Tips for New Pagans
Finding yourself searching for a religion you fit into can be hard. Many people find themselves searching for something to fulfill them that was not present in the religion they were raised with, or they were raised without religion and wish to find what it is they are missing. I've been there done that, still doing it. For those who are just beginning your journey, there are a few things I wish I'd know.
Wicca isn't the only pagan religion. In fact Wicca barely scratches the surface! When I started Wicca was the only pagan path I'd ever heard of, and it sounded better than being a non believing Christian, or a self proclaim Atheist. So I took it and ran with it, but I came across so many things that just didn't fit me, so in the end I ended up being the exact thing I was trying to stay away from, a hypocrite, on of the reasons I left the Christian church to begin with.
One of the big things I've learned in my 7 years of being a 'recovering Christian' and a Pagan is that research never ends. I learn new things everyday, and I read constantly. I have books on my list from beginner to expert, and my wish list is so long I may never read all the books I want to. The reason for this is that their so much to learn, and so much to discover. It seems like every book I read, every website I open, there is a new wealth of information, or a new way to look at things. Learning is what keeps life from becoming stale. There is always something new to learn, if you think you've learned everything possible about a subject, go back, read some more, I promise you'll learn something new.
You don't have to 'learn' to believe anything, or even follow a given path. In the end religion is about what you believe, not finding what other people believe and following it. Religion is a personal thing, and always should be seen as such. If you can't find a religion that fits your beliefs, branch out, forge your own path. It doesn't have to make sense to anyone but yourself. Even if you do find a path that fits, don't be afraid to incorporate personal aspects to it. Make it your own!
Being and expert and owning tools isn't what its about. You don't have to know everything or have anything to start practicing. Why do you think it's called practice! In fact I would recommend you find you own tools as you go and just start with what you were born with, your body and mind! Nothing has to be done a specific way, and part of the reason you are getting involved is to learn more and to connect with deity in whatever way you see it. That is what religion is about!
One thing that has really helped me is forums. It's nice to be able to talk to people who have similar beliefs. The can teach you a lot. I live in a place with a very small pagan community, so belonging to one online has been a lot of help to me. You can read through and find answers to questions you didn't even know you had! Plus they are a great way to make new friends too! There are also a lot of people who have been following there path for decades and they are a wealth of information in themselves. With so many people in one place you can get so many answers, so if one doesn't fit or seem right to you are bound to find one that does, and if not, if give you plenty of food for thought.
No matter what you read, how much, or where, you are going to run into someone who doesn't present the truth, or presents some questionable things. One of the most important things is to be critical of everything you read or hear. Just because someone wrote it doesn't mean it's true, take everything with a grain of salt. This goes back to one of my earlier points, read and research, find out as much as you can.
This path is yours, no one can do it for you, and in the end its all about the journey, not the destination. Have fun and never let it seem like a job, or a duty, do it because you want to. Finding your own way can be tough, but in the end it's worth it.