Year & A Day: A Wiccan Apprenticeship

Chances are if you’ve done any kind of research (whether online or offline) into Wicca, you’ve come across the “year and a day” concept of actually “becoming” a Wiccan.  There is a lot of controversy within the pagan community about this practice, and about calling oneself a “Wiccan” without a) joining a coven; and b) being properly initiated into Wicca BY that coven.  The nuances of that discussion is beyond the scope of this article.

The purpose of this article is to give you a little more insight into what the year and a day concept is all about, as well as to discuss what you should do if you’re a solitary practitioner in terms of this concept.  I should also stress that what I share here (and, indeed, on most of my articles unless otherwise cited) are my opinions and conclusions based on my own individual research.  As I always maintain, Wicca is a path of enlightenment.  And that enlightenment is unique to each person.

Why A Year and A Day?

One of the first questions you may have is “What’s so important about a year and a day?”  That’s a very good question.  We actually find the answer in both European traditions (which would make sense, since Wicca originated in England) and another, unlikely source: the law.  In the not-so-distant past in Europe, if a serf escaped from the control of his lord and remained on the run for at least a year and a day, then they were considered a free man.  In Scotland, a man and a woman who lived together for more than a year and a day were considered to have a common law marriage.  There are some old legal principles that included a year and a day, but I’ll do you a favor and skip the legal lecture.  You’re welcome.  If you’re a total nerd like me and you want to learn more about the legal principles that included the “year and a day” doctrine, consult the great oracle known as Google.

When it comes to Wiccan tradition, you will most likely encounter the year and a day concept if you wish to join a coven.  And even then, it doesn’t mean that exactly 366 days from the day you join a coven as an initiate, you will be a Wiccan.  Many established covens maintain that the principle actually states “AT LEAST a year and a day.”  The “regulations” vary from coven to coven (and tradition to tradition), but the general concept is twofold.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

First, it gives the coven members time to get to know you (and you, them).  Performing spells and rituals in a communal magickal circle is not something to take lightly, and there has to be a considerable amount of synchronicity and trust between the people within that circle.  If you don’t “jive” with the people in the coven, then the energy is going to be off, and that’s not good for anyone involved.

Secondly, it gives the initiate time to study the Craft in detail (and, if you’re part of a coven, you’ll have coven-specific practices that you’ll also need to become familiar with).  Unlike other popular religions that require their members to simply “accept” the religion and their teachings after making the decision to follow that religion, Wiccans want to make sure that the people who are initially deciding to start on this path actually want to continue on that path.  To do so, you need to be familiar with the nuances of what Wicca teaches.

But What If I’m A Solo Witch?

If you’ve decided to dedicate yourself to following the Wiccan Path but you want to practice solo, then do you still have to wait the “year and a day” before you can call yourself a witch?  When it comes right down to it, that’s a purely personal decision.  However, I would strongly recommend that you devote a considerable amount of time to studying Wicca.  But what should you study?  Well, as I’ve mentioned in previous articles, a great place to start is to read the book Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham.  It is an excellent guide that gives you a general overview of what Wicca is all about, and it includes guidance on how to begin practicing the Craft by yourself.

In addition to that, you should read up on Wiccan history (my History of Wicca section is a great place to start).  As proud as I am of this website, and as much as I want to help every visitor find all the answers they’re looking for when it comes to Wicca, I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to visit other sites as well.  Unlike Christianity, Wicca is a belief system that includes many different perspectives and opinions and, for the most part, we fellow Wiccans support each other on our differing views.

Truly learning about Wicca is all about doing your homework.  In the great big silicon-fueled world that is the Interwebs, you’re bound to find hundreds, even thousands of different perspectives on Wicca.  The same holds true for those ancient things known as “books.”  Personally, I love physical books.  I’m the kind of nerd who, when I purchase a new book, I open it up to a random page, stick my nose in the middle of the book, and SNIFF!  Ahh, that new book smell.  You don’t have to do that if it makes you feel like a dork.  I would, however, recommend seeking out some good books regarding Wicca.  My Recommended Reading section has an ever-growing list of books that I’ve read (or plan to read).

At the end of the day, you need to let your intuition guide you.  One’s own personal intuition plays a big part in how you practice the Craft, whether in a coven or by yourself.  But one thing is critical: never stop learning!

Blessed Be!