Sage has been a witch for 25 years. She enjoys writing informative articles to teach others the craft of the wise.
Witchcraft for Beginners
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.
Understandably, everyone makes 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 the points here might save you from struggling or help you realize why you have struggled with something.
#1 Using Lists as Laws
There are two schools of thought on the topic of correspondences/associations. The first is that magic is an exact science and requires the precise combination of ingredients, words, gestures, symbols, astrological events, etc. 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 his energy with the energy of whatever tool/component/alignment being used to create the energy he sends 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 personal. 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.
#2 I Need This Ingredient!
Nothing is irreplaceable—nothing. Honestly, there is no all-powerful, magical thing on the planet that is the only thing that works. Think about people who used magic throughout the ages. People were using magic before they could order stuff 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 local natural 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.
Recommended Witchcraft Book:
#3 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 a quick referral. There's nothing wrong with glancing at them occasionally. However, part of the preparation for a magical working is to become familiar enough with the words and steps to be comfortable with it, and it flows rather effortlessly. Having to continually stop, find your place, read, think, work it out, etc., will prevent you from staying in the ideal state of mind for spellwork.
#4 Unspecified Goals
One of the most critical 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 you raise, 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 make you happy—a raise at work, a new home, a different career, a new friend, or less pain (be it emotional or physical). Make that your goal. If you need more than one thing, cast multiple spells over a period of time; don't try to turn your life around all at once.
Get Tunnel Vision
#5 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 picks up keywords like "red," "blue," "green," and "dress;" it doesn't distinguish between which are wanted and which aren't— it merely gives whatever websites match up with the keywords.
Read More From Exemplore
The energy you're raising and sending out, your primal mind, the universe, etc., all operate a little like the internet. They work on particular words and images, not lengthy messages explaining them.
If you do a spell to "get out of poverty," a qualifier or explanation "get out of" may not even register. The energy sent out is in the form of a keyword—in this case, the most evocative word would be "poverty." What you end up sending is the very thing you're trying to escape-- poverty.
In most 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, rather than what you don't want and how you don't want things to be.
#6 Misplaced Emotions
A significant part of raising energy is raising emotional energy. Like with keywords, it's essential to raise the emotions 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 while casting a spell 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.
How About You?
When you cast a spell, you raise and direct energy. The bulk of it is done during the actual spell, but that energy begins building when 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 stoke—you are neutralizing it.
Your spell will be less effective when you allow yourself to 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 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.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Mackenzie Sage Wright
Sonia on April 01, 2020:
Calling from Wales, UK. How do I contact directly, or should it be via the public arena?
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on March 07, 2020:
I use "banish pain," focusing on the word banish (it's a positive/active word).
I find this more helpful that weaker strings of words like "get rid of pain" or "pain go away" when the word you're focused on is "pain".
Hope that helps; bright blessings.
Charity G on February 11, 2020:
About "Negative Words and Images," how would I go about a more positive way of asking to rid myself of pain?
Byron Lewis on October 12, 2019:
I have question about your section on using negative words for spells. Instead of saying "Get out of Poverty" would "Increase my financial wealth" be the more desirable alternative since increasing is positive?
solitarykae on April 29, 2019:
hi ... i know this isnt the right article...but i cannot find one.
ive been practicing since i was 16/17. i am now 22.
its been on and off.
i had a beautiful child a year ago. ive been so clouded and cut off from my spirituality its felt like suffocating my soul.
i do have a question here. its just very very hard to put into words at its a vision thing.
i saw something about we are able to read the energy impressed on buildings, places etc.
Sometimes i see dark things, really bad. I was hiking with my fiance and daughter, and we passed a man with his two boys. everything was fine. on our way back up the man was in the same spot with those two. i thought it was weird. as i passed them i looked over at the children and i had this flash, a vision that almost took over my physical vision. it was only for a second, like a snapshot. but i saw misery, i saw the children crying out for help.
i whispered to my fiance that i just got a horrible feeling and saw something. that i felt that man wasnt safe.
i kept thinking about those kids.
this happens to me all the time. if im driving through a neighborhood, sometimes i will see what used to be. the houses are gone and everything is just earth, trees, all of that. its like a flash of seeing what still lingers in time but no longer is there. it can be peaceful, like seeing the field again and seeing animals running and suddenly my physical vision takes the front again.
this has happened to me in peoples homes, in buildings, outside of buildings. violent. i have sat there, and felt the emotions that were once there just ringing out and i get a flash of the images.
this building i was at i felt rape, i felt someone beaten and screaming i felt dirty and disgusting. i had to leave.
this makes me panic, it hurts. its caused me to run from my spirituality because i am so in tune to low vibrations and darkness.
i know theres a dark energy attached to me, when my emotional and or physical energy is low, i feel angry, horribly angry, and its not a normal anger. its something else. i feel this buzzing in my head, it makes me overflow with hate and darkness. its so strong. its not too often that it comes but it happens every month
i used to experience these things before my home burned down. i thought my home burning down would have rid of the poltergeist like spirit that follows me. ive had games thrown off the shelf, ive seen shadows for years, humanoid shaped black figures like a silhouette.
can anyone educate me on anything ive said ^^
or does anyone relate?
the painful ways that i read energy without even asking is really affecting me. ive thought i was going mad for months because a lot of times that i go places i feel horrible things like an echo that hits me
Lucentyr from Romania on April 24, 2019:
Thank you for all the articles you post, they are always so helpful.. ♥
You are wonderful!
Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on April 03, 2019:
Yes, mizzbizz, it all taps into the same part o f your brain.
mizzbizz on March 23, 2019:
So I am very new to this whole idea but it really seems to be clicking, I have been doing a lot of research and lots of reading. Anyway, I have a question... I have this thing that I have been able to do for many years now when playing cards, if I focus really hard and bring myself to a certain state of being, I am able to group the hands I deal into specific colors for each player. So that each player either has all red cards or all black cards, I know people that can count cards and cheat to do what I am able to do with focus and feeling or willing it to happen. My question is, is this the basic concept of what the article is explaining, is what I do with the cards when dealing them what is needed in order for a spell to be successful?
Annabelle Hayes on February 20, 2019:
@Oliver— of course! I know male people who study The Craft!
Oliver on October 05, 2018:
I always see female pronouns used when referring to witches or practitioners of witchcraft. Is witchcraft limited to women? Or can men and non-binary folk be just as effective and recognized as women?
Daniel on September 23, 2018:
Witchcraft is fake
Kim Min on August 19, 2018:
I love the witchcraft so much
Super Moon on August 07, 2018:
Hi hi! To keep this brief, I firstly want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for writting wonderful and in depth articles about the craft. I'm Catholic, but always felt a pull to the craft... You can imagine how exhausting my teenage years were battling with myself if the craft was "bad" or not. I'm going to do some hardcore studying on white magic before I even do anything, but I'll keep you posted on how everything goes! Thank you again!
maddy on July 29, 2018:
witchcraft is not evil.
Shrry on July 04, 2018:
Is witch craft evil and where did it come from
Maleficent on May 10, 2018: