Creating a New Path
Your Own Tradition
MUCH OF CONVENTIONAL Wicca is organized into traditions. Since traditions, by definition, are beliefs and practices that are passed from one generation or group to another, a Wiccan tradition is a specific form of Wiccan practice that is passed to other persons, usually following initiation.
Wiccan traditions are one of our religion’s strongest survival mechanisms. Structure is necessary for every religion’s survival. Without it, it will crumble in confusion and chaos. If every Wiccan constantly reinvented every aspect of Wicca (tools, ritual forms, deity concepts), our religion as we know it would soon disappear. Lacking traditional forms and beliefs, it could hardly be passed on to others.
As solitary Wiccans, we generally don’t practice a specific Wiccan tradition (unless we’ve been so trained and have left a coven). This presents us with great freedom. Some solitary Wiccans create new rituals for each sabbat and esbat and practice a rather loose form of Wicca.
However, many solitaries feel the need to create their own traditions so that their religious practices and beliefs are supported by a solid foundation. Though such new traditions will evolve with time and experience, they do provide a valuable framework for the solitary Wiccan’s practices. If nothing else, they provide a firm rock to grasp in the often stormy sea of self-directed worship, and are a reassurance that the Wiccan is walking the right path. In a sense, a Wiccan tradition is a map pointing out a specific route to the Goddess.
Part III of this book consists of a guide to creating a new Wiccan tradition, one perfectly suited for you. In writing it yourself, you can focus it toward your personal needs, and the end result may well be far more spiritually satisfying than any other Wiccan tradition. It’s never necessary to take on this task. However, if you do decide to create your own tradition, this and the following chapters will present you with some ideas to help you get started.
Why Create a Tradition?
Why not? Few published Books of Shadows are complete, and virtually all are designed for group worship. Thus, none are ideally suited to the solitary practitioner. This alone is reason enough to create your own Wiccan tradition.
Additionally, the published sets of rituals may seem distant, or foreign, or they may not move you to fully involve yourself in Wicca. You may also have far too many questions regarding a specific Wiccan tradition, even one that has been published, to adequately perform its rites. Then again, a creative streak may be moving within you, searching for an outlet. Creating a Wiccan tradition is a creative process, but it must be done with control.
How to Begin
Right now, as you’re reading this, grab a pen and several sheets of paper. On the top of the first page, write the following in large letters:
On the second, write TOOLS, ALTARS, DRESS, JEWELRY
On the third, RITUALS
On the fourth, BELIEFS
On the fifth, RULES
On the sixth, SYMBOLS AND RUNES
On the seventh, THE BOOK OF SHADOWS
Use these pages to make rough notes while reading the following chapters. Later, you’ll probably need far more room for your thoughts and notes on each subject, but this is a fine start. The important part is to start actually putting thoughts down on a page. These will eventually evolve into rituals, beliefs, rules, and other things. A Wiccan tradition isn’t misty or ethereal; it possesses specifics, and to create a Wiccan tradition, you must first determine these specifics.
Wicca isn’t a spiritual free-for-all. A true Wiccan tradition must be based upon Wiccan conventions. Though there’s plenty of room for personal touches, some things are essentially Wiccan and can’t be discarded. These will be clearly pointed out.
In the following chapters, we’ll be exploring one method of creating a Wiccan tradition. You’re free to use it if it feels right; if it doesn’t, don’t. And if you don’t wish to begin a new path, feel free not to. Creating your own Wiccan tradition is exciting and challenging. It’s a process of defining not only your means of spiritual expression, but also the nature of your spirituality itself. Thus, it’s a journey of self-discovery.