Episode 52: Moving Past Wicca 101

Episode 52: Moving Past Wicca 101

00:00 / 00:32:09

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So as far as the topic today, I did want to talk about moving past Wicca 101. And the reason for this is because while Wicca is a good starting point for many people, and a lot of people stick with Wicca because it’s something that resonates with them, there is a point where you have to move past the 101 material. And so, this is going to involve moving of past books by Scott Cunningham and Dorothy Morrison and Lisa Chamberlin and all of those 101-style books.

While they have good information in them, it’s very baseline. It’s very superficial in the sense that it only scratches the surface of what Wicca is and what a witchcraft-based spirituality can mean. So, in this video, in this episode for podcast listeners, I am not going to be talking about witchcraft in a secular sense here. In this specific episode, I will be talking about witchcraft mixed with some sort of religious or spiritual belief. Okay? So, I want to get that out there right now and make it known that in this particular episode, witchcraft is not secular. Okay? Just for this particular episode, just so we can, you know, have that covered so that there’s no confusion. Now I know witchcraft is secular, but for this particular topic, we’re going to be talking about it in a religious aspect, in a spiritual aspect. So, I need to define what I mean by Wicca 101.

Wicca 101 is going to be those things that you see in those starter books. Things like the Wiccan Rede, the Charge of the God and the Goddess, the basic breakdowns of the Sabbats and the esbats and the Holydays. Basic correspondences, traditional correspondences, things of that nature. It’s also things like moon phases, phases of the sun. A lot of it actually focuses solely on Goddess worship, which don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’re looking at Wicca as a whole or any other pagan faith, it’s not just Goddess worship. And I feel like the beginner books focus a lot on Goddess worship because its what’s lacking in modern-day Christian theology and Christian based society, pretty much. There is a complete lack of worship or even acknowledgment of any sort of feminine figure. I think the only exception here would be the Virgin Mary. But I don’t know enough about Catholicism, or anything that the Virgin Mary has anything to do with, to speak on that. So, I’m not even going to try. So those are the basics of what Wicca 101 is. It’s essentially anything that you would read in a Scott Cunningham book. What’s that…what’s the book called? Solitary something.

I don’t remember what the book’s called. I’ll link it in the description and in the show notes, though. But it’s basically going to be those books. The books that are used as a starting point, as a reference point. Now, the problem comes when that’s all you have access to. Okay? So, for me, for example, when I was a young girl – when I was 12, 13 – that’s all I had access to. You know, I didn’t have open access to the internet and at that point in time, it was things like forums and chat rooms. I had the library, and that’s pretty much it. And we all know that just because it’s written in a book doesn’t make it true. Right? And just because it’s written in a book doesn’t mean it’s comprehensive. So, if this is all you have access to in the beginning, this is all that you’re going to have unless you seek out more. So, this is why I think it’s extremely important, no matter your path, no matter your specific tradition โ€“

Now, I guess this would be for anyone that is practicing solitary because if you’re in a coven and you’ve been initiated, normally they have their own sort of educational aspect – their own educational system as far as the coven’s tradition goes. So, if you’re solitary like a lot of us are, that’s all you really have access to in the beginning and that’s what makes it difficult. Now, I do want to acknowledge here that Wicca is a good starting point and moving past Wicca 101 is good for those who are Wiccan, but it’s also good for those who used Wicca as a starting point. I started with Wicca. I started with Scott Cunningham books and Dorothy Morrison and Lisa Chamberlain. I have a Dorothy Morrison book in my room. It’s the like complete guide to something or other. I don’t even know what I’m saying. I think it’s called the witches book of shadows.
Let me look it up. Okay, so it’s none of what I just said. It is called The Craft – A Witch’s Book of Shadows by Dorothy Morrison. And I used that as a starting point because it’s a good book. It has a lot of good information. Sometimes I’ll still reference it from now and then depending on if I am forgetting something because you know my memory doesn’t serve me as well as I would like it to. But as a good starting point, it’s great. But I want to tell you why I think, no matter your path or your tradition, you need to move past the Wicca 101. And even if you didn’t use Wicca as a starting point, you need to move past the 101 content. And there’s a reason for that.

So one of the first reasons that I think you need to move past 101 content is no matter your path or tradition, it’s good to always keep your mind working, to always be honing those critical thinking skills and developing or enhancing the ability to separate fact from fiction, or good information from bad information and use discernment in your sources. And that has a lot to do with moving past the 101 content. Because with the 101 content, you’re handed the information. The information is given to you. Now, unless you go and you research and you look at the bibliography and the sources for the book that you were reading, you’re just going to accept what you read, right? So, it’s good to keep thinking. It’s good to dig deeper and find out where the information is coming from and what is being said, where it’s being said, who said it. That’s all extremely important information. I also think moving past the 101 is a good practice to have because then you can start to understand what it is that you know or that you think you know or that you’re using on a regular basis. A lot of, – I see a lot of Wiccans or pagans that follow the Wheel of the Year, really just going along with it.

