Becoming Wiccan

How do I become Wiccan? is a fairly common question I hear, and I suspect the answer is not what the asker is expecting.

Becoming Wiccan is not about passing a test, proving your worth to another, or correctly performing a ritual.  Being a Wiccan means you understand what Wicca is, why we do what we do, and how your own beliefs are in tune with those beliefs and practices.

So my first counter-question is:  are you looking for a belief, or are you looking for a title (“Wiccan”) and a membership? Or have you perhaps confused the two just a bit and started to believe that the belief somehow is communicated with a title? This is not an offhanded question. If you want to pursue religion – any religion – you need to understand your own goals and desires. Otherwise, you’ll never realize them.  And there are an awful lot of people who say they want to be Wiccan yet don’t know what that even means.

Wicca is not a spectator religion. While there is structure to what we do (the details of which are part of what defines Wicca as its own entity), it is not a rigid system of rules and requirements. Western society expects everything to come in neat little packages with easy-to-follow instructions, right down to our religion, and that’s not what Wicca delivers. Wicca is esoteric: it is a path for finding truth rather than having truth dictated to us. There’s a terrible number of people who have been led to believe that Wicca should say “perform the tree meditation twice a day, pray to the full moon, and leave an food offering outside your door every night and you will know the god and goddess (in 30 days guaranteed or your money back).” No honest Wiccan can (or will) offer that.

So while I cannot hand out a handy how-to guide, I can offer some general recommendations. Ironically, I’ll even break it down into an orderly list.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Why am I interested in Wicca? This requires two things.
    1. First, a working definition of Wicca. There’s a difference between wanting to be Wiccan and wanting to learn about Wicca.
    2. Second, you need some understanding of your own beliefs. If you have no beliefs then Wicca, in your mind, is no closer to the truth than Christianity, Hinduism, or Scientology. Try to be specific in explaining your interest. “It makes sense,” doesn’t offer any clarity. What about it makes sense? And avoid negatives such as “I don’t believe in Jesus.” Not believing in Jesus makes you a non-Christian. It does not make you a Wiccan.
  2. Why do I believe what I believe? This question stumps an astounding number of people. Society has practically conditioned us to accept “I read it in a book,” as an acceptable answer. Books have authors. Authors are human. Humans are imperfect. Just because something is in a book doesn’t make it right. Not being able to provide a good answer doesn’t necessarily mean Wicca is not for you. It does, however, at least illustrate where you need to be immediately focusing your attention. Blind belief is unhealthy.
  3. Why do I do what I do? Seekers often jump into ritual first thing, but ritual without meaning is pointless. The ritual itself does nothing. If you cast a circle because “that’s what Wiccans do at the start of a ritual,” you’re only going through the motions. There’s a reason we cast circles as well as everything else we do.  If you don’t have a reason and an understanding of it, you shouldn’t be doing it.

Read, read, read. Read more.

Understand why authors say the things they do and decide whether you agree with them. There will be contradictions. You will need to seek your own answers on those matters. Just because two authors give two different ways to cast circles doesn’t necessarily mean one of them is wrong, because ritual plays on the mindset of participants. Rituals are often published because they are useful for many people, but that doesn’t guarantee a particular ritual is effective for you.

Some things for you not to do:

  1. Don’t rush. Wicca isn’t going anywhere, and there is no race for enlightenment.
  2. Don’t turn Wicca into a collectable game. Working tools are important and hold great symbolism and meaning…but only if you understand the symbolism and meaning. Many books devote so much time to tools and other accouterments that readers are left with the impression that better tools make one a better Wiccan. They don’t.
  3. Don’t accept anything blindly. If something doesn’t make sense, research it. There’s a lot of very silly ideas out there, half of which should be discernible by common sense. (No, I can’t throw a refrigerator with my mind. Thanks for asking. No, my rituals were not handed down by illiterate cavemen either.) Questioning is good.
  4. Don’t try breaking Wicca down into neat and tidy rules. It’s counterproductive. You’re supposed to be broadening your understandings, not petrifying them into immovable laws.
  5. Don’t try to “look” Wiccan. Wiccans don’t have a look, nor do they need it. The moment you try for the “look,” you’ve relegated Wicca to a fashion statement.
  6. Don’t try to act Wiccan either, for the same reasons.

Study minimally for a year and a day

It’s not that the universe will disqualify your Wiccanness (and, no, that’s not really a word) if you don’t, but we’re talking about embracing a new religion, a new paradigm, a new understanding of the world, and embracing that should be an informed choice. You’re eventually going to be pledging yourself to deities, and it’s just rude to not go into that seriously. If you need more time, take it. (I studied four or five years before dedicating, and in retrospect that was still too soon for me.)

Build a relationship with your deities.

For many, this involves a lot of patience. After all, you don’t gain a new best-friend overnight. It involves time and effort and an honest rapport. Don’t feel you need a name for them immediately either. You are attempting to identify those who have called you. You may identify them by qualities before you can by name.

