Like any group or society, the magickal community has expectations of manners and behavior. Unfortunately, paganism and witchcraft, unlike other religions and spiritual practices, has no one set of doctrines, or "head" if you will. Because of this, many new practitioners have trouble finding a place to start.
"How do I go about attending rituals?" and "What should I call myself?" are among some of the common questions seekers have, with few resources to answer these questions. As someone who has taught many a student and worked tirelessly to integrate newbies into the magickal community, I thought I would write up a short list with some of the basics of magickal etiquette.
Magickal Etiquette for Beginners
· Be polite and use good manners! When you are new in the community, it can be hard to integrate. Due to the prejudice we face, many pagans and witches are slow to accept new people into their circles, especially if the new person is ill behaved. So, make sure to be polite, you're new here so let people have some time to warm up to you!
· Don’t be fluffy! Nobody likes a fluffy bunny on an ego trip. Making outrageous claims and otherwise exaggerating are not going to go over well with the community and can easily get you blacklisted. As irritating as it can be, when you are new, older practitioners are going to see you as inexperienced, and will likely be slow to take you seriously. Many new people, especially young ones, try to "prove themselves" by claiming outrageous things, and just generally bragging. Doing this can, and likely will, get you labelled a "fluffy bunny", and it can hurt your chances of being accepted by the community, so just be you.
· Don’t give yourself a title you didn't earn! It is a common misconception with newbies that everyone goes by "lord" or "Lady" within the magickal community, and this simply isn't true. Titles, while sometimes superficial, are earned through hard work and should not be taken lightly. It is a widely accepted rule of thumb that one should not call themselves by a title unless they have the proof that they earned it, or at the very least, can show their experience.
· Names get remembered! Many newbies are infatuated with the idea of creating a "magickal persona", if you will, and quickly choose a rather outlandish name to be called. Something that I cannot stress enough, is that once you are known, that's pretty much it! If you introduce yourself as "Morgana Skyewynd" or "Donthadeous Articonus" you should be prepared to be called that for the foreseeable future.
· Don’t overshare! The magickal community tends to be pretty open, and it can be hard to not spill your entire life story, but seriously, don't overshare. As friendly as people may be, it can be overwhelming, and incredibly off-putting when someone overshares. So, keep it simple, be you.
· Don’t overdress. While many gatherings will have guidelines for clothes, usually "wear them", don't show up dressed like a cartoon character. I know I know, you're excited and you worked so hard on your robes and accessories, but really, tone it down. At many gatherings’ attendees will be in plain clothes (jeans and t-shirts, or maybe dresses), so play it by ear.
· Don’t wear symbols that you aren't able to explain. OK so for example; back in my youth, the emo subculture was thriving, and places like hot topic and Spencer's were filled with Baphomet necklaces, and pentagram jewelry. You couldn't go anywhere without seeing bedazzled symbols hanging around the necks of "alternative types", but almost none of them knew what they meant. This pissed off a lot of people, and genuinely caused some conflict within the spiritual community because these symbols (the pentagram for example) are religious and sacred to many. It is seen as disrespectful when someone wears a religious symbol without knowledge of its purpose, so please, be aware.
· NEVER bring magickal tools into a circle to be charged without asking the ritualists first! Energy is a sacred thing, and if you take energy that isn't yours, or that you didn't ask for, it can have adverse side effects on other attendees. So always ask first.
· Do not touch other people, or their possessions without asking permission first. Many people have worked tirelessly to keep up their wards, and instill energy into their items, and your touching it can cause problems. So, before you touch someone or something that doesn't belong to you, ask!
While there are other guidelines that are generally accepted, these are a great place to start. I would recommend that all of you practice these when attending events and meetups, and please feel free to add to this list at will.
Have a wonderful day!
Lady Wynnie is the ArchPriestess and founder of Covenant of the Rose. She is also a talented writer who will be blogging about the coven and it's happenings!