Without a structured agenda one can lose focus and miss the opportunity to strengthen their understanding of the Craft and its application to daily life. The Wiccan path is an ongoing quest in which one is continually a student. To start, reflect on strengths, weaknesses, and goals at present. How well do you know the “basics” of Wicca? What is your understanding of the Sabbats, the Principles of Belief and 13 Goals of a Witch? How well do you know the “Wiccan Rede,” “The Witches’ Creed,” “The Charge of the God/Goddess,” and other literature from which Wiccan tenets are derived? It is necessary to have an understanding of the basics prior to embarking on some of the more glamorous facets of the Craft. To try to become adept at Magick without first having a good understanding of spiritual principles and laws is unwise.
Explore as many books on basic Wicca as possible. Weigh the information you receive using discernment in line with your highest ideals. Make consistent entries in a journal like a Book of Mirrors to track your intuitive experiences and reflect regularly on information you encounter pertaining to your developing knowledge of Wicca.
Examine how you are already living these principles, and what you may need to do to incorporate other principles to a greater extent. Explore facets of history that will enhance your understanding of how Wicca evolved. Becoming familiar with works like the ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ will add perspective to the historical context of anti-paganism as both propaganda and political weapon. Learning one’s cultural history helps to enlighten one’s self and others.
Strive to balance general knowledge with skill in specific Craft areas. It is counterproductive to finely hone skills in use of crystals but lack common sense and ethical application of this knowledge. As you advance in your understanding also prepare to compliment book knowledge of the Craft with experience. It is one thing to understand how meditation works theoretically, but there is no substitute for practice. It is also beneficial to understand the significance of animal and other natural totems, without neglecting the practice of spending some type of time outdoors allowing natural elements to surround you. Some specialties in Wicca can include healing, herbalism, divination, communing with animals and nature, and further development of intuition.
Regardless of your area(s) of specialty it is essential to place these studies in the greater context of your Wiccan faith. Many people may be able to read Tarot Cards for example, but to develop this skill as an extension of your Wiccan faith and beliefs makes the difference between reading the cards at face value and letting the cards be a vehicle to connect with the God and Goddess. When developing as a Wiccan, one is not just rehearsing a skill but developing channels to Nature and the Divine through many available outlets.
Angela Kaufman is the coauthor of Wicca: What's the Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions, along with Dayna Winters and Patricia Gardner.