Paganism 101: Ideas for beginners

Recently, I have had a lot of contact with people who have said that they are just staring out in Paganism, and don’t really know what to do. So I thought I would write a little ditty about things that people might like to try.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and it is very much based on my own experience and practice.

1. Set up an altar. 

It doesn’t have to be fancy, use a shelf of a bookcase, an old coffee table, whatever you have to hand. Find a nice cloth to cover it. Scraps of fabric will do, whatever you like. Some people use different colours for the time of the year or the kind of altar they want. You could look into colour meanings, or just go with what speaks to you. (At the moment, my altar has a table runner from last Yule chucked over it for Samhain. So much glitter came off that damn thing)

On your altar, you might like to place things that are important to you. Special objects, things that have spiritual significance. For instance, on my current altar, I have a large mother of pearl shell that was given to me by a fellow Raven Devotee, and inside that I have a pouch of dirt from my initiation and some other bits and pieces. (Have a look at our previous article on altars)

Remember- it doesn’t have to be expensive. My first pendulum was a piece of silver plastic I found on Albert St in the city. My Horned God image is a card from a game.

2. Connect to the elements. 

For me, when I started out, this was one of the easier things to understand. You can use more traditional means, such as calling The Quarters, or you can just go with what you feel. Generally it’s easier to do this with some physical representation, so grab some tea-light candles, some incense or feathers, a cup of water, and a handful of dirt from your garden or a plant… or whatever you associate with each of the elements.

Connect with it, sense the energy inside it, pull it into yourself and sit with it. See if one appeals over the other. I’m an air person, I have always been, even when I was first starting out and it took years for me to realise how it all tied into my beliefs and practice. This was how I learnt to deal with energy, this eventually became my understanding of otherworld.

3. Get a book! 

(Yes reading everything you can find that interests you is great, I totally photocopied all of the witchcraft books in the Brisbane Central Library at the age of fourteen because I couldn’t borrow them. They were in the reference section for some reason… I had a whole folder stuffed with bits! But also, make your own… draw and illustrate, write about your feelings of energy, write down your dreams, make up spells and rituals that speak to you, write prayers to gods and goddesses that appeal to you. The book will be vital to your journey and you will treasure it always… even if when you look back it’s a little embarrassing…

4. Try mapping energy. 

I love doing this. You can use a pendulum, or even just sensing it. I adore mapping where I can feel energy moving through a space, based on how a pendulum moves. And yeah, just use a button tied to a piece of cotton if you don’t want to buy a fancy one. It’s about your senses, feeling what you can sense moving around you.

5. Meditate. 

I know it sounds scary. But seriously, just sit and be, let your mind wander. You might find something is waiting there and even if it seems utterly bizarre, take note and write it down.

6. Read myths. 

Learning the stories that make our faith is vital to understanding the patterns of the world. There are parallels in every culture that speak to the intrinsic meaning in humanity. Myths are awesome. There are a lot of great translations around. If you find a deity that you love, research more, learn about their symbology and bring it into your life.

7. Observe the Sabbats. 

They are the building blocks of modern Paganism. Not everyone does it the same, and word of warning – make sure you are looking up the Australian dates, most pagan books are Northern Hemisphere. But these eight celebrations are a brilliant way of keeping your practice focused and helping you to understand more about the world around you and the myths. There are numerous ways to celebrate, but make up your own traditions as you go… you’ll soon get the hang of it.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

Everyone starts somewhere. I was fourteen and photocopying witchy books. Then I was nineteen and self initiating because I didn’t know any other pagans. I only wrote rituals and spells that rhymed. Oh gods, the rhyming. I didn’t know anything but that this was for me. I would have killed for a community and I was lucky enough to stumble on my sister.

We are here for any and all enquiries. Post your question on the Temple Facebook page or message us and we’ll do it for you. We are not experts, but the Temple has over 500 followers now. Someone will know the answer, and we’re all here because we love Paganism and want to share it. Just ask!

You’re going to do great.


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