One question I get occasionally is from people who are so overwhelmed they don’t know where to start. I recommend reading all of the site that interests you, but if you want a guided way to get started, here’s what I suggest.
Learn some basics
Start by reading the pages linked from the Beginning page. Begin with the essay at the top called “Before you start” and then work your way down. These pages will introduce you to some common terms and ideas used in talking about modern Paganism. They’ll also help you figure out if Paganism is something you’re interested in exploring further. You might also want to check out the pages listed on the Concepts page, too, for more background.
Learn how to help yourself
Learning how to learn is a skill all by itself – and it’s one a lot of people aren’t ever taught how to do. That can make learning about something like a new religion or spiritual or magical practice feel really complicated and overwhelming. The following articles give you a particularly practical way to start learning.
Begin by thinking about some first steps in the initial process, and learning about things you might want to keep in mind.
Many people want to figure out which path might be a good fit for them. Where to start suggests options you might want to explore based on your own interests and preferences. Some people think that if they list their beliefs, someone can tell them what path to follow. It’s not quite that simple, so read the essay to find out why and what you can do instead.
Learning how to ask smart questions when you find people who know about things you don’t yet is a skill that will get you a very long way. Knowing how to apply critical reading skills to Pagan books and materials is really helpful at this stage.
Finally, safety is important at all stages, and this would be a good time to read through some safety tips and advice, so you can keep them in mind as you start reading more details about practices and rituals.
Start exploring resources.
Check out where to find other resources. Whether or not you find my site useful, you want to read things from a variety of perspectives. (And if you’re interested in a path other than religious witchcraft, you’ll need to look somewhere else for basics of that path.)
If you are interested in religious witchcraft, and you like how I describe things, start by reading theBuilding and Doing sections of this website. I’d suggest reading in the order the essays are listed on the page, especially for the core skills. Read things and understand them before you try them.
Curious about religious witchcraft in specific?
Begin learning and doing the core skills. A number of other books can be helpful to you here.
Read the essays on “Am I ready?” and right and wrong ways to do things, and about feeling silly (if you haven’t already. Or read them again.)
Starting with some simple tools begin exploring some basic practices. You may want to begin to create a small shrine or altar. Explore other practices over time. Keep track of what you do and how it feels and is working for you.
You may feel that this is the right path for you very quickly – but even if you do feel that way, it’s a good idea to give yourself more time. While the traditional ‘year and a day‘ doesn’t necessarily apply to solitary practitioners in the same way as it does in a coven setting, giving yourself an entire year to learn, celebrate each Sabbat, and make sure this is a path you can and will stick with is a good move before making any long term commitments.
You may find a sample plan of study useful in figuring out the range of things you could begin to learn about during the year.
You may want to look at finding other people to talk to about what you’re doing – that might mean a teacher, a group, attending a public ritual, festival, or convention. The information in the Connecting section will help you make the most of your options.
You may also have other questions come up as you start exploring. Read my sections of broader questions as questions come up you want an answer to, or use the search function on the site or the tags in the righthand sidebar to explore particular topics.
[Last updated December 26, 2016]