Learning a completely new religion is not an easy process. This is especially so when going from a fairly well-documented and generally centralised religion like Christianity to an extremely de-centralised and not-at-all-well-documented one like Wicca.
It has been well over a year since I began seriously reading and collecting items towards taking up Wicca, and it has been a rough and vague journey. The learning curve I cannot begin to describe. A lot things which are often described as “the basics” are not only so foreign to what churches teach, which makes them so much more difficult to retain, but often they are presented as just guidelines, not definite rules. Christianity as taught by the various churches has quite a number of solid facts. Admittedly some branches differ in some details here and there, and there are active and ongoing debates about others. Wicca has relatively few such hard-and-fast rules. And this makes it a challenge to find and adopt any particular practices that I know work for me.
So far, the only things I have really picked up are awarenesses of the moon-phases and of the solar-cycles and some awareness of a new kind of sacred object. Spellcraft of any sort is very tentative, however, and with very little guidance and almost no encouragement, I am really kind of lost. Getting started with anything is theoretically simple, but also tricky and easily quite expensive. And it’s hard to know what to try so as to find what resonates with me.
A teacher would be good. But in the absence of a teacher, what I think is needed is a not-too-large range of “starter kits” with complete supplies for a small number of spells in a variety of manners. But the merchandising of Wiccan supplies hasn’t reached that stage yet. If you know exactly what you want, you can usually put together a shopping list. But it’s not easy to get everything at one place, which means online purchases and by the time things have arrived in the post you’ve usually forgotten what they were for.
What does an aspiring witch do, then?
I mentioned the problem of expense. This is what put me off the ready-made spellcraft candles I’ve seen for a while in my local occult supplies store. But they were from the same outfit that I’d bought quite a good book from, and although I’d not got to the end of it (this is hard when large swathes of it are really reference work), the style appealed to me. And I had some spare cash the other week for one reason or another. So. I now have one of their spellcraft candles sitting on my alter. I’m not going to say what spell it is for. But I know just enough to wait for a waxing moon and to try to pick a day of the week that will be best, based on a Wiccan version of astrology.
Truth be told, it feels a little odd to type that. Astrology is widely derided and yet just as widely lauded. Part of the problem is that there are so many aspects to it and most people know just what they see in the newspapers or on a mailing list. There is little scientific evidence for it (not none, though) – but turn that over and there is also not very much scientific evidence for prayer, either. Yet hundreds if not thousands of millions of people behave like they do. In fact, millions of people also believe witchcraft and sorcery exist.
Spellcraft has been described as kind of a prayer. After I decided when would be the best times for my candle, I was thinking about that some more. Both require a type of belief: belief in things we can’t easily see or touch. Even considering the viability of a spell in today’s day and age requires some belief that most people I have ever associated with over my life would not ever hold.
And yet I currently do. I didn’t three years ago.
I’m looking forward to my candle’s spell coming out. It is a pretty big one, really, and I’m not doing this lightly. I’ve offered many prayers up to Yahweh over the same thing over the years and, well… I think the fact I’ve gone for a spell candle now says enough.