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7 More Mistakes Made by Beginning Witches

Sage has been a witch for 25 years. She enjoys writing informative articles to teach others the craft of the wise.

Discover seven common mistakes made by beginner witches and learn how to avoid them.

Discover seven common mistakes made by beginner witches and learn how to avoid them.

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 begin. 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.

Learn to use your intuition—how a certain component or ingredient works for one person may not be the same exact way it works for you; each person has different energy interactions with the item. Choose wisely.

Learn to use your intuition—how a certain component or ingredient works for one person may not be the same exact way it works for you; each person has different energy interactions with the item. Choose wisely.

#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.

#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.

Magical goals must be specific. Focus like you have tunnel vision.

Magical goals must be specific. Focus like you have 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.

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.

#7 Self-Doubt

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?

Many thanks

Sonia xx

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:

dear Shrry,

witchcraft is not evil.

Shrry on July 04, 2018:

Is witch craft evil and where did it come from

Maleficent on May 10, 2018:

Thank you for this information,

But I have one quastion are there special holidays in witchcraft?

Radhika on March 05, 2018:

hi Sage! that was very enlightening and true. but there is one question i've been wanting to ask, if i want to cast a number of spells, can i do them one after the other maybe in the same month? or will it hamper the energy of the previous spells until it all gets mixed up?

neha gupta on January 25, 2018:


can anyone learn this

Eden on January 07, 2018:

thank you very much for this informative material. i am interested in being a part of this ever since i have found out that i can read tarot very well, and all the things the card tells me it seems to be true. it would be very helpful if you could give me more ideas.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on November 28, 2017:

Hi Anderson; I know it's hard when you're interested in something and your parents aren't on board; but I don't think that sneaking around is the ideal situation for learning the Craft. You might want to consider putting formal study and practice on the back burner for now.

There are things you can do to help prepare yourself for that formal practice when the time comes, please check out here:

Andersen Koski on November 28, 2017:

Hi. I am 12 and I am not sure that my mum will let me do Witchcraft. Any tips for secrecy?

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on November 25, 2017:

Hi Gabriella; thanks for commenting. It's a fascinating study, I agree.

Gabriella on November 18, 2017:

I love witchcraft even though I'm 11.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on October 02, 2017:

Thanks Jovanny for your comment. Yep, that is the most important lesson, remember it's all about raising and sending energy.... your mind can overcome any little mistake, but not self-doubt. You were born to do this, you can do this, just don't get in your own way and let it happen. :o)

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on October 02, 2017:

Hi Angie; the truth is, doubting yourself is going to hurt the energy you sent out than any fold in the wrong way. These decisions to fold one way/the other way, what color candle to use, what to fill the jar with, how to write a name, etc. are all based on people's experimentation and trial and error.

Some people find one things works for them; some people find, with the way it all filters through their mind, that another thing works for them. It's an art, there's room for creative license.

What there isn't room for is doubt in the mind of the caster, because that's like throwing water on the fire that you've lit. So I really wouldn't sweat the small stuff and just keep putting the energy of your goal into that spell.

If you feel you need to give it a boost, you can always re-write it and put that inside, or put it on top and burn a candle on top of it, to boost it. Don't completely re-do it though-- there is nothing that makes your mind doubt your magic ability more than if you tell yourself you need to re-do it because it won't work.

Hope that makes sense!

Jovanny Hernandez on September 22, 2017:

Merry meet

Thank you so much for this article it is so helpful is so many ways i myself have trouble with spellcasting .i seem to doubt myself at the end of the spell and start thinking it wont work but reading this article makes me realize that i have to be possitve and believ i myself and say im a powerful witch . thanks again blessed be

Angie Badran on September 19, 2017:


Thank you so much for this wonderful article, I wish I saw it month ago :(

I need your help in some information if you don't mind.

I made a honey jar spell almost one month ago, and it was a littel bit different from other honey jar spells on the web, it didn't mention that I have to fold the paper towards me, so when I recall the spell now, I think I fold the paper away from me, what should I do now???

Angie Badran on September 19, 2017:


Thank you so much for this wonderful article, I wish I saw it month ago :(

I need your help in some information if you don't mind.

I made a honey jar spell almost one month ago, and it was a littel bit different from other honey jar spells on the web, it didn't mention that I have to fold the paper towards me, so when I recall the spell now, I think I fold the paper away from me, what should I do now???

Victoria on September 11, 2017:

This was a very enlightening read. As a beginner to the Craft, I am very pleased to see I'm doing the right things to set me up for success in my Craft. So far I have been reading and researching as much as possible because I want to know and understand as much about the Craft as possible to help pave the way for my practice. Thank you again for the very informational tips. Blessed be.

Eva Nam on September 04, 2017:

I am not in tune with my environment. Rain falls and I don't feel it, it's much colder than yesterday and I can't tell the difference, and I don't remember details about my surroundings or sensations. I'm very distanced from the world around me. Usually when somebody says something, I don't hear them and it takes me a few minutes to understand. I'm too busy reading something or thinking. I've gathered that being very in tune with your environment is essential to being a witch. Is that true? Or is that simply an attribute of only one element?

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on August 12, 2017:

You're welcome! Thanks for commenting!

Tori Harris on August 12, 2017:

This was really helpful thank you.

Taylor on March 09, 2017:

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

Rain on February 28, 2017:

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

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on January 24, 2017:

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)

Happy Treechic on January 19, 2017:

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.

Tim on June 20, 2016:

I loved this. Very informative .

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on February 08, 2015:

Thanks Paranormalview, I appreciate your comment!

Rosalind Hennigar from Canada on January 14, 2015:

I truly needed this refresh in Wiccan wisdom ;)

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on May 17, 2014:

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.

Udug on May 15, 2014:

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.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on January 12, 2014:

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!

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 11, 2014:

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

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on January 07, 2014:

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

Sharon OBrien on January 06, 2014:

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

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on November 01, 2013:

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!

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on November 01, 2013:

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.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on November 01, 2013:

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

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on November 01, 2013:

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

Reid Martin Basso from San Francisco, CA on November 01, 2013:

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

Nanic on October 31, 2013:

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.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on October 29, 2013:

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

Jessica Peri from United States on October 29, 2013:

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!