There are many similarities between a Wiccaning and that of a Christian Baptism. Both are a profound Rite of Passage marking a new stage in that individual's life. However, where as in a Baptism, the individual is promising to adhere to the requirements of the Christian faith, in a Wiccaning it is the community to which that individual belongs that makes the promise to lead them in the ways of their faith, to raise that child in the knowledge of the Old Gods.
The Ceremony also calls for a blessing for the child from the Gods, however, it is the promise made by the community to the Gods that is the true point of the Rite. This is why it is very common to have a Baby Blessing Ceremony for an infant, as this Rite calls for a blessing and asks the Gods to protect the child. The Wiccaning, then, is the promise to raise the child in the faith of their parent(s)/guardian(s).
It is in this light that we approach the Ceremony and why it is common for us to use the term Dedication and Wiccaning, in regards to the Ceremony, interchangeably. As such, a child must be at least four years old before they are able to participate in the Rite. This allows for them to have a better understanding of just what the Ceremony entails and just how important it is. Most importantly, this allows them the ability to refuse to participate in the Rite if they so choose.
Our youngest son will have his Wiccaning this coming February, as he just turned four this past November. There's an excitement building in anticipation for this, and planning for the Ceremony is underway. it is clear that a different approach must be taken with the Rite from that which we took with our eldest son. Titus is much more the dreamer, more imaginative. Atticus is more no-nonsense, so where as he took the mystery and symbolism for what it was, Titus will be more apt to ask for details and clarification in order to build upon the drama within his own mind.
Throwing the Bones