And maybe they don’t understand where these celebrations come from, and how they were historically celebrated or even if they actually mesh well with what they believe. So, for example, within Wicca and the God and the goddess, many Wiccans attribute the Wheel of the Year to the phases and the way that the God and the Goddess move through the physical realm. Okay? But historically, those aren’t the reasons that these holidays were celebrated. I think understanding the history and the traditional way that things were celebrated is really important to not only enhance your knowledge but maybe enhance your spiritual practice. Maybe it can help you connect with your practice and with your deities on a deeper level. I know for me it has helped tremendously and I’m always learning because I am moving past the 101 content. I’ve been moving past the 101 content for a long time.

Okay? But it’s not, it’s not something that has a destination. It’s not something that you go, and you do it for like six weeks and then you’re done. That’s…no. Moving past the 101 content is a journey in itself and it’s one of the most important parts in my opinion. I also think moving past the 101 is important to avoid spiritual stagnation. And I know I’ve talked about this before and if I can remember which episode or video all link it up here somewhere. But spiritual avoidance. Oh, I remember, I talked about it in my shadow work episode. So spiritual stagnation and spiritual avoidance, I think they can go hand in hand. And I believe that if you begin the process of shadow work and you begin the process of moving past 101 content, you can avoid spiritual stagnation and spiritual bypass because you’re going to be gaining knowledge.

You’re going to be understanding more of what it is that you believe, what it is that you practice. You might even begin to question your own beliefs and that’s okay. But you begin to realize that not everything is black and white. You can’t be all positive all the time. And that’s part of spiritual bypass. Just avoiding the things that are negative that you don’t like. Okay? But spiritual stagnation essentially means you’re stuck. You’re doing the same thing over and over again. You’re stuck in a routine and it can really weigh down on your spirituality and on your heart. And I think it’s really important to do something to avoid that. Now there’s a difference between like a spiritual plateau and spiritual stagnation.

I don’t know if spiritual plateau is even a thing. It’s just something that popped in my head right now. But what I think of when I think of a spiritual plateau is something that, you know, you’re climbing, you’re climbing, you’re climbing, and you hit a plateau, right? And maybe you just need to take a break. You need to take a second to absorb everything that you have learned on that uphill climb before you can start the next uphill climb. Maybe it is, you just need to take some extra time to focus on this one aspect, this one thing that you’re trying to learn and understand. That is a spiritual plateau for me. And spiritual stagnation essentially means, you know, you’ve climbed this hill and you’ve gotten as far as you can go, and then you hit a plateau. But there’s no uphill climb after that because you don’t know what to do.

You don’t know where to go from there. So, moving through 101 content to a deeper spiritual level is extremely important for your spiritual growth. So, we’ve talked about what Wicca 101, is what 101 content is. We’ve talked about why you should move past 101 content, but how do you do it? That is a harder question and it’s going to depend a lot on your own personal practice. But I do have some things that I believe could be helpful no matter your path or your tradition. So obviously the first thing that I suggest everyone do is keep reading, but don’t go to the library and type in Wicca. Don’t go to the library and type in Scott Cunningham and get keywords and recommendations based on those topics and the author. Go to the library and type in herblore. Go to the library and type in Irish mythology or Norse mythology or crystals or something.

That is a great beginning step for moving past 101 content because you’re going to begin to dig deeper into the spirituality and into the mythology and the folklore of whatever pantheon you believe in of whatever tradition you follow. And those 101 books, the 101 content, that just scratches the surface. Like I said, it’s very superficial information and its information that’s basically available to everyone and it’s the easiest information to get your hands on. But when you dig deeper into the mythology and into the folklore, you start to make connections that you might not have made before. And that’s extremely important to spiritual growth and to enhancing your own spiritual practice, your own beliefs, and coming to a better understanding of yourself. I also think it’s really important, going along the same lines, to not read for the sake of knowing things. Read for the sake of understanding what you already know.

For example, there are eight spokes on the wheel of the year. Correct? And within Wicca, you’re taught that four of them follow the Celtic fire festivals and the other ones are the solstices and the equinoxes. Okay. You know, we know that, but why is it important? Why is it done that way? Why do we celebrate Imbolg? Why do we celebrate Yule? Why do we celebrate any of the solstices and the equinoxes and the fire festivals? Understand why you know what you know…understand what you know instead of just knowing it. And along those same lines, when you begin to do that, naturally you’re going to question the things that you know and the things that you’ve been taught and the things that you believe. And that’s okay. I am an advocate for a healthy dose of skepticism. Not everything has a spiritual purpose.

