Advice for Beginner Witches
New Witch? Confused? Read this!
Often when people come to the path of witchcraft they say they've "come home". Which you would think would make the craft easy to study and practice right off the bat. But in reality, it can be quite confusing and daunting when you first come to witchcraft as a legitimate path of practice. It's just like being new to anything else...you have to learn about it, study it, then practice it and eventually it'll come second nature.
In this article, I plan to reveal some personal tips and advice on beginning in witchcraft for all the beginner witches out there. I often receive messages from people asking where they should start in witchcraft, and often I have to write a very long response. Here I will reveal all of those suggestions in one organized place so that you all can bookmark and come back to it, if so desired.
For a frame of reference, I've been practicing since I was fifteen years old which means I've been studying and practicing witchcraft for the past sixteen years of my life. I also know that I was a witch in past lives and so carry the DNA memory of such. Feel free to ask more questions in the comments below the article. Blessings to you all!
Tip #1: Read, Study, Read, Study!
First of all, if you come to me and ask me where to start in witchcraft the answer will almost always be this: you must read and study. If you've never read a book on witchcraft, you can find them almost anywhere these days. You can get them online through Amazon (for cheap as many of them are sold used at lower prices), you can get e-book copies if you prefer to read them on your tablet or phone, you can even borrow them from your local library or purchase them at a thrift store.
Your options to finding information on witchcraft these days are endless. If you are afraid of owning books on witchcraft because of the people you live with, simply keep it on your tablet or phone instead of purchasing hard copies. If you can't afford books in general, you have the biggest resource at your fingertips - THE INTERNET. It's simple, google the "basics of witchcraft" and you'll acquire a plethora of websites willing to teach you the basics. You can google "how to do a witchcraft ritual" or "how to cast a circle", etc. and find all the information you could ever want right at your fingertips. You don't have to purchase a thing! A great website for older texts and free books of shadows, grimoires, mythology, and more is sacredtexts.com.
Once you've read the basics (which you think would take a day or two but there is so much knowledge to acquire it can take years), study them. Learn them by heart. When you know enough about the basics, then you can move on to tip #2. Keep in mind that even though you might feel comfortable with the basics, you will never know all there is to know about witchcraft. The topic is so broad and so old (dating back millions of years), that it would take multiple lifetimes in order to learn all there is to know about the craft. As witches, we know there is always room for growth and more wisdom.
Once you've read through all of the witchcraft 101 books, don't forget to dive deep into your ancestors' folklore and mythology. Your ancestors' tales are important to your growth on the path of the craft.— Author Nicole Canfield
Tip #2: Practice, Practice, Practice
If you've read all you feel you can read and think you're ready to practice the craft, first consider the following:
- Do I know how to cast a circle?
- Do I understand why I want to practice this ritual or cast this spell?
- Do I understand the potential consequences of this practice if by chance the spell backfires or the ritual brings in unwanted energy of some kind?
- Am I practicing witchcraft because I am genuinely drawn to it or simply to put a spell on someone?
If you answer these questions affirmatively, then my first suggestion is to practice a spell that's already been written for you, just as practice to get you started. You can find some wonderful spells in Scott Cunningham's Earth Magic book, as well as in Judika Iles' Encyclopedia of 5000 spells. Keep the spell simple, meaning don't choose a spell that requires elaborate ingredients or more than a couple of steps. You're practicing not performing for a crowd. Go easy on yourself then you can pump up the volume when you feel you've mastered the basics of magic.
Once you've tried pre-written spells or rituals, then you can move on to writing your own (if you feel comfortable or drawn to do so). You'll find that it will come as second nature to you. Often you'll get the whim to cast a spell that requires little to no preparation, very few ingredients, and mainly just needs you to be open-minded and also have a direct intention for the spell. For instance, magic can be as simple as using a broom to sweep out the negative energy from your home out the back door! While sweeping, visualize the negative energy being gathered and swept out for good!
You can also weave magic into your cooking, such as using herbs for specific reasons or drawing symbols on your food specific to an intention. For example, you can draw a pentagram or spiral on your hamburger with a bottle of ketchup. Boom! You're eating the magic. Taking it into yourself. Easy, right? As you grow and familiarize yourself with the unique energies of the craft, then you can move up the ladder of elaborate and difficult rituals/spells. Try out different things. Don't be scared to try new spells and rituals. Don't be scared to write your own!
Don't complicate witchcraft. It's as simple as wearing a feather in your hair or lighting a candle for a specific purpose.— Author Nicole Canfield
Tip #3: Seek Connection With Nature
Probably the most important tip I can give you is to connect with nature. How can you go about connecting with nature? By connecting with the four elements. This is the key to the craft—nature.
- Connect with Earth: plant a garden, care for a plant, walk barefoot outside, go for nature walks, pick up litter, support animal rescues
- Connect with Air: feel the breeze in your hair, visit the top of a mountain, practice deep breathing techniques, open the windows on a nice day
- Connect with Fire: have a bonfire, light a candle each day
- Connect with Water: go for a swim, take a relaxing herbal bath, put a small water fountain in your home, set up a bird bath
When you've deeply communed with Mother Earth and her elements, you will notice a change in your practice. In your spirituality. In the way you feel physically, even. Witches are close to nature and work with nature in all of their endeavors, because they know everything comes from the Earth and everything returns to the Earth.
Tip #4: Seek Connection With Ancestors
Your ancestors are important in the craft because their blood pumps through you. Thousands upon thousands of people came together to make you. Some people say looking into one's heritage or ancestry is pointless, but I am here to tell you that is incorrect and will cut you off from some very powerful magic and protection. Some people say, well I was adopted so I don't know how to find my ancestors. The answer to that is—try doing a DNA test, or if you already know your ethnicity, you can look up your people's history, lore, and mythology to start.
- Connect with your ancestors by using ancestry.com
- Connect by doing a DNA test if you're unsure as to your heritage
- Connect by asking your family members about your ancestors (grandparents, great grandparents, etc. - their names, dates they lived, where they lived, etc.)
- Connect by setting up an altar for your ancestors and inviting them to join you in your practice, as well as protect you and your home
- Connect by reading all you can on their history, folklore, and mythology (i.e. if you're mostly European, you might be part Celtic, Slavic, Roman, Greek, Norse, etc.)
Tip #5: Spirit Animals and Gods/Goddesses
Often when a beginner witch comes to me, the first thing they ask me is: how can I find my spirit animal? Here's what I tell them.
- Your spirit animal will come to you. If you have to force it, it's not your true spirit animal.
- Your spirit animal will appear when you are ready.
- Your spirit animal will appear in random places: in the wild, on the TV, on the internet, in books, in conversations with strangers, etc.
- Your spirit animal may come and go as it pleases and it may change from time to time.
Another big question from beginner witches is: how do I know my gods and goddesses / my pantheon?
- First begin by researching your ancestry/heritage. It's always great to start learning and working with gods your ancestors might have worked with.
- Often gods and goddesses will come to you, just as your spirit animals will.
- When they do, set up an altar or shrine (it doesn't have to be fancy), and honor your gods as often as you can by leaving offerings, burning candles, burning incense, etc.
© 2017 Nicole Canfield