Guide for Beginners

NewbieQuickStartLogo

I have seen a lot of posts and had a lot of questions around being new to paganism and Wicca. People wanting spells or energy or worrying about being psychically attacked. People wanting some easy to follow menu that tells you what types of paganism is available and which would be best for particular people. Below is my advice for newbies (also called neophytes in The Craft).

  1. There is no Newbie Quick Start Guide. Seriously. A lot of newbies are looking to identify their “path” or figure out what “structure” this new spiritual experience is going to take on. That is often the first mistake. Because The Craft is a spiritual path and not necessarily a religious one, there is no guide or structure that is universal. As someone once told me, “There is no Ten Commandments of Wicca.” Stop thinking what you are looking for is going to look anything like what you have previously experienced. Drop your expectations.
  2. There are no stupid questions BUT ~ I am even guilty of posting questions of social media that I don’t know an answer to without attempting to search for the answer myself. If someone says, “You should learn to ground and center.” Don’t follow that up with, “Teach me how!” Go search ground and center and paganism and then read several blog posts and website explanations of this type of working. Then try it for yourself at least three times – then take specific questions developed from your own research and attempts to a more experienced practitioner.
  3. When someone offers you a resource, do them the respect of actually reading what has been offered to you. Don’t just skim the document or website and then dismiss it as not what you are looking for. This reflects a continued search for that Quick Start Guide – and because there isn’t one, you are not going to find your answers in some easily sorted place.
  4. If you are a newbie, this does not imply you are an idiot. Stop flaying around in cyber space saying, “I’m a newbie! But I’m a newbie!” Newbie or no, you are a thinking, reasoning adult, who can read. Take some ownership for your spiritual development and path. Paganism is the spiritually doing path. No one else is going to be able to do for you as good or as effectively as you could do for yourself with a little research and self application.
  5. Paganism is not a quick fix spirituality. You don’t get out of dealing with your issues because you become pagan. In fact, paganism at it’s heart is facing and dealing with your issues. If you think you are going to find a spell that suddenly reverses your life and changes everything over night, you are not looking for paganism your looking for an easy out. Easy outs have nothing to do with real spiritual work.
  6. If you have major depression or mental illness before you were pagan, paganism is not going to cure your major depression or mental illness. Just like diabetes and sexual transmitted diseases are not affected by magick. You wouldn’t cast a spell to cure gonorrhea – what made you think casting a spell will cure your depression which is a physical ailment just like being sick is?
  7. Working a pagan path is to work your life. Paganism isn’t a religion so you can’t go to church one day a week and then do whatever. Paganism is a spiritual way of life that allows you to work on your issues and life from a spiritual place outward. Notice working is used here. You have to WORK AT IT.
  8. If you are a newbie, met someone and they immediately do any of the following:
    • Offers to teach you for a fee
    • Tells you you are being spiritual attacked
    • Asks you do any ritual, rite, initiation that involves physical acts of sex
    • Explains how they are some great pagan who is better than all other pagans~ RUN – do not WALK – RUN AWAY from them
  9. Most really experienced practitioners will tell you to research and read. That’s it. That is all you are going to get from good spiritual practitioners who are pagan. Experienced pagan practitioners feel that path to a newbie is to seek through research and study THEN after doing both of these extensively they will know enough about what they really want to learn and know.
  10. Follow pagan bloggers, authors and leaders and figure out who you identify with. If you have serious questions ask one of them, not some general group or social media outlet. Do your research on these people.
    • How long have they practiced?
    • Is their social feed filled with drama?
    • When you google them do bad reviews or other issues come up?
    • How much drama do they write about in their personal blog or social media?
    • Do their core values resonate with yours?
  11. Be a solitary practitioner for at least a year before trying to join a group. Be sure of who you are as a pagan before you seek other influences.
  12. Don’t be naive – bad people are looking for pagan newbies to exploit for sexual reasons, monetary reasons or just because they like to create drama and newbies are a fertile ground for this. Just because someone appears to be pagan competent doesn’t mean they are. Ask yourself if their life reflects the life of someone who is spiritually empowered or does their life reflect a person who is caught up in drama, abuse, or values inconsistent with what they espouse.
  13. You do not need a by your leave from a high priest, high priestess, arch druid, grand poobaa, mistress of the dark, coven, grove, community, circle, another witch, wizard or warlock to study paganism. All you need is a desire to seek the gods and willingness to do the work. Anyone else who says different is selling something or wants something from you.

