This article will be a Wicca for Beginners guide. It is intended for people who are curious about Wicca or have already decided to become Wiccan but don’t know where to start.
It won’t go very deep into what Wicca is. I wrote the article “What is Wicca?” here. It also won’t discuss the evidence for witchcraft as a discipline. I discuss that in Do Wiccan Spells Work?
One of the great things about Wicca is that it’s not a unified club you must get admitted to. If you decide to become Wiccan, that decision alone is enough to start calling yourself Wiccan.
When someone asks: How do I become Wiccan?
They usually mean: What is a Wiccan supposed to do?
We’ll get to that later.
For now, we’ll cover some common forms of initiation. An initiation is absolutely NOT required. It is something many feel compelled to do in order to formally declare and mark where in their life they committed themselves to the craft.
If you’re considering Wicca, it’s likely you do not yet have a coven or even anyone else you know who is practicing.
This is fine!
This is known as being a solitary practitioner, and many of the most famous Wiccans from history practiced this way. For guidance, you can check out Scott Cunningham’s Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.
Initiation, or self-dedication, as a solitary practitioner can take many forms. It can be as simple as lighting a candle and stating your commitment. Writing a poem for the occasion is common.
You can take ancient druidic practices and perform a knot-tying ceremony. That knot can then be placed so that you’re reminded of your commitment.
What am I committing to?
In solitary practice, you’re not committing to a group or coven, so many newcomers don’t know what to commit to.
Wicca is personal, so you can make it whatever you like. Some people choose a deity and formally declare their dedication to this aspect of the divine.
Names are important in Wicca, and some people use the self-dedication ceremony to rebirth under a new name. I plan to write an article on how to choose a Wiccan name in the future. Stay tuned for that.
Many people got into Wicca through other people. A formal initiation into a coven, or group of witches, is what some consider the true way to become Wiccan.
Again, it’s a personal journey, and where you decide the starting point is the only thing that should matter to you. Don’t worry what others think.
Covens are a great place to begin Wicca because it makes passing down long traditions of knowledge and spells easy. You will be a part of maintaining a line of ancient knowledge.
Coven initiation will be up to the coven. It is common for the exact initiation rite to be a secret, even to the initiate. The most important thing when going to an initiation ceremony is to have the right mindset.
They are usually done with the intent of spiritual transformation. Let go of any of the worries and concerns of your life to focus mentally, physically, and spiritually on the process.
You’ll get infinite chances at every other rite/spell in the future, but you only get one initiation. This group of people will become your family for the foreseeable future.
Before committing to a coven, make sure it is the right fit.
Wicca for Beginners Quick Recap
Before moving on, let’s recap this information on Wicca initiation.
It can be as simple or complicated as you want it. You decide when you become Wiccan. You can commit to the craft itself, a deity, a new name and identity, a coven, all of those plus other things, or none of them.
You can write your own ceremony from scratch or use an existing one.
If you’re a beginner, this might seem crazy, but this is the most beautiful aspect of Wicca. It is to take from the ancient traditions and use what works for you. There aren’t dogmatic beliefs and strict ceremonies that must be followed.
Let that be your first true lesson on becoming Wiccan for beginners.
How to be Wiccan
As I wrote above, the main way to become a Wiccan is to start being a Wiccan. This means you should jump into your practice, no matter how small it is at first. This is what many people have trouble with. They want something more definitive, but that’s not necessary.
Let’s discuss some of the ways to start your practice.
Book of Shadows
Practicing Wicca is basically a combination of internal spiritual practice, ceremonies and rites at the Wiccan holidays, and magick.
You may choose to practice any and all of these or whatever you feel most drawn to.
It is a deeply personal and experiential religion. The best way to go about it is to jump in and log what you do in a Book of Shadows.
Starting the Craft
At first, this probably means reading books and web pages and copying whatever it says exactly. Then you’ll want to tinker with it to fit your style better. Switch out a white candle for sandalwood incense and see what happens.
