What is an Elder?
|An Elder is an individual who has shown themselves to be an asset
to the community. They go above and beyond what most individuals are willing
to do. The following is an article by an individual in the Pagan community,
and although not all of us will agree with everything he says, the basics
of what an elder is should be in any community is clearly evident.
Also amazing is that the wisdom stated in this article comes
from the mind of a 17 year old.
What is an Elder?
by Daniel Coleman
To me, an Elder is a person of wisdom, experience, and understanding. A person who has experienced things that caused drastic changes in the ways they think or feel about the world, for wisdom and inspiration are fundamental to spirituality. They are learned people, with knowledge of the Earth, the Gods, the Universe, and most importantly, the Self. They have an understanding of how the Self and Universe come together to bond with the Divine.
Elders are revered and honored the society which they serve and protect. Many people think that an Elder is merely a person wizened by many years. This is not necessarily true, for an "Elder" in the pagan community is a person who is blessed with the wisdom of the Earth and the essence of that which is Divinity. The primary reason Elders tend to be older is because it takes time to learn and experience that which the Earth has to offer. The Earth is our center for mysticism. It is our humble home where we learn, feast, and love, without having to suffer the discrimination or hatred of today's society. An Elder embraces this mystical force to learn from it.
Most Elders are voices of authority. In many Native American tribal councils, the Elders are the most revered and wise people of the tribe, as the shamans, judges, intellectuals, and philosophers of the tribe. I have met many Tsalagi/Cherokee people and I carry a small portion of Cherokee blood in my veins. They have told me of these great Elders, and I am left fascinated by their infinite wisdom and knowledge.
Another aspect an Elder attains is an understanding of the inner being. An Elder looks not at the external beauty of a creature, but to their inner power. For it is within our souls that the power of Divinity rests, and it is the soul of a person that truly matters. An Elder knows this well, as they have spent their lives learning and listening.
Elders are very modest. They do not anger easily, for they know that violence is not the way to solve problems, and know that the best and easiest way to solve a qualm is to solve it from an intellectual standpoint, rather than causing ruckus and senseless fighting over it. They are willing to work with others to solve personal problems, as long as the problem is legitimate* and the person in need is willing to listen and grow. Elders are usually very willing to help with societal, family, or inner problems, such as dealing with the death of a family member. I remember the time that a very wise woman helped me through losing the first person I ever loved. I was distraught for months, but with her help and the help of others I moved on to help others that have the same problem that I once faced.
(*An example of a non-legitimate question is: "Will you give me a curse?" Any good Elder does not deal with this to start with, much less give one to an unlearned person to cause chaos with.)
Above all, Elders are revered for their wisdom. They have experienced extrem chaos as well as peace, and have learned how to deal with each of these. Through this quest for knowledge they experience things in life which lead them to a greater wisdom.
One of the most fundamental and important aspects of an Elder is honor. They are honored among many, and equally honor others. They attain this through many years of honorable deeds, intense study, and service to others.
Above all of this, Elders are inspirational.
To me, an Elder embodies all that I wish to attain through spirituality. So the next time you come in contact with an Elder, give them your respect and your honor, for they are pure of mind, heart, and soul.
Bio: My name is Daniel Coleman. I am 17 years of age, and have been studying a path of eclectic Wicca integrated with Druidry and Celtic spirituality for nearly some three years now. It has led me to a life which I greatly love, much better than I did before I stumbled upon the ways of the Witch. It has given me inspiration to stop living my life in fear and be open with my fellow society, along with the help of close friends that I have found here. I plan to study its mystical ways for many years to come.
Originally published on WitchVox 2001.
I hate ads!