I outlined these steps for those who are interested in becoming Witches,
but just don't know where to start. You'll notice I don't mention anything
about covens or groups until the last step. That's because I strongly
believe all Witches should start out as solitaries. Learning about
Witchcraft and practicing magick by yourself will teach you what works for
you and what feels right to you. Once you figure that out, you can find
others that you are comfortable circling with.
Step One - Discovering your Path
Read and study. Read everything you can get your hands on that will tell
you more about beliefs of Witchcraft, such as books, web pages or online
magazines. Only by learning as much as you can about the basic beliefs and
tenets of Witchcraft can you decide if the religion is the right path for
you. While reading books and studying the written word are highly
beneficial, Wicca and other forms of the Craft are nature religions. Get
outside and experience the Divine's creation. Go camping. Take hikes
through the mountains. Swim in ponds and lakes. Bask in the glow of the
sun and moon. Watch birds. Go stargazing. Learn all you can about the
Earth and Sky, which are the bodies of the God and Goddess.
Step Two - Defining Your Path
OK, so you know the basics and you've decided it's definitely something
that fits into your belief system. In a notebook or journal, begin writing
down some reasons why you think Witchcraft is your path. What does being a
Witch mean to you? What do you hope to achieve and learn through
Witchcraft? What do you fear if you follow this path? How do you visualize
the God and Goddess? What does the Divine mean to you? Be completely
honest. Nobody will ever read this but you. (This notebook will eventually
become your Book of Shadows.) There are no right or wrong answers to these
questions. It's not a test, but simply a way to help you define your path.
Step Three - Exploring Magick
You'll notice I haven't mentioned anything about spells or ritual yet,
because you need to complete the first two steps before you think about
working with magick. Magick is not hocus-pocus, it's not bending the
natural order of things to fit your needs. Magick is simply raising and
channeling energy that is found in yourself, in nature and in the Divine
to achieve a desired result. Before you begin working with magick, you
need to understand what it is, where it comes from and the ethics involved
in magickal workings. Remember that you are responsible for your own
actions. If you harm someone with magick, you will face the consequences,
probably sooner rather than later. You also need to understand the basic
structure of a ritual: casting circles, calling quarters, invoking the God(dess), raising and directing energy, grounding and centering and
closing the circle. Know the moon phases and how they affect magick. Learn
them well enough so that you always know when the moon is waxing, when it
is full, when it is waning. Learn to feel how the moon affects your moods
and your body.
Step Four - Learning to Focus
Try some meditation and visualization exercises to increase your
concentration. The ability to focus and visualize will greatly increase
the power of your magick. Learn to be calm. Learn to pull strength from
within yourself and from the earth, sun, moon and stars. Learn to be
still. Learn to hear the voice of the God and Goddess when It calls to
Step Five - Working with Magick
Now you can begin some basic spellwork. I'd suggest starting with a full
or new moon ritual, but of course you do whatever feels most comfortable
to you. Although you can use spells or rituals that are written in books
or posted on web pages, keep in mind that those spells were written for
the writer, and should be used only as guidelines when creating your own
rituals. Every Witch should write his or her own spells if possible.
Step Six - Self-Dedication
If everything still feels right, and if you still feel like Witchcraft is
the path for you after all this studying, now is the time to perform a
self-dedication ritual. This ritual should be yours and yours alone.
Design it however you want to, and in a way that will be most meaningful
to you. A dedication ritual means exactly what it sounds like it means -
you are dedicating yourself to the Craft and telling yourself and the
Divine that this is the path you wish to pursue.
Step Seven - Networking
I usually recommend a year of solitary study before a Witch considers
joining a coven or a circle. This gives you a chance to celebrate one full
cycle of Sabbats, and to learn what works best for you. Some people may
choose never to join any kind of organized group - that's fine. A solitary
Witch is just as much of a Witch as a coven Witch. But even if you don't
join a group, you might want to consider finding other Witches to circle
with occasionally. It's always good to learn new ideas and meet others
that share your interests.
Step Eight - Initiation
There are many differing opinions on the concept of initiation. In my
opinion, there is a difference between initiation into the Craft and
initiation into a coven. Initiation into the Craft should always be a
solitary ritual. This is a private moment between you and the Divine,
where you are fully committing yourself to the Craft and to the Lord and
Lady. An initiation should be something that's meaningful to you. The
ritual should be written only by you. A brief word on degrees: I and an
increasing number of Witches have no use for a degree system in the Craft.
I've known too many beginning Witches who know far more than a supposed
third-degree Witch, so this type of system holds no meaning to me, or to
many of the Witches I've talked to. A coven initiation is a means of
bonding a group together as a whole, of establishing trust among a
"family" of Witches. It should not be an initiation into the Craft,
because, like I said, that is something that is a private matter for each
individual Witch. The coven initiation should be written by the entire
group and should incorporate elements of trust and sharing.
Don't think that your studies are over just because you've been initiated.
The Craft involves constant learning and growing and changing.
Written by Selene (firstname.lastname@example.org), adjusted by Locke