Gathering resources can be quite confusing. That is a common issue for many who have begun their search in Witchcraft. Wicca is a great starting point because there is so much structure to Wicca. Of course, there is a lot of misinformation out there. If you are a beginner, How do you know what is right and what is wrong?
There are many ways to practice Witchcraft but the premise stays fairly firm. Although there are various styles of each component of Witchcraft the frame is the same, just like houses. A standard house has walls, doors, windows, a bathroom, a kitchen and most of the time at least one bedroom.
Although all the basics are present there may be different styles of houses. More people are aware of the traditional teachings of Wicca. It isn’t because Wicca is the only way to practice Witchcraft but because it contains the basic structure. Even still there is a lot of misinformation or misunderstandings of the basics of Wicca. That is why I go to the oldest books I can find on Wicca.
If you are Anti-Wicca, don’t run yet because I am getting to the point.
I am referring to Wicca because it is the most common source we can find out there when it comes to Witchcraft. Wicca influences many Witches including me and I will tell you how. I have a lot of common traditional Witchcraft influences but my Great Grandmother, my mother and many of my ancestors didn’t identify with the Label Witch. Until Wicca became a recognized religion, it was Bad and even dangerous to use that Label. There was a lot of fear associated with the word.
Wicca was the safe face that seems to have laid the foundation for our right to practice Witchcraft and over the years has since alieved much of the fear. Maybe a little too much.
Although my Great Grandmother would likely fit snugly into that Label today, the family traditions were not spoken of in terms of Witchcraft. If it was, it was only spoken in secret and never around the children. The traditions and “gifts” were encouraged and the lore of our ancestors was spoken of in secret moments alone and behind closed doors. This was for safety reasons. To protect the family from the insanity and violence of other religious zealots.
Although I learned a lot of witchy stuff through tradition, I didn’t recognize it as any type of Witchcraft until after I was much older and had gone back over childhood memories of things I have learned. It is only because of questioning the sanity of my family and wondering about the weird stuff that was only spoken of in whispers that I discovered the secret roots of my family.
Of course, not all of the family secrets are part of Witchcraft but there is quite a bit that is. For me, there were stories of fortune telling through visions, tea leaf reading and card reading. I recall the encouragement of creativity and trying to figure who was more like who in the family tree.
I don’t know much about the genetic structure of my lineage but I do recall a lot about our crazy family traditions. One of those is a gift in story telling. I loved sitting around the kitchen table listening to all the great stories my parents used to tell.
What I do know about my ancestors, I learned in those stories. Of course, Storytelling is a traditional way of passing down the traditions and history of families including delicious recipes.
Our families are one of our resources that we are influenced through. But what if the family stopped telling the witchy stories and only the religious influences are passed down? Where do we go from there and is there anything out there that will confirm the validity of our family traditions and our own intuitive, personal Gnosis?
Some may find different traditions depending on where one lives, what decent one is, and what information one has available that influences us.
I recommend reading as much as you can and by all means take everything you hear and read with a grain of salt. When it comes to Wicca, read books with an open mind and try to find books that are by the more established writers who are more closely related to the original groups of people who have founded the religion. The other new authors can be savored for later.
Even with the older writers who have been a Witch forever, read everything you can get your hands on and match up the bits and pieces to see which parts are the same and which parts are contradictions.
Think about what you are reading and consider the source. I have found that even when it comes to Religion of any kind, I look for the commonalities and compare it to what I personally think. Do I agree with what I am hearing or reading? Does it sound logical or even the least bit believable? Does it at least make some kind of sense? Does it explain my own experiences in a believable way?
I compare it to my own experiences and I keep in mind that what I am seeking may not be Wicca or Witchcraft but something different altogether.
Consider the Source of the resource. How long have they been a practicing Wiccan, Christian, Pagan, Shaman, Sorcerer or whatever path they claim?
Even if they completely believe what they are saying, they may not be on the same path as everyone else. I have had someone when I was a young Wiccan Student Dupe me into believing they were a Druid because I didn’t know what a Druid believed and had nothing to compare to.
He was quite convincing and I fell for it hook line and sinker. He didn’t even know what a Druid was supposed to believe and because I was ignorant, I believed him. I took him seriously and at face value. He was simply manipulating me. I’m not saying to go around calling people a liar because who are we to judge the path of others. However, I am saying to take it with a grain of salt until you can check the facts of what you are being told.
Ask them where they got their information and if he/she can direct you to some resources. If they can’t name any valid resources or they tell you it came from their Grandma, don’t just take as if it is written in stone. keep looking at many different resources and their resources until you feel you have enough information to form your own opinion.
Let’s face it, there are many resources that come from many different sources. Some online, some in books and some from in-person teachers. Always keep in mind that there is NO one right way and there is more than one way to do everything. A teacher can only teach you the one way they have learned, what they know and how they practice.
Seek many different resources and compare them until you have enough information to formulate your own way.
For me, I have a lot of different influences in my practice. I have Christian influences, Wiccan influences as well as family influences. I have even been influenced by beliefs and traditions of friends.
The reason I say I am a Traditional Witch with a Wiccan Flavor is because I like the religious part of Wicca and it works well with my traditional parts that I learned from family. I like the traditions of family lore and I agree with much of the Wiccan ethics.
Overall, I like to keep an open mind because a closed mind is very short sighted and inhibiting. I feel a good and powerful Witch explores and examines every perspective she can find. Information is everywhere, it is up to us to figure out what is true for us as an individual and dismiss or at least shelve the rest for later when we find more information. Find Resources from as many different sources as you can find.
Our journey is ours alone.
We can share it with others along the way but the journey itself is ours alone. We must make all of our own decisions of what is right for us and what is wrong for us. That is a true Witch’s Power. Control over what we think, feel, and believe which influences what we do. What we do is who we are.
Take back your power by exploring all of the possibilities.
May your path be blessed with Wisdom and knowledge.