Lessons

Contents

  • Introduction
  • Lesson 1
  • Lesson 2
  • Lesson 3
  • Lesson 4
  • Lesson 5
  • Lesson 6
  • Lesson 7
  • Lesson 8
  • Lesson 9
  • Lesson 10
  • Lesson 11


Introduction

There are ten lessons which cover the main topics of learning for the Order. You may learn these things in any manner that you wish but these lessons can be used as a guide and checklist. You should do each lesson in order and follow the instructions given. It is suggested that you keep a notebook or journal of your progress and learning as you go through the lessons. 

These lessons assume that you already understand the basic premises behind modern Paganism and that are comfortable with your definition and practice with it.

Each lesson is divided into four parts: the preparation, questions, activities, and readings. The preparation asks you to think about what you already know about the topic being discussed. The questions are meant to inspire you to think and do research on the topic. You should answer each one in your notebook. If you do not know the answer to a question you should seek to learn from several sources including web sites, books, and teachers. These are followed by suggested activities that you should follow or devise similar activities that will help you learn more and experience the topic. A list of suggested books is then offered. Books that are inexpensive and available as e-books were sought out for most topics. You should read each book or find books that relate to the topics being studied. 

If you have any suggestions for materials or methods that could help improve these lessons for others, please send them along.


Lesson One
The Principles, Precepts, and Practices of the Order

Preparation:
  • Consider the ethical principles and beliefs you have been taught so far.
  • Read the material on the website about the Principles, Precepts, and Practices of the Order.
  • Obtain a ritual robe.
  • Obtain and wear your purple and yellow item.
  • Do a Ritual of Dedication to dedicate yourself as a member of the Order.
Questions to consider:
  • What is Paganism to you?
What are the Principles of the Order?
  • What are the Five Precepts of the Order?
  • What is the Code of Conduct of the Order?
  • How can you institute the Code of Conduct into your daily life?
  • What are the suggested practices of the Order?
  • How can you institute these practices into your daily life?
  • What other practices could you incorporate into your life to reflect your principles?
  • How do you plan to incorporate rituals into your spiritual practice?
  • Do you plan to use the practice of the Consecration? If so, how?
  • Do you plan to use the practice of the Reckoning? If so, how?
  • How do you plan to incorporate service into your daily life and practice?
Activities:
  • Write out your answers to each of the above questions.
  • Write a brief statement about how you feel about each of the Principles of the Order.
  • Write a brief statement about how you feel about each of the Precepts of the Order.
  • Write a brief statement about how you feel about the Code of Conduct.
  • Write a brief statement about how you feel about each of the Practices of the Order.
  • Do at least one of each of the following and write about your experiences:
  • a Consecration
  • a Reckoning
  • an act of Service
  • Teach these concepts to another
Readings:
  • The website for the Order (http://shanddite.com)
  • Self-Initiation for the Solitary Witch by Shanddaramon   
  • Paganism: A Religion for the 21st Century by Shanddaramon
  • The Practical Pagan by Dana D. Eilers
  • Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by Joyce and River Higginbotham

Lesson Two
Connection to Spirit

Preparation:
  • Review your past understanding of Spirit or other spiritual concepts.
Questions to consider:
  • What do you consider the ultimate reality of the universe to be?
  • What is your understanding of energy in the universe?
  • What is your understanding of Spirit?
  • How do other Pagans see and experience Spirit?
Activities:
  • Write out your answers to each of the above questions.
  • Engage in a spiritual quest to find and connect with your understanding of Spirit.
  • Teach these concepts to another.
Readings:
  • The Five Pointed Way by Shanddaramon
  • Thoughts On A Pagan Life: Collected Essays by Shanddaramon
  • Real Energy: Systems, Spirits, and Substances to Heal, Change, and Grow by Phaedra and Isaac Bonewits
  • The Sacred Universe: Earth, Spirituality, and Religion in the 21st Century by Thomas Berry
  • Soulcraft by Bill Plotkin

Lesson Three
The Three Forces

Preparation:
  • Consider what you know about the expression of the energy of Spirit through separation (Becoming), unification (Belonging), and balance (Being).
Questions to consider:
  • What is the relationship of Spirit to the forces of Being, Belonging, and Becoming?
  • What is the force of Being and how does it affect your life?
  • What is the force of Belonging and how does it affect your life?
  • What is the force of Becoming and how does it affect your life?
  • How can you life your life so that you can connect to these three forces?
  • How can you live your life so that you can balance these forces?

