Magic has been calling to me since early childhood (I am in my 40's now), and I have been largely ignoring it. Partly because of stigma, partly because of fear or lack of confidence, but mostly because it is so damn hard to find a community and/or a mentor. Even online where "everyone has a place", I have struck out in previous attempts to get connected, learn, and grow. Alas, perhaps I give up too easily.
Your beginner's page suggests some readings, of which I have purchased "Scott Cunningham's Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner since it seems I will likely always be a Solitary Practitioner (and student). It should arrive early next week if not by Saturday, but I took the opportunity to read the first chapter online (thanks to Amazon) and Scott said something that struck me. He said (paraphrasing), "If you are only interested in the practice of magick, then Wicca isn't for you."
Forgive my ignorance, but Wicca is worship of (Earth) Gods and Goddesses, is it not? And wasn't it magick that has been calling me all these decades? Herein lies my question, or should I say confusion. I thought, perhaps naively, one could practice the craft regardless of "faith"? Could/would you expand on Scott's statement, please? Am I barking up the wrong proverbial tree? Should I be looking elsewhere? I have academically studied many religions, and even followed some for a time, but I am unclear about Scott's intended meaning and if I am called to "follow" these deities. It seems this requires more thought and analysis on my part, but I need more information.
Another question I have is regarding Raymond Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft. Many have reviewed his book and claim he is condescending and arrogantly insists his way is better, as in "his way or the highway." This seems to contradict the practice? If there were only a few saying this, I would disregard them given how many have given it praise, but there are many more than a few. Would you share your thoughts on that?
Last question: Wicca - if I understand correctly - really only has one law, "Harm no one." It seems so black and white, right or wrong, silo'd without compromise or flexibility. I have no enemies or schemes against others, but I am not sure I can follow this law in total. I cannot predict the future me, or my circumstances.
Please accept my deepest apologies for this novel-length question/post. I hope for, and look forward to, your response(s). I approach you all with vulnerable ignorance, intellect, naivete, power, good will, and humility. May you all flourish.
I think what Cunningham meant when he said "If you are only interested in the practice of magick, then Wicca isn't for you," was that Wicca is so much more than just "magick." Wicca is a spiritual path which encourages a strong connection with the God, Goddess, and the Elements through ritual and meditation. Although magick is used in Wicca, it is not and should not be the focal point.
Buckland wrote the Complete Book of Witchcraft in the 1970's, a time when there was some snobbery with traditional practitioners. In his later books, those written after 2000, you can really read his more relaxed point of views.
No one can follow the Harm None rule strictly... our very existence causes harm. Instead, I believe the idea is to live each day as best as you can without intentionally and maliciously harming another.