How to Become a Witch and Practice Witchcraft
What Is Witchcraft?
Witchcraft is one of the world's oldest spiritual traditions, yet it is also one of the most misunderstood. Television, movies, and comic books abound with stereotypes and misconceptions about what it really means to be a witch. Many people decide they want to become a witch because they relate to the witches and wizards in fictional stories, such as Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia. However, the magic you see portrayed on screen is usually significantly different from real magick practiced by devout witches, wizards, sorcerers, and ceremonial magickians every day.
Okay, so witchcraft is often misunderstood. But what is witchcraft? To put it simply, witchcraft is the practice of magick. That's it. Contrary to popular belief, witchcraft is not a religion; it is a spiritual practice that may or may not be part of a person's religious faith. Witchcraft is often conflated with Wicca, which is an actual religion. It is important to remember that not all witches are Wiccan, and not all Wiccans are witches. Many Wiccans practice witchcraft, but many do not. Many who practice witchcraft are Wiccan, but most are not.
Witchcraft in a Nutshell
Witchcraft is the practice of magick.
Witchcraft is not a religion, but some types of witchcraft are religious.
Witchcraft is not the same as Wicca.
What Is Magick?
Magick is alive and well, although there is considerable debate as to what it really is. Some believe magick to be a purely spiritual power, while others believe that it is just as much of a force in the natural universe as gravity or electricity. One popular notion is that magick does not actually violate the natural laws of the physical universe, but is simply a law unto itself that we do not yet have the scientific means to understand.
Similar beliefs are held about psychic powers and other paranormal phenomena. From this perspective, magick is very similar to dark matter; we know it exists, but we just can't quite tell what it is or what it looks like. Witchcraft is the use of magick to achieve an end that cannot easily be achieved through normal or mundane means.
Magic vs. Magick
"Magic" and "magick" are two very different things, though most people would likely stumble if asked to explain how. In truth, it's fairly simple. "Magic" is the type of entertainment flogged by magicians (think of illusions like pulling rabbits out of hats and purportedly sawing people in half). "Magick," on the other hand, encompasses a series of techniques used to harness energy (both internal and external) to help change oneself and one's surroundings.
What Type of Witchcraft Should I Practice?
Before you cast a spell, you should spend a considerable amount of time researching witchcraft. There are various forms of witchcraft, and which one resonates best with you will determine how you cast a spell.
A Few Common Types of Witchcraft:
- Green Witchcraft: This form of witchcraft is focused on earth, nature, and the elements. It often draws on the connections to the forest found in the folklore, folk religion, and folk magic of ancient cultures. Green witches typically use trees, soil, plants, flowers, and herbs for their magickal and medicinal values.
- Hedge Witchcraft: This is a nature-based form of witchcraft featuring elements of shamanism as well as astral projection, midwifery, and healing. Hedge witches often serve as mediums between spirits and people, and "hedge" refers to a boundary (both physical and metaphysical).
- Eclectic Witchcraft: This is a blend of various traditions including, but not limited to, other types of witchcraft. This individualized form of witchcraft can be tailored to suit the witch's needs and abilities and is characterized by adaptability and openness to other forms of practice.
- Dianic Witchcraft: is part of a neopagan religion centered around a divine goddess with little to no emphasis on a male deity. Though it is named after the Greek goddess, Diana, Dianic witchcraft worships goddesses from many cultures and considers them to be various aspects of one Goddess.
- Kitchen Witchcraft: This practical witchcraft is focused on the use of herbs and other natural specimens common to everyday life. Kitchen witches tend to focus on magick that can be used to help regular people. They typically garner high respect and are considered to be "wise women" once they pass middle age.
- Gardnerian Witchcraft: This is a tradition in the neopagan religion of Wicca, which was founded by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s. Unlike the other witches on this list, to be a Gardnerian witch, one must be initiated by a pre-existing member of a coven.
Witch or Warlock?
Contrary to popular belief, the word "witch" is gender neutral, and male witches very rarely refer to themselves as warlocks. In fact, many witches consider "warlock" to be a derogatory term.
What Do I Need to Cast a Spell?
Tools, or correspondences, are powerful items that can be used to draw focus and symbolize the power within yourself and within nature, but you don't need to go out and buy a bunch of things before you start practicing witchcraft. Some supplies can be gathered quite cheaply or even for free (such as flowers and herbs). In fact, some people argue that natural or homemade supplies are more potent than store-bought ones. Below, you will find a list of some of the most common witchcraft supplies and tools, both free and otherwise.
