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Witchcraft for Beginners: 7 More Mistakes Made by Beginning Witches

Updated on August 25, 2016
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.

In my previous article, 5 Common Mistakes Made by Beginning Witches, I discussed mistaken concepts and ideas about the Craft overall that would trip you up before you even got started. In this article, I'd like to focus more on technical mistakes that a beginner is more likely to make.

It's understandable that everyone would make mistakes-- Witchcraft isn't an 'easy path' to anything; and everyone starts off stumbling when they first start it. There's a lot of information to take in at once, and without a one-on-one mentor or guide training you, it can be difficult to build your understanding. Some of these points here might save you from struggling, or help you realize why you have struggled with something.

Proceed with Caution!


Using Lists as Law

There's actually two schools of thought on the topic of correspondences/associations. The first is that magic is an exact science, and requires the exact combination of ingredients, words, gestures, symbols, astrological events, etc. in order to be effective.

The other school of thought is that correspondences and associations are guidelines-- starting points, and you should adjust them as necessary. The Witch combines her own energy with the energy of whatever tool/component/alignment being used to create the energy that is sent into the universe. The correspondences/associations must be meaningful to you or they are useless to you, because meaningless things can't help you raise the energy conducive to the working.

My opinion falls with the latter-- that your correspondences and associations need to be personalized. For example, many money spells call for green items; what if you come from a country in which money is red? In your mind, the energy of red is associated with wealth, not green. You need to borrow the necessary energy-- if you can't find it in green, then your spell is in trouble.

Never adopt long lists of correspondences and associations; always meditate on the specific meanings to you.

Choose Wisely


Recommended Witchcraft Book:

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

I'm not a fan of most of their work, but the Frosts do a pretty good job at presenting the basics of magic.


I NEED This Ingredient!

Nothing is irreplaceable. Nothing. Honestly, there is no all-powerful magical thing on the planet that is the only thing you can use. Think about people who used magic throughout the ages: before you could order things from the internet, before the onslaught of Llewellyn books, before there were new age shops selling dragon's blood and amethyst chunks, before they even had contact with other people using magic outside their culture and region. If palm fronds, obsidian and chicken bones were abundant, that's what they used. If mammoth tusks, iron and blueberries were the natural local resources, that's what they used.

A well stocked spice rack gives you about as much access to herbs as any ancient Shaman-- maybe not the same ones, but certainly a more than workable variety. Don't worry about finding and gathering what works; learn to make what you have available work for you.

Focus Like You Have Tunnel Vision

Magical goals must be specific
Magical goals must be specific | Source

Reading Instructions While Spellcasting

Another dispute is reading vs. memorizing. You don't need to memorize an entire spell before casting it, but you should be familiar enough with it so you're not reading it step-by-step like a how-to article. A book or notes can be there for quick referral. There's nothing wrong with glancing at them occasionally. However, part of preparation for a magical working is to become familiar enough with the words and steps so that you are comfortable with it, and it flows rather effortlessly. Having to constantly stop, find your place, read, think, work it out, etc., will just prevent you from staying in the ideal state of mind for spellwork.

Unspecified Goals

One of the most important things in spellcasting is to focus on a clear, concise goal. The more specific, the better. For example, a generic 'bring me happiness' spell is wasted energy. Throwing out general ideas breaks up and scatters the energy; there are probably hundreds of things that would make you happy. General goals take the energy raised, tear it into pieces, like confetti, and send it out into hundreds of different directions. Each little 'piece' of it is too small to make a dent.

A more specific goal focuses the energy like a laser. Consider one thing that would actually make you happy-- a raise at work, a new home, a different career, a new friend, less pain (be it emotional or physical)? Make that your goal. If you need more than one thing, that's what next month is for.

