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Wicca Basics: Your First Solitary Ritual

A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.

When something is familiar, it's not scary. The religion you grew up with wasn't scary because you were used to it. Likewise, Wicca isn't scary to Wiccans when you are used to it—like this child who was raised in a Pagan family.

When something is familiar, it's not scary. The religion you grew up with wasn't scary because you were used to it. Likewise, Wicca isn't scary to Wiccans when you are used to it—like this child who was raised in a Pagan family.

Wiccan Ritual for Beginners

Are you ready for your very first solitary Wiccan ritual? Congratulations! This is certainly a milestone on your new path! You’re probably both very nervous and very excited at the same time. It’s easy to get yourself worked up a bit, as learning so much new information is overwhelming. Putting it into practice for the first time can be a bit intimidating.

There are people of other religions who try to drill into our heads that Wicca is some kind of “gateway” to all you've ever seen in bad horror movies. This is just not true. There are no evil spirits out to get us, no demons haunting or possessing us. We don’t tend to believe in such things, which is why you hear little mention of them in Wiccan books. Try to get it out of your head that some kind of boogie man is going to jump out at you, or the power of your own imagination might kick in.

Here are some things about your first ritual you should know. Knowledge is power, so hopefully, knowing these things will help calm your nerves so you can get through it and enjoy it for the beautiful spiritual experience that it is.

Don't Worry About Doing It "Wrong"

Another thing some people are afraid of is doing it ‘wrong’. What if you make a mistake? What if you accidentally do something disrespectful? What if you turn into a complete klutz and knock over the ritual juice or sneeze out a candle?

Don’t worry about it. The gods have a sense of humor, and they also have a sense of understanding and compassion. They’re not going to punish you for mistakes. Your frame of mind is what's most important, so take everything else in stride.


KISS: Keep It Simple, Sweetie

Even simple rituals can keep you on your toes. When you’re venturing into uncharted waters alone for the first time, it’s best to keep things as simple as possible. Don't worry about making it elaborate in the beginning. You don’t need to run out and buy a bunch of tools you never used and don’t understand yet. You don’t need to form a lot of procedures and ritual drama that you have only read about.

You might simply do the following:

  • Bless the space
  • Invoke the gods
  • Say a few prayers or read some poetry
  • Meditate for a little while
  • Bless some juice and cookies
  • Thank the gods and be on your way

That is a good enough ritual, really. You can always add things to your ritual later as you get more comfortable doing them—but in the beginning, pare it down to the basics and stick to that.

I myself recommend the simple solitary rituals found in Scott Cunningham’s book, Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner in his "Book of Shadows" section.

Save Advanced Practices for Later

Whatever type of ritual you do end up settling on, you should probably put any advanced practices on hold. Focus on the essential parts of the ritual… your first Wiccan solitary ritual is not the best time to try something like Drawing Down the Moon or blood magic. Even if you’re adept at witchcraft already, if you’re new to Wiccan religious practices then let them be the focus of the ritual until you grow comfortable with it.

Even Wiccan rituals run more smoothly when organized

Even Wiccan rituals run more smoothly when organized

Make a List and Check It Twice

Setting up your altar and making sure you have all your altar supplies ahead of time and on hand when the ritual begins can be a major component of success. Realizing when you set up that you forgot to buy candles can be disheartening. And realizing in the middle of the ritual that you forgot to bring matches into the circle or you left the ritual chalice on the kitchen counter can be very distracting.

This is why you should check your list twice. Write down everything—down to the matches, the notes and radio and MP3 player if you plan to involve meditation music—and collect it all by the day before. Check off your list. Then, just before you begin your ritual, set it up and go through your checklist again.

Your ritual will run a lot smoother if you are not running around in the middle trying to get things you’ve forgotten.

Some Things You Could Use If You Don't Have Tools:

To Represent God or Goddessan image (print one from online); candles; small figurines of animals associated with them (for example, an owl for Athena; a goat for Pan; etc.)

In place of Athames, swords and knives

letter openers; wands; terminated crystals; your finger.

In place of wands

stick; dowel; terminated quartz; your finger.

