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A Beginner’s Guide: How to Become a WITCH?

A Beginner’s Guide: How to Become a WITCH?

OHMYGOSSIP –  This article offers a few tips about witchcraft for beginners. If that’s you, read this post to learn how to start practicing witchcraft the right way.

Who is a witch and what is a witchery?
The word witch is of uncertain origin. There are numerous etymologies that it could be derived from. One popular belief is that it is “related to the English words wit, wise, wisdom [Germanic root *weit-, *wait-, *wit-; Indo-European root *weid-, *woid-, *wid-],” so “craft of the wise.” Another is from the Old English wiccecræft, a compound of “wicce” (“witch”) and “cræft” (“craft”).

In anthropological terminology, witches differ from sorcerers in that they don’t use physical tools or actions to curse; their maleficium is perceived as extending from some intangible inner quality, and one may be unaware of being a witch, or may have been convinced of his/her nature by the suggestion of others.

Witchcraft or witchery broadly means the practice of and belief in magical skills and abilities exercised by solitary practitioners and groups. Witchcraft is a broad term that varies culturally and societally, and thus can be difficult to define with precision, and cross-cultural assumptions about the meaning or significance of the term should be applied with caution. Witchcraft often occupies a religious divinatory or medicinal role, and is often present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view.

How to become a witch?

1. Choose your path.
There’s no shortage of types of witchcraft, meaning there’s also no shortage of choices for an aspiring witch. Rather than get overwhelmed, get your bearings by having at least a basic understanding of the terms below.

Paganism: Paganism is a term that covers a great number of spiritual and religious beliefs, and someone who follows one of these beliefs is known as a Pagan. Those in ancient times, who are called Pagans today, believed there was not just one god but a number of gods and goddesses.

Odinism: Odinism is a synonym for Heathenry (new religious movement) favored by some of the religion’s practitioners. Odinism may also refer to: Norse paganism. Old Norse religion was polytheistic, entailing a belief in various gods and goddesses. Norse mythology divided these deities into two groups, the Æsir and the Vanir, who engaged in an ancient war until realising that they were equally powerful. Among the most widespread deities were the gods Odin and Thor.

Wicca: Wicca, also termed Pagan Witchcraft, is a contemporary Pagan new religious movement. It was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant. Wicca is a polytheistic, neo-pagan religion that acknowledges the existence of many gods and goddesses. Its most frequently revered gods and goddesses are the Horned God of the Forest and the Goddess. The Horned God of the Forest is a masculine fertility god associated with the wildness of nature.

Ceremonial: The by-the-book practice of placing the highest value in—not to mention expertly executing—ceremonies and rituals.

Brujería: An umbrella term for African, Caribbean, and indigenous Latin American witchcraft, dating back centuries, if not thousands of years. Increasingly, though, the word bruja, Spanish for witch, has been reclaimed by Latinx women interested in their heritage—and made contemporary by, say, using the gender-neutral term brujx.

Solitary: This group is made up of those who choose not to find a coven, but instead operate on their own with the type (or mix) of witchcraft that they choose.

Eclecticism: A more social route for those who choose not to stick to a particular category but instead mix traditions as they please.

2. Learn the terminology.
Any beginner should have at least cursory knowledge of the terms listed below:

Initiation: The rites that put a budding witch on the path to making things official, by joining a coven after studying its practice, traditionally for a year and a day. The initiations that follow eventually allow the initiate the opportunity to become a high priest or high priestess; those with enough knowledge, experience, and dedication can become the leader of a Wiccan coven.

Coven: A gathering or community of initiated witches, usually led by a high priest and/or high priestess. If a coven is Wiccan, their meetings often involve sabbats, which are celebrations of the annual cycle of seasonal festivals known as the Wheel of the Year. (Non-sabbat meetings, such as the observation of a full moon, are known as esbats.)

Familiar: An animal-shaped spirit that serves as a witch’s spy, assistant, companion, and protector—the classic example of which is Sabrina’s black cat, Salem.

Altar: A surface that a Wiccan uses solely for activities such as casting spells, chanting, and worshipping the god and goddess. Typically, the altar is covered in a symbol-adorned cloth, which protects it from ash, liquids, and candle wax, as well as religious and ritual items like incense, wands, chalices of water, and cauldrons.

