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5 Common Mistakes Made by Beginning Witches

Updated on August 10, 2017
WiccanSage profile image

Sage has been a Witch for 25 years. As a teacher and writer, she enjoys writing informative articles to teach others the Craft of the Wise.

Learning Witchcraft

Beginning Witchcraft can be a bit confusing, especially when you don’t have a mentor or any kind of guidance. It’s no surprise—if the Craft were the quick and easy way to deliver your heart’s desires to you, everyone would be using it. There is a reason why so many people say, “I tried Witchcraft, it doesn’t work!” This is because dabbling gets you nowhere. It’s a little like someone who has never played a musical instrument before coming into your house, banging on your piano for 30 minutes and proclaiming pianos don’t work because it didn’t play a song. The problem is not the instrument; the problem is you have to learn how to play it.

When you first begin learning, there are some common pitfalls you may want to avoid.

Learning Witchcraft

There's nothing wrong with making mistakes; just learn from them.
There's nothing wrong with making mistakes; just learn from them. | Source

I want to freeze time and shoot fireballs !

There’s no faster way to bring yourself down that unrealistic expectations. Witchcraft won’t make your brown eyes blue, it’s not going to make you taller or drop 100 pounds by next month. It won’t deliver your favorite celebrity to your door, or poof things into existence for you. It’s not going to solve all your problems, fulfill your dreams for you and make life easy and perfect. Forget what you saw in fiction—you are not going to be like Bewitched, or Harry Potter, or the Charmed Ones. It just doesn’t work that way.

This is why people get disappointed or renounce Witchcraft sometimes—just because you can’t turn your ex into a toad doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the Craft; the problem is having unrealistic expectations of what the Craft is about. Someone skilled in the Craft can accomplish great things, but on a natural level, not on par with tall tales and Hollywood special effects.

Fictional Witchcraft

Real life Witchcraft is not like fantasy fiction.
Real life Witchcraft is not like fantasy fiction. | Source

Gimmie the ‘real’ spells!

Some beginners think that to start practicing Witchcraft means finding spells that ‘really work’. They want the fast and easy spells for beginners so they can get started. What they think they need to begin their career in the Craft is a ‘real spell book, with real spells.’

The mistake here is in thinking that spells will do anything for you without knowledge and skill behind what you’re doing. Spells are methods; they’re great, they’re like recipes. But before you can start using recipes—as any cook will tell you—you have to learn some basic cooking techniques. If a recipe tells you to braise the vegetables, it’s useless to you if you don’t know what braising is. If it tells you to caramelize the onions, you need to know how to achieve that, and what they should look like, before you can produce them.

Going for spells first is jumping the gun. The spells do not have power— the Witch is the one with the power; and knowledge is a major component of that power.

Did Your Spell Fail?

I don’t really need to meditate, do I?

Maybe you don’t. There are people who naturally are very attuned, extremely sensitive, who are instinctually able to alter their state of consciousness at will and maintain extensive focus. But the sad fact is, most of us – particularly most beginners – would not qualify.

If you think of meditation as sitting there doing nothing, I can totally see how you would feel it’s a waste of time and would not want to do it. However, the primary tool of Witchcraft is the mind, and training the mind is an essential part of learning the Craft. Mental training is something that’s not just a hurtle to get over, but will continue on for your lifetime, or for as long as you practice magical arts. Even those who resisted it in the beginning will, as their practice continues, realize the value of it and begin dedicating more time to it later (if they don't give up at all, that is). It's part of the package-- might as well get used to it.

But I already read a book on The Craft, I don't need another.

Have you ever seen books that claim to be the only book on Witchcraft you’ll ever need? If so, put it back on the shelf. Good books on Witchcraft, good mentors, good sources will encourage you to read and read and then read some more. And you don’t just read things once, maybe twice—the really good, really tough reads should be read several times. Take notes, make lists and really study.

Hey, it’s not known as “the Craft of the Wise” for nothing. Wisdom doesn’t grow on trees.

Recommended Book

The Witch's Magical Handbook
The Witch's Magical Handbook

I'm not a regular fan of Gavin and Yvonne Frost. Some of their ideas about Wicca, and some highly controversial ideas about sex, have garnered them a lot of criticism, and rightfully so. I don't normally defend them in that, or recommend their Witch School at all.