Activities:
  • Write your answers to each of the above questions.
  • Determine how the three forces currently affect your life.
  • Define and develop activities that allow you to connect to the force of Belonging.
  • Define and develop activities that allow you to connect to the force of Becoming.
  • Define and develop activities that allow you to connect to the force of Being.
  • Teach these concepts to another.
Readings:
  • Just Becoming: A Pagan Guide to Discovering and Expressing Your Authentic Self by Shanddaramon
  • Just Belonging: A Pagan View of Love, Sex, and Relationships by Shanddaramon (forthcoming)

Lesson Four:
The Four Elements

Preparation:
  • Consider what you know about the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.
  • Spend some time outside noticing where each of the elements exist.
  • Observe yourself and your interactions and notice the force of each element in your life.
Questions to consider:
  • What are the four classical elements?
  • How are they related to Spirit?
  • What is the element of Earth and how does it relate to you?
  • What is the element of Air and how does it relate to you?
  • What is the element of Fire and how does it relate to you?
  • What is the element of Water and how does it relate to you?
  • What are the four parts of the self and how are they related to the elements?
Activities:
  • Write out your answers to each of the above questions.
  • Find a way to make a personal connection to the element of Earth.
  • Find a way to make a personal connection to the element of Air.
  • Find a way to make a personal connection to the element of Fire.
  • Find a way to make a personal connection to the element of Water.
  • Teach these concepts to another.
Readings:
  • Living Paganism by Shanddaramon
  • The Elements of Ritual: Air, Fire,  Water, and Earth in the Wiccan Circle by Deborah Lipp
  • Earth, Air, Fire, and Water: More Techniques of Natural Magic by Scott Cunnigham
  • The Elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water  by Craig Childs and Art Wolfe


Lesson Five
The Wheel of the Year and its Cycles

Preparation:
  • Consider the changes of the seasons and how they affect your life.
  • Consider the changes that occur in your life.
Questions to consider:
  • If Paganism is based on nature worship, how can we celebrate  nature?
  • What are  the many types of natural cycles?
  • What is a solstice?
  • What is an equinox?
  • What is a cross-quarter day?
  • What is the Great Wheel?
  • What are the phases of the moon and what do they represent?
  • What are the phases of life?
  • What are the eight Pagan solar festivals?
  • What are the Pagan lunar festivals?
  • How can these things be applied in daily practice?
Activities:
  • Write out your answers to each of the above questions.
  • Create a Great Wheel chart for yourself and determine where you are in the chart today.
  • Determine how you will celebrate the cycles of nature and of living.
  • Teach these concepts to another.
Readings:
  • Pagan Rites of Passage by Pauline Campanelli
  • The Wiccan Book of Ceremonies and Rituals byPatricia Telesco
  • Sun, Moon, and Earth by Robin Heath
  • Wheel Of The Year: Living the Magical Life by Pauline and Dan Campanelli
  • The Cycle of Life: Themes and Tales of the Journey by Erel Shalit

Lesson Six
Personal Ritual

Preparation:
  • Consider the different types of sacred and secular rituals you have experienced in your life.
Questions to consider:
  • What is a ritual?
  • What is a sacred ritual?
  • What are the purposes of sacred ritual?
  • What are the essential elements for creating a pagan ritual?
  • What are some examples of Pagan ritual procedure?
Activities:
  • Write out your answers to each of the above questions.
  • Develop your own personal ritual procedure.
  • Teach these concepts to another.
Readings:
  • Self Initiation for the Solitary Witch by Shanddaramon
  • Sacred Gatherings: Rituals for the Pagan Family by Shanddaramon
  • Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice by Catherine Bell
  • Liberating Rites: Understanding the Transformative Power of Ritual by Tom F. Driver

Lesson Seven
Meditation

Preparation:
  • Consider your past experience with meditation.
Questions to consider:
  • What is meditation?
  • What are some purposes for meditation?
  • Describe some techniques for becoming completely relaxed?
  • What are some good things to focus upon to develop concentration?
  • What is a mantra and how can it be used?
  • How can meditation be done as a sacred activity?
  • How can meditation be  used for developing a Pagan practice?
Activities:
  • Write out your answers to each of the above questions.
  • Develop a personal meditative practice.
  • Teach these concepts to another.
Readings:
  • Just Being: A Pagan Guide to Meditation by Shanddaramon   
  • The Fine Arts of Relaxation, Concentration, and Meditation by Joel and Michelle Levey
  • How To Meditate: A Guide to Self Discovery by  Lawrence LeShan
  • Meditation as Spiritual Practice by Genevieve Paulson
  • The Meditative Mind by Daniel Goleman

