The simple answer is I normally give is this, “a lifetime” but I figure that’s probably not going to be enough words for an InfoCircle edition so let’s explore why it takes a lifetime shall we?
Let’s get something clear here, Learning Wicca isn’t as simple as learning how to bake the chocolate cake in that cookery book or even learning how to drive in order to pass your test. You don’t learn to ‘do’ Wicca, you learn to ‘become’ Wiccan, there’s a distinct difference. When you learn how to bake that chocolate cake you don’t become a ‘chocolate cake baker’ necessarily. It doesn’t usually become something that defines your beliefs and your way of life. Similarly passing your driving test might be a huge achievement and may give you lots more freedom to get around legally but it doesn’t change who you are.
Wicca, the religious belief system and it’s practices, takes a lifetime to learn because you’re constantly learning who you are. We never get to the point when we know ourselves completely and the study of Wicca is thus a lifetime commitment to continuing that exploration, that expose and that commitment to make ourselves a better, more holistic person.
One of the frustrations of so many Wiccan teachers is that some students want to learn everything this week and become Third Degree experts by next month. Just because you can cast a circle, maybe work a spell or two, have a better understanding of nature and your place within it than you did last year, doesn’t mean you know it all. There’s no pinnacle with Wicca, there’s no end result, there’s no prize label that describes you as Wicca’s ultimate authority. You just continue with life’s Wiccan journey till you die which means everyday you learn new ways to ‘be’ Wiccan as well as to ‘do’ Wicca.
Let’s get practical though just to appease the critics, I’ll give you some general time frames around traditional learning processes. In preparation for initiation, students will often take at least a year and a day although with the Inclusive tradition, our training program (which is quite intense) takes eight months. Once initiated, the practitioner then spends between one and two years working towards their Second Degree initiation although having said that, may Wiccans are happy to remain as First Degrees thereafter. Once at Second Degree, the practitioner can take anything up to ten years before they’re initiated to Third Degree. So within the more traditional timeframes, you can be practising for almost fifteen years before you lead your own coven.
Having said that, even then you’re still learning. You still come across new events, new students, new situations and new thoughts every day which challenge and then build on what you already know or think you know! Most practitioners will create new Sabbat rituals every year for their Sabbats so that means new learnings every year with each ritual. Most covens, and even solitaires, change the way they do things from time to time and that’s all new learning too.
So learning about Wicca doesn’t have a fixed timeframe because you’re not just learning a skill set, you’re learning about you and your place in our wonderful, spiritual universe. Given that the you you think you know today will be slightly different tomorrow, you’ll be learning new things about yourself tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that and the day after that too. Becoming Wiccan is therefore a lifelong commitment, so how long does it take to learn Wicca? Well now you know the answer!
Smiles and blessings, Amethyst