A Wiccan friend of mine has lent me her book Wicca for Beginners: A Guide to Wiccan Beliefs, Rituals, Magic, and Witchcraft. It’s written by Lisa Chamberlain, published by Occult Shorts and is, indeed, short; just 115 pages in total. It costs £4:99 for a new copy, which converts to something like $7:50.
This is a very simple beginners guide, clearly laid out in three sections with various subheadings. The first section is Introduction to Wicca, and covers topics such as the formation of Wicca as a religion, the God and the Goddess, the Wheel of the year and other really important basics. It doesn’t go massively into detail – it’s just a short beginner’s guide, after all – but it gives you the most essential facts. For me, knowing next to nothing about Wicca, it was very helpful.
The second section is Introduction to Witchcraft. As the first section covered history, definitions and ideas about Deity, the focus of this section is the ‘witchier’ side of Wicca – the Craft. There are some wonderful ideas here about the meeting of science and magic that were great to read. So many people view science and religion (or science and magic) as mutually exclusive opposites, but I’ve never seen why that has to be the case and I love the beautiful meeting of science and magic described in this section. I’m sure that’s just scratching the surface, too. As with the first section, Introduction to Witchcraft covers vital basics such as casting circles, calling the quarters and ritual tools.
The final section is Next Steps for Aspiring Wiccans. Throughout the book, there has been an emphasis on the fact that there are many, many different ways to practice Wicca and that not all views and ideas could possibly be expressed in a short beginner’s guide. This section repeats this idea, encouraging you to read further and, if you want to, maybe find other Wiccans to talk to and learn with. The difference between a coven and a circle is explained (definitely a useful thing to know; I thought they were the same thing). It gives some ideas about where to begin looking for fellow Wiccans, and importantly also provides some simple first steps for bringing Wicca into your life – celebrating and feeling a part of the Wheel of the Year, forming relationships with or ideas about Deities, and meditating. It provides an example spell for the Autumn Equinox, which I think is really useful and could easily be adapted for other purposes. It also explains more about manifesting and explains what a Book of Shadows is.
After this is a conclusion and several simple tables of correspondence for colors, crystals and gemstones and herbs and essential oils, as well as short suggested reading lists for History of Traditional Wicca, Contemporary Wicca and Witchcraft, and Science and Magic. As the author explains, these are meant as useful pointers to help you with further research.
I liked this book a lot. I think it would be great as a first book on the subject – you could really know nothing at all about Wicca and get to the end of the book with at least the basics. I also like that care was taken to explain that there are many ways to practice Wicca, that other books will have contrasting ideas and it’s best to go with what seems right to you.