That said, I have to give credit where credit is due. This book educational, insightful and understandable. I would offer caveats: this is not the typical 'white-washed' Wiccan-style stuff you'll find in the Llewellyn 101 books. People fed up with the Watered-Down approach to Witchcraft will probably appreciate this book, as will students of The Craft seeking true understanding.

 

But the book says to do it this way...

While I say ‘yay’ to reading books, I say ‘nay’ to taking them as scripture. Books are guides, they are not holy writ. Witchcraft is one of those things (like writing, or like cooking), that can be both an art and a science. It’s both creative and technical. It utilizes both the left and the right brain functions.

Therefore, learn from the book, but then fly with it. While books and study will give you a vast base of knowledge to draw on, wisdom is only gained through putting things to practice. You really will hone your skills by doing them—and tweaking them to suit you individually. Don’t let a book hold you back like a ball and chain—act with your own instincts, just do it in an informed and deliberate way.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. In fact, you can find even more on the topic in my other article: Witchcraft for Beginners: 7 More Mistakes Made by Beginning Witches. Pointing out mistakes is not meant to put anyone down—we all make mistakes when we start out (and even when we've been at it for a while!). But knowing what pitfalls to watch out for by being warned by those who have traveled before you can really help you steer clear of them, or recover from them quickly.

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      andria 28 hours ago

      what books would you recommend for beginners

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      Brandy 13 days ago

      How do i start witch craft? Im not in a big hurry but always been looking into it but i haven't started at all so can i try something to start doing? Needing help how to start!

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 weeks ago

      Hi Larry; I'm not sure, you mean online? Can't say I know much about that but if I hear anything I'll post it here.

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 weeks ago

      Hi Miriam! Thanks so much, glad you like it and glad to be of help on your journey. Yep, study/learning is key-- 'the more you know', as they say, lol.

      Welcome.

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      Larry W.Daniel 2 weeks ago

      are their editing blank Book of shadows pages that are

      editable fill in blank pages

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      Miriam 2 weeks ago

      So glad I found this page. I can see it will take alot of reading and studying. I always knew. Now I can finally come to grips, accept (excitedly) and study. What a fun self-discovery. Now it all seems to make sense. Hello everyone!

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      Gemma Anderson 6 weeks ago

      Hi,..I come from a strict christian background, yet all my life I have felt compelled towards witchcraft since I was very small, ..my problem is, my family won't agree with it, they believe it to be evil , I'm afraid of doing anything to displease them, also Christianity has been drilled into me all my life, I'm finding it very hard to come away from, I've never practiced witchcraft, but I have read and taken some notes out of curiosity without my parents knowing.

      How do I shake off the feeling that I'm doing bad and delving in to what my parents term "the devil's work"?

      Where would I begin, if I were to practise in secret, I have a quiet place to go, surrounded by nature, but I'm unsure where to start.

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 6 weeks ago

      Meditation is when you calm your mind and you may put your awareness in the moment, you may contemplate/focus on a thought or specific thoughts. It's basically how you learn to discipline your mind.

      We all naturally go in and out of meditative states occasionally; but learning how to do it deliberately is important to learning Witchcraft.

      Try this: https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Learning-...

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 6 weeks ago

      Hi there Aubrey; there are Christian Witches.

      There seems to be some confusion that all Witches have to be Pagans (or specifically, Wiccans, a Pagan religion). This isn't true; for centuries, before the Pagan revival, most people practicing magic were Christians (they didn't tend to use the word 'witch' because it had negative connotations, but basically by today's definition of Witchcraft, that's what they were doing).

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      savvanah 2 months ago

      hi i recently started to study witchcraft and i dont know what meditation means

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      Aubrey 2 months ago

      I'm Christian, episcopalian, does that interfeire with me wanting to be a witch?

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      Michelle 2 months ago

      When it comes to witchcraft i think what feels ok to you should be the direction you go in. As long as no harm to others. It stops a lot of confusion. This has worked for me. Ill never stop learning the craft.