You are not choosing a deity from the god store. Whatever you do, avoid those websites and books that list 200 deities and give a one-sentence description of each. “Catherine Noble Beyer: writer of websites” is an incredibly poor summation of me. Why should we view “Athena: goddess of war of wisdom” as any more helpful? Gods aren’t objects. They’re beings.

Talk to people. Ask questions.

The Internet, while being a source of a lot of really bad info, is also a source of answers and discussion. There are a variety of forums and mailing lists out there that contain really helpful and informed people. Seek them out. Be aware that most places will have both good and bad contributors, but spending a little time with them should give a pretty good picture of who to listen to and who to ignore.

Dedication Ritual

Once you have decided that it’s time to formalize your relationship, solitaries generally perform a self-dedication ritual. The purpose is a formal declaration of your devotion to your gods. How you do this is up to you. Some people use elaborate ceremonies while others do little more than cast a circle and meditate. Plenty of sample ceremonies can be found on the web if you’re curious as to what other people have done. Above all, however, you must remember that anything you gain here comes from the content and purpose of the ritual, not the ritual itself. If you don’t mean what you say or understand what you’re doing, then you’re just wasting your time with a ceremony.

16 Comments to "Becoming Wiccan"

  1. June 15, 2014 - 7:58 pm | Permalink

    I can attest to the “don’t rush” statement. For me the key is to be patient, which requires a strong sense of maturity.
    I’ve been interested in Wicca since I was 14, but I don’t think I was actually mature enough to truly begin study until my current age of 27. I still catch myself sometimes rushing around trying to identify every nook and cranny of my beliefs, but then I just take a deep breath and remember the saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

  2. Kiana's Gravatar Kiana
    June 16, 2014 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Hello. I really love this site and I need a little help. I’m 15 and I’ve been studying Wicca for four months. I feel this certain draw/connection to it. I’ve studied the basics but want to go further. Any help would be lovely. Thanks.

  3. mariajose mendoza's Gravatar mariajose mendoza
    June 30, 2014 - 2:49 pm | Permalink

    In mexico some circle please? thanks :)

  4. Cynthia's Gravatar Cynthia
    August 24, 2014 - 6:47 pm | Permalink

    ,I know a lot of ppl how claim Wicca, as for me I am just trying to understand their beliefs . I am a Christian. But I have an open mind and belief that everyone has a choice.

    • Makayla's Gravatar Makayla
      June 2, 2015 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Kudos to you. Not everyone in the world is as open minded. Blessed Be.

  5. Jourdan's Gravatar Jourdan
    September 12, 2014 - 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I’ve felt a draw to Wicca since I was 16. I found this website after a few years and thought about buying the beginner novels you mentioned.My mother claims she used to love studying it too, but never practiced. As I got older, I began to read books and my family would throw them away and say things like “You’re worshipping the Devil! You’ll bring him into our home!” So, naturally, I had to dispose of my books. In the meantime, I had resulted into studying more of spirituality. Chakras, past lives, palm reading, meditations and such. I’ve always felt a closeness with the universe and some stronger power and my mind had been drawn back to Wicca. A girl here in my school claims to follow it as well, but I noticed her book selection was mostly of SIlver Ravenwolf and so I avoided all she wanted to teach me. Instead, I decided to come back here and find the books I needed again and I’m starting to read them more and more. However, I am still confused on many things but I can’t seem to pull myself away from the urge to study more. I want to know all that I can and I end up reading until late in the night.

    I was curious as to wondering if I should actually partake in even practice of this religion instead of just studying it. It feels like something I would actually feel connected to. But I’m not sure I am ready to make a practice out of anything I’ve read until I know for sure of what I’m doing and if I will be safe. The uncertainty that’s plauged my mind by my friend and my family makes me feel as if I’d be doing something “bad” by embracing this religion but I have this love for it and all around me.

    I would love your opinion of how I should go about this.

    • Midge's Gravatar Midge
      June 22, 2015 - 7:20 am | Permalink

      If the uncertainty that is plaguing your mind is caused by the opinions/actions of your friend/family, all I can say is to clear your mind and listen to what your heart says. Your head can be fooled; your heart, much less so.

      From what I’ve seen and experienced in this world, there is no “bad” religion; only practitioners who show ignorance and lack of understanding for other religions. Wicca is no worse than christianity; it is simply a different religion :)

      I personally do not believe myself to be wiccan, but as a pagan I have bore witness to (and experienced) such experiences.

