Pagan Reader

Despite reading and learning about paganism for over five years, I didn’t start practising it until after starting university!  If like me, you were not active as a pagan during secondary school (the British equivalent to American high schools), and really want to start living as a pagan now that you’ve started university, here are some pointers on how to live as a pagan while you’re at university.

  • Join your university’s Pagan Society (most universities have one) and regularly attend meetings and take part in organised activities, including workshops and rituals.
  • Ask people about their Paths as pagans, particularly if they’re giving a talk about it.  (Don’t ask silly questions as they may take offense, unless you know each other well.)
  • Make regular trips to your pagan/occult store, whether to top up on your supplies, or to talk to the clerks.  They are always willing to answer any questions on paganism and the occult and recommend good books on the subject.
  • Stock up on your pagan supplies: buy herbs and essential oils; and start collecting crystals, if you haven’t already.
  • If your student accommodation doesn’t allow you to have candles or incense, substitute with fake battery-powered candles.
  • Though the dress code at university is lax compared to secondary school, be discreet about wearing pagan amulets and symbols, as it can gain you negative attention expecially from other religious groups both at and outside of university.
  • Set aside time for meditation; about 10-15 minutes two or three times a week.  This will help you to regain focus.
  • Visit your local park or places of pagan interest, such as old ruins and stone circles (if there are any near you).  Go out and be close to nature as much as you can.
  • Don’t tell people outright that you’re a pagan.  Get to know them first, and see their stance on the subject.
  • Keep a journal, or Book of Shadows to keep track of what you’ve learned, and to record your experiences.
  • Read, read and read!  Read as many books as you can on the subject.  You can never learn too much.

”Coming out out of the broom closet’ is a widely discussed topic among pagans.  OnYouTube there are a lot of videos by pagans on their experiences of ‘coming out of the broom closet’.  If you’d like to have a look at the ‘Coming Out of the Broom Closet’ video I’ve posted on my channel, click here.

Looking back, I don’t think I was ever in the ‘broom closet’.  It wasn’t really much of a problem with my parents.  As I’ve said before, both in a previous blog post and on my video blog, my dad isn’t religious and thought that my fascination with paganism and the occult was just that: a fascination.  My mother isn’t much of a believer either, despite coming from a country with many spiritual practises.  So it was relatively easy to open with my parents about becoming a pagan.

School was a bit of a different story.  I used to get teased a lot, and openly being a pagan or Wiccan/Witch, gave them something more to tease me about, particularly since I often brought my spellbooks into school with me during morning break-times and lunchtimes and during English class when we happened to be studying Macbeth.  Being an oversensitive teenager like all thirteen to fourteen year olds, I reacted a little badly to it.  Mostly by lashing out and hitting people.  Now I know that goes against the Wiccan Rede and paganism in general, but at that point in my life I didn’t pay much attention to it.

It wasn’t all bad.  Some were genuinely interested in why I had taken in interest in paganism and witchcraft, and sometimes asked my opinion on certain subjects, when we were talking between ourselves during Religious Studies class.

When I started university, I didn’t go round telling people that I was a pagan, even after joining the Pagan Society, since I’d learnt the hard way that it can gain you negative attention.  When I made friends, I didn’t immediately tell them that I was a pagan, but waited until they told me their stance on religion in general.  Although during a speed dating session, I did let it slip that I had an active interest in paganism, which didn’t go down very well as it turned out that he was religious fanatic; the kind with a holier-than-thou attitude and preach Christianity at you. 

A lot of books on paganism and witchcraft, especially ones directed at teenagers, will have a section on ‘coming out of the broom closet’.  And most will caution you against telling people that you are a pagan or witch, particularly if you don’t want it be known that you practise magick but also give you pointers on how to explain your chosen Path to family and friends.  A good one to read would be from The Real Witch’s Handbook by Kate West, which I really should have read first rather than immediately telling people that I was a ‘witch’ after just reading a few books on magick.

Thankfully I’ve learned from those experiences and am now a lot more cautious about what I tell people about myself in regards to my ‘religion’. 

