Does Paganism need a Roderick round 2?

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.

Coming soon to a Barnes and Noble near you, October 8, 2015.

Coming soon to a Barnes and Noble near you, October 8, 2015.

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?

A side-by-side with the original...because why not?.

A side-by-side with the first, because why not?.

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.

8 thoughts on “Does Paganism need a Roderick round 2?

  1. Melissa! I am new to the whole Wicca thing. Glad to hear that you’ve read that particular book. Everybody has to find their happy medium…

    • Hey Thorn! I’m pretty excited about it, too. I think that if you don’t put pressure on yourself to complete all those Roderick exercises in a tight timeline, his project(s) are really fun and informative. I am super curious to see what a round 2 would involve.

  2. I discovered the upcoming existence of a sequel when I was shopping for my own copy of ‘Wicca: A Year and A Day’ just before I went on holiday last Friday (I’m blaming your blog for that by the way). I was going to leave a comment on the book review that you wrote when I got back, in case you hadn’t heard and might be interested, but it turns out you’ve beaten me to it.

    Depending how I get on with the first ‘Year and a Day’ I may end up buying the second book, but as I’m planning on doing however many days of study as opposed to 366 days of consecutive practice it’ll be quite a while before that happens so I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of it, especially if you end up doing a 366 Part Two project.

    • It is just way too hard to prepare for 366 separate exercises within a year while still living life, holding down a full time job, and taking care of those around you. I agree that it’s a great thing to do a little witchy work a day, but repeating is very good. Like, one of my major disappointments with Roderick is that playing with key techniques like visualization got a gloss and then didn’t get much follow up. Most of the meditations were guided, and while that is really useful, it limits you when you’re skill-building.

      Roderick is best when taken in doses. If I were to tackle round two, I might opt to do two or three exercises a week, max.

      • When I start working through my own copy I’m aiming to do one ‘day’ a week as a minimum, and then one or two more if I have the chance, due to the full-time job, life, and wanting to balance an increase in my Pagan religious practices with a similar increase in my Christian ones. I also know from reading Three Hundred and Sixty-Six that there are some exercises I won’t be doing as they just don’t fit with what I believe, which is understandable considering the book’s intended audience. Even if you take some days out, if I only manage one exercise a week it’ll probably take me as long to work through the book as it took you, but then I’m on this path for the long haul, so I may as well take time over it.

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