Common Witchcraft Supplies and Spellcraft Tools
- Cauldron: This small pot, typically made of cast iron, is used to mix and heat potions for spellwork. It is one of the most popular witchcraft tools in existence.
- Mortar and Pestle: This small cup, typically made of cast iron, is paired with a blunt grinding implement used to crush herbs and spices for spells and rituals.
- Herbs: A variety of both common and rare herbs are used to add effect to rituals and potions. Sage is one of the most common herbs for spells and is used to purify and protect.
- Flowers: Many spells call for the use of flowers for their powerful symbolism and beautiful fragrances.
- Gemstones: Each gemstone has magickal significance and can be used as a correspondent in rituals or to provide healing. They are often used for protection, focus, and spells.
- Crystals: Crystals are commonly used to purify a sacred space prior to a ritual, provide healing and protection, and to amplify the magickal properties of gemstones.
- Magickal Amulets and Talismans: These are powerful symbols that can be used in spellcraft or worn for daily protection and magickal enhancement.
- Wand: This stick of wood or some other material is used to cast a circle.
- Athame: This blade is used to cast a circle of protection for spellwork and is also used within spells.
- Salt: Commonly used to cast a circle of protection, salt also prevents evil spirits from entering a room and is used in other protective spells and cleansing spells.
- God and Goddess Statues: These are used to draw focus to the God and Goddess during rituals, and may be used to call their presence to a ritual circle.
While all of these things can be used as important correspondences for spellwork, you do not actually need any physical item to cast a spell. Witchcraft draws its power from the user's intentions and the magick that is within the individual. If you are capable of using magick, you are able to do so with or without these tools.
How to Collect Your Own Witchcraft Supplies
The best and simplest way to begin practicing witchcraft and cast your first spell is to research. Learn as much as you can about the various traditions and find the correspondences (physical symbols of invisible qualities or forces) that appeal the most to you. A very powerful ritual can be performed without ever spending a dime. Go to your favorite spot in nature, such as a beach or the woods, and collect stones, shells, leaves, flowers, and other items that have some magickal significance to you. These items cost nothing and are every bit as powerful as pricey correspondences purchased online. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference, so you should do some experimenting to find what works best for you.
Cheap or Free Witchcraft Supplies
Stones (Including Gemstones)
Salt and Other Kitchen Spices
So How Do I Cast a Spell Already?
Magick is within you if witchcraft is truly the path you're meant to take. It sounds cheesy, but it's a simple reality. However, that doesn't mean that learning to use magick is easy. It takes lots of research, meditation, and introspection to find the correspondences, qualities, and traditions that work for you personally.
There's No Straight Answer
Witchcraft is a personal path. Many new practitioners get frustrated when they can't find any "straight answers" from seasoned witches, sorcerers, and ceremonial magickians on how to start practicing. Because witchcraft is so personal, it is impossible to tell someone exactly what they should or shouldn't do. Yes, you can find numerous spells from other witches online, but that doesn't mean that they will be effective for you. Just because a spell works for one witchcraft practitioner does not mean it will work for another witch.
Do Your Research and Be Prepared to Fail at First
Spells are highly personal, as well. Experienced magick users create their own spells for the greatest impact. There is no single "Book of Spells" that witches draw from, although many "Books of Shadows" are passed down through familial witch lines. If the person practicing the spell has not fully cast their personal intentions and energy into the spell, it will not work for them, no matter how well put-together the spell may seem. Googling "free spells" might give you some ideas, but you're better off researching these online spells and learning from their common themes and attributes rather than trying to replicate them exactly.
Once you are comfortable with the idea of spellcraft and which elements and witchcraft tools mean the most to you, you will find it much easier to cast your first spell.
Does Witchcraft Really Work?
Yes and no. Like anything, witchcraft depends on your intentions and perception. If your perception of witchcraft is a force that can be manipulated and used to twist the laws of reality to produce outcomes that are impossible through mundane means, then no. Witchcraft may not be understood fully, but it does follow the natural laws. The popular consensus is that, no, you will not be able to cast a spell to magickally teleport yourself from one end of the country to the other. Even the most powerful witch has to book a flight just like everyone else. Likewise, you won't be able to cast a spell on yourself that will instantly make you ten pounds lighter. Spellcraft obeys the same laws of physics as the rest of the universe, it just takes a different route to get there.
