Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What makes a good Spiritual Teacher?

This week's prompt for the Pagan Art Journal Project is about good qualities in a spiritual teacher.

This one really made me think- I had formal religious training as a child but also knew a mountain woman who taught me all kinds of plant and spirit lore as well as a good deal of Greek mythology in little plays and skits she would write for the local kids to put on at the library in the summer.

I sought self-guided religious exploration in my twenties and then did some formal study to learn about pre-christian texts and about Jewish religious ritual. I have long studied goddess centered icons, worship and themes to guide my artistic creations.  I've also made art based on some pretty complex natural mathematical constructs. The longer I sought, the farther back in history I seemed to study.

The more independent my orthodoxy, the more I felt able to connect with the divine. I was free to try a new practice, adopt or invent a ritual. Knowing all of the academic information is certainly valuable to me but I have discovered that it takes plain old DOING to experience a heightened connection with the power of nature.  Once I felt that in a ritual way I began working on feeling that connection (raising the power, if you will) with fewer and fewer trappings of ritual.

The best spiritual teachers I have had are the ones who followed up with me yet offered a relationship driven by my curiosity and not by a set curriculum.  The worst teachers for me have been those who, because of their own style or the size of the group they needed to teach, followed a plan of a parcel of information out for us to absorb at a time with little chance for feedback and no opportunity for practical experience.

A perfect example of a wonderful teacher is a thunderstorm, If I can go outside and feel the wild and free energy sweeping in, swirling around and climaxing- then nature is teaching me. Getting feedback from me and letting me take in only as much as I can handle each time.

I read well researched and historic  texts and modern criticisms of them, still, I like to do and touch when it comes to spiritual learning. I know I get more out of the experiences because of the study on paper than I have done; the two go hand in hand.
I used a cardboard roll to stamp gesso shapes all over, brushed 3 colors of acrylic over the dry gesso and rubbed some off immediately.  Then I sanded the gesso to expose the white textured shapes and added the lettering.

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