If you are reading this post, I can only assume that you are interested in the practice of witchcraft or magic. Please note that this is just a list of basic guidelines that I either someone told me or that I wish someone had told me when I first started practicing. I would like to take this moment to thank you for reading my post, and I hope that you find it educational!
Identify Your Motivations//
This may not seem very important, but trust me, it is, at least when you start out. Your reasons will impact which paths you lean more towards and what you use your magic for. A sense of identity is vital to nurturing a healthy amount of intention. And intention is the battery that makes this baby go. Your reasoning may change as you learn and grow, and that’s okay! It’s just good to know what your reasons are when you first start out, no matter what they might be.
There is a reasons witchcraft is called a ‘practice’. We are always learning. So pick your teachers wisely. At the end of this post is a list of books that you may find helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and remember that the universe and nature is our best teacher, and she is always willing to guide us should we be willing to learn. Try to steer clear of people who promote cultural appropriation, set gender roles, racism, sexism, etc.
Pick a Starting Point and Go from There//
Decide what kind of magic you would like to try out first. This can change at any time, and you can have multiple sects at once. There are no rules saying you have to practice one specific kind of magic. You will, however, through a process of trial and error learn which kinds of magic are your strong suits. It’s just finding that starting point that it important.
Make Witchy Friends//
The witching community is alive and for the most part, very friendly. Heck, I will be your witch friend if you want me to. Friends are not VITAL to becoming a witch, but they sure make it a heck of a lot more fun. Who else are you gonna gush to about that beautiful amethyst cluster you found at the rock shop? Witchy friends are also great to learn from, and to teach. Witches should always try to learn from one another. Surrounding yourself with equally curious and magical minds will do you good.
Do Your Research//
It’s wise to have a basic understanding, if not a detailed knowledge, of what you are trying to do before you do it. Don’t just wander willy nilly into a dragon’s astral cave. Study and meditate on your actions before you go through with something. Especially when it comes to summoning magical creatures or placing curses on people. Research can also help you to widen your knowledge of the witching world and learning new things is a big part of being a witch. Just remember to be wary of anything you read that encourages racism, sexism, gender binaries, cultural appropriation, etc. Take things with a grain of salt.
Keep Your Practice Respectful//
While I can totally get behind a good curse, I do need to address the very real problem of cultural appropriation, which is not only rampant but often encouraged in the witchcraft community. Things like smudging, dream catchers, spirit animals, chakras, etc are a part of something called cultural theft, which are sacred or religiously affiliated ceremonies or objects that have been taken without consent from closed cultures. Before you dive into that book on Shamanism or start learning ‘how to clean your chakras’, take a step back and do some research on whether or not you could be committing cultural appropriation. It is so important to respect other cultures, specifically closed cultures that have been the victims of systematic oppression and genocide. I have many other posts regarding this subject, so if you have further questions try searching my site first before inquiring.
Whether or not you curse is all up to you. Some witches do it, some don’t. Just depends on which path you follow and what you believe. Personally, I do curse in extreme circumstances (like my rapists/abusers), as it helps me cope. Curses are not inherently bad. Magic is just magic. It is a tool. Curses can be cast for a good reason, just as much as a love spell could be cast for a bad reason. Just remember to do your research! If warding is a witch’s shield, then cursing is a witch’s sword. It is simply just another tool for a witch to use however they see fit.
Keeping a Witch’s Journal//
A Witch’s Journal, or Grimoire/Book of Shadows/Spellbook, is your personal narrative and well of information. It can help you with visualization to record your journey, and it’s loads of fun. It is in no way mandatory to have one, and if you do keep one it can be in the form of a physical paper book, a spiral notebook, a blog, a word doc. on a computer. Whatever you feel most comfortable with. Click here for ideas to get started!
A circle is essentially like a protective bubble you put around yourself before you begin practicing magic. Circles are sealed by calling upon elements, your deities and whatever other helpers you would like to be present for your ritual. Circles are not necessary and tend to be associated with Wiccan practices, but they can be helpful for beginner witches to create a safe official casting space before starting a spell or ritual. Some people, like myself, don’t bother with circles after they move past a certain point in their practice.
Centering is kind of like hitting the pause button. It is a type of controlled meditation to prepare for a spell or ritual. The point of this is to reevaluate your place in the universe and try to get a bit of perspective. Centering doesn’t have to be this huge intimidating thing. I suffer severe depression and anxiety so I am constantly having to center myself so that my magic doesn’t reflect those negative thoughts.When I center, I imagine myself floating in nothingness. Stars start to slowly appear. Just breathe very deeply and imagine yourself and the universe as one. It takes practice for it to come easily, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.
