualized earth-spirituality. Unfortunately, nowadays, those terms are often used rigidly, to denote a set liturgy and belief system, which invalidates many beautiful Gaia lovers.

You’re not alone if you’ve faced invalidation. When first teaching (eek, that was in the eighties!), I thought I knew the one true way. Then I realized my students were my peers and fellow travelers. Guess what? After explaining I wld no longer support a hierarchy, imageI lost many of my students, they migrated to a fundie tradition of fey magic. I was devastated, stunned that people I loved—many of these were my beloved initiates—could not make that move with me, that attempt at being egoless. It was, and still is, painful to see ego takes precedence over ethics, effective magic, fey sensibilities, and beauty. But I mention my experience because it might be validating for folks who went through something similar. Ok, enough negative stuff. To quote “Buffy, “not for me the furrowed brow.”

Onto the rest of my beautiful day—my Gods’ embrace, a flow of joy, magic, and right livelihood, a flow carrying me toward even more joy, magic, and right livelihood. I hope this post is validating and/or, if you’re considering me as a guide, informative.

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Want shamanic counseling? I can guide by phone. Book an appointment online. http://www.outlawbunny.com/pastoral-counseling/

Ethical (and Unethical) Fey Teachers

The following was a post I made on the Faerie Nation Yahoo group in 2008. I’m blogging it now because the problems it addresses keep on happening, I recently heard instances of it that broke my heart. And they did not all happen to a newbie! I hope my thoughts helps someone.

Ethical (and Unethical) Fey Teachers
Francesca De Grandis, May 5, 2008

For hundreds of years, fairy glimmers in the woods have beckoned, reflecting our secret longings, illuminating our honest needs. Puritanical moralists caution us about the evils of the fey. But we know better than that: The good folk can help free us from repressive religions and absurd social strictures. In addition, when we are barraged by a logic that denies magic and miracles, that fairy glimmer reassures us, telling us that mysticism is real, and that the wondrous is possible.
 
But not all the realms of fairy have beneficent dwellers. There is an Unseelie Court. And not all fey-touched magicians can be trusted, whether they call themselves fey, faerie, feri, fairy, or faery. (To define Unseelie in an oversimplified manner: Just as the Faerie Queen and her Seelie court might help us, so the Unseelie Queen and her followers are more likely to malevolently perpetuate great tragedy for humans.)

Eagle with Iris in Great Darkness, Francesca De Grandis. For info about a limited first edition print of this painting, click on it

Sate your hunger for luminous mystery and faerie mysticism, and for the fellowship thereof. But don’t let that ferocious appetite, authentic though it is, blind you to the following fact. Some people with immense glamour and fey power are pawns of the Unseelie Court. Perhaps this happens because power has made them so haughty that they are unwitting dupes for the forces of evil. Or perhaps they themselves become outright evil. Whatever the reason, it does happen.

Silence allows it to continue. I might sound strident but: I will not tolerate Fey practitioners who participate in molestation of children, sexual harassment of students, disregard for magical safety, and flashy curriculums lacking a moral compass that withstands the rigors of daily life. I am available by phone (814-337-2490) if you’re concerned about yourself or a friend when it comes to such people. Newbies to the community are vulnerable, and I post this warning for them and for anyone else who needs support around these issues.

While many cautions against the fey realms can be rightly interpreted as disguised attempts to suppress us, and to make us milquetoast, there are valid cautions. Dark mysteries needn’t be an excuse for a teacher to dominate. Wild hearts don’t mean that a teacher can ignore your sexual boundaries. Powerful magic needn’t lack caution. The quest for utter fulfillment needn’t lead to hollow longings or addiction.
 
There are dark mysteries that are wholesome, wildness that is authentic, satiation that is both attainable and ethically possible. Powerful magic can safe. Fey fellowship, wild lovers, and powerful teachers can be both otherworldly and good. Find them all!

Francesca De Grandis, May 2012

So mote it be.

In Her service,
Francesca De Grandis

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Here is another blog by a woman named Mae that also addresses this issue. (It also says very kind things about me. Mae, thank you again.)