Not everything has a magical reason behind it. Sometimes, you know, the wrestling leaves are just wind in the trees. Okay? And it’s okay to be skeptical of the things that happen. And I would say that it’s a healthy practice because if you just throw logic and common sense to the wind, bad things can start to happen. You know, you might think that a God has called you to go, you know, walk on a frozen Lake. All right? Maybe you are being called to go walk on a frozen lake but ask yourself why. Why are you being called to go walk on the frozen lake? Is it a deity speaking to you? Is it your own intrusive thoughts? And use common sense. If it’s a frozen lake, but it’s the middle of April and you know that the ice won’t be thick enough to hold weight, why are you going to walk on it?

I wouldn’t. I mean that’s extremely dangerous, and you’ve got to use your common sense and your critical thinking. So a healthy dose of skepticism is perfectly fine and it’s actually a natural response in my opinion, to going past the 101 content because you’re going to question yourself, you’re going to question what you were taught, and you’re going to question what you believe. Along those same lines, move out of your own comfort zone. If this is something that you are comfortable with, if Wicca is what you know and what you love and what you enjoy and what you believe, that’s totally fine. Not here to tell you that your faith and your religion is wrong, okay? That is not my place and you are free to believe whatever you believe. However, I think it’s extremely important to move out of your comfort zone and learn something and get different perspectives that might contradict what you believe because you can’t grow and you can’t enhance your spirituality if you don’t challenge yourself.

And how are you going to challenge yourself if you don’t get out of your own comfort zone and seek knowledge that you may not have looked for in the first place? An example of this for me would be crystals. Crystals are beautiful, okay? I understand that there are people who believe crystals can do amazing things and maybe they can. But for me, you know, if you’re watching on YouTube, I’ve got some crystals right here. You know, I have a quartz cluster and I have an amethyst cluster. Now, I think crystals are beautiful, but I’m also skeptical of the properties that people say that they have. Now, I approach the world with an animist sort of viewpoint. Okay? For me, everything has a spirit. Everything has a…everything has an energy to it and that goes for crystals. But I’m always skeptical because, with the way my brain works, I know that a lot of the time it can be the placebo effect. There’s nothing wrong with the placebo effect. If it works, it works, okay? But do I think a crystal can cure your depression? No, I don’t. Do I think a crystal can cure your cancer? Probably not.

I know there’s…it might be an unpopular out there. And while these crystals do have their own soul and their own spirit and their own energy, I think that it would be extremely difficult for a crystal to work on someone’s body like that because those sorts of things, the depression and cancer, as I used for examples, are extremely rough on a person’s body. And they are extremely ingrained in who they are. And for a crystal’s energy to have that much of an effect on the person’s body would have to be extreme. The energy level would have to be just so much, and it would have to be something that happens over a long period of time. So no, I don’t think crystals can heal physical ailments. I don’t think crystals can heal mental ailments. Can they help? I think they can help, but with your mental wellbeing and with the energy of them easing your mind or easing your heart.

And that’s really…that’s really the extent of that. Now I do know that crystals like quartz can be used as an energy conductor. So that’s something different and that has a basis in science. So, for me, getting out of my comfort zone is going and learning all of the metaphysical properties of crystals and what people believe that they can do to the physical body. It gives me a new perspective. It gives me things to think about and it’s stepping outside of my comfort zone because I do come from an extremely logical mindset and I worked in the medical field, so I understand how things like depression and cancer work. So that’s…I guess that’s just a long way of explaining an example to you of getting out of your comfort zone and learning things that might challenge your perspective. Now, I would also recommend, obviously speaking with other people, but not just speaking with people who agree with you. Speak with people who have a different perspective.

Speak with people who may practice a different religion than you or a different tradition, or maybe they’re pagan, but the pantheon that they believe in is completely different than yours. Now obviously, please use discernment when speaking with people that have different perspectives because I know there’s been some drama in the Norse Pantheon…or not in the Norse Pantheon, but in that community of people who are taking it too far and who are using it as an excuse for their racism. That’s never okay. Things like that are never okay. So, use discernment when speaking with people who have a different perspective. I don’t think that it’s appropriate for someone to say, but you need to listen to my perspective to help you grow. No, not if your perspective is demeaning and hateful and just outright horrible to a specific group of people. Okay, so use discernment when speaking to other people that have a different perspective. But it’s healthy to have a discussion.

