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Getting Started in The Craft

Magick is real. It affects reality. It's serious business, something that should never be taken lightly or fooled around with until you know what you are doing. Magick is a tool, a double-edged sword.
Like anything else, you'll get as much from magick as you put into it. It takes a lot of time and study to become an adept. Be realistic in your expectations.
Magick is not the answer to everything, so recognize situations that are better dealt with by law enforcement, doctors, or other professionals. Be sensible. If someone is spouting blood, apply a tourniquet and call for help before you even think of doing a stop-bleeding spell.
Magick is natural, not supernatural. Physicists have discovered that particles under study alter their movements, that you can change a thing merely by concentrating on it. That's how magick works. Learning to successfully cast spells is the least of it. Your ultimate goal should be to experience life itself as a magickal thing. The Buddha taught that all life is suffering, but witches tend to think otherwise.
Magick is very powerful, but to look to it for power over others is to miss the point entirely. Magick isn't for compelling love or obedience, it isn't for destroying your enemies or seeking revenge. Magick is about empowerment, transformation, healing, and betterment. It's for self-improvement and self-determination.
Power over yourself and your own life is real power. Use magick to change your life. Battle your demons with it: fears, addictions, diseases, negative patterns.
Magick is limitless in its forms. Some types include: knot magick, kitchen magick, garden magick, weather magick, chaos magick, hand magick, candle magick, chant magick, Goddess magick, lunar magick, solar magick, crystal magick, dragon magick, sea spells, fire spells, necromancy . . . there are as many kinds as a witch can imagine.
Knowledge is power, so magickal power accrues with study, experience, practice and inner work. Never try to prove your powers to anyone else. Don't get bogged down in ridiculous 'power contests' with other practitioners. The only one you have anything to prove to is yourself.

You would not be reading this were you not already a Seeker, trying to find your Way. Your search (and the inner work it involves) are what matter, not if your Path leads finally to Wicca or somewhere else. Walk in the light and you will never go astray. The journey to magick starts with an inner voyage, the journey to Self.

You have been living with yourself all your life, and probably assume that you do know yourself. But unless you are already an adept, you have not yet learned that there are two ways of Knowing, two ways of experiencing the world.
Magick will open your eyes, your mind and your Self to the Other way of knowing. Reality is like an onion, composed of layers. Ordinary life takes place on its surface, or perhaps a little deeper for those with inborn psychic gifts. Magick will take you further, teach you how to penetrate the veils and layers of reality. Magick deals in ultimate truths.
This journey, should you decide to undertake it, is a never-ending one. We all have things we can still learn about ourselves and about magick, no matter how long we have been studying.

ASTROLOGY: As above, so below
Many witches believe in astrology to an extent. This is not to say that we follow the newspaper horoscope you see daily as any indication or true astrology.
We know that the position of the planets at the time of your birth influences who you will be and what your life will be like. This is not the sole determining factor, since forces like free will, genetics, chance and synchronicity are also in play, but the art and science of astrology is well worth study by witches and those who would be witches. Having your birth chart done, or doing it yourself with the aid of a book, will help you to learn more about yourself. A good astrology book makes you feel like someone has been reading your diary, or peering through the windows of your soul.

Most of us feel more affinity for certain elements over others, and this influences our style of practicing magick. Many things determine this affinity including astrology, life events, and geography. Examine your life to determine your elements. I am a Capricorn Sun/Cap Moon and Leo Rising, I have a facination with the mountains and forests and I activly voice my opinion about the Rain Forest. :o) I keep crystals and other stones on my altar, and have a bazillion plants in my house. Earth is clearly my element, in accord with both my Sun and Moon signs.
Do you go scuba diving, bungee jumping or mountain climbing? Has your house got a fireplace, fish tank or wind chimes? Do you garden, fly kites, make pottery or walk in the rain? What do you collect? What do you fear? Examine your preferences and activities to determine your elements.

As pagans we worship the Goddess by one of Her by many names: Astarte, Isis, Kali, Demeter, Brigit, Diana, Peli, Copper Woman, Hecate, Luna, Innana . . . ad infinitum. We also recognize the Old Gods and worship them if we feel moved to do so: Pan, Osiris, Tammuz, Jove, Cernunnos, Mithras, etc. As you become familiar with the God/desses of the world you will feel yourself drawn to particular deities or cultures. You could also find that you feel affinity for a certain type of deity: sea goddesses, vegetation gods, Earth Mothers, Sky Fathers, culture hero/ines, or whatever. This is another way to learn about yourself.

