I saw Elders being pushed to the side over 25 years ago. And others going solitary.
I see some elders being respected in some communities.
It depends on the type of community and the personality of the groups of people drawn to each.
People noted the various influxes of Pagan/Wiccans that have joined the community. Some may choose a good initiatory tradition and stick with it, respecting and Elder.
Many that are taught a one true way ( and I have heard it called “The Wicca”) don’t leave room for those who see the basic Wiccan ritual format as a training mechanism. And those who take it as a religion versus those who pursue the magical spirituality of it.
This country in the mainstream and many of those who have joined suffer from the mainstream discrimination of ageism. And like others have said join a movement that helps them justify their lifestyle without a true type of morality and ethics.
And since the burgeoning of Wicca from the 60’s feminist empowerment era, and the 60’s in general, authority, organization and hope of respect of those of whom paved the way gets diminished when that attitude and culture is still present when they get “there” and represent that which was thrown out with the bath water.
Couple this with the fact that there are parasites and sociopaths, both “so-called” leaders and coveners, that are bane to the Traditionalists or any serious seeker.
I, a male from NY from those Female only times and places, through having had my own experiences that simulate what an initiatory tradition could have provided but then I could not culturally fit, for one reason or another. I had to go solitary. It is only after decades, and going where reputable long standing elders show up, do I get any type of recognition. The true ” The Wicca” and those religious and make stuff up as they go, to stroke their ego types, (sociopaths that have their enablers attack you) do every thing they can to keep you out their section of the community. Then I watch what larger community re-fragment.
When you see it coming, and people are conditioned to isolate themselves, sociopaths and narcissists take full advantage of that. Groups can’t get as big as they used to because of this influx and conditioning to respond to these types of people.
I haven’t seen one group in 20 years that teaches meditation anymore. The last Elder (now Past- Lady Amethyst) that taught anything about energy, vibration, and the reason for ritual adherence. Nor have I seen anyone speak to building an astral framework and ritual space except for Thorn Coyle.
I just listened to an Ifa traditionalists where the one Baba wanted to get people back to talk about the magical and spiritual work that the various paths of the Oriesha have versus the surface rituals and practices that people do. It is endemic to the spirituality of many traditions.
And it is part of the mainstream culture. No one trusts anyone, no group, no leader and wouldn’t know who to trust, to say that is a leader and for these reasons. People don’t waste time to listen to reasons, history, or exercise their own brain and abilities to think it through for themselves. People follow what gives them those feels, with no idea what or where it comes from, or who is manipulating it and how.
The Elders who try to teach any of these truly empowering things are shown the door with some sort of social kick in the pants.
There are few, who have good solid working traditions and people earnestly supporting them, If what you say is true makes you and yours rare of what and whom I know.
Here is the by-word, community, and by that diversity and leadership. Who do you trust, and how do you cultivate leaders? A tribe has those and multiple societies with different religious and spiritual traditions, along with a warrior, women’s, men’s and other practical day in and day out societies. That is what my group is working on. And yes we get next to zero interest. They don’t see a value in it. They want to see what’s in it for them.
And the Elders that say they are retiring from Wicca and going to more traditional witchcraft, being a witch, wizard, is the continuing study of self, lore and magical practices, and extending their relationship with the divine and nature, without being impeded by those who have made Wicca an altogether stultifying but small organized religion, managed by many, by many standards, who couldn’t earn a traditional third degree. Those who see the Gods and the spirits know.
And nowadays, vampires, the added extra bonus of spiritual environment and sociopaths, do what I want versus in perfect love and trust. Every larger meetup or gathering I go to, I and my group have to protect people from them. Witch by definition is what you do for yourself. Wicca is a religion and a framework, for some these magical training traditions. Shamans learn to serve a tribe. No Tribe, no community, no reliance on wisdom of elders, but the self serving of each little group manipulating each other. Yes many of us have had to survive, recuperate from burnout, or just be a victim of abuse.
Those of you have survived with a cadre of an honest tradition. I salute you.
I have seen Elders from various traditions manage to work together for a time here and there. The underlying lack of structure, and that thing that is a hypocritical stone stuck in my throat, working by consensus, that develops only the most skilled of the emotional manipulating leaders, that drive the core founders and workers away, no there won’t be a coherent community honoring Elders.
Again I am doing what I can to teach. Many are concerned with who I trained under, what traditions and how successful I’ve been without any context or understanding of what I know. The paucity of capable people who have had any adept experiences are few and the rest fake it, while flaunting a more marketable feel good group. People will get what they get.
Now that I put myself out here, I expect to be hammered. Have at it.
Most of those who have responded to this post what you say is true and good, and from your sets of experiences, I have seen also. I just hope the one thing in pagan communities are not interested in is community and leadership and culture is the very thing that they need. And now without any good culture to be based off of, one must be created to be a model not only for ourselves, but for the world.