You’ll need to learn the basic principles (see Elemental Magic for Beginners if you want to know what I mean by that). But once you do learn this, you can probably make your own rites and spells without even referencing another one first.
This is how I work now.
Don’t worry if you aren’t to this point even after a year. Wicca is a lifelong journey. It takes a lot of experience to be comfortable forging your own path.
Logging Your Progress
As you tinker and experiment and make Wicca your own, you’ll need to keep track of what works.
You think you’ll remember, but you won’t. Trust me on that one. It sucks to lose track of how you did a spell that worked great.
Some people create a Book of Shadows by recording everything. They write down what they did on what day for what purpose. Then they record how it felt and if it worked.
I keep my Book of Shadows separate from this type of log. My logging happens in a spell journal. Then I only transfer the things I really like over to my Book of Shadows so that it is more like a final draft of spells that work.
I’ll end this section by reminding you that experimentation and exploration are key parts of the Wiccan way. This makes Wicca for beginners a bit harder than other religions.
We must find what works for us.
A key thing to remember is that simpler is almost always better. Making things by hand is almost always better than buying them. And intention rules over everything else.
The intention you set before and during a spell matters more than the words or items used. Wicca can be done practically anywhere with anything by a skilled practitioner.
This is the essence of becoming Wiccan.
What to Study
So, you’ve chosen a name, dedicated yourself to a diety, and done some spells. This gets you through Wicca for beginners.
Now you’re curious about how to go deeper. Studying the many facets of Wicca is one of my favorite parts of my practice.
My two rules for study are:
- Basic principles before detailed guides.
- Simple before complex.
If you understand simple basic principles, you can do anything. If you only know one complex specific spell, you’ll have a hard time pulling it off and adapting it to your needs.
Here are some of the common branches of Wicca and where to begin your study.
Herbal magic is simply magic done with herbs. Roughly speaking, each herb has associated properties. These properties can be drawn out through magic.
This is one of the oldest pieces of knowledge to humankind. People have been using herbal tea to heal or stimulate or relax for as long as people have been cooking.
Herbal magic is often one of the first places new Wiccan practitioners go. I think it has to do with the fact that someone drawn to Wicca is often also drawn to nature.
Herb gardens are easy and fun to maintain. For a beginner study of Wiccan herbal magic, check out Arin Murphy-Hiscock’s The Green Witch.
Sometimes beginning Wiccans get so caught up in spells and magic and seasonal rites that they forget about the spiritual practice of Wicca.
Of course, this isn’t a necessary part of everyone’s craft, but I was one of those people. Now, this is probably the most important part for me.
If you want to study the book that changed everything for me, check out Goddess Wisdom: Connect to the Power of the Sacred Feminine through Ancient Wisdom and Practices by Tanishka.
Elemental magic is magic done through the use of one or more of the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Most Wicca traditions include spirit in there as well.
I won’t drag this out because I have a very long guide on it already: elemental magic for beginners.
Tarot isn’t strictly a part of Wicca, though most Wiccans practice some form of tarot/divination.
Divination is the art and craft of intuiting answers to questions from objects. The most traditional forms are water gazing, crystal gazing, tea leaf reading, candle reading, and tarot.
There are, of course, many more. Each person will probably feel drawn to a different style. These will take a lifetime of study to master.
If you’d like to get started in tarot, check out my tarot page.
It’s often instructive to go to history. By understanding where traditions came from, we can better understand how to modify them to fit our modern lives.
I won’t get into the controversy here on whether Gerald Gardner invented Wicca or what the most reliable sources are.
If you’d like what I consider to be a thorough overview, you can check out D’Eske and Rankine’s Wicca Magickal Beginnings.
The study of history may not be a lifetime pursuit like many of the above disciplines, but there is certainly enough out there to last you several years.
Wicca for Beginners
I hope you got something out of this brief guide.
This is obviously not meant to be complete. It’s merely a place to start on Wicca for beginners and a roadmap for continuing to study Wicca.
Here is a helpful guide to the tools of Wicca, how to acquire them, and how to use them.
For more formal training, you can check out this guide to online Wiccan schools.