I consider myself lucky to have had many spiritual teachers in my life so far. I joke that if it weren't for the Jews and the lesbians, I'd be nowhere, spiritually speaking. Most of my teachers have been Jewish, queer women, or both. Of course, there are the exceptions. The Lutheran pastors of my youth were straight, male, and, well, Lutheran midwesterners, of German or Scandinavian descent. Wonderful, compassionate men, they really were spiritual teachers. (Note to evangelical Christians: I'm not one of those alleged Pagans who was alienated from the church thanks to the failings of its people.) One of the finest teachers I've ever had was Lugh, who as far as I could ascertain was neither Jewish nor lesbian, those being human classifications, and he being a pit bull.
I live in a town with a sizable population of Tibetan Buddhists (both Tibetan and American, and many of the Americans are also, uh, Jewish). Thus Tibetan Buddhism has had a significant impact on my spiritual life. I began studying Buddhism, eclectically and largely on my own, around the time I turned 30 and was preparing for my Ph.D. qualifying exams, i.e., going through hell. I also began studying yoga, and the attendant Hinduism, while I was in graduate school, a few years before I commenced my study of Buddhism. Yoga renewed my spiritual alliance to my body, thus laying some of the groundwork for Wicca.
One of my current teachers is a white, Italian-American Buddhist who grew up working-class and Roman Catholic in the South, a very spiritual, feminist woman with a mouth on her like a sailor. Goddess bless America.
None of my "real life" spiritual teachers have been Wiccans or Pagans. I consider some Pagan writers also to be my teachers, Starhawk--yeah, Jewish--most notably among them, but those aren't people I have relationships with in my day-to-day life. I sometimes worry that as a young group of faiths, we lack spiritual depth or maturity--I'm not sure what the correct term is, and I'm not sure really how to express my point. I know Pagan writers whose thinking I admire, but where are our role models for spiritual maturity? I'm not saying they don't exist, just that I don't really know who they are. Some Pagan writers, a couple of decades older than I--people whose work, I stress, has been important to me--don't strike me as the kind of people I want to be. I'm not saying that a teacher has to be perfect at all. Indeed, I believe perfection is antithetical to any genuine spiritual path. But I want my teachers to have qualities that I admire and want to cultivate in myself. I want to see a journey that compels me to follow suit in my own way. I suspect that some of our finest spiritual role models aren't public figures, and that I just don't have the good fortune to know them.
I treasure my eclectic, syncretic, American spiritual upbringing, and I have a happy spiritual home in Wicca. I would like for some of my spiritual teachers or role models to have a room in that same home.
Who are your spiritual teachers and role models? Who are the people from your faith tradition whom you admire?