I Think I'm a Witch—What Are the Next Steps?
Do you ever wonder if you are a witch? Or perhaps you are certain of it? Either way, you are very likely confused and unsure of what to do about it. If you need to check some of the signs of being a witch, hop over to this article, 'Are You a Witch?’ then come back here.
You Don’t Have to Do Anything
First of all, relax. There’s nothing you have to do. Really. Being a witch is who you are, it is not something you do. You’ll come across cauldron-loads of sites that offer instructions and say you must do this and do that. Ignore all. You are a witch and that’s all that matters.
Having said that, most newly self-discovered witches want to take it a step farther. They want to explore what it means to be a full-on, energy-manipulating powerful woman (or man). So I’m here to make it easy for you to decide how to proceed.
Educate Yourself in the Ways of Witchcraft
For anyone who thinks they have witchy tendencies, the first thing to do is to educate yourself in the basics. Before you reach out to any groups or individuals, make sure to find out what it’s all about. You need to know what you are getting into.
So read, read, and read some more. Read good stuff and not-so-good. Make notes in margins about what appeals to you.
Remember, though, that all authors have their own perspective on witchcraft. You will have your own perspective too, so discard anything that doesn’t resonate with you. In some cases it might be everything they write. And that’s okay. The more you can pare it all down, the better you will carve out your own personal version of witchcraft.
Topics to pay attention to are:
- The seasons
- Moon cycles
- Manipulation of energy
- Your connection to the earth.
Some of the best material is not classified under witchcraft, so I encourage you to read other sources too. It’s good not to get bogged down in all the ritual and accompanying information too soon.
Other Sources of Information
YouTube has a ton of witch-related videos. Some will resonate with you, others will put you to sleep, and some will even send you screaming into the hills. Again, I can’t emphasize this enough, you don’t have to subscribe to anyone else’s views other than your own.
I love the video, below, by Jessi Huntenburg. She is so down-to-earth and real. Her take on witchcraft mirrors my own. Watch out for a little bit of swearing. Her idea of working with archetypal characters in pop culture is excellent.
Podcasts are also useful. Beware of the hyper-witches though. For some reason, many people think the more hysterical and upbeat they are, the better witches they be. This is not so. The people who have an inner serenity are way more authentic than the screamy kind.
The Religious Option
For those who feel witchcraft is a religious calling, you will probably be drawn to Wicca. Wicca is a highly ritualized path with the benefit that the information is well-organized and readily available. There are many Wiccan groups all over the world and finding one is not difficult. Most Wiccans are kindly and welcoming, and pleased to help a new witch along his or her path.
One of the best proponents of Wicca is Lisa Chamberlain. Her book, “” is highly rated and, if Wicca, is your thing, you should grab a copy and carry it everywhere. Wicca for Beginners: A Guide to Wiccan Beliefs, Ritual, Magic and Witchcraft
Lisa defines Wicca thusly: "Wicca is classified as a nature-based religion encompassing a wide variety of beliefs, traditions and practices inspired by many different sources—Wiccans often refer to these sources as “the Old Religion.”
Despite that, Wicca has its origins in a very modern form of witchcraft—and that's a good thing for people starting out. Be aware that witchcraft in general doesn’t need to have religious connotations at all. It is whatever it is to you. It’s personal.
The Solitary Option
A ‘solitary’ is a witch who practices by herself. Let’s assume for brevity, that she is a she for now. Apologies to any male solitaries out there. The solitary works alone and usually in secret. She sets about teaching herself what she needs to know. She may well follow a Wiccan path, or she may not. As always, it’s down to personal choice.
The "Just Be Yourself" Option
This is probably the most common path. Those who have that certain way with energy, a closeness to nature, and confidence that they are masters and mistresses of their own destiny, will often simply choose to be themselves. They don’t need any accoutrements or deities to worship. They are simply who they are. And this is perfectly fine.
