This is something that I posted on one of the other social networking sites and I thought that it might get some good discussion going here, as well.
It is aimed at "Seekers" who feel that they may be interested in Wicca:
One of the things that Seekers might want to consider is that just posting "I want a teacher" doesn't tell us very much. Seekers might want to give a bit of their background, what they are looking for in a teacher/group, their experience in Wicca/Paganism, and even what they feel Wicca is.
Below is a questionnaire that I use when we get people expressing interest in training. This certainly isn't the be-all/end-all but I'd suggest that seekers try using it to work up a "profile" that they can then share with a respective teacher. When reading through it, remember that it is a questionnaire that is designed specifically for our coven which is part of a specific Ritual, Mystery Tradition that trains people to be Priestesses and Priests in our Tradition.
Questionnaire for seekers interested in Wicca
We know that not everyone who contacts us will want to practice the sort of Witchcraft we do and that's OK. :-) For these people, we can help by providing references or introductions to a variety of other groups. Your answers to the following questions will be of great help in ascertaining what sort of group or coven is most appropriate for you, even if it isn't us. Depending on your present knowledge of Paganism/Witchcraft/Wicca you may not understand or be able to answer one or two of the questions simply because of terms you are not familiar with. Don't be bothered by this - just answer as much as you can.
1.) Please briefly give a general description of yourself and your background, including your religious upbringing, when you were born, and the area(s) in which you grew up.
2.) When and how did you become interested in Paganism/Witchcraft/Wicca?
3.) What books have you read which pertain to Paganism/Witchcraft/Wicca?
4.) Have you ever participated in a study group or coven, or attended any classes or workshops on Paganism/Witchcraft/Wicca? If so, where and when?
5.) If you have been in a group, what did they do? What was the emphasis of the group work? What were the basic tenets of the group?
6.) What kinds of group are you looking for? What kind of coven structure do you think would feel most comfortable learning in? Celebrating with? Some components to think about are:
-- Structured or non-structured?
-- What type of Wicca: Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Dianic, Celtic, Faerie, Shamanic, Druidic, Strega, etc.?
-- A balance between the Goddess and the God, or completely Goddess-focused? Pantheon focused?
-- A larger or smaller group? How many people do you want to work with?
-- Please mention any other aspects you find important.
7.) How open have you been about your interest in Paganism/Witchcraft/Wicca with your family and friends? How have they reacted to it?
8.) What sort of time commitment are you willing to make for classes and ritual? For meditation and personal work at home?
9.) What do you feel Paganism/Witchcraft/Wicca has to offer you?
10.) What do you think your strongest and weakest characteristics are? What do you feel you have to offer as a member of a coven?
11.) What aspects of the Craft are you most interested in? What do you find interests you least?
12.) Please describe a typical day in your life.
*Margot Adler – Drawing Down the Moon (Highly recommended: this is the best available overview of Wicca and Neo-paganism in the U.S.)
*Starhawk – Spiral Dance and Dreaming the Dark
*Doreen Valiente – Natural Magic; An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present; Witchcraft For Tomorrow
*Marion Weinstein – Positive Magic
* Stewart Farrar and Janet Farrar – A Witches' Bible: The Complete Witches' Handbook
*Katherine Kurtz – Lammas Night
*Leland - Aradia, Gospel of the Witches
A note about Wicca:
Wicca (also Wica)
Wicca (pronounced /ˈwɪkə/) is a neopagan, nature-based religion. It was popularized in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant, who at the time called it Witchcraft and its adherents "the Wica".
Wiccans, as followers of Wicca are now commonly known, typically worship a God (traditionally the Horned God) and a Goddess (traditionally the Triple Goddess), who are sometimes represented as being a part of a greater pantheistic Godhead, and as manifesting themselves as various polytheistic deities. Other characteristics of Wicca include the ritual use of magic, a liberal code of morality and the celebration of eight seasonal-based festivals.
There is dispute as to what actually constitutes Wicca. Initially, it referred to the lineage of one of Gardner's rivals, Charles Cardell, although in the 1960s it began to refer instead only to lineages stemming from Gardner and operating as initiatory Mystery Priesthoods (such as Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca). These are now collectively known in North America as British Traditional Wicca. A third usage, which has grown in popularity in recent years, and which was debatably the original usage, considers Wicca to include other forms of Goddess-oriented neopagan witchcraft that are similar to but independent of that lineage, including Cochrane's Craft, Dianic Wicca and the 1734 Tradition; these are sometimes collectively termed Eclectic Wicca. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicca)
(British Traditional Wicca/Witchcraft)
BTW describes the traditions that are lineaged, initiatory mystery religions linked with a common ancestry back to the New Forest region of Great Britain. The term extends to include those Traditions in American such as Mohsian, Central Valley Wicca, Georgian, Protean, 1734 and more. A heavy emphasis is placed on “praxis” and “preserving Tradition above all else. BTW is oathbound and is a priesthood or a specific Goddess and Specific God.
Traditions of Witchcraft that are derived from the teachings of BTW yet distinctly NOT BTW. Include other Traditions that may have started as BTW but grew beyond the generally accepted restriction of BTW. Often they have either added material, modified material, or otherwise made changes to the original material to keep pace with our understanding as a culture and people. i.e. these traditions “grow and evolve”. Like BTW, Neo-Wiccan Traditions are lineaged, Initiatory Mystery Religions.
The term “Chthonioi-Alexandrian Wicca” is used to describe the practice of the Boston-based family of covens directly downline from and including Coven Chthonioi. Coven Chthonioi (and daughter Covens) grew out of the Alexandrian practice of its founders in the 1960's/1970's, and is the oldest continuous Line descended from Du Bandia Grasail, the first documented Alexandrian Coven in the USA. Chthonioi and its downline are, in general, open and non-secretive, on the principle that the Mysteries guard themselves well enough without us throwing additional obstacles in the path of understanding.
Originally purely Alexandrian, Coven Chthonioi early on changed its worship from that of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses of Britain to that of the Gods and Goddesses of Greece (Greco-Roman Pantheon and Isian worship), and changed its ritual form somewhat to suit this change in mythology. Many of the original founders (Chthonioi/Ganymede) were students of comparative religion and Classics. Given the enormous effect Greek and Roman culture has had on American arts, architecture, law and politics, since before the founding of the country, this pantheon has proven especially well-suited to our culture and our focus on social workings. In addition, the comprehensive documentation of Greco-Roman religious practice and philosophy allowed early leaders of the coven to easily form a coherent Tradition. Nonetheless the basic ritual form we use (Casting the Circle, Drawing Down the Moon, Initiations) is closely enough based on our Alexandrian background that most all of the local completely traditional Alexandrians consider us Kin or “kissing-cousins”.
Include other forms of personally crafted religious practices of Goddess-oriented neopagan witchcraft that are similar to but independent of BTW lineage and includes traditions such as Cochrane's Craft, Dianic Wicca, and others. From Witchvox: “A newer form of Wicca has developed since the 1970's that is looser in structure and practice than Traditional Wicca. These practitioners may follow a mixture of various or 'eclectic' Pagan and/or non-pagan beliefs. Some have formed 'traditions' or covens of their own, with or without a degree system, and have written a "book of shadows" outlining their own belief system and coven structure. Many are 'solitaries' who practice their beliefs and formulate their personal rituals in their own way.” (http://www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usfl&c=basics&id=4575)
I also ask potential students if they have a sig. other, and how that person views the time/energy they will be spending on their magickal path.
Better to know up front if there may be issues.