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Understanding Wicca: Initiations, Dedications and ‘Officially’ Becoming a Wiccan

Updated on August 12, 2017
WiccanSage profile image

A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.

Greetings, friends. This article is primarily aimed at those just starting their way on the Wiccan path, to help you familiarize yourself with all these new terms and concepts that can be so head-spinning in the beginning. New solitary Wiccans sometimes come to a point at which they wonder—how do I make being Wiccan ‘official’? Do I need to get an initiation to be a ‘real Wiccan’? And where do I go for such things? How do I make this happen?

Make yourself a cup of mint tea and have a seat—let’s talk about initiations, dedications, and what officially makes you a Wiccan.

When are You "Officially" Wiccan?

When you embrace Wicca as your religion.
When you embrace Wicca as your religion. | Source

Traditional Wicca (Coven Based)

About Wiccan Initiation

One of the best things you can do when you are confused about a term is to turn to the dictionary for clarification. At Dictionary.com, the relevant definition for initiation is “formal admission or acceptance into an organization or club, adult status in one's community or society, etc.”

The key understanding we need to take away here is that an initiation is something that’s done to you, by someone who belongs to a specific group, bringing you into that specific group—in Wicca, that would be a coven. When you join a coven and complete their training and membership requirements, the initiation is when they mark your admission. It does not necessarily grant you any kind of privileges outside of that coven, not even in another coven of the same trad.

Self-initiation is an oxy-moron, it’d would be like declaring yourself a fraternity member, without an actual fraternity accepting you into their fold. There's nothing wrong with not being initiated; there's nothing 'less Wiccan' about Solitaries. But calling oneself initiated when you were never trained and accepted belittles the efforts made by those who have put in the work and time.

It is Said Only The Gods Can Make a Wiccan

When you know you want to be Wiccan, you really don't need permission from other people.
When you know you want to be Wiccan, you really don't need permission from other people. | Source

The Misuse of the Word Initiation

There are authors—who are otherwise reputable authors—who will perpetuate the idea that you should a self-initiation to be Solitary Wiccan. This is simply a mistaken use of the term. Initiation is not what makes you Wiccan.

Some people will lead you to believe that you need to be initiated generically by any random Wiccan—but initiations are meaningless unless you are actually joining a specific Wiccan coven. That’s a little like someone coming along and accepting you into a fraternity to which they don’t belong.

If you really feel you need initiation to validate your religious path, you should seriously consider seeking coven membership. But initiation makes you a group member, it’s not what makes you Wiccan.

So How do I Become Wiccan Then?

Simply deciding to be Wiccan is enough to make you Wiccan. Once you read some books, begin to understand what the religion is about, decide to start practicing it—congratulations, you are as Wiccan as anyone who tried to initiate themselves or tried to get generically initiated into a non-existent coven.

Being Wiccan is a choice… we’re not a club; there is no membership process. Groups and solitaries operate autonomously. It’s between you and your Gods.

When You Are Ready

A Wiccan dedication can be a beautiful rite of passage.
A Wiccan dedication can be a beautiful rite of passage. | Source

About Wiccan Dedication

One thing initiation has going for it—it’s a rite of passage, a way to formally recognize that decision to become Wiccan. These kinds of rituals have great meaning—which is why so many different religions have some kind of rite of passage for new members, such as baptisms.

Converting to a religion is a transition; but long, slow transitions can make you feel stuck in limbo. The rite of passage helps you snap out of that limbo. It’s a ceremonial acknowledgement. It’s the border with the big sign that tells you that you’re firmly in Wiccan territory now.

The Solitary Wiccan’s alternative to initiation is a dedication. The dedication ritual involves making your formal declaration that you’ve done your initial research, you’ve made your choice to walk the Wiccan path, and you are going forward now trying to live the Wiccan life.

This can be a very moving, beautiful ceremony. You can make it as simple or as elaborate as you want. You can do it alone, or if you have friends who are also becoming Wiccan you can have a joint ceremony. If you have friends who have already dedicated themselves, you may invite them to join in your ritual and celebrate your newfound faith.

However you proceed is up to you, but the most important thing to remember is this: ceremony or no ceremony, the only person that makes you ‘officially Wiccan’ is you.

