Throughout history witches have been persecuted due to misconceptions, and fear based hysteria. Most witches who were targeted were healers and midwives, there to do good not evil as so many wrongly believed.
You would be surprised to know how many witches walk among us, silently putting their knowledge and spirituality to good use. Becoming a witch is less about power and more about spiritual awareness and awakening. A witch uses magic as part of their everyday life and feels it is as natural as breathing. The word wicca means wise one and the religion Wicca pays homage to the God and Goddess, the religion Wicca is practiced by many who call themselves witches and anyone can join. Not all witches are Wiccans it is a personal choice. The difference between witchcraft and wicca is that wicca is a religion.
Witches channel energy to heal others and themselves, they also use energy for the protection of others and themselves. Everyone has this ability in a nascent state, it’s just a matter of learning how to channel the untapped stream of power. Witchcraft can balance and enhance your life, the force is within you waiting to be released. The more you work with your inner energies and learn to channel them, the more powerful and empowered you will become.
All witches are expected to walk an ethical path and take responsibility for their behaviour, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” can be your ethical mantra, otherwise you leave yourself open to the threefold law of return. Whatever energy you send out will return to you threefold, whether good or evil. Positive energy gives positive returns and negative energy gives negative returns. The choice is yours, to be a good witch or a bad witch, good witches work with and send out positive energy, bad witches work with and send out negative energy. By being a good and positive witch you work for the good of yourself, others and the environment.,
You may wonder what a witch looks like. Witches look like everyday people, they are nurses, doctors, writers, builders, bus drivers, artists, chefs, school teachers, musicians etc. You won’t necessarily recognise a witch by the way they look, but you can often recognise a witch by their energy, witches often recognise each other and are usually drawn by energy.
Witches attune themselves to the natural life forces available to all, taking responsibility for the energy they work with, recognising the creative power of the Universe. A witch acknowledges the inner and outer world and aligns themselves with the different dimensions. A witch understands they are working with paranormal and magical energies. A witch lives in harmony with nature and works with the natural inner and outer forces, and is in tune with the environment. Wiccans embrace the spirit of all things, the elements, animals, plants, grass, the woodlands, rivers and streams, the Sun and Moon.
Wiccan witches believe in the God and Goddess or the Lord and Lady, neither is more powerful than the other, they are divided into male and female spirituality, they are the All. Witches work with Gods and Goddesses, often calling on a specific one when meditating and spellcasting. When calling upon a God or Goddess, choose one that aligns with the particular energies you want to work with. Most witches have an altar and place a statue of a male and female deity either side of the altar, this is a symbol of the Lord and Lady. Those who choose to follow the Wiccan religion become aware very early on, that it is a religion in harmony with nature.
Most witches believe in karma, understanding the importance of playing by the rules and living in harmony with nature. It is important when working with spiritual energies that you realise what energy you send out will come back to you. When a witch is working magic they are always aware of the threefold law of return. Everyone has magic within them waiting to emerge, it just has to be tapped and nurtured.
All witches have a Book of Shadows (Grimoire), in this they write down everything they do whether this be making herbal remedies, casting spells, meditating, healing, and chanting. As you walk the witch’s path make sure you document your journey in your Book of Shadows. As a practicing witch you can create your own rituals and document them in detail, also take note of what Gods and Goddesses you call upon and why. Keep a note of what oil essences and scented candles you use. After doing psychic work, write in detail what you wished to attain and how successful your results were.
In the 15th century a book was written called the Malleus Malleficarum, also known as the Witch’s Hammer, this was a very negative book especially written for witch hunters. This book was cited as being responsible for the beginning of the hysteria that started the persecutions. The book contained ways to torture a witch to ensure a confession, and gave detailed information about what types of witches there were and their evil ways. Thousands of witches were tortured and burned in Europe.
