PRACTICING WICCA AND WITCHCRAFT TODAY
Starting something new can be frightening; this applies also to a new religion. You will be taught the basic tenants, but in the long run, it will be up to you to make of it what you want.
There are many different witches, each with their own set of rituals. Some witches prefer to work alone, other like working within a coven. Once again this is a person choice. Let no one force you into joining anything with which you are not comfortable.
Let me give you an idea of the various forms of the craft that are available to you.
Gardnerian Wicca: Started in 1950’s by Gerald Gardner. Groups tend to work skyclad. Covens use a degree system. Individuals are initiated by the coven.
Alaxandrian Wicca: Started in the 1960’s in England. In many aspects they are like the Gardnerian Wicca.
Georgian Wicca: Founded by George Patterson in the 1970’s. They are known as the Georgian Church and draw their rituals from the Alaxandrian and Gardnerian crafts. Members also write their own ritual.
Algard Wicca: Founded in 1972. Mary Nesnick combined Alexandrian and Gardnerian Wicca to form the Algard tradition. They are very close to the Gardnerian tradition.
Seax-Wica: Founded in 1962 by Raymond Buckland a protégé of Gardner. He moved to the U. S. A. and in 1973 started his own tradition based on Saxon traditions. Hence Seax-Wica.
Feri Tradition: Victor Anderson is credited to bringing this tradition to America in the late 1960’s. Feri teacher tend to add something of themselves to the religion as they teach. They can be solitary or work in small groups.
Dianic Tradition: This religion focus strongly on the Goddess with little or no interact on the God. This is a feminist movement of the craft. The covens are women only.
British Traditional: There are a number of different British Traditions that are based on the Pre Christian traditions of Old England.
Celtic Wicca: The tradition looks to the Celtic and druidic deities, with an emphasis on magickal and healing properties.
Northern Way or Asatru. This tradition is based on the Old Norse gods.
Pictish Witches: This is a solitary Scottish Tradition that is based on nature.
Strega Witches: This tradition is from Italy.
You will notice that this list is long, but not complete. Many witches are drawn to the “way” because of their background. This need not be so. Follow the one that calls to you.
What type of a witch are you?
Solitary: Practices the craft alone and does not work with a group or coven. By the Gardnerian and Alexandrian way solitary witches are not witches. In order to be considered a witch you must work with a coven.
Eclectic: These witches pick chose and mix various traditions. They have no set path.
Hereditary: These are the practitioners who have been taught the craft from their relative. The craft was passed, unbroken, from generation to generation.
So, now, do you want to be a solitary witch or work with a coven? Let me give you a few Pros and Cons to consider.
If you join a coven you will receive lots of support. There are people available with the same beliefs to talk to. You will also get some structure. You can work your way up from dedicant to High Priest(s).
Just by the fact that there is structure in a coven may discourage some people. The coven decides on the where, when at time of the Sabbats and meetings. If you break the laws of the coven (dishonor) you will be asked to leave. The cons of a coven are not unlike those that relate to any group activity.
OK, so you will go solo and be a solitary. This means that you can learn at your own pace. You can follow your own schedule for Sabbats, within reason. You attire is strictly up to you. Some solitaries will join with a know coven to celebrate Sabbats. You can design your own rituals.
The major downside is that you are on are on your own. Help and guidance from knowledgeable witches are not going to be readily available. The solitary had no linage to look back on for guidance. Solitary witches are looked down on by name of the coven witches. What do you know – a class structure L
So what type of training do you want? You can find metaphysical shops and seek help from them. You can use the local library or book shop. If you have internet access there is a wealth of information available for you.
You may want to join a coven. This decision must be made carefully. Some covens are basically nothing more than social groups. Others are based on the D & D games. Be selective, just as they will want to interview you, you should reciprocate in kind.
NOTE: Witches do not try to convert people.
Once you have decided upon a coven go to a few open Sabbats and meetings, if permitted. If you can not attend an open Sabbat write the coven off. With the exception of two Sabbats, all others can be open.
Sit down with the Priestess / Priest and see what the coven will want of you. The will also ask what you can bring to the coven. Remember, a coven becomes your family away from home. The coven should NEVER supercede your home life. You family will always come first.
Once you are in total agreement – both ways you can apply to become a dedicant. During this time you will be kept under the eye of the Priestess and Priest. Your initial training will last for a year and a day. After that time, if upon the agreement of all, you can become an initiate. From that point on you will go through the three degrees of initiation. Each degree will take a minimum of a year and a day to complete.
Being a member of a coven is a commitment. You will be expected to attend coven functions. Covens usually meet to celebrate the 8 Sabbats – holidays of the God and 13 Esbats – holidays of the Goddess. Members of the coven are given a part to perform during the rituals. Not showing up for ritual is a major NO-NO. If you do not make it you can ruin the ritual.
You may also be asked to help the coven. Many covens take on community work to help the community.
Many covens plan outing and fun events for their members…
One thing to remember no matter what path you choose; When the Student is ready, the Teacher Will Appear.
Things to Remember
There are possibly hundreds, possibly thousand different types of witches.
You need not join a coven to be a witch.
If any witch asks you to do something that is immoral, illegal or makes you uncomfortable, DO NOT DO IT.
You will find your teacher when the time is right.