Lesson Eight
A Specialty Practice

Preparation:
  • Learn about the different kinds of specialty practices (the following is an incomplete list).
  • Divination:
    • Numerology
    • Tarot Cards
    • Astrology
    • Runes
    • The Pendulum
    • Geomancy
  • Healing:
    • Herbs and potions
    • Energy healing
    • Reiki
  • Counseling and Guidance:
    • Divinatory Counseling
    • Talk Counseling
    • Spiritual Direction
    • Spiritual Mentoring
  • Choose a practice for yourself.
Questions to consider:
  • What are some methods of divination?
  • How can they be used as a spiritual practice?
  • How can they be used to help others?
  • What are some methods of healing and comfort?
  • How can they be applied as a spiritual practice?
  • How can they be used to help others?
  • What are some methods of counseling and guidance?
  • How can they be applied as a spiritual practice?
  • How can they be used to help others?
  • Which method of specialty practice have you chosen and why?
  • What are the ethical principles you plan to apply to your use of that specialty?
Activities:
  • Write out your answers to each of the above questions.
  • Study how to do the specialty practice from texts and other teachers.
  • Apply that specialty to helping and aiding others.
Readings:
  • The Five Rings: A Guide to Pagan Ministry by Shanddaramon
  • The Worlds of Tarot by Shanddaramon
  • The Process of Counseling and Therapy by Janet Moursund
  • Spiritual Mentoring: A Pagan Guide by Judy Harrow
  • Ethics and Spiritual Care by Karen Lebacqz and Joseph Driskill
  • Divination by Caty Carlin
  • Different Types of Holistic Healing by Crystal Healswell
  • (find books on your specialty)

Lesson Nine
Other Spiritual Practices

Preparation:
  • Consider some reasons to study other spiritualities and religions.
  • Consider some reasons for being open and compassionate towards practitioners of other spiritualities and religions.
Questions to consider:
  • What are the essential tenets of Hinduism?
    • How do they compare to Paganism?
  • What are the essential tenets of Taoism?
    • How do they compare to Paganism?
  • What are the essential tenets of Christianity?
    • How do they compare to Paganism?
  • What are the essential tenets of Islam?
    • How do they compare to Paganism?
  • What are the essential tenets of Judaism?
    • How do they compare to Paganism?
  • What are the essential tenets of Confucianism?
    • How do they compare to Paganism?
  • What are the essential tenets of Buddhism?
    • How do they compare to Paganism?
  • What are some other religions and spiritual traditions?
  • What are some common ideas shared by all these traditions?
Activities:
  • Write out your answers to each of the above questions.
  • Observe a service or ritual from each of these traditions:
    • Hindu ritual
    • Taoist ritual
    • Christian service
    • Jewish service
    • Islamic service or ritual
    • Confucian ritual
    • Buddhist ritual
    • Another service or ritual from an alternative religion
  • Teach these concepts to another.
Readings:
  • Sacred Energies by Daniel C. Maguire
  • The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley
  • The World’s Religions by Huston Smith
  • The Upanishads
  • The Tao Te Ching
  • The Bible
  • The Koran
  • The Analects by Confucius
  • The Dhammapada
  • Communities of Dissent: A History of Alternative Religions in America by Stephen J. Stein

Lesson Ten
An Introduction to Mythology

Preparation:
  • Consider what you have learned about mythology.
  • Consider the stories that are important to your life and why.
Questions to consider:
  • What are myths?
  • Which cultures from the past have developed myths that we can study?
  • What are the functions of myth?
  • What role can they play in spirituality?
  • What role can they play in Pagan practice?
Activities:
  • Write out your answers to each of the above questions.
  • Choose a particular culture and read several of their myths.
  • Choose at least three myths and study how they can be applied to modern life and problems.
  • Teach these concepts to others.
Readings:
  • Encyclopedia of World Mythology by Arthur Cottrell
  • The Student's Mythology by Catherine Ann White
  • The Mystery Religions by S. Angus
  • Long Journey Home : Revisioning the Myth of Demeter and Persephone for Our Time by Christine Downing
  • The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers
  • (find a book about the myths of a particular culture)

Lesson Eleven
A Personal Spiritual Practice

Preparation
  • Review all that you have learned so far
  • Consider your past spiritual practice
Questions to consider:
  • What is a spiritual practice?
  • Why are spiritual practices important?
Activities:
  • Develop a daily spiritual practice that includes a Consecration and a Reckoning
  • Develop a monthly spiritual practice that includes rituals for Sabbats, Esbats, Astors, and/or life changes.
  • Develop a yearly practice that includes service to others.
  • Develop yearly practice that includes a personal review and renewal of your vows.