These days witches can practice without fear of reprimand, they can gather in groups and covens freely. If you choose to be a social witch rather than a lone one, you can find information in your local paper and online. Some groups gather regularly to meditate, share knowledge and spellcast. A coven is a more formal setting with levels to ascend and rules to abide by. It’s up to you what type of setting you wish to work in. More people than ever before are choosing to lead a spiritual life, in tune with their natural surroundings and caring for the Earth. Witchcraft seemed to enjoy an awakening in the mid 20th century and has been growing in popularity ever since. Witches need no longer hide in their broom closet. Since the late 20th century Wicca has been recognised as a religion.
Once you deem yourself a witch, you then decide what type of witch you want to be. Do you play well with others, or are you more of a loner? You can explore in your own way in your own time. Some are born into a family of witches and embrace these traditions. There are many different elements that you can choose from, as you amble along your spiritual path. You can use rituals used by family, friends or acquaintances, or you can create your own rituals, rituals you read about can be used and you can add your own individual flourish. The beauty of Wicca and witchcraft is that it is all encompassing and there are no judgements, you can mould it to suit your lifestyle.
If you choose to join a coven you will find a group will have up to 20 members, 13 is the traditional number in a coven. Each coven has its own rules and rituals, it is prudent to find out what these rules and rituals are before you commit. Each coven will have a High Priest and High Priestess and ground rules can vary greatly from coven to coven. Each coven will have a Book of Shadows.
A solitary witch will make their own rules and rituals, they can take from a variety of practices, often writing their own spells and chants, a solitary witch is often adept at using herbs in their practice. The solitaire will create rituals, spells and magic peculiar to them, you will find no two solitary witches work in the same way. Solitary witches learn alone and feel great freedom in this way of being.
An eclectic witch will take from many different teachings, mixing the obscure with the more traditional. They choose not to follow one particular type of witchcraft enjoying the mix of several different traditions, the eclectic witch is usually a solitary one, while some join eclectic covens.
The hereditary witch inherits their knowledge from family, there are often specific rituals and traditions lovingly written in the family Book of Shadows, these traditions often date back centuries. Usually these witches keep the knowledge within the family. It is rare for someone outside the family to be privy to the hereditary knowledge.
If you know yourself well, it will not be difficult to choose what type of witch you want to be and whether you want to join a coven. Allow your instincts and your personality to guide you in making your choice. If choosing a coven there is a certain responsibility, whereas choosing a solitary path, you are responsible for yourself and all decisions you make are on your behalf. It all depends on whether you prefer the company of others while you practice, or you wish to practice alone.
The kitchen witch finds home and hearth most important and works magic with the elements and the Earth, they are usually quite skilled in herbal remedies and are natural healers.
The ceremonial witch likes the old traditions and uses ceremonial practices when they make magic, they often use Egyptian magic in their rituals, or other ancient rituals.
The Celtic witch works with the elements and nature also enjoying the ancients rituals, often practicing magic outdoors to be close to nature. Stones, crystals, plants, flowers, trees and the elements are all important to them.
Much knowledge can be gained from visiting your local library and your nearest metaphysical book shop, also a metaphysical bookshop will have contacts, especially if you want to do particular courses, such as numerology, astrology palmistry, or any type of course that may interest you. There is also much to be gained from attending festivals, you will have a wide variety of colourful options to choose from. When you are ready to walk the witch’s path, guidance will appear as if by magic.
When calling upon Gods and Goddesses you will first want to familiarise yourself with their energies. Pick up a book from your local library on Gods and Goddesses, or go to your nearest bookshop, these books are always easy to find. Always choose a deity who is most aligned with what it is you are planning to conjure. If you wish to find love for yourself or someone else, you might want to call upon Venus the Roman goddess of love, lust and beauty, Tiacapan goddess of sexual passion or Xochipilli, god of love, art, games, beauty, dance, flowers and fertility. If you are seeking abundance you could call upon Belenus god of the Sun, love, enrichment, abundance, magical power and healing light. Maybe you would prefer Bran god of musicians, poets, singers, prophecy, divination, empowerment, protection and abundance. Dagda is the god of wisdom, knowledge, abundance, wealth, love, pleasure, sexuality, celebrations, protection, leadership and empowerment. If you are calling upon a healing deity you may find yourself drawn to Aceso the Greek goddess of the healing of wounds and the curing of illness, or Apollo god of music, poetry, prophesy, archery, healing and medicine. Once you familiarise yourself with the deities you will call upon the ones that you feel most comfortable with, you will realise over time and with practise that some Gods and Goddesses exude a light energy, while others have a deeper darker energy, there is nothing wrong with the darker energy, it will all depend on what type of work you are intending to do.