Negative Words and Images

Imagine you are doing a web search for work. You need to find information about red dresses, but not green or blue dresses. If you were to put in the search bar "red dresses but not green or blue dresses," guess what you're going to get? You're going to get hits about red dresses, blue dresses and green dresses. A better search term would be "red dress." You know that the computer just picks up keywords like "red" "blue" "green" and "dress", it doesn't distinguish between which are wanted and which aren't-- it simply gives whatever websites match up with the key words.

The energy you're raising and sending out, your primal mind, the universe-- these all operate a little like the internet. They work on very specific words and images keywords-- not lengthy messages explaining them.

If you do a spell to 'get out of poverty,' a qualifier or explanation 'get out of' doesn't even register. The energy sent out is in the form of a key word-- poverty. Likewise, if during your spell, you visualize yourself being miserable in debt and need, the energy doesn't sort out whether it's desired or not-- it's just the image itself that goes out. What you end up sending is the very thing you're trying to escape-- poverty, and you wallowing in it.

In the majority of cases, you're going to want to avoid using negative language or negative images. If you want to get out of poverty, your spell should focus on what you want, and how you want things to be; not on what you don't want and how you don't want things to be.

Keep your Emotions in Check

Magic requires you to have control over the mind and emotions.
Magic requires you to have control over the mind and emotions. | Source

Misplaced Emotions

A major part of raising energy is raising emotional energy. Like with key words, it's important to raise and send the right ones, the ones conducive to your working. Being in an emotional place that's very different from what you desire is self-sabotage when casting spells. You can't cast a successful spell for something to make you happy when you're emotional state at the time is misery. You can't cast a spell to bring love into your life if at the time you're filled with hate and resentment. Your emotional state needs to match the goal-- and the emotional energy raised needs to be what you expect to feel when the goal is achieved.

If you cannot snap yourself out of an emotion that's not conducive to the working, it's best to postpone the working until you can.


When you cast a spell, you raise and direct energy. The bulk of it is done during the actual spell, but that energy actually begins building from the moment you start planning the spell and continues after the spell as you await the outcome.

Beginning to doubt yourself or magic is like throwing cold water on coals you just worked so hard to heat up-- you are neutralizing it. Your spell will be less effective because letting yourself fret with worry and doubt for the next two weeks can cancel the original energy and effort out; or at the very worst, it may neutralize it.

As you can see, when it comes to spell casting your state of mind is absolutely essential. You need to know what you're doing, know how to do it and have confidence you can do it. A few little mistakes can trip us up enough to render our efforts useless. Always think logically about what you're trying to achieve, and how your spell will bring you closer to that goal.


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    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Marello 3 years ago from United States

      I love your description of negative words with the google search - it really lays out how using negative vocabulary sends the wrong message. Voted up!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Dreamhowl. I appreciate your comment and glad you found the analogy useful.

    • profile image

      Nanic 3 years ago

      Beginners please understand what you are working with when you use what others call magic. It's not magic its energies. It's simply energies. Beware of advice you get from those who use the art of witchcraft as a faith for they can only see the energies around them. That's petty gypsy play used for mind reading and tricks. Only some can manipulate the energies around us. Once you learn to see and feel these energies can you tune them out? It's hard to focus on what someone is saying with a strobe light in your face. This same concept applies to opening up to a 6th sense. Learn to see these energies with any gypsy or pagan wannabes. If you move them it'll be felt by other true witches and we'll find you.

    • R. Martin Basso profile image

      R. Martin Basso 3 years ago from Tennessee

      My biggest mistake, was getting a copy of Necronomicon. Got rid of it almost as quickly as I acquired it.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks for your input, Nanic; I appreciate the comments.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Say no more, Martin! That trips up a lot of people. Thanks for your comments!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Thanks for a great article. I've been struggling with this myself, in terms of phrasing 'what I don't want.' Although, in an internet search, you CAN type in "dresses + red,-green,-blue" and that will tell the search engine also what you don't want, with more success. But, apparently, the universe does not understand mental + and - signs...

