Getting Started On Your Own
To really understand how Witchcraft works, you have both study and allow yourself to experience. You need to be able to form your own opinions about how things work, and forge your own Path. Here you will find a suggested reading list of high quality books and a list of online resources. You should read everything you can get your hands on, but take it all with a grain of salt. Just because it's been published doesn't mean it's accurate, true, or correct! Reading, learning, and researching is a very important part of the Modern Tradition, and to all paths of Witchcraft, but taking time to experience is invaluable. Doing Witchcraft is like riding a bicycle...you can't have someone tell you how it's done really, you have to get on the bike to find out. And don't be afraid to actually experiment, just remember to use common sense! Just take it one step at a time, and one day you'll look back and be amazed how far you have come.
One very important step in getting to know yourself is getting to know other people in your community. Go to www.witchvox.com and look under their Witches of the World section...check out local stores and events in your area....send letters of introduction to Pagans living near you. It is important to create a network of people who at least have similar beliefs to your own, if not the same. Attend open circles, watch, ask questions, and get to know who's around. Exercise caution and good sense though in meeting ANYONE. Public events are best...bring a friend!
Reading & Study Agenda
If you intend to seriously follow a mystery path, such as Witchcraft or Wicca, then you must dedicate yourself to doing a good amount of research and studying on your own. In the book section, I have listed at least a dozen excellent books to get you started. Read through them, make notes, and you decide for yourself what is right for your path. Just because something is written in a book or site doesn't make it automatically true. You need to keep an open, yet skeptical mind.
Other good places to find books: Used bookstores are often a great place to start. You can find some good out of print books and regular books for a lot less than normal. Always check out your local library! The best areas to actually look for good books are not necessarily the new age/occult sections. Rather, check under ancient history, world history, mythology, men¹s/women¹s studies, and anthropology. You¹ll be surprised by the wealth of information you¹ll uncover.
If you're someone who has a hard time with studying and reading, then definitely make notes and set up an agenda for yourself.
Daily Practice & Meditation
It¹s important to get yourself into a system where you can consider your path daily: who you are, what you are looking for, how far you've come, and where you¹re going. Start by setting aside a small part of your day for meditation. You'll be amazed how energizing this can be if you put this at the beginning of your day, or how calming it can be at the end. It can as easy as combining it with your morning cup of coffee or evening tea, taking a few moments to consider the sunset, or sitting outside on your lunch-break.
Your Sacred Space
It is important to have a small space that is truly your own, for your own contemplation. This type of space is commonly known as an altar or shrine, and you may actually have the beginnings of one already. Most people naturally create special areas in their homes/bedrooms and even workplaces that contain favorite objects, pictures, etc. It can be anywhere: on a table, a shelf, on top of a dresser, in a cabinet, drawer, or box.
Awareness of Self
Be sure to seriously consider who YOU are, your abilities, limitations, talents, and possibilities. This is not a game, nor is there any set timeframe on how long it will take (really, it will take all your life.) Be realistic and check in the mirror once and a while. One of the keys to this path is power over self, not others. Your path is just that--yours. It is your personal concern. Don¹t be out to impress anyone, and don't be in a rush. Remember this.
Image: "The Owl Mother" - Painting on Cedar by Laura Tempest Zakroff