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Top 5 Tips for the Beginner Witch

Updated: Jun 23, 2022

Table with herbs, plants, candles, paper and pen

If you're reading this, the art of witchcraft has cast its spell on you, you're eager to learn more... but you're also frozen with fear because you have no freakin' idea how you are supposed to fit all this information into your head!! Sound familiar? I promise you, all of us not born into witchcraft, have been there!

There are so many different reasons why one is drawn to practice the art of earth-centered magickal practice and even more reasons why they choose to stay and walk the path of the witch. With so many options, where do you start? How do you know which step to take and in what direction? Well, that's exactly the kind of tips in this blog, read on!

1. Start with What Matters to You

Tarot card

Uniqueness to person is what makes witchcraft so special! Each path is different, each path is intimately personal. I have known all kinds of witches. From green witches to hedge witches, and from eclectic witches to traditional witches, I've known witches who are deeply rooted in ancestor and deity worship and I've known witches who deeply rooted their practice in science and atheism. The first thing I always tell people who want to start practicing but feel overwhelmed is to really examine themselves and decide what it is that is most important to them in a magickal/spiritual practice.

  1. Take a notebook, a cuppa, and sit somewhere quiet.

  2. Write down everything that is important to you and place an asterisk (or many) to denote how important something on the list is for you.

  3. When you finish, look at the list as a whole picture and determine what the list is telling you.

  4. Revise your list by determining your top 5 areas of importance.

This list can include magickal subjects like astrology and herbalism, psychological components such as self-love or shadow working, cultures you wish to connect with, and practices you feel called to practice such as ancestor veneration. The revised list is your starting point and the very beginnings of what will be your craft.

2. You Don't Need ALL the Tools RIGHT NOW

Altar tools with no symbol

So you've seen wands, athames, cauldrons, crystals, cards, books, statues, pentacles, and the list goes on. First and foremost, the best tool in the witches toolbox is themselves. Secondly, a lot of the tools you see are tools from Neo-pagan witchcraft. Practices like Southern Folk, Appalachian, Granny, Shamanism, etc. use different tools from the ones that are most prolific on social media.

The tools you use directly relate with the type of craft you want to practice and who you are as a practitioner. You can decide you want all the tools, a few, or none at all. I've seen the whole spectrum of practitioners where tools are concerned. Here I will refer you back to Tip #1. Use your list of areas to decide what tools you want if tools are suggested. Tools come in all shapes and sizes and carry a wide range of price tags from extremely expensive to free. If you ask me, the best tools are the ones you acquire yourself through nature. The best wand I've got is from an ash branch that I took home and carved myself.

3. There is No Standard Witch Aesthetic

For some folks, the aesthetic of witchcraft is captivating and alluring all on its own. It may even be what first go them interested in learning more about witchcraft. And while witchy aesthetic can be gorgeous, it's usually either staged for the social media camera or it has taken the practitioner the life of their practice to perfect. Witches gain their own personal style throughout the life of their practice.

It takes quite a while, and a lot of WTF moments, to carve out your personal aesthetic. But I promise you will find it. While some witches believe in the magick of a clean and visually beautiful aesthetic, others thrive on the magick of chaos, disorganization and clutter. The truly awesome part is that there is no standard of beauty in witchcraft because there is beauty in every path. It has never, and will never, look or feel the same from person to person - and that, my darling, is perfectly and preferably acceptable.

4. You are Going to Fail, A LOT

Failure inspirational quote

Failing is how we learn. I cannot count the number of times spells failed on me when I was first starting out. More often than not my spellcraft would be excellent and my execution wouldn't account for loopholes. I got too caught up in the ritual instead of focusing on the magick. Kinda like how people become too focused on the wedding instead of the marriage.

If you've read my story into witchcraft then you know that one of my first spells was to find like-minded individuals like me and a mentor. And while it succeeded, I kinda forgot to tell the universe any other characteristics I wanted in these people. As a result, the universe delivered a group of like-minded individuals but that didn't ensure that they were all kind, caring, and looking out for my best interest as well as theirs. And trust me, there was on woman whose envy of my tarot skills led her to do some pretty awful things to me.

The universe can be finicky and it responds to exactly what you ask - and exactly what you don't say. Nowadays I fail in spellcraft rarely. Why? Because I failed a lot as a witchling, learned from my mistakes, and integrated what I learned into my next working. No one rides a two wheel bike when they first sit on the seat. It takes practice. The same is true for witchcraft. Don't be scared to fall down because you will. The important part is that you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, learn from it, and try again.

5. Write EVERYthing Down

I cannot stress enough that as a new witch, everything seems overwhelming. But, if you focus on one area at a time, and commit to recording everything, it will seem a lot less daunting. Plus, if you have a record of what you've done and how it went, you have a better chance of understanding what went right and what could use a little improvement.

Writing in a Book of Shadows (BOS) is a ritual in itself for many witches. Here is where you will record any and all information you collect about deities, cultures, practices, divination, psychic ability and all other things witch. Some witches record their rituals and spellcrafts in a separate book or section of their BOS called a Grimoire. Grimoire's are smaller versions of a BOS and read more like a cookbook than an encyclopedia. It is filled with recipes, instructions, and outcomes where a BOS is filled with correspondences, information, and general guidance.

Living in the age of technology, modern day witches have a plethora of options for BOS/Grimoire record keeping. You can use everything from Word/Pages, PDF, and a USB drive to a custom 500 page leather bound book adorned with magickal symbols and a plethora of colorful ribbon bookmarks.

For me, I have two preferred methods. I keep a lot of my BOS in OneNote. OneNote is an organizational computer software included in Microsoft Office that creates virtual binders. It allows for color-coded sections, pages, and even notebooks within your binder. It's also fabulous for copy and pasting things from the internet and keeping a link to the original materials. I am also a fan of keeping a 3"+ traditional binder with tabbed dividers and sheet protectors. Binders allow you to insert, extract, and move information at will. Binders allow the witch to create a flowing BOS instead of a permanently static record of information. And the sheet protectors keep the pages from getting ruined during spellcraft - bonus!

These are my top 5 tips for beginner witches. Do you have any suggestions you'd like to add to those just starting out on their magickal path of witchcraft? Leave a comment below!

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