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 months ago

      Hi Siriea, and welcome to the path! At this point, just keep reading, learning new things, and of course, pray and follow your instincts as well. Getting a good foundation with meditation will also benefit you, so start up a daily regime. Bright blessings

      :o)

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      Siriea 4 months ago

      Hello my name is siriea, I am a new witch and have been studying and practicing for about a month now. I started out with the book " complete guide to witchcraft" by Buckland and now I'm reading "elements of witcraft even thought it for teens I feel this is more basic for me. I have been meditating like I should still getting you to it though. I read the the 5 common mistakes I thought it was very helpful. As I embark on my new journey what kind of advise would you have for me?

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 months ago

      Hi SC; There's actually a difference between Wicca & Witchcraft, the terms aren't interchangable:

      Wicca is a theistic religion; many Wiccans practice Witchcraft, as the religion was inspired by old witch-cult theories (many of which have now been debunked).

      Witchcraft is the practice of magic; it is a learned skill. You can be of any religion, or of no religion. There are Wiccan Witches, Christian Witches, atheist Witches, etc.

      Taking Gods out of Wicca though would be like trying to take Jesus out of Christianity, or like taking chocolate out of chocolate ice cream: just, odd, lol, kwim? Like, is there enough left to even call it what it was before you removed most of it? While it is a valid practice for an atheist to take some Wiccan influences and practice Witchcraft, I'm not sure if what you have left could be accurately called 'Wicca', or what appeal such a theistic religion (all of our most sacred rites, rituals, liturgy, holy days, etc. revolve around eity) would actually have to an atheist.

      You certainly can practice Witchcraft without being Wiccan or without believing in any Gods. You could certainly consider yourself a Pagan or Neo-Pagan Witch without belief in Gods (Pagan is an umbrella term for many, many religions and spiritual paths, including Wicca, and many have overlapping practices and beliefs). I've known many, there are no conflicts there.

      Hope that helps!

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      slightlyconfuzzed 4 months ago

      I'm an atheist. I've read little about Wicca, but not much. I don't believe in any higher power/god or goddess but I am interested in rituals, spells or traditions. I just don't know what I need to know or do if I was going to practise them. Do I need to be religious to practise Witchcraft?

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      LWolf 7 months ago

      Great for me to bigain with

    • profile image

      Twinkle 7 months ago

      Loved your article,quite expressive and informative. My first time on the HubPages and I found it wonderfu...

      Thank you

    • profile image

      Abel Angel 8 months ago

      Hi I am a Biggnner and i wish to become a Wizard and i have a lot of doubts could u just help me out in clearing or could u provide me some one who can ///plz provide ur email id to ask qus

    • profile image

      Lannah 13 months ago

      Always helpful! Thank you. I don't meditate enough, but my instincts have guided me well. I've always read and researched (i actually love research) to find as much information as my little heart desires. I've always tried to find things that feel right to me and not get caught up in what everyone else is doing. My dreams also seem to guide me. I had seen Hecate in my dream when I was confused about something. The confusion was pretty well cleared after that :)

      Thank you so much and Blessed Be!

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 14 months ago

      Hi Titanna; thanks for your comments and sharing your beliefs.

      Personally, I don't believe in the threefold rule. It's a more modern concept; I'm a bit more 'old school.' But I agree with you that if someone wants to wallow in petty or negative emotions, they're not going to be very happy people. We have to be mindful of ethics and intentions, both in The Craft and any other area of life.

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      Titanna 14 months ago

      I am a polytheist, which means I believe what ever name you call it, god, allah, the goddess, nature, zeus or odin, it is all the same spiritual energy we put out into the universe. Witches just work with that force but always with the full knowledge and understanding of the three fold rule. Myself, when I make a spell it's comfort, or to remove negativity. Every Full moon a circle is walked around my house with unidolized sea salt and ground Maize. Any thing we put out in to the universe, be it petty, rude, or even happy and joyous comes back. I always feel sorry for those who want to be part of witchcraft for petty evil purposes. This is a wonderful article to help weed out the dabblers, the I want the world to go my way. I grew up in a house of witches, and learned as I grew. Comparing it to cooking was a wonderful anology! and both require commitment and attention to detail.