It’s healthy to challenge yourself and challenge other people because I think that if someone asks you a question and you answer it and then they counter it with an argument or a different point, I think that if you can’t explain that and explain why you believe what you believe or how things work on your end, that you might not understand it completely yourself. And this is, this is a basic teaching method. I use it for my daughter. If she’s learning a concept and I want to make sure that she understands it completely, she needs to be able to teach me how to do it. And I go into it like…clear brain. I don’t know what she’s doing. I have no clue how to add numbers, okay? Because she’s six. So, we’ll use that as an example. And if she can teach it to me in a way that I can understand, then I know she understands the concept and I actually apply that idea of teaching to basically everything that I do.

If I don’t understand a concept, I’m not going to sit here and talk to you about it because I have no place doing so if I don’t understand what I’m talking about. That’s just going to spread misinformation and confuse a bunch of people. So where was I going with that? Yeah. So, speak with people who challenge your perspective, who challenge your beliefs but not in a mean way, you know. Have a healthy discussion. Night Shayde and I did this off-air when I was interviewed on his podcast. I’ll leave a link to his show in the description and in the show notes. He has a podcast called Flatline2Beatline, and I was on his show and essentially what he does is he goes and interviews pagan authors and content creators and really just gets their name out there to more people.

So, I’ll leave his link and stuff in the description and the show notes below. But we did this off-air on…whenever I was interviewing with him and we were talking about…what were we talking about? We were talking about cultural appropriation. He and I have very different opinions on cultural appropriation versus appreciation, and it’s healthy to have discussions about the things that you believe in because if you can back up and defend your belief, then you understand it fully. And you’re not always going to change people’s mind. That’s not the point of the discussion. You’re not going to change people’s mind. It is for furthering knowledge of yourself and whoever you’re talking to. So, move past the 101. Talk to people outside of your comfort zone. Talk to people who believe different things than you, and really just open your mind to that experience.

The last thing that I want to say here about moving past 101 content is don’t be afraid to question things. You know, I know I’ve said it in this episode – question everything. Be skeptical, but there’s a reason. If you don’t know why you’re doing something, why do it? That’s one of my biggest pet peeves with a lot of 101 books and just a lot of spiritualbased books in the first place, is they tell you to do something and they don’t tell you why. You know, for Wicca 101 books for Beltane, they say you know, build a bonfire! Okay, but why? Why are you building a bonfire? Why is fire important on Beltane?

And what does it have to do with a celebration? Why did they do it historically? This is all a process of spiritual growth and just deepening your knowledge of the world around you and the history behind what it is that you’re doing. And I think it’s extremely important that you continue learning, you continue gaining knowledge on whatever it is that you’re interested in. Oh, that’s another thing that I forgot to mention is you don’t need to stick to crystals and herbs and tarot. Okay? There is an entire world out there of spirituality and of witchcraft-based things. I guess that’s a really terrible way of saying it, but there’s a whole world out there of meditations and divinations and spell casting and different types of magic and different beliefs like animism and different Theisms. There are – there is so much out there that if you are just looking at the superficial information if you’re only looking at the Wicca 101 stuff that you can get your hands on at the library, you’re missing out.

You’re missing out on so many different opportunities and so many different subjects that you might find interesting. And that’s really sad. I think that you need to be able to go after what you’re interested in. So, I mean research different types of divination. Did you know that there’s a divination method that involves like looking at the patterns that birds fly in the sky? I don’t remember what it’s called. I’ll leave a link in the description and show notes if I can find it. But there are so many different ways of divination, so many different methods. And if you don’t go out there and you don’t seek that information, you’re never going to know it’s there. And that’s a tragedy.

So, I will talk at you later. Hopefully, you enjoyed this episode. Hopefully, you learned something. And my goal with this episode with to inspire anyone who might be feeling stuck in their faith and their spirituality in their witchcraft, or just feeling stuck in general, to move past the blockage. Figure out what’s blocking you and move forward. Figure out something that you’re interested in and learn more about it. So, I will talk to you soon.

Bye for now.

I make every attempt to be inclusive and accessible to everyone. If you would prefer to download a PDF copy of this transcript, click here.

Moving past 101 content can be a huge task if you don’t know what to do, where to go, and what to study. So, why should you move past 101 content and how do you do it? I use Wicca as a basis for this episode, but this applies to all paths, traditions, and religions.  

o Shadow Work Episode: https://youtu.be/O1_UKy1gox4
o Night Shayde w/Flatline2Beatline: https://tunein.com/podcasts/Religion–Spirituality-Podcasts/Flatline-2-Beatline-p1250191/
o The Craft – A Witch’s Book of Shadows by Dorothy Morrison: https://amzn.to/2S6aL54
o Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham: https://amzn.to/2OgW3qJ
o  Lisa Chamberlain Books: https://amzn.to/2UedKuP  

o Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler
o Get it on Paperback: https://amzn.to/34wM1XT
o Get it on Audible: https://amzn.to/2S2NH8V  

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