      To the blessed path which you seek/walk :)

      ~a solitary, eclectic pagan :)

  6. Lepus's Gravatar Lepus
    September 14, 2014 - 10:26 am | Permalink

    Hi

    First of all can I just say how much I like this site, a little sanity is always refreshing in a world of madness. I have also been interested in Wicca since I was a child, (I am now 51) I just didn’t know it had a name. I to be honest was initially turn off by the term Wicca, I wanted to like what I read but when I discovered the roots only stemmed from the 1950s it just felt like yet another dodgy New Age religion, I have seen plenty of those. I was given my religion by the Hills of the Peak District. There is an area between Shuttlingslow (a low is an old English name for a hill) and the Hollins. The Hollins is alive with Magick, alive with it, you can feel it in the air. Many, many people I knew as young man had experiences on The Hollins or near by.

    I have visited the stone circles from Stonehenge to Castlerigg, from the Circles of Carrowmore of Co Sligo to the Rollright Stones and celebrated Solstices and Equinox’s at most of them but never called myself anything, I am not sure what I am.

    I believe in the oneness, the oneness that I feel on the Hollins. The oneness has two aspects. I believe that Taoists call this ying and yang, quantum scientists call it matter and anti matter, me I call them The Lord and Lady.

    I know from personal experience of the law of 3 fold return and trust and honour the Wiccan Rede, wether any of this makes me a Wiccan, I really couldn’t say. I have never cast a circle and have only practiced my own simple practices and meditations. I have decided however that I am going to begin to dig a little deeper, not before time you might say, you be right too, I have been dithering about now for the last 40 years. I am looking for a little sanity, I can’t do the whole “Witchy Poo” look and welding swords around just doesn’t do it for me, neither does buying loads of objects with pentigrams on them, I want and need my practice to be simple, natural and sincere.

    Anyway I have rambled on for long enough, thanks for the site

  7. ellie's Gravatar ellie
    November 12, 2014 - 7:55 pm | Permalink

    I am 42 and im hoping this dont sound weird ,about o month ago i was sitting in my room and the word wiccan just came to me so i did some research on the internet and it was familer to me i dont have any close friends one i new of was a ghost hunter and i had always been interested in the paranormal so she invited me over and we were talking and i brought up wiccan,come to find out shes been wiccan for 25 years,im sure this was a sigh,am i wrong.

  8. Lisa's Gravatar Lisa
    February 6, 2015 - 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Hi. I just started to know about Wicca today. And I am really interested in learning more. But there’s one problem: I’m Norwegian. Nobody (that I know about) even knows about Wicca. Nobody can learn me what I need to know. Can you teach me? Please?
    IG: Lisa_Steinnes1

  9. heraldicTrickster's Gravatar heraldicTrickster
    July 19, 2015 - 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Hello~

    I’ve know a tiny bit about the Wiccan (or Wicca, sorry) religion for a couple of years now. I am now just a little over 15, and now it’s become something I’m really interested in delving into (I feel like it would help me figure out what I need to do in life and where to start with it… it’s difficult to explain, my bad.) Anyhoo, I recently found out that one of my distant relatives is a pretty devoted Wiccan, and she’s told me a bit about it, not to mention that she was the one who had suggested I try it to see if it’d help me in any way. I would like to research and study it a bit more before I try to do anything, concerning actual practices and ; for how long would you recommend that I spend time studying first? What parts of Wicca should I learn about first? All pointers and tips are welcome, thank you.

  10. November 6, 2015 - 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Hi. I’m 17 and very new to Wicca and have only really been studying for the past month. I was wondering if anyone knew any books or websites which would be helpful to read! I come from a Christian family but have always felt a certain pull to Wiccan beliefs. I guess, to an extent, I’m still very much finding out who I am and what I believe… Any advice on anything would be very much appreciated! Thank you in advance!

    • Seafra's Gravatar Seafra
      February 5, 2016 - 5:03 am | Permalink

      There are numerous books available. Starhawk and Scott Cunningham and Buckland come to mind.

      Start by doing some form of meditation and a lot of study. No spell casting, just introspection and reflection.

      Use social networking and local new age/occult bookstores to try to find like-minded folk. Some New Age type gatherings happen in most parts of the USA: pschic fairs pagan festivals and the like. Make plans to attend: you’ll start to make connections.

      Use judgement and intuition to keep yourself away fro dicey people or groups.

  11. Inshirah's Gravatar Inshirah
    August 14, 2016 - 9:11 am | Permalink

    Hi, I’m only studying Wicca for the moment, and I’m still trying to decide if it is the right path for me. I was wondering, when the deities were mentioned, we are discouraged from looking at websites that list them with one word descriptions. Any advice on how/where to go about learning and understanding which deity calls to us?

    I would also like to get to know others who are studying/practicing Wicca, for I understand that there are many Traditions out there. I come from Singapore and the only other Wiccan I know of is one of my friends, she introduced me actually. My family is Muslim and very religious, they do not take kindly to me looking into other beliefs which is why I’m trying to really take my time studying before I dedicate. Unfortunately this leaves me with very little by way of finding information and um ritual items (? If that’s the term). Are there any online communities one can join? Thank you for the help!

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