      I suppose this answers my age-old question/dilemma of "Why is it that exactly what you are trying to AVOID is exactly that which happens?!"

      "I must NOT trip and spill this tray of drinks.." and poof..that's just what you end up doing. Grr.

      I'm going to go back and read the article you linked to in the first paragraph.

      Voted up, interesting, useful and shared.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks DzyMsLizzy. I think it comes down to that when you think of something, you're putting energy toward it happening, whether it's what you want to happen or not. Kind of like trying not to think of a white elephant... the more you try not to think of it, the more you have to think about it to remember not to think about it. Thanks for your comment!

    • SM OBrien profile image

      Sharon OBrien 3 years ago

      Another excellent hub. Words and emotions are so important! I love the computer analogy.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thanks so much SM, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for commenting.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Very interesting hub here. I know nothing about the topic but find your writing style and hubs easy to follow.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Thank you Flourish, what a great compliment. I'm glad you're able to learn something new from my hubs. Thanks so much for commenting!

    • profile image

      Udug 3 years ago

      Your first standpoint on correspondences seems to me to be more similar to ritualistic magic (the magick of the upper class in the Middle Ages, of church demonologists, of elaborate and expensive rituals done in impractical and preposterous ways at bizarre times in absurd places dressed in whole wardrobes worth of robes) whereas the second reminds me of the traditional magics of the ancient magi and shamans and cunning folk. I personally mix them both, if I can't get what I "need" I force what I have to take on the resonance of what I need, or I dab a bit of blood on it to give it push enough that it doesn't matter. In demonology and necromancy, however, I do think that appropriate correspondences of the work used are vital. It is just too risky otherwise.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      Hi Udug, There's a distinct difference between Ceremonial Magic, High Magic, which is very formulaic and specific and Witchcraft or various forms of Low Magic, which is much more rooted in nature and psychology. I believe Ceremonial Magic to be more effective, but not something for the average person or casual student. Thanks for your comment.

    • Paranormalview profile image

      Rosalind Hennigar 2 years ago from Canada

      I truly needed this refresh in Wiccan wisdom ;)

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Thanks Paranormalview, I appreciate your comment!

    • profile image

      Tim 13 months ago

      I loved this. Very informative .

    • profile image

      Happy Treechic 6 months ago

      Thank you, very useful for a beginner and makes complete sense. I am exploring Wicca to see if it right for me because I appear to have an usual sensitivity to my surrounding and I'm looking for some understanding and control. Do have any recommended reading materials? I feel silly saying this but I can feel or see encounters before they happen with people I have a strong tie to. I can also hear people calling me. I find it unsettling and so do they when I call them

      Out of the blue when they thought of me that morning. It occurs regularly but only with certain people.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 5 months ago

      Hi Happy Treechic; I don't think what you're saying at all, sounds like you have that psychic twinkle. Some people have more of a talent for intuitive abilities, and these can manifest in different ways.

      While no one really needs to be Wiccan if they're psychic, and of course psychics don't need to be Wiccan, what's nice about our religion is that it makes sense for people with intuitive abilities. Our spiritual beliefs & practices are conducive to those talents, can help people control them and improve them. So if you're interested in Wicca I'd recommend my articles specifically on Wicca:

      I don't go too much into detail on Wicca in my Witchcraft articles, since Witches can be any religion. I try to keep it more neutral so anyone studying the Craft can apply them.

      Best of luck, and feel free to ask questions. :o)

    • profile image

      Rain 4 months ago

      I have had the ability to be totally aware of my surroundings and yet almost beside my self in a quiet area of calmness .I have had this ability ever since I can remember . I am looking into paganism and magic hoping to learn all I can. if there are any ways you may help me in my search or if there is a way to connect with a mentor please let me know .. Thank you

    • profile image

      Taylor 4 months ago

      Absolutely LOVED your explanations! Clears up a lot of misconceptions when first starting out. Appreciate the words of guidance :)

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