Zeus is a well known god, he had the ability to control the weather, his most powerful weapon was the thunderbolt. When lightning struck, the ancient Greeks believed that it was a sign from Zeus. Zeus believed that guests should be well treated, if they weren’t it would send him into a rage. Demeter who was the mother of Persephone was the goddess of fertility and agriculture, women called upon her for fertility and farmers called upon her for their crops. Demeter was associated with the underworld, as her daughter had to spend six months of each year there. Hera was the queen of the gods and wife of Zeus, she is the goddess of weddings and marriage. Hera was also very jealous due to the many affairs Zeus had. Dinysos was the jovial god of high spirits, strong emotions and wine, he is also closely associated with drama and the theatre. Astraios was a god associated with the stars and planets and astrology, this god would be useful to anyone who is studying astrology. Hermes the god of communication, thought and travel, a beautiful god who wears winged sandals and a helmet and carries a caduceus. Hades god of the underworld, wealth and king of the dead, his queen is Persephone who spends six months of the year with Hades and six months with her mother Demeter. If you are worried about your bank account call upon Fortuna the goddess of fortune and fate, she carries the rudder from a ship, a cornucopia, a sphere and a wheel. Ganesha is the elephant headed god, he overcomes obstacles, he has four arms in which he carries a piece of his broken tusk, a thorn, roses and a bowl. Mercury is the god of communication, he is the one to call upon if there is tension between you and others. Sarasvati is the goddess of language and wisdom, with six arms and three faces, she rides a swan or sits on a lotus. Nephthys is the goddess of Earth and fertility, she is seen with a hieroglyph on her head. Osiris is the god of fertility and resurrection, his face is often green. When you are spellcasting call upon Aradia the queen of the witches, she is an all powerful witch and can be called invoked to protect witches.
Before surrendering yourself to life as a witch, first ask yourself why you want to be a witch. As a practicing witch you will be choosing to live in tune with nature. From this commitment your magical and spiritual journey begins, as you come face to face with your inner being. A witch must know and understand themselves, know their craft and try to learn something new everyday. As a practiscng witch, wise choices will be made and balance maintained, thoughts will be positive, you will be in harmony with Earth’s cycles. You will take care of the mind and body, the mind through meditation, the body through healthy diet and exercise. A witch honours the God and Goddess and observes the threefold law of return. Above all recognise that everything is connected to everything else.
Mind the Threefold Law you should,
Three times bad and three times good.
Ever Mind The Rule of three
Three times your acts return to thee
This lesson well, thou must learn
Thou only gets what thee dost earn
Ensure that your actions are honourable
For all that you do shall return to you,
Threefold, good or bane.
If it harms none,
Do what you want.
As a practicing witch you will endeavour to understand yourself.
You will dare.
You will work with your will.
You will pay attention to the threefold law.
You will take care of and respect nature.
You will pay attention to the phases of the Moon.
You will care for people and nature.
The conscious mind chants while the subconscious mind taps into the stream of energy from the ether. The will is most important when you practice magic, when you begin you have an intention, you then use your will in conjunction with the powers that be, to bring about your magic. Commitment, belief and faith are all important as you work with energies beyond the Earth plane. If you choose to be part of the Wiccan faith you may decide to wear a pentagram, these usually come in sterling silver and are worn as a necklace, a pentagram is a five pointed star usually surrounded by a circle, if surrounded by a circle it is called a pentacle, this can be your amulet.
