So You’re A Witch: Year Long Studies & Curriculum

For those interested in Wicca, you’re probably wondering how to approach your year and a day studies. This is a period of time where you absorb much of the basics surrounding Wicca and its philosophy. Many practitioners though are solitary, and don’t have someone to walk them through this process. What do you do? How do you exactly teach yourself? Well, that’s been the problem for years, having to teach yourself. This post is for those people, the ones having to do it by themselves. Here’s how to approach your study overall, and then, form a curriculum around what you want to learn.

First, let me premise this by saying the suggestions in this post should be taken after your initial reading. What do I mean by that? Well, I suggested in previous posts five types of books new witches should read. These books are all beginner type books that would help in determining if Wicca is even right for you. So, if you’re looking to simply get your feet wet, try that approach first. This post is actually for those who are fairly certain Wicca is right for them, and would like to learn more in-depth information. To begin, let’s take a look at a sample curriculum shared on the Sacred Path of Light forum.

Out of all the ideas I found, this one was the most interesting in my opinion. The curriculum includes the following main categories:

  • Introduction to Paganism
  • Magick
  • Sabbats
  • Tarot
  • Divination
  • Traditions
  • Cultural Study

What I like about this curriculum is that it’s actually quite diverse. It’s for those interested in Wicca, but does expand beyond what many beginners consider. When I look closer at the recommended reading, the books are reputable and sound. So why not just use this curriculum? Because I feel like it may give way to gaps in understanding. Now, admittedly, this will happen in any curriculum. But, I can’t help but want to rearrange categories, add different books, and well, redo things. So, what changes would I make exactly and why?

When trying to form my own curriculum, I want to keep the usual by month focus. This means whatever I want to learn, it has to be summed up in twelve main categories, or even less. For Wicca, I feel like twelve categories is enough, but it never is! The second thing I want to do is limit how many books per month I can read. Ideally, there should be no more than two books per category, but with a few options. This would be like exchanging Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner for Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft. The ideas behind the books are the same, but they vary a little bit.

After taking some time to think about it, I would break Wicca down into twelve categories this way:

  • History
  • Traditions
  • Sabbats
  • Rites
  • Divination
  • Esbats
  • Ethics
  • Ritual
  • Tools
  • Mythology
  • Sacred Texts
  • Correspondences

This list of categories is just me thinking out loud. Some people will highlight different things, and thus have different categories. That’s the wonderful way Wicca becomes diverse. But, in any case, we need to summarize our categories into six. Here’s the six final categories and what they’re for. The categories include:

  • History & Traditions: How Wicca has been shaped in the past and today.
  • Philosophy: What makes Wicca diverse and how it all fits together.
  • Rites, Holidays, & Observances: Old traditions in a modern world.
  • Ethics & Tools: How to use what you already have.
  • Mythology & Sacred Texts: The ways we relate to deity and the mysteries.
  • Divination: A blending of knowledge and mystery.

Alright, so this may not be the clearest way to think of Wicca as a whole. I promise though, it’ll make sense when we outline the details. Some combinations may make sense to you already, like how history can give way to the various Traditions within Wicca. Other combinations may seem a bit odd, like combining tools with ethics, or even giving mythology its own category. But, moving forward, we’ll notice a clear pattern. So how exactly do we outline the categories?

Admittedly, this is easier if you’ve already studied the content. I’m not going to lie about that. Hopefully, you didn’t keep your notes in a bound notebook! If you did, don’t worry, you’ll probably shift to a binder during your year long study. In any case, the best way to outline each category, at least to me, is to start by listing what you want to discuss. For me, this would look like something similar to:

  • History & Traditions
    • Golden Dawn
    • O.T.O.
    • Freemasonry
    • Gardner (Wicca in Britain)
    • Buckland (Wicca in U.S.)
    • Movements (Ecology, Feminism, & New Age)
    • Mythos of Gardner & Murray
    • Modern Paths
  • Philosophy
    • Eastern vs. Western Occultism
    • Right Hand vs. Left Hand Paths
    • High Magick vs. Low Magick
    • Thelma
    • Hermeticism
    • Kabbalah
    • Theosophy
    • Gnosticism
  • Rites, Holidays, & Observances
    • Sabbats
    • Rites of Passage
    • Esbats (Full & New)
    • Mystery Plays
    • Ritual Observance
    • Initiations
    • Cultural Holidays (National/Country)
    • Ritual Prayer & Meditation
  • Ethics & Tools
    • The Ardanes
    • The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief
    • The Wiccan Rede
    • Traditional Tools
    • Ritual Dress
    • Ritual Jewelry
    • Ritual Nudity & Sex
    • Ritual Scourging
  • Mythology & Sacred Texts
    • Stregheria
    • Hellenic Polytheism
    • Kemetic Reconstructionism
    • Druidry
    • Asatru
    • Celtic Reconstructionism
    • Christian Mythos
    • Other Wiccan Writings (For Example: Doreen Valiente’s Writing)
  • Divination
    • Skrying
    • Sortilege
    • Cartomancy
    • Radiesthesia
    • Astrology
    • Numerology
    • Palmistry
    • Tasseomancy

Alright, I know, that’s a really long list. Should someone study each and every one of those bullet points? Probably not. The way you view Wicca will certainly be well-rounded, but not exactly practical. Remember, I believe in mixing and matching. For example, the mythology section I use contains lists of correspondences, but then focuses mainly on the Greek Pantheon. Your focus might be different. In any case, I also mentioned needing reading material for this list. That’s the next step, adding titles. Ultimately, a reader might pick two titles that appeal to them, but four titles is good for variety. The reading list for each category might look something like:

  • History & Traditions
    • Chic Cicero – The Essential Golden Dawn
    • Doreen Valiente – Witchcraft for Tomorrow
    • Isaac Bonewits – Witchcraft: A Concise Guide
    • Chas Clifton – Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca And Paganism in America
  • Philosophy
    • H.P. Blavatsky – The Secret Doctrine
    • Israel Regardie – The Golden Dawn
    • Gary Cantrell – Wiccan Beliefs & Practices
    • Dion Fortune – The Mystical Qabalah
  • Rites, Holidays, & Observances
    • Llewellyn – Sabbat Essentials Series
    • Ann Moura – Mansions of the Moon for the Green Witch
    • Raymond Buckland – Wicca For One
    • Janet Farrar – A Witches’ Bible
  • Ethics & Tools
    • Donald Michael Kraig – Modern Magick
    • Doreen Valiente – The Charge of the Goddess
    • Gerald Gardner – The Gardnerian Book of Shadows
    • Scott Cunningham – Spell Crafts
  • Mythology & Sacred Texts
    • Walter Burkert – Greek Religion
    • Barbara Mertz – Red Land Black Land
    • Charles G. Leland – The Gospel of the Witches
    • Ronald Hutton – The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles
  • Divination
    • Lindel Barker-Revell – Time For Tea
    • Llewellyn’s – The Easy Way to Learn Astrology.
    • Rachel Pollack – Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom
    • Raymond Buckland – Book for Spirit Communications

With books added to our list of categories, things look a little more defined. We can see areas to explore, facts to write down, and various ways paths can intersect. I actually like how we can see the various twists and turns of diversity within Wicca and witchcraft. All that’s left now is for you to write your own year and a day curriculum. What areas of study seem to naturally stand out to you? Do any of these titles catch your interest? Write them down, fill in the gaps, and just keep going. You’ll be surprised to find out what you’ll learn that way!

About Samantha

Currently, I'm just someone that loves to learn and embraces various ideas about religion, life, and the daily routines we all have. My blog was setup as an attempt to collect and share my thoughts with others.
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