Wicca - In the Beginning
You need to BELIEVE in what you are doing. Like any other religion, Wicca is based on beliefs. If you don't believe it can be done you won't be successful in practicing ANY religion! Without belief there is no base to grow on. Without belief not even the most expensive and exquisite tool will make it work.
For most Wiccans our religion is more about spirituality than it is religious restraints. This means that we see things as more of a relevant and moldable thing to our individuality than a biased straightforward "this is how it all is" type of religion. Since Wicca is a religion that involves magick it DOES have one main rule, "An ye harm none, do what ye will!" This means harm to others or to yourself. You just don't do it if it is going to harm anyone! This doesn't mean you have to be a passive fool and let someone stomp your butt. There is also "The Rule Of Three" to consider while practicing Wicca. Whatever you do, be it good or be it ill, will come back to you three fold! It tends to keep one on the good path and not the road to destruction.
There are a couple of different ways in which to practice this religion. One way is to join or form a coven. Covens usually consist of 13 or more persons. The discipline of said coven will determine how the group practices Wicca. The other way to practice Wicca is to be what is called a solitary practitioner; this means that you practice Wicca in your own way by yourself. It also leaves you to do more study on your own. Only you can determine which path is right for you. However, since I am a solitary practitioner that is what I will mainly talk about from here on.
What is Wicca?
Wicca is a Pagan religion with spiritual roots in the earliest expressions of reverence of nature as a manifestation of the divine. Wiccans view Deity as Goddess and God. It also embraces the practice of magick and reincarnation.
What about Deity?
Most Wiccans accept that the Goddess and God are within as well as outside ourselves. If everything in nature is connected through energies, so too are we linked with the Goddess and God.
What was that about magick?
Magick is performed in ritual. Magick is performed on Esbats, Sabbats, when you feel there is a need and in communion with the Goddess and God. Magick is the movement of natural energies to create needed change. Magick is natural NOT supernatural. Magick is performed in sacred space (room or area that you have cleansed out the negative for magickal purposes). You need to create and clear your circle so that your magick will not be affected by negative outside influences.
What is a magick circle?
It is a sphere constructed of personal power in which Wiccan rituals are usually performed. It marks the sphere's penetration into the ground, and extends both above and below it. It is created through visualization and magick. (More in another class on how to create sacred space and your magick circle.)
What is personal power?
There are 3 powers that we call on when doing magick. Divine Power - The pure energy that exists within the Goddess and God. The life force and the ultimate source of all things. Earth Power - The energy that exists in stones, herbs, flames, wind and other natural objects. It is manifested Divine Power and can be utilized during magick to create needed change. Personal Power - The energy that is in our bodies. It originates from the Goddess and God. We absorb it thru food, water, the Moon, the Sun and other natural objects. We release it during stress, exercise, sex, conception and child birthing, Magick often is movement of personal power for a specific goal.
What about tools?
Tools used in magick include, censer (for burning incense and charcoal tablets),Incense (what you burn in the censer, can be stick - cone or loose ground fine herbs), candles (Goddess and God candles plus candles for other magickal rites), Athame (a double-edge blade knife with black handle, used to direct power and never to cut anything physical), Bolline (white-handled knife used to cut herbs and cords), Besom (broom for cleaning negative out of the ritual/magick area (not for actual sweeping)).
Do I need all of these tools?
No. But I feel that for a beginner they are important as working with them helps you to add more energy to your rite. If later as you become more proficient doing magick and ritual work you will need the tools less and less. But I still feel that sometimes it is fun to drag them all out and do an "old fashioned" rite!
How do I keep track of my magickal workings, spells and rituals?
You create a Book of Shadows (BoS). That is what it is for. You write down rituals, spells and magickal workings for later reference. You record successes and failures both so that you have a correct accounting of what has been done and what works and what doesn't for you. Sometimes covens give their BoS to initiates after initiation into the coven. There is no one true BoS as each one is unique to each person and/or coven.