Etiquette is a code of behavior that influences expectations for social behavior according to contemporary conventional norms within a group. Rules of etiquette are usually unwritten and vary from group to group. Rules of etiquette encompass most aspects of social interaction in any society, though the term itself is not commonly used. A rule of etiquette may reflect an underlying ethical code, or it may reflect a person’s fashion or status.
Like “culture”, it is a word that has gradually grown plural, especially in a multi-ethnic society with many clashing expectations. Thus, it is now possible to refer to “an etiquette” or “a culture”, realizing that these may not be universal. Most “Wiccan etiquette” is just plain common sense just as etiquette is in general. There are a few areas you may find unfamiliar though, so it helps to have some guidelines to avoid social and magickal faux pas.
Circle etiquette: We like to wash away the reminders of the everyday. A clean robe and clean body show courtesy to others and reverence for the Gods. The Ritual bath is not for just cleansing the body – it is for purifying the mind so please bathe ahead of time. A ritual bath complete with incense, candles, and magickal oil is recommended. Other types of ritual cleansing that may be provided are a hand bath, finger bowl, or smudging. These are not substitutes for physical cleansing. While it is not proper to wear strong smelling perfumes or oils to circle which can overpower the incense there is no rule against deodorant (I don’t know how that rumor started).
There should be no gossiping about others or other negative talks before circle. If you have a problem with someone else, talk to them or the Priest or Priestess privately. No talking while waiting to enter the Sacred Space. This is the time to begin centering and grounding. When in doubt about anything ask before the ritual starts.
Jewelry, Tools, Etc.: Please ask (and wait for an answer) before touching anyone else’s jewelry or magickal tools or Tarot Cards. It is tempting to touch when a friend shows up with a pretty new necklace or chalice, but remember: they may have gone to a great deal of trouble cleansing and charging it for a particular purpose and may have to do it all over again if anyone (even a friend) touches it.
Shopping: While the only hard and fast rule in Wicca is “An ye harm none do what ye will”, most pagans ascribe to the rule: “Don’t haggle for magickal tools”. This is a natural extension of “Harm None”. When you haggle the seller may feel compelled, against his or her own will, to drop the price.
The biggest flub anyone in the Pagan community can make is to tell someone that somebody else is a Witch without first knowing if they are still in the “Broom Closet” or have gone public, a surprisingly large basis of those with like beliefs, prefer to keep them secret.
As with any situation, when you are not in your home or hosting the Rite, ask before you intercede, or you may not be invited back. The most basic, of basic common sense usually can be matched word for word with any group’s standard of etiquette.