Forget the pointy hats, broomsticks, and hackneyed incantations: there’s a lot of misinformation being spread about witches! A complex and personal practice, witchcraft is a method of folk magic that involves a deep knowledge of the natural world, the spiritual world, and the self. If you have a connection to these worlds and are dissatisfied with traditional beliefs, learning more about what it means to be a witch may be right for you. It is a lifelong practice and journey.
There is no central school of witchcraft, witchcraft, or spells, which means that novices and ordinary people often have a hard time figuring out what’s real and what’s not. Becoming a witch is a personal journey that involves research, effort, and learning. Depending on your interests, different teachings and traditions might be more appropriate or interesting. Some common styles of witchcraft include: Wiccan and “green” witchcraft are popular in the United States and often center around Gaia studies and nature-based spells and meditation. The first Wiccas were descendants of Gerald Gardner, a 19th-century British magic teacher whose ideas and works were popularized in the 1950s. If you have an interest in crystals, the use of herbs, rituals, and essential oils, this could be for you. Neo-paganism and druidism or other ancestral sorceries are interested in history and tradition and practice specifically according to the seasons and rituals. If you want to go back to the source of “traditional” witchcraft, these styles might be for you. Regional and esoteric hexes, such as santeria, Stropharia, fari, pharmacies, and other cultural hexes are also common, depending on where you live and your culture’s traditions. If you have a strong connection to a place, research the local practices where you live.
One thing the novice witch learns quickly is that every skilled practitioner practices differently. There is no “bible” of witchcraft, no central guideline of principles or rules for witches. Anything that claims to be that is false. Your practice is your own practice, nobody else’s, so it’s important not to take “expert” advice too seriously. You can read a few classics, but it should all boil down to your own personal understanding of the arts and practice. Some classic authors and readings include Aleister Crowley Colin Wilson’s The Occult: A History Malleus Maleficarum, an ancient text on witchcraft Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft Montague Summers’ Witchcraft and Demonology View Wiccan writings by Gerald Gardner, Doreen Valiente, and Scott Cunningham on! Nigel Jackson, Nigel Pennick, Carlo Ginzburg, Robin Artison, Gemma Gary, and Andrew Chumbley have written widely on traditional witchcraft.
It cannot be stressed enough: being a witch is a personal journey. There’s no one way to do it. This makes it important to learn what you can, take on what you must, and write down your own goals and path for yourself. It might be helpful to keep a little journal, to keep track of what it is you hope to explore and what you hope to discover. A few guiding questions can help get you started, but it’s up to you to find the answers. What do you desire from witchcraft? What types of spells and incantations are you hoping to perform? What do you hope to learn about being a witch? What do you hope witchcraft can do to improve or change your life?
Beware of paid tutorials and online models! Developing practice in witchcraft is not something that can be communicated in 25 easy steps for only $39.95 by Hot Topic. Witchcraft is not about following a prescribed list of rules and going from A to B to C in the right order. It is a personal journey of discovery and deep spiritual work. Dedicate yourself to the practice for the long term and learn as much as you can about magic! What it means to “be a witch” and “practice witchcraft” changes drastically when you talk to different practitioners of magic. Try not to take things too seriously! If other witches don’t want to help you learn, or disagree with a particular practice or book that you find strength in, talk to other witches! Find a group of like-minded practitioners and ignore those who think differently!
To get started working on spells and practicing witchcraft, it’s a good idea to get the basic tools. No, broomsticks and pointed hats are not necessary. Each witch requires different tools to perform specific spells, but the basics are more or less universal. Choose a wand! Wands are often chosen for their personal connection to the witch. It’s just a matter of finding a stick and charging it, but it’s also so much more than that. spend a lot of time walking in the woods to find a short stick that works on you that you can use a feel the connection! You will know when you find him. A mortar is an important item for casting spells. Used to mix herbs and other ingredients into an intoxicating potion, mortars are available at any hardware store and in most kitchens. Herbs. Witch hazel, mugwort, sage, lavender, and many other herbs are commonly used in witchcraft. Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs is an essential guide for the novice witch. You can learn about the powers and uses of many different herbs and how to use them. alcohol and salt. Used for purification and to keep your magic safe, spirit and salt are common barriers against the spirit world. You can keep yourself safe by charging your instruments with natural alcohol and circling yourself with salt.
Wands, crystals, and other implements involved in heavy psychic incantations must be thoroughly cleaned before and after casting. A good witch is in tune with her instruments and keeps them charged and free of negative psychic energy. Use the traditions and techniques of your practice to load and clean your instruments! Different traditions offer different techniques for accomplishing this, but in general, many witches use lunar energy to charge or purify wands, allowing the stone to absorb the energy of the moon by exposing it to moonlight overnight. Wiping your wand with alcohol is also a common practice to cleanse and clear all bad psychic energy.