Anyone who is thinking of telling friends and family about being a pagan or witch, talk to other pagans and read up on how to best approach the topic.  Different people will have different reactions, so some may be worse than others.  But always remember, your family and real friends will love you no matter what your religion.

When studying magick, one should not limit themselves to just one book as their Wiccan or pagan “bible”.  It’s better to read more than one book on the subject, as different people will have different opinions and methods on the practise of magick.  Some you may agree with and others you may not, but it’s good to be well-informed.  However, you have to be careful on which books you buy, as some are not as accurate as others and have mostly been written for the sake of money.

I would like to recommend some of my favourite books on magick.  I hope you find them as useful as I did.

The Real Witch’s Handbook by Kate West

This is much easier to digest than some other books I’ve read on the Wicca and the Craft.  It’s not that it’s shorter or simpler, rather it uses language that is easy to understand, especially for someone who has only just started learning about the Craft, so it’s good for both teenagers and adults.  It also gives examples of how to celebrate the Sabbats in a non-magical way of you don’t really have the time to be casting spells or performing rituals during those times, as well as basic information about Wiccan principals and beliefs, the coven initiation system, herblore and spellcraft.  Kate West also includes a section on ‘coming out of the broom closet.’

A Witch’s Grimoire: Create Your Own Book of Shadows by Judy Anna Nock

As a comprehensive guidebook, A Witch’s Grimoire is a wonderful addition to any Wiccan or pagan collection whether as a study aid to those new to the study and practise of magick or as a companion for the more experienced practitioners.  This text is broken down into sections that one can easily follow, from the making of your own personal book of shadows to exercises on writing your own spells, rituals and invocations, with additional information on commonly used gemstones, magickal herbs and herb blends, spells, recipes and rituals.

Anyone wanting to have a look at my video on creating a Book of Shadows, please click here.

The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells by Judika Illes

An excellent compilation of spells and rituals from cultures around the world.  A great reference book any Witch or pagan.  The categories of spells and other magickal practises are broken down into many subcategories, which is a bit of a bother but worth it.  I really like the fact that it includes spells from other countries, not just from around Europe.  The book also gives a long bibliography of the different sources that the author used to compile this encyclopedia, which is great, particularly if you’re trying to find a book on a subject that is a bit more obscure than the topics you usually see in bookstores.

If you would like to look at my more detailed video review/recommendation, please go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALDl9ZOF9Mg

10 Minute Magic Spells by Skye Alexander

A very useful book, if you don’t have very much time on your hands, especially if you’re a student at university, or have a demanding worklife.  The book is broken down into two parts; the first, explaining the workings and theories of magick, and essential steps that have to be taken when performing a ritual or spell; and the second part gives you the actual spells.  This is great for the absolute beginners, to give them the gist of what magic is about.  Just don’t go straight to the second part of the book, as I have been guilty of in the past.

CHOOSING YOUR OWN PATH

If you are very unsure about what path of witchcraft to choose, take some time to think about some of the following things:

  • What culture or religion are you interested in?  Research about the different cultures with their Gods and Goddesses.  See what appeals to you.  Some pagans and witches pick and mix what paths they choose to follow, others mainly follow one set of deities, with one of them as their patron, but still pay respects to other deities.
  • What do you enjoy doing?  Things like singing and dancing you can incorporate into your rituals.
  • Look into your family tree.  It’s good to know where you come from, and draw from it.
  • Talk to pagans.  Ask questions about their beliefs and lifestyle, most will talk to you if you show a genuine interest.
  • Read, read and read!  A lot of books written by pagans are from their own experiences, and take bits and pieces from them and incorporate them into your own lifestyle.

Merry meet, Pagan bloggers!

This is my second first blog, as I’ve just set up this my second blog.  This will primarily be for all my posts on the subject of paganism and witchcraft (even though I don’t consider myself a witch).  I’ve started moving all my Pagan posts from my first blog onto this one, but I’ll be publishing them in a different order to when they were first published, as well as making any needed changes in grammar and spelling.

Blessed be.