I spent last weekend at a large MBS event at the Olympia in London. This was a much bigger event than we normally attend, and put me in contact with an entirely different set of people. Lots of the people approaching the stall were drew by the name "Hedge Witchery Books", and not having had any contact with witchcraft before wanted to know all about it. Answering their questions put me in a somewhat reflective mood, not about witchcraft or Hedge-Witchery, but about learning, knowledge and our attitude to it.
You see, unsurprisingly, there are lots of things I do differently after 10 years plus of magical/pagan practise than I did in my first few years. Had I started the websites and business now rather than then, I may have chosen to call it Haegtessa, to avoid the modern misconceptions of the practise. I may have written about the moons and festivals differently, tying them to the natural calender I now use, rather than the Gregorian one I used to, and still refer to in articles and beginners books. But in some ways I'm very thankful I started the site and business whilst I was still a little more green.
Way back when I was first starting out on this path, there is no way I could have worked to an entirely natural calender... it would have baffled me. There's no way I could have pronounced Old-English terms and charms... let alone used them. There's no way I would have felt comfortable using different names for festivals and celebrations, to the majority of people on a similar path to me... let alone go into details as to why the ones I use seem more appropriate.
Now I'm meeting people in the same position, just starting down their paths and looking for few helpful sign-posts and a way to make the journey easier.
Some people will say that I should only pass on the practises I practise
now, that the reason I have evolved my practises over the years was
because what I learnt earlier on was "incorrect" or "modern
mis-teaching"... or in the case of one writer I had this debate with
recently "uneducated". However, as all spiritual and magical practises
have a personal relevance to each individual, this is not the case.
Hedge-Witchery.com has always been a "beginner friendly" site... and it always will be. Although we've recently started providing resources for people a little further down there path with the online and in person courses, we'll never -(I hope!)- lose the way absolute new-comers can jump into the beginners articles and books and find a way to practise that they can easily relate to and fit into their lives.
The lessons I learnt and the way I practised in the past is what enabled me to be comfortable and build skills in my path and what led me to where I am now. Had I not learnt those lessons I would not have learnt all the ones that followed. You will no doubt meet writers who have turned the first lessons they learnt, and the people who still pracise them, into negative things that they now point to as "inaccurate", wielding them like hammers to be thrown at new-comers they find disdainful and un-deserving of their self-supposed advanced knowledge, but, in my humble opinion, you should pay them no heed.
I will always hold onto the terms and practises I learnt in my more naive days, although I may not use them in all situations, they are still very relevant. They hold a certain magic of their own, a kind personal to me, a kind of energy that relates to wonder, excitement, curiosity and a desire to learn more. Who knows, another 10 years down my path and the terms and practises I use now may hold the same magic.