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How to Become Wiccan: Taking the First Steps on your Path
How do I become Wiccan?
“Dear Sage, I have decided to become Wiccan! Now, can you please tell me—what do we believe? Who are the God and Goddess? Do we have to be vegetarian? Should I wear black clothes? Do I have to get a pentagram? I’m ordering a complete box of ritual tools from Witchcrafts-R-Us.com and it should be here next week, now how do I cast spells? Thanks so much, Blessed Be!”
This is something I get in email more and more often, and other friends of mine who are openly Wiccan will occasionally get them as well. I’ll see similar messages on social media. I have to wonder at that point—if you know nothing about a religion, how do you decide you want to join it?
Then I recall that many Western religions that we’re familiar with encourage us to convert first, sort out the details later. Wicca, being an experiential religion rather than revealed, can pose a problem for those who are used to being told what to believe and what to do. To help those individuals, I’ve tried to break it down into a basic step-by-step overview of the process.
Some people think the key to starting Wicca involves running out, buying tools, holding a ritual or casting spells—eventually, yes. Initially, you should take it much slower.
Need to learn more about Wicca? Read here.
Welcome to your new path!
Before you even think about converting to Wicca, or before you make any finalized decisions or declarations, you should spend some time studying. Sorry to report this—but if you don’t like reading or studying, you’re probably not going to like Wicca very much; or at least you’re not going to get very far. Wicca is a non-dogmatic religion; rather than telling you what to believe, it throws the ball in your court and tells you to think critically. This requires knowledge.
One book isn’t enough, but five or ten books is a good start. It’s generally recommended you read and study—actively—for at least a year and a day before making any decisions about whether to be Wiccan or not.
My Reading Recommendations
Simply the best fundamental book for beginning Wiccans to day-- better than Cunningham's "Wicca" and way way waaaay better than anything ever penned by Silver RavenWolf.
Tell Us About It
How many books have you read on Wicca?
Step 2: Think
Once you really start learning about Wicca, it’s beliefs, it’s tenets, etc., it’s time to consider whether your beliefs are a match. Are your personal beliefs something that can fall within a Wiccan framework?
Wicca is not a dogmatic religion, this is true; so anyone coming into it looking for a book of scripture or a list of commandments is approaching it from the wrong angle. But Wicca is also not, as some poorer sources have of late been putting it, “anything you want it to be.” The problem with saying Wicca is anything is that you’re essentially saying it’s nothing. There are some things that just don’t fit very well under the definition.
For example, if you don’t believe in any kind of Gods, and you’re just looking to practice magic, then why are you joining a religion in which the major rituals, festivals, rites, etc. are centered on Pagan Gods and Goddesses? You could just as easily go ahead and study Witchcraft without becoming Wiccan at all. Or if you believe in Jesus with all your heart as a savior, why do you want to worship him within a religion that teaches there is nothing to be saved from?
The beauty of Wicca is that there are really no mandates—there are no ‘accept this or take a hike’ philosophies. But in being part of an experiential religion, you are accepting responsibility to use logic and reason—which means really considering if your beliefs fit within Wicca, or that if perhaps the one or two things that attracts you to Wicca can be found in another religion that is more in line with your beliefs.
Step 3: Pray
Once you get to the point at which you know you want to worship as a Wiccan, it’s time to begin worshipping. Start praying to your Gods. Introduce yourself and ask them to reveal themselves to you. Ask for guidance, for clarification, for understanding.
Start meditating—for as they say, if prayer is talking to your God, meditation is listening. A daily meditation regime can be very beneficial not just for health and wellness purposes, but for spiritual development.
Praying is for Everyone
I absolutely love this book; unlike most other books, it's not all about introducing tools, Gods and rituals. Instead, it takes a both practical and spiritual approach to living your life-- 24/7-- as a Wiccan. if you're tired of reading yet another Wicca 101 book, this will bring you into new territory.
Step 4: Observe
Start being aware of life from a Wiccan perspective. Observe the cycles of the seasons and the cycles of the moon. Start acknowledging them in small ways. Think about Wiccan tenets and ethics when you’re faced with choices. Consider your life, and areas in which lessons can be learned from Wicca.
Observe the world around you; the interplay between all living things. Begin to notice the cycles of the seasons, of the moon, of life. You may wish to get into a more regular routine with your meditations and prayers, or start some very simple, informal rites to celebrate Esbats and Sabbats.
At this point, reading and learning shouldn’t necessarily stop, but it’s important to begin some application of those principles. That’s how you start living Wicca.
Some of My Ritual Tools
Step 5: Build
A mistake a lot of people make early on is rushing out to collect tools—but Wicca is not a scavenger hunt. But at this point, when you’ve begun to practice, you may want to begin moving towards more formal practice. You might wish to start collecting altar tools—you don’t need to get them all at once. In fact, it’s a good idea to study a tool and its purpose, then look for it, then begin to use it, doing this one at a time.
A lot of books will tell you to get this and that, but keep in mind that you won’t need every tool that every book mentions. This is why it’s important to understand a tool’s function before you even worry about buying it—it may turn out to be something you just don’t need.
It’s also time to start building your ritual. That is, building a more structured approach to your ritual. That doesn’t mean you have to plan ever single detail out, but by its very definition a ritual is a repeated act. It’s the repetition that helps you reach ritual consciousness. It helps you bypass the state of consciousness in which you’re actively thinking into that state on which you go into ‘autopilot’ so that you can open yourself to the various energies you’re trying to raise.
Start thinking about a standard opening and closing, invocations, casting a circle. Again, it’s not something you need to do all in one night, but every couple of months think about and add another element.
Step 6: Magic
Magic isn’t necessarily the focus of Wicca, but it’s certainly a major component. Eventually you’re going to want to incorporate some into your practice. Someone interested in just learning magic doesn’t have to be Wiccan and should go straight to learning The Craft; however, if Wicca as a religion is what interests you, spend the time familiarizing yourself with the religion first. Once you get to the point at which you’re collecting tools and holding regular rituals, it’s a good time to begin practicing this fascinating and enchanting element. Begin including some minor magical workings in your circle, as well as beginning studies in the arts.
Step 7: Network
At some point, it’s good for you to get out in the Pagan community at large. You don’t have to wait until the end to do this, but if you haven’t yet you should try at this point.
Meet with other Wiccans, attend classes or open rituals or drumming circles. Doing this can expose you to many new ideas, help you find people to talk to that you can relate to, you might even find a coven that you’d like to join if this is your ultimate goal. Religions are personal journeys, but they’re also meant to be experienced communally to some extent.
This list is by no means the only way to go about becoming Wiccan, but if you’re truly unsure of where to begin or where to go, it’s a good succession that will get you on your way.
Wiccan Liturgy - Charge of the Goddess
© 2013 Mackenzie Sage Wright