Tread gently on the earth
Breathe gently of the air
Lie gently in the water
Touch gently to the fire.— Carolyn Hillyer: Dance of the Elements
Paths of a Witch
Whatever your main choice of how you practice the craft, within it are little avenues that branch off. Sometimes these little avenues become the focus of your practice. For example, when I began, it was suggested that I choose a skill to learn. I decided on tarot. Gradually, the study of tarot took over everything else for me, and it’s only in the last few years that I’ve been called back to the more general study and practice of witchcraft.
Some witch-related paths:
- Magic and Spells
- Working with animals
Tools and Accoutrements
Let’s face it, witchcraft is an industry, and that means there are some canny marketers out there. Know this: you don’t need any expensive tools or clothes to be a witch. If you need items to help you focus in a ritual, you can start with:
- A candle, even a tea light will suffice, to represent the element of Fire and the direction/quarter South
- A pebble, to represent the element of Earth and the direction/quarter North.
- A paring/veg peeling knife to be your athame (ritual knife) and to represent the element of Air and the direction/quarter East
- A glass of water or wine to represent the element of Water and the direction/quarter West.
- A smooth twig or sick to be your wand.
A lovely thing to do is to go out for walks to look for natural objects you can use in ritual. Always ask permission, and give thanks to any tree that graciously donates a wand.
You can substitute these with anything that works better for you.
There’s No Time Like Right Now to Cast a Circle
Okay, maybe you can do it later, but casting a circle is fun and you never forget your first time. A really good thing would be to carry out your first circle-casting at the time of the Full Moon. When witches gather at this time, it's called an 'esbat'. Other occasions, such as the solstices and other major witch celebrations, the gatherings are called 'sabbats'.
Here’s a suggestion for your first ritual. Cast a circle to provide protection and a bubble of love while you pledge to dedicate yourself to the study of witchcraft.
- Step One: wear something comfortable and decide where you will work. You need some decent floor space, because you are going to sit down in the circle.
- Step Two: gather your tools, if you have any. They are not mandatory. A cushion to sit on is also a good idea. Place them on the floor or a low table.
- Step Three: make sure you won’t be interrupted.
- Step Four: stand still, close your eyes for a moment and breathe deeply.
- Step Five: clarify your intent for the ritual. In this case it is to experience working with energy and to pledge yourself to the craft.
- Step Six: hold up your wand and turn to the East. Say, “I call upon the guardians of East and Air to watch over and protect me. Do the same, in turn with the other three quarters, going clockwise (or deosil): East, South, West, North (if you are in the northern hemisphere).
- Step Seven: point your wand and describe a circle around yourself and your tools. Again clockwise/deosil Visualize the circle forming a sphere. Now don’t step through the circle, stay within its boundaries. If you have to leave the circle because you need the loo or anything, use your athame/kitchen knife to 'cut' a doorway. Oh, and cats, dogs and small children can pass through the circle with no harm done.
- Step Eight: light your candle and sit on the floor. You can close your eyes if you like. Feel energy rising up through the floor and into your body. Imagine this strong earth energy filling your circle/sphere and mingling with the air, fire and water energy.
- Step Nine: when you are ready, say, “Within these walls, within this circle, and within my heart, I dedicate myself to the craft. I ask that the guardians support me and help me as I explore this path. Blessed be.”
- Step Ten: sit for as long as you like. Then stand and thank each of the guardians in reverse order, turning anti-clockwise (widdershins): North, West, South, East. “I thank you guardians of the North and earth, please go in peace.”
- Step Eleven: Pick up your athame and turn widdershins (anti-clockwise) to close the circle.
- Step Twelve: Have something to eat and drink to ground yourself.
Over time, you will adapt and change your circle casting ritual to fit your preferences. It can be as complicated or as simple as you like. Your circle is a space where you are one step removed from the ‘real world’. It is where you raise energy to work your magic. It is where you commune with spirits, guides, ancestors, and any deities or archetypes you want to work with.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas how to get started. I didn't want to overwhelm you with information. The most important thing is not to stress or worry about it all. Being a witch will unfold over a lifetime. Some of you will take to it, others will try it and move on. That’s how it goes.
Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below.
Merry Part and Blessed Be.
Note: I don’t actually go round saying that to people, I say “Bye, see you later” most of the time. It means the same thing.
© 2018 Bev G