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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.