Grounding is the act of ridding yourself of any excess energy after performing spells or raising energy. If you don’t ground, it is possible that you will feel a little tingly or jittery after a big ritual. Not everyone grounds the same way, but some easy methods are to put your hand on the ground and release the extra energy into the earth. Or you can literally just shake it off. Visualization helps a lot with this.
Raising energy is the base of any form of Magic. You can do this by breathing deeply and drawing the energy from the earth (or whatever element you are most fond of) up through your body and into your hands. Again, visualization helps. Think Avatar the Last Airbender.
Sometimes a situation calls for us to send energy out, whether it be for a blessing, healing, glamour, curse. Sending energy is basically going to happen in any kind of spell. The easiest way to do this is to raise energy, hold it in between your hands in the form of a ball and then send it speeding away to its target. This works especially well I you have a photo or chant their name.
Just like cleaning your room, it’s important to keep your energy field or aura, as well as any enchanted objects or space you inhabit often, from becoming all cluttered. It’s always a good idea to cleanse an object before using it. Especially crystals, objects you intend to charm, etc. I would also advise cleansing frequently used objects such as cell phones, crystals, and charms. One should also cleanse their living space and their personal energy at least once a week, in my opinion.
Methods of Cleansing//
•Smoke cleansing with sage.
Sweet grass and lavender are acceptable substitutions.
•Holding an object in your hand and envisioning a cleansing white light surrounding and washing over it.
•Burning sage incense. Lavender, sweet grass and peppermint are acceptable substitutions.
•Burying a crystal or object in the earth for 24 hours.
•Burying a crystal or object in salt for 24 hours. (Some crystals cannot do this such as malachite. Do your research first)
•Submerging a crystal or object in salt water for 24 hours. (Once again, many crystals dissolve in water and this cannot be done to them safely. Do your research to see what is right for your crystal.)
•Bury in white sand for 24 hours.
•Smoke-less cleansing with lavender, peppermint, sage and sweet grass spritz/spray.
•Burning sage scented candles. Lavender is an acceptable substitute.
Charging is when you give a particular object energy to do a certain task.
Methods of Charging//
•set out in direct sunlight for 8 hours. (Some crystals will fade with this method. Do proper research first.)
•set out in direct moonlight for 8 hours.
•project a particular strong emotion/personal energy into the object.
•set out during a lightning storm.
•musical charging (example: play a track of ocean waves or birdsong to make an object stimulate a calming effect)
•tell the object what you want it to do while sharing energy with it
Shielding, or Warding, is basically an advanced form of casting a circle. You project your energy into an unshakable bubble around you, or attach it to the walls of your home, to protect your energy from negative junk. Like a force field. Warding is usually used for one specific place. But sometimes we can’t just stay in the one place we have warded, so here are ways to make ‘walking wards’, protective bubbles that will go where you go.
•smoke cleanse a piece of jewelry, or an object of personal significance that comforts you. If it has a protective stone like agate or Jasper, then it’s twice as effective.
•charge said jewelry with intent to project a shield
•charge clothing (cleanse first)
•drawing protection sigils on the bottom of your shoes and charge them (cleanse first)
•charge/program your pets’ collars with protective energy. (Cleanse first)
•wear your wards everywhere
Altars and Idols//
Most witches like to have a very specific place to practice their magic. This can be a table, a windowsill, a desk, your room, your garden, etc. it can be anywhere you want. Good things that could be a part of an altar area could include an offering bowl for your otherworldly friends, a cauldron for brewing potions, crystals, candles, and statues of your deities, if applicable.
Remember to Have Fun//
Being a witch is literally magical. If you nurture your powers properly, you can learn to talk to trees, acquire familiars, befriend dragons and other magical creatures, astral travel or “flying”, talk to the dead, work with gods and goddesses, cast powerful spells, make awesome potions, heal yourself and your loved ones, protect yourself and your loved ones, seek guidance from crystals, and just generally enhance your life and the lives of those around you. It’s a wild ride. Enjoy it. 🙂
Good Books to Get You Started//
The Fortune-Teller’s Bible by Jane Struthers
The Mythical Creatures Bible by Brenda Rosen
The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants by Susan Gregg
Leaves in Myth, Magic and Medicine by Alice Thomas Vitale
The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall