Mentorship: A Fruitful Relationship
Updated: Aug 23
There may be a lot of things that immediately spring to mind when you think of the American South. Country music, BBQ, Georgia peaches, sweet tea, Dolly Parton, but you don't usually think of publicly endorsed examples of witchcraft. However, Greensboro, the town where I currently live, is chock-full of witchy things that everyone just accepts as normal. There is a trail in one of the public parks that provides journals for passersby to write their wishes in. Once the journals are filled up, the park rangers will come by and bury the wish journals beneath a newly planted tree. That way all the wishes in the journal can take root and bring people the happiness they desire. (It also has the added benefit of planting more trees, which is just awesome in its own right.) Truthfully, that's quite a clever little bit of Earth magic if I do say so myself, but that's not all! It is also quite common to find pentagrams drawn on walls or carved into the sidewalks around town. As fascinating as all that is, perhaps the most interesting witchy thing the town openly participates in happens on the University of North Carolina campus.
Minerva is UNC-G's patron goddess, so when the graduating class of 1953 gave the copper statue to the school as a fiftieth anniversary present in 2003, it started a fruitful tradition that is still in full force today. Each semester, students offer apples to their patron goddess for good luck with their grades. If you know the myth of Paris and the golden apple, then you know why this offering is so special to the Goddess. What's so special to me, personally, is that this practice of petitioning the Goddess in this way is not only allowed, it's endorsed, even encouraged by the public school.
When I stepped back into mentorship this year, helping to guide Gay male witches towards the possible goal of initiation into Gala Witchcraft through Uncrossing Your Roads, this statue and the traditions that surround it immediately came to mind for me. In the past when I have trained students long-distance, I have brought them to see this statue when they have come to visit me at my home for dedication or initiation. While entertaining them and showing them around town, we wander onto UNC-G's campus and take an apple to the Goddess. I tell them to make a wish and ask the Goddess for help guiding them on the Crooked Path of the Wise. Then they take a quiet moment of contemplation with the Goddess and they place the apple wherever they feel appropriate. (One witch went so far as to climb the statue and place his apple in her hand.)
It's sort of become a tradition for me when I train witches.
Now, this year, as I venture back into mentoring new students, I'm modifying the tradition a bit for myself. You may have noticed that I took a couple months in-between the last blog post and this one. There's a good reason for that. I've been working with an amazing group of guys, and I wanted to focus all my efforts on mentoring them for a while.
Having gotten a ways into their training though, I can reveal something that I've been doing differently this time around. Instead of waiting to take my students to the Goddess before dedication or initiation, I have been making periodic trips to see her myself. When I take her an apple, I ask for the wisdom to guide these amazing Gay men on their individual paths. I ask that her wisdom guide my intuition in order that I be of better service to these men in helping them find their place in this world. Whether that winds up having them initiate into Gala some day or it's just about making their lives better, I wanted to ensure that I was able to see past my own ego and my own desires and just be there for them.
Each and everyone of the guys has been in awe of how quickly we have all bonded with each other. We have a genuine sense of community that seems to transcend the distance between us, and that affection only enhances the experience of learning witchcraft for everyone involved. I bring this up because, while it is not surprising to me how quickly we have bonded (that's actually part of the process), I do know that many Gay male witches struggle with the idea of long-distance training. They want that sense of community that they associate with in-person training, and they can't imagine that they can have it without a local coven.
Unfortunately, nothing I can say in one post is going to convince you that you can find that sense of community you desire so badly with us through long-distance training in Coven Mellona. However, it is my hope that by opening up about my own experience mentoring this group of seekers over the next year or so that you will be able to get a better feel for what long-distance training is like with me in Gala Witchcraft.
By the way (just in case you're concerned), I don't reveal the identities of the students I work with unless I get their permission first. This series of blog posts will be more like a personal journal of my own experience as a mentor, teaching them the material in Uncrossing Your Roads, preparing them for initiation into Gala Witchcraft, and learning from them along the way. If you think you might like to find your home with a coven of other Gay male witches but you are hesitant because of the distance, follow along. Let me show you over time that you can have the community you long for.