Paganism & Witchcraft

How to Know if You’re Wiccan

I’ve been asked numerous questions along my path as a Pagan, but probably the most common question is “How did you know that this path was for you?”. Now to put it all on one page of this website might be asking a little too much, but I will try my best.

In terms of being under the umbrella term ‘Pagan’, I think there are a couple of main ideas or concepts that one must believe in or follow. Number one is a belief in and/or understanding of cycles; the cycles of seasons, of life and death, of karma, etc. I think that all Pagans, no matter what branch of the tree, would have a belief in cycles of some description. In the Judeo-Christian belief system, there is life, then there is death, and that?s where it ends. You are not reborn or reincarnated. Additionally, the Judeo-Christian belief systems take very little interest in seasonal cycles or anything of that sort, which I think a lot of Pagans take a lot of interest in.

The other thing I would say defines a Pagan is a belief in more than one deity, or a belief in a Goddess as opposed to a God. Monotheism is pretty exclusive to the Judeo-Christian belief systems, and it’s quite often (although very generally) said that any religion that does not believe in the Christian God is a Pagan religion. This would include Hinduism and Buddhism, going by this definition (although I don’t know how many Hindus or Buddhists would agree with being called ‘Pagan’).

The final main defining feature, in my eyes, is an interest in the Occult or magick of some description. I don’t know many Pagans who don’t have an interest in casting circle, or practising witchcraft, or are at least interested in the paranormal or history of magick.

It’s difficult to write a checklist for Paganism alone, since there are so many sub-branches of Paganism that all have their own beliefs, so if I were to write a checklist for Wicca, where my study for the last 12-ish years has been, I would probably be inclusive of the following:

  • A reverence for more than one deity, and normally a male and a female deity;
  • A reverence for nature, and a belief that all in nature holds spirit;
  • A belief in equality between the sexes;
  • A reverence for the body – the body is a temple, not a vessel;
  • An interest and belief in magickal forces and energy;
  • A belief in the ability to utilise such energy for bettering ourselves and those around us.

This list is far from exhaustive (and at 11pm, I’m hardly awake enough to write a conclusive list), but those are definitely some of the things I would personally say are definitive to Wicca in particular. If you answered ‘Yes’ to more than 2 of those points, you might find some interest in looking into Wicca a little more.

13 Goals of a Witch

These were featured in Scott Cunningham’s Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, 1988. The further notes are from The Wiccan Way. I have not intended to break any copyright – however if you are the author and do not approve of my reposting these descriptions of each point, please email me and I’ll remove them.

  1. Know Yourself
    Take time to learn about yourself. Keep daily journals as well as sleep journals. Record your thoughts, experiences during meditation, your goals and anything else you think that is important. Use your dream journal to build a base line so that you can interpret your dreams because dreams are the way our shadow self talks to us. Endeavour to heal your shadow self. Use your daily journals to understand your thoughts and motivations. In other words, step back and examine yourself, your life, your goals and what you want and who you really are.
  2. Know Your Craft
    Study and practice the Craft. Through exploring the different aspects and theories of the Craft you will become more adept and begin to form your own theories and practices that work best for you. Take classes offered in your area such as tarot, meditation among other things that interest you. Attend public rituals to gain insight into how others practice. Talk to other Wiccans and exchange ideas and experiences.
  3. Learn
    The learning never ends when you are a witch. Read and study everything that you can and never dismiss any knowledge out of hand. You never know where a revelation may be hiding.
  4. Apply Knowledge with Wisdom
    Use the wisdom you have gained to temper your actions. Wisdom is a gift given to the wise and the wise use their wisdom to make the best decisions available. To apply knowledge without wisdom is reckless and can be dangerous in certain situations. The truly wise never claim to know everything or claim the status as an authority or guru, because no one knows everything. Do not abuse the knowledge you have acquired.
  5. Achieve Balance
    Wicca is a religion of balance. We embrace the light and dark, the God and Goddess; neither is more important than the other. Both have a purpose. We are to achieve balance in our lives. Such as balance in the self, home, personal relationships, what we take from the earth and what we give back and so on. A balanced life is a good life.
  6. Keep Your Thoughts in Good Order
    This goal goes hand in hand with Goal 7. As a witch, your thoughts manifest reality in accordance with your will. Once you have reached a level of magical development you can set events in motion without even realising it. A disciplined mind reduces those occurrences and aids in magical works. Your thoughts manifest before words are even formed.
  7. Keep Your Words in Good Order
    As thoughts manifest reality in conformity to your will, so do words. Words are the verbalisation of your thoughts and therefore carry power. To not mind your words is the same as spreading chaos magically. Discipline in minding your words adds meaning to what you speak and enhances their effectiveness in magical workings as well as the mundane world.
  8. Celebrate Life
    This one is somewhat self-explanatory. Live your life to the fullest and make every day a celebration of life. Life is a gift from the God and Goddess and they wish us to have a good time while here. Essentially, don?t be afraid to enjoy your life.
  9. Attune with the Cycles of the Earth
    This is one of the basic concepts of Wicca. Our holidays, Sabbats, are based upon the Wheel of the Year, with the Wheel of the Year being based on the cycles of the Earth. We are to experience nature and understand that we are part of it, it is part of us and how it affects us. It is another mystery of Wicca that one has to experience to truly understand.
  10. Breathe and Eat Correctly
    This one is self-explanatory as well. We are to eat the proper foods and practice our breathing. It doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the food we eat or occasionally indulge. What it means is that we should eat a proper diet because it will help to make our bodies healthy. A healthy body not only makes us feel better and live longer; it aids us in our magical works and makes the mundane tasks easier.
    Learning to breathe correctly aids in the raising of energy, focus, stress relief and meditation.
  11. Exercise the Body
    This is a difficult goal for many people but it is an important one. Our bodies are wondrous things that the God and Goddess have blessed us with. We should respect the bodies we have been given and keep them in shape. A healthy body feels better both physically and emotionally. We also live longer and are less encumbered during mundane activities and magical ones as well. To exercise the body is to honour the God and Goddess.
  12. Meditate
    Meditation is a key skill in the working of magic. It allows us to focus our thoughts thereby focusing our will. It also helps us in our mundane life as well. It reduces stress and helps us get through our mundane tasks by being able to focus and think clearly.
  13. Honour the Goddess and the God
    We should honour the God and Goddess in everything we do. They are a part of us as we are a part of them. We are all connected. By honouring them we honour ourselves and our fellow humans. We also honour our Gods through rituals and celebrations. We do this because we love them and we desire to not because we fear them.