© 2013 Mackenzie Sage Wright

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      Christine Tharp 3 months ago

      I am somewhat new to this, I have been studying (researching now for well over a year18+ months) the Wiccan way and last month I decided to research a little on witchcraft. I found that I have only one thing that attracted me to the witchcraft and that was the idea of not needing all of the tools( candles, herbs, incense, etc.). I also found that I didn't like the point of Casting a spell of cursing, this is not what I want my experience to be about, so I found my way back to you and your site. I now see the path for me is the Wiccan Path, Thank You for setting this site up for beginners, for it is the most informative one that I have found.

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      Amber 9 months ago

      Hey I'm just starting to learn this religion. I was wondering if you're able to start your own coven. Me and some of my friends have been reading your articles they are really helpful.

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 11 months ago

      Isabella, no not bothering me at all, hon ;o)

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      Isabella 11 months ago

      Thank you I hope I'm not bothering you. You helped me realize that I have nothing to fear and I'm sorry if I am annoying you I don't mean to...I'll look up on the hubs

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 11 months ago

      You might find it interesting that hell is totally a concept Christians came up with... even Jews didn't believe in hell (their word that Christians took and used for it meant 'grave'... so in the whole Old Testament, wherever it says 'hell', it originally meant 'grave').

      I know for me, the more I looked into the concept the more I doubted it. After all, if a God set up the whole heaven and hell system, then that would mean the 'salvation' we needed him to give us would be *from Him*. In looking into it, I could see the hell myth evolving. It's not something that worries me at all.

      It's not something I can help you with. I think you might want to just do your own research here and decide if it's really what you believe. If it is what you believe, you have to come to terms with it and do what you think is right.

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 11 months ago

      Hi Isabella; it can take a while to get the hang of Hubs. Just keep reading up on what makes a good hub and be willing to work on it. Maybe get some advice on a hub from other hubber in the forums. Good luck!

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      Isabella 12 months ago

      Some dude just told me something that triggered a lot of flashbacks of my family telling me I'm going to burn in Hell...now I'm kind of doubting my religion... I'm scared because I don't wanna burn, I don't want to be in Hell while my family are in Heaven

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      Isabella 12 months ago

      I don't think I'll be able to post a Hub on here, it keeps saying your Hub is still in boot camp but don't worry everyone has to go through boot camp, your Hub is not published, try fixing it. Or something like that

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 12 months ago

      LOL No, not at all. I appreciate it when people let me know when they enjoy or are helped by my articles, blog, book, classes, etc... it's why I do them. Thanks so much!

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      Isabella 12 months ago

      Yay! I think I just published my first one and i think i prefer Isabella for now That Hub you did about name changing really caught my interest, as does all your Hubs (wow just reread that and sooo hope i dont creep you out lol)

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 12 months ago

      Hi Alice, or Isabella if you prefer. That's great, congrats & welcome to HP! I'll be sure to follow you and will check out your hubs soon!

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 12 months ago

      Hi Alice, no not at all hon. That's why I do this. I want to help people.

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      Alice 12 months ago

      Okay scratch that I won't be doing any Hubs on here because I don't know how lol I'll still be reading though! Yay for learning

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      Isabella 12 months ago

      I'm Alice, I have decided to write here as my birth given name Isabella Hall, it said one couldn't change their name once they sign in so I choose to go with something simple, hope to see you commenting or giving me advice on my Hubs, I'd appreciate it because I've been told I need to write better, I hope I don't disappoint! Please keep up your Hubs as they are very helpful, may the Goddess and Gods be with you! (:

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      Alice 12 months ago

      Thank you, I hope I'm not annoying you any with these comments

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 12 months ago

      Hi Alice; I guess if you worship a warrior God or Goddess, they might not be too upset, lol. Keep in mind though when people badmouth your Gods... in Wicca, we realize the Gods can defend themselves. They don't need us getting into fights or bringing troubles on ourselves over words. Next time your friend badmouths the Gods, you might just smirk and say, "If you don't mind, I'm going to stand a few feet away from you for a while."

