Becoming A Wiccan

Becoming a Wiccan is, in one sense, very easy; if you’ve read or heard anything about it and decide that it fits the way you feel and describes your beliefs then there is no further test or qualification you need to have to describe yourself as a Wiccan. That having been said, it’s foolish to claim to follow a religion that you know hardly anything about – if nothing else you may find, on further investigation, that Wicca is not the right religion for you.

The question now becomes, how do you find out whether Wicca is the right religion for you? The first thing I would recommend is to read; anything and everything you can get your hands on. A few popular authors are Gerald Gardner, Doreen Valiente, DJ Conway, Scott Cunningham, Janet and Stewart Farrar, Raymond Buckland and Laurie Cabot. Try Googling their names, or search Amazon or eBay for their books. Reading more will help you to decide if this is the right religion for you. Silver Ravenwolf is also a popular author for people just discovering Wicca, especially teenagers, and while her books are easy to read, she’s been criticised for presenting lots of her opinions as facts. Try to keep an open mind, and critically evaluate what you’re reading. People don’t write in a vacuum, and they only present the information that they think is important. If something intrigues you, trying find a couple of books by different authors that also cover it, so you get a wider knowledge of it.

If you decide that you do want to become a Wiccan, then an easy way to begin practising is by observing the cycles of nature, and celebrating the phases of the moon and the Wiccan holidays; the Esbats and Sabbats. You don’t have to do anything grand, or complex. Just sit down and watch the moon from your window, and take the time to say a few words about what you are thinking, if you don’t feel ready to perform a full ritual. On the other hand, there’s no reason why you can’t write or find a suitable ritual to perform, if that’s what you want. You don’t need formal training in this – a thunderbolt isn’t going to strike you down if you stumble over your words, or pronounce something incorrectly.

Traditionally a person who wanted to join a coven would have to go through a year and a day of studying, and I think this is a good idea. While it doesn’t take that long to become familiar with the very basic concepts of Wicca, it is a religion that you’re learning about, and there’s so many different aspects you can study that after a year and a day you’ll only have covered the tip of the iceberg. There’s the additional fact that other Wiccans are more likely to accept you when you’ve demonstrated you have a genuine interest and enthusiasm, and are not simply ‘going through a phase’.

When you feel confident that Wicca is for you, you can perform a self-dedication ceremony. This, again, does not have to be that elaborate. It’s a personal conversation between you and your deities. Tell them what you’ve learned, and how you feel. It could be a very basic ritual in which you confirm your faith and beliefs, and dedicate yourself to the Wiccan religion.

You can also learn a lot from conversation with other Pagans, and it’s always nice to be able to have a chat with like minded people. A good way of meeting new people is to attend Pagan and new age bookstores or other shops, or find out if there are any Pagan gatherings, or ‘moots’, in your area. Often, people will meet up once a month in a friendly local pub, or coffee shop. There are also hundreds of websites and forums for people to chat on.

Resources

Witchvox – A great site for learning and networking.
Dragonswood – My favourite Pagan forum.

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