Spells and circles don’t have to be performed at midnight in the middle of a dark forest, and magical rituals can just as easily be performed in the comfort of your bedroom. Choose a safe place where it will be comfortable and undisturbed! Choose a place where you can be undisturbed for as long as it takes to complete the ritual! Meditate for several minutes according to your practice! Offer a prayer of protection, telling the evil spirits and negative energy to stay away, and inviting positivity and light into your circle! Meditate on the task ahead! Light candles and prepare other items that will be necessary for the ritual you are about to perform! If other people are present to perform the ritual with you, gather, hold hands, and complete the purifying prayers together! become one!
Different traditions use different objects and methods to form a circle, but it doesn’t matter if you want to use candles, rocks, chalk lines, or sticks to form your magic circle, all that matters is the intention. The circle is a physical or psychological barrier in your safe place that allows you to channel the deities, powers, and energies necessary to do your work. In many traditions, a circle must contain candles in each of the four cardinal directions—North, South, East, and West. It’s also a good idea to have a representative of each element in the circle with you. A handful of earth, a glass of water, the fire of a candle, and other elements should all be present.
Welcome the elements and the deities you invoke, and speak aloud the purpose of the ritual! Specific incantations or prayers should be recited, and spells should be cast at this time. Raise and release the energy you summon! The purpose of a spell is to turn your circle into a conduit through which you contact the unseen world of energies and spirits. When you connect with these energies, you must safely contact them and also safely detach from them.
Thank the deities for blessing you with their presence! Thank the elements for helping you and supporting you with your magic! Close or open the circle depending on your tradition! Wiccans practice what is called the Law of Three: “Do what you will and harm no one!” The Law of Three states that whatever you do comes back to you threefold. So please be smart and think about your actions and how they affect others!
Because it can be so overwhelming for the novice, it is important for witches who are just beginning to explore the world of witchcraft to get help. Find other more experienced witches to help guide you in the dark arts, recommend reading material, and teach you a thing or two about spells! Never lie about your experience or expertise in witchcraft! If you can’t tell a wand from a cauldron, don’t try to portray yourself as an experienced witch! Others respect you less and see through it. It’s better to be honest about your knowledge and willing to learn.
When you’re first starting out in the practice of witchcraft, it’s a good idea to start your own Book of Shadows. Again, it doesn’t have to be bound in ancient leather and stained with goat’s blood – just get a good notebook! Decorate it as you would a journal with images that you find powerful, moving or full of witchcraft wisdom! Use the book to record spells, observations, and incantations as you catch them while reading and researching!
An altar need not be elaborate or contain a bleached skull of a 12th-century mystical figure (although that would be impressive). An altar is simply a place where you practice. It should primarily contain personal totems and inspirational objects, things essential to your practice. This can mean crystals, stones, herbs, pictures, and any other kind of object that are important to you. Decorate your altar with important items! If you’re a Green Witch or Wiccan, it might be a good idea to put laurels, dead flowers, dried herbs, and other natural things on your altar. Find rocks that speak to you, strange shells, or other objects that possess power and beauty! If you are a druid or any other type of traditional witch, have a lot of pictures of your family, and your ancestors on your altar! If you don’t have one, including very old items – photos of soldiers from WWI or old pocket watches, things that remind you of the past and help you connect to it!
Witches need to be in tune with the changing of the seasons and the transitions from one phase to the next. Tune into the phases of the moon and cast your spell according to the lunar changes, the equinoxes, and other significant signs of the changing times! Get an astrological calendar and learn about the planetary shifts! Pay attention to the changing of the seasons and your emotional, physical, and mental reactions!
As your Book of Shadows grows and swells with spells, it’s a good idea to keep your closets and altar growing! Collect herbs and essential oils to use in your spells and grow your collection of powerful herbs and oils! Practice using them and learn about their distinctive uses! Collect beautiful stones and crystals and meditate with them to find out which ones to connect with and which ones to use in your practices! Herbs and stones are available for purchase, but it’s a good idea to learn more about questing and gathering fresh herbs to dry yourself. Connecting your practice to the earth as much as you can is an excellent idea. Get a local field guide for the flora in your climate zone and go out regularly to find useful magic herbs! Search around riverbeds for nice rocks!
If you’re interested in becoming a witch or Wiccan, try talking to one in person before making any decisions! Follow your intuition! If it feels right, do it, if not, then don’t! Your intuition is your most powerful tool. Don’t forget that Wiccan and witchcraft are not the same! You will come across information that says otherwise, but generally think of it this way: Wicca is a religion, and witchcraft is a skill! Witchcraft can be practiced in conjunction with many other religions and can appear in many different contexts, but Wicca, in general, cannot. Don’t be ripped off by New Age rip-offs! Prominent authors with dozens of books may seem authoritarian, but they often don’t check their facts and could be inundated with misinformation. Why? certain things sell better than others. Do your homework on EVERY book you read!
You have to know what you’re doing or you could seriously injure yourself. With magic or otherwise. Don’t hurt yourself or others!