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      Alice 12 months ago

      Thank you, WiccanSage my friend was saying bad stuff about the Goddesses and Gods so punched her in the shoulder...I didn't know if I offended Them by resorting to violence

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 12 months ago

      Hi Alice; There are many Goddesses in my beliefs, so really it would depend on which one.

      I don't believe they're all that touchy; in my experience, unless you're really badmouthing them, or doing something really rude (like bringing a vegetarian Goddess a meat offering), they're not going to care. If you do offend them, they'll generally let you know pretty well (signs, and seemingly 'bad luck', will follow).

      You could make it up to them by apologies, prayers, offerings, etc. It's a good idea to research any deity with whom you are working to ensure you are approaching them in a manner they find respectful and acceptable... worst that will usually happen is they'll just ignore you if they don't like your rituals/prayers.

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      Alice 12 months ago

      How do you know if you have disrespected the Goddess and what can you do to make things right if you did?

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      Brianna 19 months ago

      I've been looking into it for a while and I believe its the right spiritual path and religion I am ready to walk, bare foot in. Thanks to the Goddess of the moon.

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Hi Kelsey! I have some articles about finding a mentor or group to practice with that might help you, but basically the best way is to get involved in your local Pagan community. If you're a minor, that could be hard to do-- unless your parents are okay with bringing you to local events or classes. Thanks for commenting!

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      Kelsey 2 years ago

      Hello! I too would like to find a teacher to help and guide me on this path.

      How do I find a teacher? And where do I start?

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Hi Kimberly; thanks for your comments here. I'm unable to take any more students under my wing at this time. I'm just starting a year-long training with a group, and it's as many students I can handle right now. I would be happy to answer any specific questions if you have any, or point you to some good resources if you need them. Feel free to contact me here or in email.

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      Kimberly 2 years ago

      Merry met

      Resently dedicated myself wiccan, im looking for a teacher of sorts who can help with the many questions i have. Like the right learning material, so that i am able to have proper knowledge of the roots of my belief, i mean id like to do this the right way not as a fad, i feel im a natural born witch but i am undeveloped. Always felt the pull in early stages of my life but never understood, baptist grandparent but i never followed into christianity, i knew it wasnt me, read some information over the years, and had resently attened my first workshop with a self proclaimed high priestist, who is not long in her study so maybe you can understand my feeling of disbelief in her ability to be true. As such in her acclaimed coven, so many uprisings it hard to find true and genuine patrons in the religion, expecially where i live. I dont mean to disrespect any one or anthing but im trying to do this right so to not disrespect purity of the one of the most prestiagious religion frist in its kind, i feel if anything to pay my omage to its liniage id rather have the right matirials and people to help cultivate my confidance in myself in this my religion wiccan, if there is any way you can help it be honored, bb.

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Hi SFIAO; Dedication and initiation are generally 2 different things. A dedication is when you decide (for whatever length of time) to devote yourself to studying/practicing the religion of Wicca. It can be done in a group or as a solitary. Initiation is when you join a coven; it is a group ritual. Think of it this way: a dedication is something you do; an initiation is something done to you.

      Keep in mind, initiation isn't required to be *Wiccan*, it's only required to join a coven or specific trad. You can be Wiccan without initiation; you can't be a Gardnarian Wiccan without an initiation.

      YOu can E-mail me if you like, but I have to warn you I haven't checked my E-mail for about 6 months. My husband's recent illness has pretty much slowed down my ability to keep up with a lot of online things. But I will be trying to wade through it all and if I see any I will respond.

      In the mean time, try this article regarding the triple Goddess: https://exemplore.com/wicca-witchcraft/Wicca-for-B...

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      SFIAOgirl021 2 years ago

      I am curious are dedication and initiation ceremonies seperate? Can u dedicate to learn about it and join when u r ready? or do they go hand in hand or can they be seperate if u want? I have a book that says they can be seperate if u want but I'd rather here ur opinions on this since u r Wiccan sry the page confused my just alil i know its an alternate but can they be seperate? it might just be my lack of coffee lol but seriously I am curious about that and more I want to make sure I understand the 3 aspects of the Goddess and God can u recommend any pages I can read to see if I'm understanding it right? or ur email so I can send u my thoughts more privately? If that's too forward or I bug u too much I apologize I can get alil eccentric when I decide to learn about something