Hello, I have been doing alot of studying, and I feel that becoming a Wiccan is the right path for me. My question is that since I was raised as a catholic, how can I “switch” religions? Do I have to do something to change to become a Wiccan?
You do indeed!
Wicca is an initiatory religion. If you are interested in becoming a Wiccan, you do have to track down a legitimate Wiccan coven from a legitimate Wiccan tradition. These traditions include Gardnerian, Alexandrian and Central Valley among others. Once you find a coven into which you feel you fit well, and they decide to take you on as a student, eventually you will be initiated into the coven.
Finding a Wiccan coven that you mesh with well can take a long time, and you may have to travel some way to meet with them. I know Wiccans and students of Wicca who drive or take a train for hours to meet with their coven for each Sabbat. And of course Wicca isn’t for everyone; it’s a pretty small Pagan religion, and you may end up pursuing either another specific Pagan religion or a form of eclectic Pagan witchcraft, as many people do.
If it turns out Wicca isn’t the right religion for you – and many people do decide against pursuing Wicca for one reason or another – other Pagan religions may have particular initiation or dedication rites for you to perform, either to bring you into the religion or into a specific group. If you end up studying as a solitary (possibly eclectic) Pagan, you may wish, once you are certain, to perform some sort of dedication ritual for yourself. As you are leaving another religion that does have a form of dedication itself, you may wish to renounce that dedication also, either as a part of the same ritual or as a separate ritual.
How you perform your dedication is up to you; you may want to follow a basic dedication ritual from a book or you may want to write your own. It could just be a simple statement, or involve a ritual rebirth. You may choose a special day to perform it, such as a holiday or particular phase of the moon, or a day that is special to you personally.
Some ideas if this is the way you choose to go:
* Wrap yourself in dark cloth, spend some time in contemplation, and unwrap yourself
* Light a candle signifying your old life, snuff it, then light a new candle for your new life (or light the new candle with the old one)
* Go to a body of water such as a lake or ocean and immerse yourself entirely
* Draw or create a line from a ribbon, stick etc. and step over it from your old life to your new life
Of course, you don’t need to perform a dedication. It’s a personal choice. If you feel in yourself that this is what and who you are now, a dedication may be unnecessary. Many forms of religious witchcraft and eclectic Paganism do encourage it, but if you’re not interested or consider it a bit redundant, and it’s not a part of the specific religion you follow, you don’t have to perform one.
As a bit of a discussion point, readers, if you have been initiated into a group or religion, or performed a dedication for yourself, what did you do (if you can tell us) and do you have any extra ideas for those who are considering a dedication themselves?