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 14 months ago

      Hi Jennifer; I'm glad you found my article useful. Thanks for commenting :o) ~Sage

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      Jennifer young 14 months ago

      Good advice im just starting to learn about wicca

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 14 months ago

      Thanks Gabra; I've got a defunct blog about Wicca, a new blog about Spirituality/Witchcraft in general, and I've got a couple hundred articles on Witchcraft at Hubpages.

      The best place to go is my website (wicclit.com) because you can link to it all through there-- look for the heading on 'web writing' for the links, the new blog entries show up at the bottom of the page.

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      Gabra Lilly 14 months ago

      Awesome! Do you have any blog about witchcraft?

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Thanks Lisa, glad you are finding my articles useful!

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      Lisa 2 years ago

      Im so thankful I found your articles!! I am a beginner on this journey. I've taken the long way to get here, but I have finally found my place! I am a sponge and all of your articles are so amazingly helpful and informative!! Thank you so much!

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thank you Kitty, I appreciate it! Thanks for commenting.

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thank you DzyMsLizzy. As unbelievable as it is, there are kids that contact me sometimes asking if things in Harry Potter is real and if they can learn to do it. I don't know... it's beyond me. Thanks for commenting!

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      Nicole Canfield 3 years ago from the Ether

      LOVE it! All great points! Thanks!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Very good and useful information, presented in a no-nonsense, fact-based manner.

      I had to chuckle at the Harry Potter comparison, and offer my own tongue-in-cheek explanation of that skill. Harry Potter and his schoolmates were not witches or warlocks; they were WIZARDS, and therein lies all the difference! ;-) LOL

      I enjoyed this article, and appreciated your honest assessment of your reservations in the book you recommended. You are right--all the answers are not found in a single book--a mistaken belief held by many of the "non-witchy" religions.....

      Voted up, useful, shared and pinned.

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks bethperry; I totally agree, dabbling leads to so many messes it's not worth it. As for my niche-- it's why I started a hub page account. I mainly ghost write, but rarely on Wicca. I just wanted an outlet for a topic near and dear to my heart. Thanks for your votes & stopping by, much appreciated.

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      Beth Perry 3 years ago from Tennesee

      Fantastic article on the subject, WiccanSage. And I am so glad you pointed out the mistake of dabbling. Dabbling isn't recommended in any other science, religion or activity if one wants to become adept at it, and the same holds for the Craft.

      Voted up.

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      SM, great quote and so true. There's a lot of misinformation out there, and with fiction making it look so cool and easy it's very easy for people to misunderstand. Thanks again for your comments.

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      Sharon OBrien 3 years ago

      Very well done. Too many people who are new to The Craft have been mislead by fictional portrayals. They are then a bit crushed to learn how much reading, studying and work is truly involved. Also, to paraphrase Terry Pratchett's very wise Granny Weatherwax, it is more important to know when not to use a spell then to use one. A very good, very necessary hub.

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      LOL, d.william I'm sure you could have tackled it if you wanted. But it's true, it's not for everyone; very time-consuming and there's so many other awesome things to pursue in life. Thank you for your comment, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Great article. I enjoyed the read. I did look into this practice many years ago, but it seemed way too complicated for my simple mind.

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      Kukata Kali 3 years ago

      You're welcome! Agreed totally~

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thank you Kukata Kali, I appreciate your comments/votes. I agree-- we're born with the potential; it all comes down to whether we want to hone it, improve it and use it.

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      Kukata Kali 3 years ago

      The power as always been inside us. With a clear understanding and appreciation of nature (Earth & Cosmos), and a real desire to shift the energy, anything we do will work. Enjoyed your expression! Voted ^

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Thank you Tembrooke, I appreciate your comment!

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      C. A. Chancellor 4 years ago from US/TN

      Excellent advice for anyone studying a new life skill!

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Thanks Anniekatz, welcome to Hubs and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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      anniekatz12 4 years ago

      good article! my first time on Hub, so far all good stuff!

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Thanks Purescience, I appreciate the comment!

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      karthik rv 4 years ago from india tamilnadu karur

      thanks for your good article

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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 years ago

      Thanks Karthikkash!

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      Karthik Kashyap 4 years ago from India

      Wonderful article as always :) Voted up.