As a practicing witch, scrutinise your motives, are you delving into witchcraft for the right reasons, ask yourself what it is that is motivating you? Before performing magic you want to be clear and concise about what it is you want to attain, magic works better when your objective is crystal clear.
For magic to happen you require a strong and healthy mind, this can be attained through meditation, try to meditate for 1/2 an hour each day, either first thing in the morning before your day begins, or in the evening. Meditating is easy, it’s just a matter of finding a space where you won’t be disturbed, shutting your eyes, clearing your mind and allowing it to be still and open to messages from the ether. Some scented oil burning or incense, adds to the atmosphere.
It is not absolutely necessary to have magical tools other than incense, candles and oil essences, however if you do want tools, only buy what you feel comfortable with. You don’t have to have a cauldron and broomstick but you might feel infinitely more witchy with these items. Upon purchasing items use them only for magic and ritual and in the meantime keep them on your altar in a special box, or in a container possibly wrapped in velvet fabric. Magical items help you to focus energy as you concentrate on your objective, as soon as you handle one of your magical items the subconscious mind knows it is time to do magic. Objects you may want to buy are crystals, scented candles, coloured candles to represent the four elements earth, air, fire, water, incense, statues, athame which is a ritual knife, it can be as simple or as ornate as you wish, such as having inscriptions or crystals, or zodiac signs engraved on it. An athame is a good magical tool for focusing energy. The athame is used to draw a symbolic circle around you while you work your magic. Tarot cards and Viking runes can also be used, just before you begin your magic work shuffle the cards then take the top card from the pack and turn it over. With your rune stones you first shake your bag of runes then choose a stone and place it on your altar or in front of you while you work. Your tools can hold energy, or energy can be sent out to help and heal others. It isn’t necessary to rush out and buy every item you think you need, take your time and purchase items little by little. A broom can be used to sweep the area where you are going to draw your sacred circle to work within.
These are basic witchcraft items you will use:
Amulet, this is an item you will want to have, it is most often worn as a necklace as protection when you are working with diverse energies, it protects its owner from harm, an amulet is different from a talisman, which is there to draw things to you and bring you luck. An amulet is used specifically for protection and is very powerful. A crystal can be used as an amulet, so can a ring, a statue and semi precious gems.
Athame is a small knife double edged, some have magical engravings on them, the handle is usually black, the anthame is not used for cutting, it is only used to focus and direct energy. An athame can be made from a variety of materials, from the most basic and simple to ornate and elaborate.
Large box or basket, this is used to keep some of your items in, such as oils, incense etc.
A bell is used when calling upon a god or goddesses to work with you, a bell resonates with powerful energy and the sound carries out into the Universe.
A broom is used to sweep away negative energy before drawing your circle and performing ritual magic.
Candles in a variety of shapes sizes and colours and safe containers to house your candles, always light a candles before ritual practices.
Incense to burn whenever you practice magic, incense represents the element of air.
Crystals, at the very least an amethyst for the mind and a rose quartz for the heart.
Tarot cards help to raise the energy giving more potency to your work and runes have the most beautiful benign energy.
Oils of different types, fragrant, essential and herbal, to be used in ritual and magic to consecrate.
A pentagram may be worn on your person, placed on your altar, or in your sacred space, this is used for protection.
Two statues male and female either side of your altar or in your sacred space, they represent the Lord and Lady, or God and Goddesses.
Smudge sticks can be used throughout your home, especially within your circle and around your person, and used on those who are part of your magic practice, a smudge stick cleanses.
A talisman can be used as your good luck charm as it draws beautiful energy to you, it is full of magical energies.
Magical items can be found in any esoteric shops, also in market places or online.
As a witch remember you are not an isolated entity, you are part of the collective unconscious, the energy you put out affects others, we are all part of the whole. Concentration is important as you wield your magic, a focused mind attains more than a scattered mind. Think of cause and effect before you begin, all actions cause a reaction, power must be handled with integrity. Use your power with wisdom, and caution.