However, if you perceive witchcraft as a powerful and mysterious natural force that obeys certain fundamental laws and principles, then yes, witchcraft is absolutely real and spells do work. You get out of spellwork what you put into it. If you are sure of your intentions and you have chosen correspondences and/or magick words that you believe have the power to bring about the result you seek, your spell will work. If you are distracted or doubtful, chances are that your spell will fail.
Is Witchcraft Evil or Dangerous?
Witchcraft itself is neither good nor evil. Like any other tool, witchcraft can be used for evil or it can be used for good. Witchcraft is entirely dependent upon the intentions of the individual practitioner. For this reason, it is incredibly important to be sure of your intentions when casting a spell.
It Comes Down to Individual Intention
Magick itself comes from nature. Witchcraft is the use of magick to achieve a desired end. Magick is a neutral force, and witchcraft is a neutral practice. The vast majority of witches and magick practitioners draw their powers from nature. Some of us work with deities, and others do not. Some spells manifest in a physical change that follows the rules of nature, but others are emotional or psychic in nature. Some of the most powerful and dangerous spells are those which interfere with the free will of another person, a phenomenon which many call "black magick."
Depending on your path, spells that harm or hinder the will of another person may be forbidden and even result in severe consequences (for example, Wiccan witches follow the Wiccan Rede, which forbids using magick to harm another person).
To continue reading about this somewhat loaded question, read The 10 Most Annoying Things Christians Say To Pagans, Witches, & Wiccans.
The Rule of 3 (a.k.a. the Law of 3 or the Threefold Law)
Many witches, particularly those who practice the Wiccan path, believe in something called the Rule of 3. This states that whatever intentions you put out into the universe are sent back to you threefold, similar to karma. If you cast positive spells, you will receive the benefits of that positivity threefold. If you cast negative or harmful spells, you will receive the consequences of that negativity threefold. There are many different interpretations, and it is important to remember that the Rule of 3, while often quoted as if it applies to all magick practitioners, is largely a tenet of Wicca. Many of us who practice magick do not believe in the Rule of 3, and among those who do, there are a variety of interpretations as to what it actually means.
What Is Magick To You?
Do you believe Magick is:
Closing Thoughts on Witchcraft and Magick
There is no one right way to practice witchcraft, but there are some pitfalls to avoid. You are not required to buy anything to begin practicing witchcraft, but there are plenty of cheap witchcraft supplies and tools that can make practice more effective. There is no unified path when it comes to magick, but there are common traditions chosen by many of the witches, sorcerers, and others who practice today.
Witchcraft is a personal path, a neutral practice that is shaped by the character of your intentions. Whichever path you choose, respect the force of magick and respect yourself enough to put the time and research into shaping your own path. Learning from other witches is essential, but only you can decide where this winding path leads.
Update: Please Read
Update 2: Another quick edit to include the answer to a fair question from another commenter, which I'm sure others will be asking as well. The title is the same with the exception of the Updated tag for a couple of reasons. This article has been shared (and in several cases, reposted by some people claiming it as theirs) around the Internet over the last six years. In order to make sure people know this is the original version of the article and to avoid other issues and confusion with attribution, I can't change the title. The other reason is that the content of the article itself has not changed, other than the Update added below this section and updated links, since ones used previously were broken. I hope that explains a bit, please feel free to ask me any questions!
Update 1: Hey, dear reader. I'm not really sure how or what to say first, but I think I'll start with an apology. What am I sorry for? Well, honestly the fact that I have led more than half a million people astray by writing this article six years ago, and by leaving it up for as long as I did. I mean it when I say I'm truly sorry, and I hope that you'll take a moment to read this article about why I left witchcraft and found Jesus through the Anglican Church.
I wrestled with whether I should just delete the article so no one else is misinformed or hurt, but after praying, I wrote my testimony so God can turn my mistake into something He can use. I promise this article isn't going to be any of the usual witch bashing and harmful rhetoric you've come to expect. I have nothing but love and respect for the witchy community, and I mean it when I say that I love you all from the bottom of my heart. Please know that's where this comes from rather than a place of judgment or condemnation. (I'm the last person who should be doing any of that, as you'll see if you read my story!)
Thank you, and please feel free to comment if you have any questions. I'm here to listen, and speak honestly. While I meant everything I wrote in this article at the time that I wrote it, my understanding of the truth has changed drastically. I hope you'll give me the chance to explain why.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.