There’s all sorts of advice out there for the new witch–which tradition to observe, which spells to cast, which deities to worship, which herbs to use, and on and on ad infinitum. Though much of it is valuable and useful, it overlooks a freaking major aspect of what witchcraft is–personal.
These tips endeavor to help you remember yourself as you set out on the path of the witch. They invite you to stop seeking a practice that’s perfect and instead seek one that’s uniquely you. And you don’t have to wait a year and a day before you can start putting them into action!
You Don’t Need to Know Everything Before You Begin
Reading up on magickal practices, goddesses, and correspondences is all well and good, but you don’t need an exhaustive knowledge to begin practicing magick and ritual. So much of what I’ve learned has been through active experience, and not through rote memorization and theorizing. If you want to experience an immediate connection with what it means to be a witch and what works (or doesn’t) for you within your magickal practice, set up a modest sacred space and slip into half-lotus. Reference the internet for a simple candle spell and give it a try—you don’t need all the herbs and trappings for your magick to be effective. Ultimately, the power lies in your intentions and your dedication to focusing on achieving what you want and deepening your connection with spirit. Speaking of intentions…
Cuddle Up to the Power of Setting Intentions
Simply put, magick is the practice of setting intentions and bringing focus to what you desire. All the magickal trappings in the world won’t make-up for half-assed emotion when it comes to casting a spell—you have to get really clear about what you want and what you’re willing to do to get it before spells become potent and far-reaching. Much of magick happens outside of ritual—it’s the product of deep self-reflection and a commitment to acting with your highest good in mind. And since working with the wants and needs of your highest good often requires you to take a few risks and step outside of your comfort zone, setting intentions with “I will” statements begins a process of accountability that makes it far more likely that you’ll follow through (to learn more about intention-setting, click here).
Choose Tools That Vibe with You (And Don’t Empty Your Bank Account)
When I first came to witchcraft, I felt enormous pressure to collect a range of bits and bobs before I could begin magickal practice. And it’s no wonder—so many of the spells you’ll find in books and online require candles of specific color and crystals with specific correspondences and the addition of uncommonly found herbs and a series of tools to open the portal and cast out unwanted influences and attract the right energies…
Let’s face it: being a witch can become downright expensive. I’m no stranger to making a witchy purchase here and there (and if it’s something I’ve wanted for at least six months and I have money set aside for it, I flat out enjoy it), but I’ve found that the tools that are most resonant and effective are those that I’ve made myself or those that I’ve repurposed for the job.
Case in Point: I used a broken strand of rose quartz that I received for my tenth birthday for a witches’ bottle a) because it was broken and I couldn’t wear it anymore, and b) it had been with me for so long and had accumulated so much sentimental value that its energy was far more nuanced and complex than that of a rose quartz I’d recently purchased. I made my first pentacle from vines I gathered from my backyard, and as I wove it, I did so with energy and intention. I still have that pentacle (battered and tattered as it is), and I whip it out when I’m doing serious magick because it has meaning to me, and in the end, that’s all that really matters.
Choose a Pantheon that Works for You
Very early on in my conscious astral traveling days, The Morrigan appeared and made it known that she wanted to be my matron goddess. Within pagan circles, The Morrigan is a common matron to have, and I was lucky that she was so widely accepted.
However, the other gods and goddesses of my pantheon are, shall we say, unconventional. As a lifelong bibliophile, I’ve always felt a deep connection to certain characters, and they’ve seamlessly woven their way into my pantheon. Margery Tyrell and Daenerys Targaryen of Game of Thrones commonly pop up to advise me on matters of diplomacy and personal sovereignty, and Sherlock Holmes calls whenever I need to separate the wheat from the chaff and get real with myself.
In other words, your pantheon should be populated with characters and archetypes that you relate to on a personal level. The pressure to pull from the past is real, and if you’re not feeling it, you can firmly say “no, thank you,” and get your guidance and advice from Sparkle Pony instead.
Use Your Current Interests to Inform Future Exploration
This is a big one, and unfortunately, it often gets overlooked in the quest to be uber “witchy” in your pursuits. So much of what we experience has the potential to be sacred, and so much we experience is sacred long before we happily don the label of “witch.”
Music has always been a gateway to the transpersonal for me, and I’m not talking mantra recitations and binaural beats (don’t get me wrong—those work seriously well for meditative and ritual purposes). However, if I’m looking for music to be the Alpha and Omega of my spiritual experience, I’m more inclined to choose songs that move me to my fucking core, be they “Dola Re Dola” from the Bollywood classic Devdas or “Beyond the Veil” by Dylan Leblanc (What can I say? I like what I like).
The point is this: you don’t need to throw out everything that’s worked so far in order to adopt a new practice. Instead, weave what you already love into what you do as witch. Trust me—your heart and soul will thank you.
Bring Awareness to Your Dreams
Bringing awareness to our dreams and interpreting them reveals a lot about who we are, what we’re grappling with, and where we are on our path. It’s also helps us tap into the vast and fruitful store of our inner visual landscape—if you’re interested in making shadow work, astral travel, and deity communication the bedrock of you practice, working with dreams is a good place to start.
I can’t remember when I began to interpret my dreams, but I can still recall some of my earliest and I’ve deciphered what they mean in hindsight. Just last night, I was returned to a recurring dream where I’m lost in the city and I can’t find my way home—I keep jumping from car to train only to find that I’m careening in the opposite direction of where I want to be. Last night, however, I made my way back—and I know without a shadow of a doubt that I’m on the right path in waking life precisely because of what that dream told me.
You can fly, wander, and speak with deity in dreams. Truly, the possibilities are endless, and so they are with your practice. No matter what others say or the claims others make, your brand of witchcraft should be about you, so make it as varied and unique as you are.
Looking to sync your magick with the phases of the moon? Check out The Moon Phase Readings.