First Steps into Paganism for Teens and Adults
Well, it was rough for me, too. I grew up Catholic, but I didn’t “feel” right with staying Catholic or sharing its beliefs. We all reach that point in our life when we want to answer these questions: “Who am I?” “What am I doing here?” “What is my purpose in life”, and so on. For most of us, it is in the ‘critical period’, if you will, of psychological and physical development – stage 5 of (famous psychologist) Erik Erikkson’s 8 stages of life, or ‘the teenage years
. This is the period in our lives when we either “make it” or “break it”, and hopefully, most of us will make it.
Many teens experiment in the Occult, to see if it is ‘to their liking’ which is perfectly acceptable, as well as necessary, as long as they don’t misuse the Power. Some eventually figure out the hard way of Karma, or do stupid things with Ouija boards (intentionally summoning evil forces) , and it comes back to bite them. Believe me, there was TOO much of that in my high school.
A few teens do some honest searching for knowledge and answers to the above questions and this article is mainly pointed at them, but also to adults searching for an Earth religion. I felt the same way as they might now. I admit, I was hesitant. It is really hard to give up something that you were raised with. It is hard to let go of that hurt, and I fully understand. I was apprehensive, taking steps to achieve what I wanted. I did not decide to practice ‘full-blown’ Witchcraft then and there – you can’t at first.
You need to take time to slow down and study, study, study. I cannot stress that importance enough. Go to a nearby Barnes-and-Noble, buy some intro-books to the Craft, and begin your search. Look up different branches of Paganism online, and see what appeals to you. For some people, this study takes years before they become comfortable, which is understandable if you were raised to beLIEve that anything related to the Occult is (somehow) “evil” and “dark”.
I started my study into Paganism in middle school (it was really a Catholic school, but I kept my mouth shut for fear of oppression) – it wasn’t until only recently that I initiated myself into my own Path, Celtic Shamanism. The Craft speaks to everyone in a different way; you may choose to be Eclectic, a British Traditional practitioner, Celtic, etc. The possibilities are endless because, as a solitary practitioner, YOU choose what Path YOU want to take, and YOU can take what appeals to you of other branches and combine it. I know of a coven in the southern US (near the Appalachians) that combined the Native American spirituality with Celtic – you could do the same.
Realize though, that you can also join a coven, but you have to follow their tradition to be a part of the coven, and if you already Dedicated yourself to the Craft as a solitary practitioner, they may make you undergo their own Year-and-a-Day.
It is customary to learn the Craft under a seasoned Elder, but it is not necessary. If you want to be solitary (I, for instance, am solitary) and have no way to contact an Elder of the Craft you’re seeking, let your intuition be your guide, and always remember that you are not alone – the God and Goddess watch over you, as do your spirit guides. Once you know what you want to do, the next step comes – commitment. You must commit yourself to learning under a Year-and-a-Day of spiritual practice. I highly recommend Timothy Roderick’s Wicca – A Year And A Day in the Craft of the Wise, which will walk you through each day of practice until your Initiation (I call it ‘Dedication’ because you initiate yourself to practice the Craft for the 366 days and then dedicate yourself to the Craft afterwards) .
You can “modify” your own Year-and-a-Day of spiritual practice, because the Craft opens to people in different ways. Sometimes we cannot purchase necessary items in these 366 days of study, and we adapt to the situation. No Elder will teach in the same way, just as books teach in different ways, just as we must LEARN in different ways.
When you finally Dedicate yourself to the Craft (or fully initiate yourself) , you have committed your life to the Craft. If you feel, during the 366 days of study, that this just isn’t for you, talk to people who are Witches, Shamans, Wiccans, or other practicing Pagans about it. Realize that the Craft is not for everyone – this is partially why you must undergo 366 days of spiritual practice, so you know more about the ‘hands-on’ of the Occult.
If you ‘jump-in’ and do not attempt the 366 days, you will crash-and-burn because you will not know at all what you are doing. Now, if you feel that the Craft isn’t right for you during the 366 days, and you have talked it over with a practitioner of the Craft, you can step away and be done – no hard feelings.
The God and Goddess offer love and knowledge – not grudges or punishment. Wicca, Witchcraft, Shamanism, and all the other branches of Paganism are a great way to start, though.
Blessed are Thy Feet which bring Thee on Thy Path ) O ( ) O ) O (
Here is a list of books that I feel are extremely helpful to beginners interested in the Craft:
‘Wicca – A Year And a Day in the Craft of the Wise’ by Timothy Roderick
‘Celtic Magic’ by DJ Conway
‘Magical Herbalism’ by Scott Cunningham
These next few books focus on in-depth practicing of the Craft (during 366 days) :
‘By Oak, Ash, and Thorn’ by DJ Conway
‘Druid Power’ by Amber Wolfe
‘Crystal Healing’ by Luc Bourgault
‘How to Heal with Color’; ‘How to Develop and Use Psychic Touch’; ‘How to See and Read the Aura’; ‘Enchantment of the Faerie Realm’; ‘How to Meet and Work with Spirit Guides’, ALL by Ted Andrews (You may also wish to check out his other books.) .