Well, I started my research online, because the internet is the tool I'm most familiar with. I learned that as much information as there IS on the web about the neopagan community, and about the many different branches of the Wiccan Faith, the best and most helpful information just at first, was what I found in books.

Now that I have a basic understanding, I am forever searching for some arcane bit of knowledge or a website that offers just the right information about ordering food-safe cauldrons or who to contact about participating in the next big holyday or what THIS representation of the Goddess is known for.

So-- a few places to start. I'm giving you the websites first, because you're probably as impatient as I am, and the library or the local bookstore might be closed.

*Celtic Wicca Index of Information (and store)
*Z.Budapest's Website
*The Witche's Voice Newsletter

Now, having learned just enough to know I needed to learn more before I could really get started with anything, I found a couple of VERY useful books-- for me. You may find that locating the "Pagan Religions" section of your local bookstore or library is the best way to figure out what you are interested in learning about. You may relate strongly to some non-Wiccan pagan religion, and therefore need to read a book I haven't really noticed.

*Drawing Down The Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshipers and Other Pagans in America; by Margot Adler
This woman did wonderful original research on existing Pagan communities in America. She was allowed to participate in some of their Sacred Circles, and she has read most of the literature that is or was out there about each facet of Pagan Religion to date. This book is a GREAT way to really understand all the different forms of Pagan worship out there, what they are called, what they believe, how they worship, and the meaning behind the words we all use.

Now, being a scholar, I read all the prefaces and introductions before I got around to reading chapter one. They are dry in places, and a bit repetitive. But they definitely helped me understand the way in which she wrote the rest of the book, and gave me great insight into WHY she wrote the book. Basically, Drawing Down The Moon was originally written in 1979, based on a survey Margot Adler did at the time. You want a copy of the revised edition-- published sometime after 2005. She has done another survey and a complete re-researching of Pagan religions in America TODAY-- and has included both her original observations (take it as historical background on your potential religion), her new research, and her comments on the difference between the two. And there are tons of resources in the back of the book.

*Simple Wicca; by Michele Morgan
This book really does lay out the holydays, the meaning of words, the most common tools and symbols and rituals of the religion, and gives you some sense of the way magick is practiced. As I was first starting out, I found it unbelievably helpful to have someone tell me WHAT THEY DO, and WHY! And not just give spells and throw terminology around and assume you understand what a mixed-gender Dianic Wiccan would and would not believe (for example). However, this is just one person, and just one way of being Wiccan. There are all kinds of Wiccans, styles, beliefs, spells, and guidelines, and she only presents the ones SHE uses. They may not all be right for you. Take what resonates, and keep searching for more.

*The Chalice & The Blade; by Riane Eisler
This book looks at the archaeological records of what existed before Jewish and Christian Faiths were born-- before Christ was born, before the year 1 A.D. And it talks about how life, learning, and worship may have been. You see, Goddess-worship has existed for many thousands of years in many different parts of the world. In fact, considering that written historical records have been found in archaeological digs and anthropological studies up to and more than 8,000 before the coming of Christ, it's rather ironic that we call everything before the year 1 in our calendar (based on the coming of Christ-- A.D. stands for more or less "After Death) "PRE HISTORY." That the most meaningful way our whole society can date such events is "B.C"-- basically, "Before Christ." Many Pagans today use C.E. and B.C.E. (before common era) for this very reason. Their histories are not ruled by a god that has only been in existence for 2,000 years.

Well, that's a lot to get through all at once. I'll sign off and get some other work done while I still have hours left in the day. May the falling rain cleanse your skin, nourish your body, and inspire your soul.
Blessed Be.

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