Not sure which paths to start looking at first? Below are a variety of different (fairly general) paths, along with a list of qualities or interests. If several things in a list seem to fit you, it might be worth checking that path out in more detail.
Please note: these are very general, and some things may apply to you, while others won’t. Likewise, some things will apply to specific groups in a path, and some won’t.
They’re ordered in the way that flowed best: placement in the list doesn’t depend on what I think about the path, or which ones are ‘better’. They all have their good points.
Consider reconstructionist paths if…
- You feel a strong draw to a particular pre-Christian culture.
- You feel a strong draw to a particular pantheon of deities
- You want to explore the religion of your own ancestors or cultures. [see note 1]
- You are interested in diving deeper into a particular culture’s practices and values.
- You’re comfortable learning in a variety of formats: there are reconstructionist groups that meet in person in some places, but many interact primarily online or at occasional (yearly) gatherings.
Reconstructionist paths include Asatru, Celtic, Hellenic (Greek), Roman, Kemetic (Egyptian), and many more. Generally, a particular path focuses on a single culture, or a group of cultures that had a lot of interaction. In the larger reconstructionist paths, there are often a variety of different approaches and often multiple organisations, so if you’re interested in a path but the first approach you find doesn’t work for you, it may be worth checking out others.
Note 1: The vast majority of groups welcome people from other cultures and backgrounds. That said, some people come to reconstructionism because of a desire to explore their own family’s culture or history.
You may also want to read my article on “Why religious witchcraft?“ for some additional reasons. Also, see the added list for initiatory paths, just below.
Think about religious witchcraft paths if…
- You want a religious path that directly includes magical work on a regular basis. (Either spell work or magical techniques used to create sacred space.)
- You are comfortable wading through lots of options and opinions to figure out what you need and works for you. (Some of which may disagree with what you choose.) [note 2]
- You are interested in celebrating natural cycles and seasons.
- You are interested in building a direct relationship with one or more deities.
- You are otherwise interested in or intrigued by the general practices outlined on much of this website.
Note 2: Due to wide use of the term Wicca for a wide range of (sometimes loosely) related practices, it can be especially confusing to work through material about Wicca at first. Patience helps. (As does finding a good place you can ask general questions.)
Initiatory religious witchcraft:
Think about initiatory religious witchcraft if…
- The idea of having consistent practices and methods of working appeals to you.
- You’re comfortable giving up some amount of freedom and flexibility in exchange for learning and using tested methods and practices that get reliable results.
- You are okay with the idea it might take time to find a teacher, group, or learning situation that works for everyone involved.
- You feel a very strong call to a particular path, and are willing to do what it takes to figure out how to make training and work in that path work for you and your other commitments.
- You are interested in working with others in some form – whether with a teacher, or with a group, with all that involves.
Consider these paths if…
- You see the sacred as present within all of the world around us, rather than as coming from (or resonating with) particular deities or other beings.
- You have a strong interest in the natural world, its cycles, and its seasons.
- You are willing to make your way through sorting out materials into practices that might work for you – and ones that make no sense to you, because they involve deities.
Magical but not religious
Always an option! Learn more about these paths if…
- The practices of spellcraft, ritual magic, or other related options are of interest, but you are not at all interested in working with deities.
- You have an interest in a particular practice or approach (for example, kitchen witchery) but want to do it outside the context of religious or spiritual practice.
Learn more about the (varied) Druidic paths and orders if….
- You’re interested in a religion with a strong focus on nature.
- You’re interested in a practice derived from Celtic areas (though many Druid groups honour or work with other European deities.)
- You’re interested in a practice focused on spiritual practice rather than magic, or want a ritual format that does not include ritual magic (like casting a circle.)
- You’re in an isolated place, and want a path with clear distance training (several druid organisations have extensive distance training methods.)
These are not all the possible options: You may find that you want to combine different paths, are interested in syncretic path (an established path combining things from different practices in a structured way), or that your interests take you in different directions over time.
Again, this is just a guide on some places to start looking.
Last edited December 23, 2016. Formatting revised November 2020.