That’s it. Research. Read. Try. Do. Be cautious.

Paganism is not a spectator sport. It is a spiritual path that requires doing.

 

Good luck!

Advertisements

“Pagan” Is Yesterday’s “Wicca”

Okay – I am Wiccan. That’s right, sLOGOWhyWiccansSuckneer at me. Look down your nose at me. Roll your eyes and whisper around the fire at a gathering how you aren’t WICCAN but PAGAN then point with great conspiracy that I am Wiccan ~ and ~ GASP ~ have publicly admitted it.

Let me set you straight. Western Mysticism came from the likes of Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardner and even L. Ron Hubbard. They were all contemporaries and exchanged ideas about secret societies, the Masons, the Co-Masons, and the revival of mysticism and magick (both high and low) in the Western World.

Sure, Gardner allegedly coined the term Wicca. When I started Wicca; however, everyone was Wiccan of some flavor or another. There was a general understanding that Wicca was growing, developing and changing and had its roots in Western Mysticism. Seriously, when I met Celtic practitioners they were Celtic and still Wiccan.

Today – many newer pagans seem to break out in allergic hives when Wicca is brought up. They see absolutely NO relationship between paganism and Wicca. I am so sick to death of reading this Facebook question in pagan groups – “I see all these Wiccans but who are just Pagan?”

Holy CRIPES! WE ALL ARE. When did we decide that there should be some us versus them mentality within the universal sphere that we collectively call modern paganism? When did we decide that Druids and Asatru and Hellenistic and Reconstructionalists have no common link? When did our goals get set on division, separation, and exclusion? When did we decide that there are Wiccans and there are Pagans and they have nothing in common?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?

The attitude I get from those who self-identify as pagan drives me up the wall. I AM PAGAN. I practice a Wiccan slant to my paganism BUT I AM STILL PAGAN. You don’t get to cut me off because of whatever preconceived issue you have developed about Wicca. Don’t take your issues with Wicca out on me. In fact, give me the courtesy I have extended to self-identifying pagans – ask me what I mean by Wicca. Goddess knows, I have taken lots of my time to try to understand every single pagan I have met and some magickal practitioners and other self-identifiers without a nice label. In fact, I have spent the past five years carefully not asking all you self-identifying pagans what exactly makes you different from self-identifying Wiccans. When I say I am Wiccan I get eye rolls and sneers and sarcasm all of which I would happily put up with IF I felt those were actually directed at me, the person, not “Wicca” the term. (In some cases I will grant, it may be me ~ the person.)

Mostly though, stop trying to act like Paganism and Wicca have nothing in common. There is just this long, long history that Wicca and Pagan have in common, whether you like it or not. Today’s paganism is just yesterday’s Wicca – changed, formatted differently and based in that Western Mysticism that was once universally called Wicca.

For a calmer explanation of this particular rant I defer to the better judgement of Marietta at Witchy Words.  My only issue with her lovely post is that modern paganism, Wicca and witchcraft all are inexorably linked to the resurgence of western mysticism that started in the mid 1800s. It is from this common heritage that paganism has split itself from Wicca and Wicca has become the narrowly defined term that Marietta sites.

Super Tuesday: Go and Vote

12771506_10208598234657181_1534600744041270841_o Something to know about me – I HATE SELFIES. However, voting is a good reason to post ridiculous selfies.

I posted today on WDSC Facebook group the following statement and I wanted to re-post it here. Because voting is important.

POLITICS – In WDSC we have a varied representation of political opinion. We try hard to keep party politics out of WDSC. However, WDSC does believe that you should VOTE. Everyone, no matter who you vote for, should vote. Today is the day. Don’t let your country down – and don’t tell us who you voted for. Voting is kind of like your soul. How you vote is between, you, your vision of the Divine and the person you voted for. You just have to vote like voting is as fundamental to your life as a soul is. LMNC 3/1/2016, WDSC Group Facebook Post