I’m not referring to the legal law of someone’s death, as sad as that subject is, nor am I discussing leap year. No, I’m talking about the traditional time for a new witch to study and practice before being able to call them-selves a witch and be initiated. One must study for a full 366 days. I can say that during my studies I’ve noticed that this tradition is not that known, even in some introductory books it’s completely left out. Not wanting anyone else to miss out, I’ve done a bit of research on the topic. My fellow new students who share this path with me and many others; I hope this helps.
In many magical traditions it is customary to study for a year and a day before to being formally initiated. In some cases, it is the standard length of time that must pass between various degrees and levels, once the person is initiated into the group.
Although the year and the day rule for initiates is most commonly found in Wicca and Neo-Wicca, it occasionally appears in other Pagan paths as well.
For many Pagans and Wiccans (commonly used interchangeably with “witch”) the year and a day study period holds a special significance. If you’ve recently become part of a group then this time period is enough that you and the group’s other members can get to know one another. It’s also a time in which you can familiarize yourself with the concepts and principles of the group. If you’re not part of an established tradition, using the year-and-a-day rule allows you to give your practice structure. Many solitaires choose to study for this time, prior to any sort of self-dedication ritual, if they so chose to do so.
In the studying period most people have been led to believe that they get their feet wet with spells and the like right away, but believe it or not spells, rituals, and stuff like that should be the last things you learn. First comes all the background work such as history, the various deities, all the belief systems out there and what it truly means to live and worship as a pagan. The craft comes after a solid understanding of how everything works and the widely accepted laws, such as the law of three/karma.
Understanding that Wicca is not only a religion but a way of life is one of the biggest reality checks for the new students and the curious. We see the divine spirit in nature and all that jazz (you probably got that all down.)
Now when it comes to the younger additions to this cultural choice is the conflict it can create with parents not accepting it. You don’t need to hide your tools. It’s nice to have a broom, athame, cauldrons, but they are just there to amp your visualization. The best (and only) magical item you need is YOU, your mind and physical body; is so powerful it’s crazy!
So you need not let any of your faith show if you don’t want it to.
All you need to do to dedicate yourself is set in the center of your room, ground and center. Visualize yourself in the goddess’s beautiful garden. See the life around you. See her, the beautiful mother, come and sit in front of you. Speak to her and dedicate yourself to her and follow through with it for a year and a day as you continue to study and learn all you can. Hug her and take your time returning to your room. Enjoy the time with her and see every detail you possibly can.
Now this may seem simple and can be but that takes discipline and you need to be absolutely sure you can keep your oath of dedication through prayer and the like that will not show to anyone who you wish not to.
During this time a new student can find a lot of resources to pull information from, but the best teacher is nature itself. Just sitting and listening to things around you can be very enlightening and very inspirational.
When tapping the resources such as the internet, books, ect. Keep in mind that there’s also false information out there so before deciding on any one thing be sure to cross check your facts. I’ve been led astray once before by making that mistake.
In my list of links are such great people sharing their knowledge, experiences, and wisdom. Please feel free to utilize them. That’s what they’re listed for.
Remember, asking questions is the best way to learn something instead of just assuming. Assumptions can get you into trouble.
At the end of your year and a day you can proudly call yourself a “witch” and count yourself and have the know-how to back up your claim. A dedication at this time, whether it’s into a coven or a self dedication, is entirely up to the practicioner and where they feel most comfortable.