I learned something rather intriguing today: Llewellyn is publishing a follow up to Timothy Roderick’s book Wicca: A Year and A Day this October. Unsurprisingly, it will be titled Wicca: Another Year and A Day.
For all the times I’ve given Roderick a hard time on this site, I have tremendous respect for him. The first book was very thoughtful, and it pushed me to be a better witch. It also taught me some incredibly needed lessons about failure, adaptation, and perseverance. I mourned completing the project, and I rather wished that there was a similar book out there I could work my way through–at the very least, a project like Roderick’s makes for great journaling exercises. But even though I have a favorable outlook for the first Year and A Day, I wonder if there is a call for Another.
For years, I’ve enjoyed the flurry of Google activity I see surrounding this book around December and January, and I love seeing the creations of new YouTube channels and blogs of people who are excited to tackle their Year and a Day. But by March, there’s hardly any that continue updating. And once abandoned, they largely stay abandoned. And so, Roderick’s first book has developed an ambivalent reputation in the Pagan community. Some are skeptical, some are respectful, and almost all know someone who has given it an attempt at one point in time or another. Few know any who complete it. And so it has become this weird little fetish of failure. Thorn Mooney even called it her “Book of Quitting” recently. If so few can finish, is it tempting fate to issue a whole second round of futility?
And yet, perhaps it does have a place. New people discover Wicca every day, and we’re experiencing an interesting reactionary moment against the broadscale eclecticism of the 1990s and early 2000s. Many seekers actively desire a traditional practice. But it is hard to find a coven to work with, let alone a good coven. Seekers need to find a group that is 1. within their acceptable travel range, 2. open to taking new students, 3. comprised of people you can respect and be familial with, and 4. led by people who have an active interest in teaching and the ability to facilitate cohesion in a group of disparate mindsets. Leading a coven is not dissimilar to wrangling kittens, and not everyone who wants to lead a group is capable leading a group. But they give it a try anyway, and dysfunction and dismay go on to rule the day. A nearby healthy training coven is a tall order for most, even today. While no book can replace working with a coven, Roderick’s books do a great job of getting across the language and techniques of traditional Wicca. With diligent study, a seeker will be well on the path to initiation with the first book. I am excited to see what the second will do.
When the book comes out, I will probably check it out. And maybe I’ll work through it as I did the first. I certainly know it won’t hurt and will, in fact, probably help. We’ll see how the wind blows in October.