In place of a chalice

Any cup will do.

In place of a pentacle

flat stone; slice of tree stump; paper or wood circle with symbols drawn on it.

In place of a censer

heat-proof bowl full of sand (good for cones or incense coals); a cup full of sand or salt (to stick incense sticks in)

In place of incense

An herbal sachet; a basket of potpourri; an oil diffuser; a small dish with a cotton ball dabbed with essential oils.

In place of candles

Just leave the lights on or do the ritual in the daytime. You could also use small electric lights, lanterns, holiday string lights, battery-powered 'candles', etc.

In place of a cauldron

Any heat-proof pot will do

To represent the Element of Air

A feather; a fan; a statue/image of a flying creature (birds, butterflies, etc.).

To represent the Element of Earth

A stone; a bowl of salt; a potted plant; an image or figure of a land animal (bull; deer; earthworm; etc.)

To represent the Element of Fire

A pumice stone; a lava stone; an animal image or statue associated with fire (phoenix; fireflies; lions; etc.)

Don’t Sweat It

Try not to let mishaps get to you. If you do forget the ritual juice or if you run out of candles—so what? It’s not a big deal. You can do a ritual with nothing but yourself and your gods. Or you can stop, ‘cut a doorway’ in your circle (if you bothered to cast one), get what you need, return and reinforce the circle.

Also, don’t get nervous if you forget a part—just omit it, or go back and do it, then proceed. Don’t worry if you stumble over your words or forget what you want to say—wing it if you must. Don’t freak out if you knock over something. Just pick it up.

Again, mistakes won’t anger the gods or cause anything bad to happen. All they’ll do is let you psyche yourself out and distract you from actually getting into the ritual. So just brush off mistakes with an “oops” and proceed. Don’t let them get to you.

Remember—it’ll take time to really get familiar with your ritual format or procedures, but you will grow into them. For now, just enjoy being in the presence of your gods and celebrating what you hold sacred. After all, the real purpose of the ritual is not how you would look or sound or how perfect you can be, but what you personally get out of the experience, so just enjoy it no matter what.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 Mackenzie Sage Wright


Lee on June 02, 2020:

i am new and dipping my toe in muddy waters, I like this as a religion as its more layed back and all about your journey and self progression. As these practices are so alien it's good to no that doing things wrong does not invoke bad things. Thank you for your time and understanding. So, I can start my journey and see if it is a way of life which helps more positive outlook on life.

Thank you again.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on March 07, 2020:

The Scott Cunningham book (Wicca; A Guide for the solitary practitioner) is good. Any others under that title, I don't know. Wicca for Beginners by Thea Sabin is my favorite.

MoonFae from USA on February 04, 2020:

I love this post! And the video, too!

I've heard a lot about A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner. Should I buy it? What is it about?

Rowan Briar on December 10, 2019:

I also love Scott Cunningham's book for solitary practitioners. It keeps me focused on what is most important so I continue to grow and be a better person. Thank you for all of your helpful insights and sharing your wisdom. So many websites want to charge people money before they will teach or share information. I really appreciate people who are just willing to share and support others on their path.

cleryfrey on October 24, 2019:

ah finally thank you!! i've been agonizing over my lack of an athame and thankfully this post showed me an alternative to use. thank you for this article. I'm hoping I can finally do a simple ritual for Samhain.

Jonah on September 23, 2019:

What about if you make a mistake in a blood ritual.

Emma Houghton from Somewhere on April 19, 2019:

lovely, i liked this so much

P Diego on October 03, 2018:

What if I made a mistake taking down the circle? Or accidentally stepped one foot out of the circle before it's taken down?

Wiccan on June 01, 2018:

I believe you will know when you are ready to perform your first ritual. You will be certain that it is what you want to do and when you do it, it will come as second nature the time every single time after you will get better and better no matter what

Anna on March 16, 2018:

I've thought about Wicca previously, but I've never researched it until now. I feel like Wicca is for me, but is it too soon to perform ritual? I've only just understood what Wicca is, and I have decided today that this is what I believe. So should I wait to do ritual?