(Note from Daven: I include this document here because it raises an interesting point. Is Wicca the right path for me to be on? However, as much as the author tries to get something going and raise some questions, it does not go far enough. So I will modify this piece at the end, and my comments will be in blue so that you can tell where the author’s comments leave off, and where mine begin.
I would like to add that this piece is originally by a lady called Amber Fisher Simmons, and you can see her website at Mothersmagic.net. My thanks for her permission to use this here.)
Is Wicca Right For Me?
Many people find Wicca because they are dissatisfied with the religion that they are currently involved in, though they are deeply spiritual and believe firmly in another Power. For many, the Church is too structured, or too conservative, or does not fulfill some kind of need within the individual. This is common for many people who are born into a religion. Just because your parents believe something does not mean that you are going to believe it!
So, now that you have found Wicca, how are you going to know if it is right for you?
The only way you will ever know for certain if it is for you is to try it. However, before you jump headlong into any religion, I suggest you read plenty of information about it. The World Wide Web is actually an excellent source of information, and is stock full of various places that will give you all the beginning info that you could ever hope to attain. After you read everything that you can, ask yourself, “DO I believe in the core of Wicca?”
If you have done enough reading on Wicca you will have come across the Wiccan Rede, which is a poem which beautifully illustrates the Wiccan belief. The most important rule in the Rede is: “An’ it harm none, do what ye will.” It speaks for itself: you may practice whatever magick you want as long as you harm none, including yourself. If you do not believe in the Wiccan Rede, or cannot uphold it and live by it, then Wicca is not for you.
So what if you accept the Rede, have read extensively but still aren’t sure if it will work for you? There is no harm in trying it. Cast yourself a circle, pray, and talk to the Goddess and the God. If you feel silly or uncomfortable, or doubt that what you are doing is really making any progress, then you probably want to try something else. Like any other religion, Wicca is not for everyone. It is only for those who are comfortable in a loosely structured religion, who are open minded and are patient enough to learn all that Wicca has to offer.
This does not mean, however, that Paganism is not for you. Paganism encompasses many other religions, such as Shamanism, Nordic religions and so on. The best thing for you to do is read, study, experiment and trust yourself. If it is right for you, it will come to you. Don’t force yourself just because you think it is “cool.” ANYONE can practice magick, but not everyone is a Wiccan.
Not only is this question important, but many corollary questions must be answered before you begin really serious study. One of the primary questions that you MUST answer in your heart is “Why do I want to be a part of Wicca?”
It may surprise you to discover that the truth of why you want to be part of this is really different from what you think it is. The answer may be “Those Witches on TV look REALLY COOL! I want to be able to do what they do!” And there is nothing wrong with this attitude, but you will find the reality is vastly different from what you think it will be.
Wiccans and Witches are people. We sweat, we fart, we have bad days, and we have good days. Many people coming into Wicca thinks that they are not normal, and most think they are odd. They see the confidence and self-possession of the average High Priest or High Priestess and think that everyone is like that in Wicca, and nothing can be further from the truth. Wiccans are Human, first and foremost. Just like you we get our feelings hurt if someone insults us, and being cut off on the highway makes us want to get them. No difference.
What you are seeing and feeling from us is only what we have after YEARS of study and meditation upon ourselves and our motives. The average Wiccan is more introspective than your average non-Wiccan, because we have to be that way.
One of the basic things we have to learn is that there are consequences to every action. Newton’s Third Law of Motion can be applied here too, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” If you do something, there will be a price to be paid for doing it, and that price may not always be yours to pay.
Magick as practiced on the TV and in the movies is not real. There are no spells to summon a God to manifest in your basement, no waved hands to make vases and enemies fly through the air, no wish granting nose-wiggles. That is a fantasy, put out by executive producers for your money or your ratings. The Magick that Wiccans practice is a subtle thing that brings change to ourselves and promotes peace of mind. It is the magick of the growing grass, the flowering tree, the birth of a baby. Not the magick of making a flower held in your hand cough up a diamond ring.
This type of magick is what is celebrated in every Circle, and in every Rite. The magick of LIFE and of LOVE.
Another question you should be asking is “What do I want to get out of Wicca?” Let me tell you right now that if your goal is to find out how to make the most popular cheerleader grow warts on her nose and to loose all her hair, find someone else to teach you. I know of no ethical teacher who would take you on if you are unwilling to change that goal. There are those out there who will take your money and give you a lot of gobbledygook to make you think you are learning a spell that would do it, but more often than not, they are just preying on you.
First and foremost, Wicca is a religion. The Magick is secondary to that. The worship, the rites, the Circles and the ceremonies are celebration of the God and Goddess, and a celebration of their Love for us, and our love of Them.
Starting to sound a lot like Christianity? It should. These are the principals that Christianity was founded upon, that celebration of life and love. Somewhere in the millennia that Christianity was in control of the world, that vision got corrupted. So we are going back to the roots of any path of faith, be it Shiite Muslim, Orthodox Jew, Sunni, Australian Aboriginal, Voodoun, or any of the other ways out there. We are trying to come to terms with the Mind of God. We do that by trying to transform ourselves into better people.
The improvement of ourselves is the goal of any religion. We are not different in that. We try not to be petty, hateful, hurtful, or any of the other “sins” of conscience. We do not always succeed, especially within our own groups. But we are getting better.
Another question should be, “Can I live with what will happen to me when it becomes known that I am Wiccan?” Make no mistake about it, there are those who actively despise us and hate us, and those who perform mayhem upon us, simply because we threaten their power structure. Plus there are all those old stereotypes out there that may have attracted you to us in the first place. Think about it a bit. When I say “Witch” to you, did you see a green face, hooked nose with wart, tall pointy hat, black clothes, broomstick, bubbling cauldron, and black cat? Or did you seen Glenda the Witch of the North? 99.999% of you reading this will probably say the former (if you are honest), simply because that is what society has primed you for. And just because you see Glenda, it does not mean that your neighbors, friends, schoolmates, co-workers and family will.
Are you ready to loose your closest friends, loose your family, and to possibly loose a job because of what you believe?
There are some powerful misconceptions out there about us, that are slowly being erased, but it is taking time, and a whole lot of effort. Look at the Church of the Iron Oak. Or ask some Wiccans on a newsgroup or club sometime about some of the problems they have run into in dealing with non-Wiccans. Are you capable of dealing with this?
I first came into Wicca, not to defy my parents (although that WAS a really good side-benefit) but because Witchcraft offered POWER. I thought that it was the power of control over others, but I was mistaken, and such a good mistake it was. The Power Wicca offers is the power of self control. As I came to know myself, and to believe in myself, I learned that I don’t have to do what I think I must, and what others are trying to force me into. I have responsibility to me. The only person I have been put on this earth to please is myself. And that means acting for my own best interest and LIVING my life, instead of existing. And there is a big difference.
I hope this document causes you to think rather than follow. After all, we are a religion of thinkers, and we encourage thinking.