The Early Days

Wiccan Rede * Winter 1989 by Terry

The purpose of this article is to show the direction that one person has followed in the early days of studying the Craft, written in the hope that someone reading this in the future, who may be just starting their studies of Wicca, may benefit in some way or may pick up a hint which could help them to find their own path. If only one person achieves this, then I will have gone some way towards achieving what I set out to do. If that person is you, then may the Lord and Lady guard you and guide you.

I have always been interested in history, particularly Roman history, due in the main to the fact that I was born in a place called Wallsend, which, as the name implies, is situated at the end of Hadrian’s Wall in the North East of England. Naturally, being interested in Roman history, led to a small in sight into the Roman God/Goddess figures. However, to be honest, I think that I first became interested in the Craft around 1970 – 1971, when the late Alex Sanders seemed to be in all of the U.K. national press being referred to as ‘The King of the Witches’. At the time I would have been 16-17 years old, and became quite fascinated with the idea that there were still ‘real’ Witches around.

I wrote to Alex, but never received a reply, perhaps due to my age at the time. It would have been nice to have the courtesy of a reply though. The next thing that I did was a project for an English examination choosing the Craft as the subject matter. I then went on my own way through life, until about two years ago, when I found and read the Farrars’ “Life and Times of a Modern Witch”. This reawakened an interest which had lain dormant for many years. I decided then, that I wanted to know more and to try to become actively involved with Wicca. Being a member of the British Army (yes, perhaps there is a conflict between my religion and my surroundings, but I can live with it!) this was not something that I could talk very openly about, so I decided to write to some of the addresses in the back of the above mentioned book. Perhaps like the Fool of the Tarot I was ready at this stage to begin my journey, quite fortunately the doors opened for me, as I found people who were prepared to help me after only one or two letters. For this I shall ever be in their debt.

One of these people is Marian Green, who’s Natural Magic Course I enrolled on (strongly recommended!). This course is aimed at the solo practitioner or village Witch. The subject matter follows quite closely Marian’s own book (The Gentle Arts of Aquarian Magic), with lots of research/meditation and creative work such as Ritual Poetry, to be done by the student. Work is then sent to Marian for her comments as necessary. At times these comments seem rather short, but always valid and to the point. Marian gives the impression throughout this course that each student receives just the right amount of attention to ensure a good teacher/student relationship forms. I feel that this is the point when one of two things happens: the student either decides that it is all a little bit too much like hard work and gives up, or s/he acquires an almost insatiable appetite for more information.

It was my experience at this stage that personal contact with others interested in the Craft was essential, to discuss points on various themes and differing opinions. I remember quite clearly during late 1988, being told that we were moving into the part of the year which is ruled by the God. At the time I thought this very strange, as surely, the Goddess is the main deity of Witchcraft?

Having now researched/studied/discussed various points, I can see that without the God the Goddess is incomplete and of course vice-versa. Without woman man is incomplete, or to take it a stage further: each male has an anima and each female an animus, qualities or traits within their personality of the opposite sex. If this is not acknowledged then the individual is incomplete and will never reach their true potential.

So as we move into the dark part of the year at Hallowe’en, this is ruled by the God, but the Goddess is still present. The light part of the year, starting with Beltane when we welcome the returning Sun with the Bel-fire, is that of the Goddess, but again the God is still present too.

So over a period of time things which may at first seem confusing, do become clearer, providing you can stick at it. There are times when you will feel down, when everything seems to be going wrong and your Craft studies just don’t seem to be getting any further. These are difficult feelings to overcome, but if you keep up your studies then you will surely reap the benefits. The thing to remember is that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’: it all takes time and effort. You will only get out of the Craft what you are prepared to put into it, and no-one is saying that it’s going to be easy. Let me assure you though, it’s all worthwhile!

It can come as a bit of a surprise when you begin to get solid results, actually making contact with a deity such as a Star Goddess, when the answers to your problems start to flow almost before you can think of the questions! But sooner or later you will know that you are making solid progress towards your goal, whatever it may be. For some it may be the idea of being initiated into a working Coven, for others the ability to work alone. After all, do you really need a Coven to be able to perform Natural Magic? Or to practice the Old Religion? Think about it, and while you’re thinking about it, do something positive, begin your Quest.

So where do you begin? Go out tonight and look at the night sky, which phase is the Moon at? If you don’t know then find out, be more aware of the Moon and her phases, how does she affect your moods and feelings as she sails majestically through the night sky? Do you have a Magic Diary? If not, start one off, not necessarily for daily entries but for special/magical recordings. Think what should be entered and what shouldn’t. Meditate on something which you may perhaps have taken for granted, how about the Pentagram for example? What does it mean to you? Do you wear one? If so, why?

There are lots of questions as you start your journey, but the answers are there, if you really want them!

There is an absolute mine of information now available among the many books which have been written over recent years. These are some which I have found particularly helpful. This list is obviously by no means exhaustive!

  • Marian Green: The Gentle Arts of Aquarian Magic
  • Vivianne Crowley: Wicca – the Old Religion in the New Age
  • Janet and Stewart Farrar: The Witches Way, and Eight Sabbats for Witches
  • Doreen Valiente: Witchcraft for Tomorrow, and Natural Magic
  • Starhawk: The Spiral Dance