Learning anything can be difficult, and Wicca is no exception. But we all have four tools that we can use to make learning Wicca just a little bit easier.
As a beginner, you will most likely do most of your studying using books and websites. They can be good sources of information. You can learn a lot from reading everything you can get your hands on. Be sure to make notes. Mark up the books (but not if they are library books!), print out the website and make notes right on it. Keep a journal/workbook/Book of Shadows and make notes in it about what you are learning. Compare what one book says to what another says. Chase down the footnotes and sources of a book, especially if you aren’t sure about the validity of the information. You may think that this is a lot of work, and it is. But you should be willing to put this kind of work into a religion that is going to potentially alter your life.
While reading books and websites is great, don’t believe everything you read. Errors can be missed even by the most careful of authors. And in some cases the author may even be intentionally misleading you, either through a lack of understanding on their part or through a lack of research (the ancient Irish potato goddess is a good example of this). Also, if the author is saying things that don’t feel right to you, such as promoting the use of “black” magic, don’t discount everything in the book. It is wise to be more cautious, however, and research elsewhere any other information you think is valid.
Reading many books about Wicca can lead to a lot of confusion. Remember that each tradition has different ways of doing things, and what is one way for one author’s tradition may be another way for a different author. Think about why each author does it the way they do, then decide which way makes the most sense to you. But, if one author is saying something that seems completely inconsistent with everything else you have read, it may be that what they are saying isn’t really correct. You need to make judgement calls once in a while, and use your Critical Thinking skills. Also remember that absolute statements aren’t absolute. There is nothing that all Wiccans do. Everyone is different.
Thought and study go hand in hand. You must think while you are reading, and continue to think after the book is closed. Use your Critical Thinking skills when you are reading over your notes. If something doesn’t seem right to you, think about why that is. This way you can discover what doesn’t work for you and why. Don’t discount it completely, because even “wrong” things are part of your learning process.
Think about what you have learned, and also think about what you would like to know. If you’ve come across some references to the Oak and Holy King mythology, think about where you might learn more about it. Perhaps there was a reference to Tarot cards in the last book you read and it peaked your interest. Plan a course of study for yourself, keeping in mind your interest in Tarot. If a topic leaves you cold, like ceremonial magic, then plan your course of study so that you learn only what you need to know without delving deep into the topic.
Prayer and Meditation
If you are stuck and unsure about something, you may want to try prayer or quiet meditation. After all, this is a spiritual path you are on. Ask the Lord and Lady for help, and you are likely to receive a response if you are sincere. It might not be as direct as a voice from above so don’t discount synchronicity, it can be the work of the gods and point you in just the right direction.
Remember that any messages you may receive are correct for you alone. They are part of your Unverified Personal Gnosis (UPG) as Kaatryn MacMorgan calls it in her book Wicca 333. For example, the Lady may let you know that a purple robe is acceptable for your rituals because She knows purple is special to you, but perhaps She will let another Wiccan know that white is more appropriate for them.
It is very important to put what you have learned into practice. Take what you have learned and use it to write a ritual and perform it. If it doesn’t work out right, don’t worry! Try to figure out what went wrong and try something different next time. But just because you are experimenting doesn’t mean you can throw out all the rules. Remember everything you have learned, including not to call upon deities that you haven’t studied closely.