SAGE WISDOM FROM GRIZZLED ELDERS
This has always been a bone of contention with me. People new to their path will often feel like any attempt to steer them in the right direction is “shaming” or “gatekeeping.” I cannot speak for others, but if I actually take time out of my busy day to correct something you are doing or saying, that is not the case. It’s merely to A) ensure that you have a solid grasp of the actual mechanics and technical aspects of some part of the tradition, B) to help clarify proper terminology and/or spelling so you are able to effectively and accurately communicate in regards to the practice, or C) to keep you from burning your hand on that hot stove. (In regards to love work and blood work, I don’t give a shit what you do. Those are lessons everyone seems to have to learn for themselves. So, knock yourselves out.)
While I agree that such interventions depend highly on the approach, there’s still some people who cannot take criticism, no matter how it is couched, or can see the wisdom in, at the very least, entertaining the thoughts of an elder. Don’t be one of those people. Know that, like it or not, elders have a responsibility, both to a given tradition and to those new to it. We want our tradition to survive and thrive, but also not become so diluted and polluted with misinformation that it is no longer distinct or even viable.
Furthermore, we don’t want you to make the same mistakes we did. Yes, there are some mistakes you really shouldn’t learn for yourselves because they will be costly and time consuming to address/come back from, if not outright devastating for you to learn.
So, take this with a grain of salt or take it for the well intentioned and sage advise it actually is. Know that, as elders, we want nothing but the best for you.
Therefore, I am going to attempt to start a semi-regular feature where I will provide real life examples of things I have come across in the wild and/or done myself, in an effort to correct misinformation, provide clarity, and to hopefully help keep hoodoo the beautiful and distinct tradition that it is. The feature will be called, “Tales from the Hoodoo Trenches.”
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