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Question: I’m interested in Wicca or some other form of Paganism - how do I get started? Answer: That's a question that comes up a lot, and unfortunately it's not a simple answer. It's not like you can just fill out an application and get your handy membership packet. Instead, there are several things you should think about doing. For starters, evaluate where you stand and what your goals are in studying Paganism or Wicca.
One issue that is often a bone of contention in the Pagan community is that we don’t have a universal set of guidelines – some of us may not even identify as Pagans, but as witches or something else. There have been repeated attempts to unify the various branches of the Pagan community, but in general, these are unsuccessful because we’re so diverse and varied in our beliefs and practices. Back in 1973, a group of witches decided to give this a shot. Seventy or so individuals from a variety of magical backgrounds and traditions got together and formed a group called the American Council of Witches, although depending on who you ask, they are sometimes called the Council of American Witches.
While some traditions of Wicca and Paganism honor an all-encompassing "The God" or "The Goddess", others worship specific deities. Meet some of these gods and goddesses found in contemporary traditions. In modern Pagan religions, people feel drawn towards many of the ancient gods.
Through the old wooden gate you enter my secret garden below where you will be able to follow a red brick walkway and meander at your own pace among the beds of herbs, flowers, shrubs, and little hidden grottoes. The Spirits of Nature, kinfolk of the woodland, smile shyly at you from beneath the foliage of an abundance of herbs and other plants. Bay, borage, comfrey, chive, garlic, marjoram, thyme, oregano, and woodruff nestle together along with their taller kin of artemisia, mugwort, motherwort, rosemary, tansy, and yarrow.
For many modern-day Pagans and Wiccans, being part of a coven is not an option. You may not live around any other people who share your beliefs, or perhaps you haven’t yet found the group that’s right for you . Or maybe you’ve just decided you enjoy being a solitary, eclectic practitioner. That’s fine, too. However, one of the benefits of being part of a coven or grove is the initiation process .
When people first discover Paganism or Wicca, they often rush to go buy every single magical tool they can find. After all, the books tell us to buy this, that, and the kitchen sink, so you better hustle on over to Ye Local Wytchy Shoppe and get stuff! But once you get it, what do you DO with it? It is important to understand that magical tools have an actual purpose, before you go out and grab one. Tools are often representative of one of the four classical elements , which may help you select the tool you need for your purpose. Most Wiccan and Pagan traditions use the following tools in some capacity.
One of the most often quoted "laws of Wicca," a variation of the Wiccan Rede appeared in the writings of Gerald Gardner . A similar rule is found in the work of Aleister Crowley around the turn of the century, in which he advised his readers, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law, love under Will." One version was made famous by Doreen Valiente in the early 1960s, and in 1974 a lengthier version, by Lady Gwen Thompson, was published in the Green Egg , a Pagan magazine.
Want to make your own magical and ritual tools? Here's where you'll find links to some of our most popular magical craft projects, with items for your altar, a ritual robe, your Book of Shadows, an altar pentacle, and more. Many Pagans enjoy making their own ritual supplies and tools.
Candle magic is one of the simplest forms of spell casting. Considered sympathetic magic , it's a method which doesn’t require a lot of fancy ritual or expensive ceremonial artifacts. In other words, anyone with a candle can cast a spell. After all, remember when you were a child and you made a wish before you blew out the candles on your cake? Same theory, only now instead of just hoping , you're declaring your intent (and by now you've probably stopped hoping for a pony).
A measure bag is used in some Pagan traditions, including a few forms of Wicca, as a way of forming a magical link between an individual and the group to which they belong. The measure bag is often incorporated into a practitioner’s initiation ritual . If you practice as a solitary, you can still use one as part of a self-dedication ritual to the gods of your tradition. The term “measure bag” comes from the phrase “taking one’s measure.”
A poppet can be as simple or as elaborate as you like -- it all depends on how much time and effort you want to put into it. You can construct one out of just about any material -- cloth, clay, wood, wax. Use your imagination! In some magical traditions, it's believed that the more work you put into it, and the more complex it is, the stronger your link will be to your goal.
Looking for some craft ideas inspired by Tarot art and imagery? Whether you like Tarot jewelry or other craft projects, here's our collection of Tarot-themed ideas. Tarot Jewelry Image © Patti Wigington 2010 Looking for a way to express your love of Tarot with jewelry?
The athame is used in many Wiccan and Pagan rituals as a tool for directing energy. It is often used in the process of casting a circle , and can be used in place of a wand. Typically, the athame is a double-edged dagger , and can be purchased or hand-made. The athame is not used for actual, physical cutting, but for symbolic cutting only. Many Pagans today opt to make their own athames .
The pentacle is one of the most commonly used magical tools in the Wiccan religion, as well as in some traditions of Paganism. Typically, it is used on the altar as a place to hold items that are about to be ritually consecrated or charged. In some traditions, the pent represents the element of Earth . There are many absolutely beautiful pentacles available commercially, made of wood, tile, metal, ceramic, and just about every other type of material. If you're operating on a budget, however, or if you just like the idea of handcrafting your own magical tools , it's not hard to make a pentacle of your own.
For years, people in the Pagan community have often bemoaned the fact that there are very few books available as instructional tools for young children within Wiccan and Pagan families. At long last, author Raine Hill has created something that serves that very purpose, and she does it with style, fun, and a sense of magic that will appeal to kids of any age. Growing Up Pagan, A Workbook for Wiccan Families fills a need that has been increased as more Pagans grow up and have children of their own. Available from Schiffer Publishing, this workbook is a great start for teaching your kids about Pagan spirituality.