Pentacle: A magical tool such as an amulet or talisman that often appears on an altar, and is also often confused with a pentagram—a symbol popular in Wicca and, confusingly enough, the Church of Satan, which has pretty successfully taken ownership of its inverted version. (Inverted pentacles aren’t necessarily satanic, though Wiccans have recently largely strayed from using them to avoid that association.)

Black Magic: A form of magic used with dark, malevolent, and harmful intentions, commonly associated with satanism. Spells have been used for a variety of purposes ever since the days of the Magi of Zoroastrianism and Ancient Egypt, but those that are specifically used for negative and/or harmful purposes are known as hexes and curses.

Séance: A ceremony used to contact spirits, including the dead, usually with the help of a medium.

Grimoire: The umbrella term for a magic text, ranging from diaries to textbooks.

Book of Shadows: A Wiccan’s personal grimoire, used to store information they need, such as thoughts, recipes, and instructions for spells, rituals, and hexes.

3. Study up
Even if you think you’re sure you want to proceed, it’s best to find out what exactly you’re signing up for. Before paging through your spell books, it’s wise to do your research—particularly since the modern-day idea of witchcraft has been pieced together by a mix of legends and existing translated historical documents, leading each of the pros to have a slightly different take on the subject.

Start with the basics (and praise your deity of choice you made this decision after the invention of Google).

Depending on what type of witchcraft you decide to pursue, you’ll likely need at least a few supplies from an occult store, like candles, oils, roots, and herbs for rituals; spell books; tarot cards; potion ingredients; cauldrons; and, for those drawn to psychism, a crystal ball. (Some supplies won’t need to be purchased—the so-called Feces Spell, for example, is definitely chief in that category.)

4. Destroy the idea that the magical and the mundane are separate
Everything is connected. There is no magical world and magical items, and a separate mundane world with mundane items in it. It’s just different ways of perceiving the same objects. Meditation and ritual only get us to rise higher up the spectrum, they don’t change what is there.

The magical affects the mundane affects the magical. Beauty spells won’t work if you keep eating sugary sweets every day. Spells will have direct consequences in the mundane world – protection spells can give would-be intruders headaches or cause them to feel unsafe. They don’t magically bounce off an invisible shield and give up.

For spells to work, you must move the pieces of your mundane life around as best you can, and the same the other way – there’s no point asking for sailboat if you don’t have access to a marina to put it in, or have a job, business or wicked poker skills to give the Universe an avenue for the money to come down.

5. Practice
Some places to start are learning how to do a candle dressing, trying out some basic rituals, and familiarizing yourself with the different uses of crystals and candles—all of which you can keep a record of in your Book of Shadows. ​

All magical paths deal with magic. Therefore, there are three magical skills that will benefit anyone to practice regularly, especially when beginning. These three skills are:

a) Meditation
b) Feeling energy
c) Forming energy

Meditation should need no introduction, but the other two might. As humans, we’re sensitive to what we might call ‘energy’ whether we are consciously aware of it or not. We can tell if people in a room are friendly or standoffish without even speaking to them. We can feel if someone is staring at us from behind. We can sometimes tell if people are upset without their behaviors or expressions saying so. We can know if a place is haunted, or recently used. Training this skill can be as simple as noticing it happening. Whenever you make a judgement about a new person or situation, make a point of returning to that judgement and seeing if you were right or wrong as soon as you can get more physical evidence.

Don’t forget mental skills!
Mental skills like the all too rare common sense are also necessary to ease your beginning years. Understand fire safety, and basic first aid. Know which essential oils can kill children and pets, which things create toxic fumes when burnt or mixed, and that when you’re wandering around the woods at night that your biggest threat is exposure, injury or other humans. For example. The list goes on. Before you start ingesting herbs, or pouring vinegar down your toilet with bleach in it, quickly Google to see if what you’re about to do is wise.

Discernment is another mental skill that you will build with practice and constant questioning. Never accept spiritual messages at face value. Is it a warning from the Spirits, or your anxiety playing up? Is it your grandma coming through from Beyond, or is it wishful thinking? Is it an omen, or just some random birds?

With time (and lots of meditation) you will be able to know what is your voice, and what comes from something else.

Question everything.

Featured image: Pexels/Pixabay

 



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