A past life dream is more like reality than a dream. If you have ever had one, you know exactly what I mean. In an ancient dream you smell peopleís bodies, feel the heat of the torches, experience the fear or joy of the priestess . . . you wake up out of breath, with your heart pounding. You were actually there. You know your dream for what it was.
Dreams can reveal many things besides past lives, things such as directions, future events and unresolved personal issues. The Universe sometimes communicates with us through dreams.
Dream work is done by keeping a notebook near your bed, a book in which you write down your dreams as soon as you wake up. You could write down every dream, or just those that seem meaningful. Reviewing the dreams as they accumulate may reveal patterns and issues. This also gives validity to premonitions and predictions.

We all have a dark side, and must confront it before we can trust ourselves with magick. This requires absolute honesty with yourself. You have to find a way to deal with your demons; demons being negative things like aggression, jealousy, addictions, envy, depression. The solution is different for each of us. I work through my dark side but crafting, writting songs.
Magick has its dark side as well, the black arts. They can be seductive, but you will ultimately destroy yourself if you choose the left hand path. Protect yourself from this. Never participate in Satanism, black magick, demonology, blood sacrifice, or anything else that is negative. Avoid books by Aleister Crowley and those who follow his twisted path. Develop your psychic radar so that alarm bells go off whenever evil comes near you.

You can learn witchcraft on your own, from books and web sites. It isn't as difficult as it once was to get the information or find others that share your intrests.You can practice entirely alone, or you could seek out others to work with. The choice to follow a solitary path, or to join or form a circle or coven, is yours. Follow your heart in such matters and never allow others to impose these choices on you. Please read the Tips for finding a Coven for things to watch for.
It is said, however, that when you are ready a coven or teacher will come.

You should carefully examine any spell or magickal work before you perform it to be sure that it is in accord with the ethics of being a witch. If you do harm inadvertently, try to right it. Many witches work a phrase into their spells that prevents accidental harm, something like,An it harm none, Do as thou Will. Witches recognize magick as a gift of the Goddess. There is no requirement to helping everyone that asks for your help. remember that magick, whether we like it or not has a way of coming back to us, so be sure in the work that you are doing, and make sure your intent is pure. Something a little as a love spell, if it against the wishes of one of the parties involved, could have a backlash upon you.

Every witch should learn a method of divination, be it runes, Tarot, scrying, I Ching, dowsing rods, etc. Divination is a way for the Universe to speak to and through us.

An altar is a place for worship and casting spells. Erect one if you can. It could be a formal altar with an embroidered cloth, or it could be a table, bookshelf,desktop, slab of rock . . . any place you have available to you for this purpose.
Usual altar furnishings include:
statues or other representations of deities
offerings, such as fruit and flowers.
As with all else, it's your altar and you can put whatever you like on it. Pay homage to a particular god, Goddess or pantheon. Decorate it for the seasons, the Sabbats, the full moon - whatever feels right and looks good to you.

Many witches elect to assume a Craft name. This is optional, entirely up to you unless you join a tradition in which a new name is required. Your name, if you choose one, should say something about you. God/dess, plant and animal names seem to be popular, especially variations on wolf, dragon and raven. Names that include the Moon, a color or stone are also often seen. Some witches start with a single name then add additional ones to it as they progress in the Craft. In some traditions each witch also has a secret name, one that is known only to family or fellow coven members.This is a free planet and you can call yourself anything you like, but young witches who assume titles like Lord, Lady or Sir may find themselves catching flack for this from older witches who think such titles should be earned or awarded.

Witch. What a powerful word it is. It attracts, it repels, it frightens, it fascinates. It offers hope to those who do not know where else to turn. No one should ever assume this title lightly. To call yourself a witch is to appoint yourself a Priest/ess of the Goddess. It is a binding contract to serve the Life Force.
Covens often do initiation ceremonies for new members. Solitary witches can hold Self-Initiation Ceremonies of their own devising. There are some great books in print today which offer self-initiation.
If you choose to be with a coven, then the Lady and/or Lord will first make you a Dedicate to the Craft and/or Coven, after training and no less than a year and a day, you will be eligible to have you First Degree initiantion.

Look for clues in your life, your family history, your birth chart and your dreams to discover if you are a natural witch. Did you ever wish something and have it come true, to your horror or surprise? Did you suspect you caused this, intentionally or otherwise? Perhaps you did. Were you a Pagan sort of child? Have you dreamt ancient dreams? Do you seem to have a natural affinity for magick? Have you got psychic gifts? Do inexplicable things happen to or around you? All of these are indications. If you suspect you're a natural witch, you probably are. There are more people alive on the planet right now than have lived in all of human history, so it makes sense that many of us are Old Souls.

Unlike blue eyes and diabetes, witchcraft is not inherited. It is a path that is purely your own. I was born and raised Anglican, but that is not MY path and I chose to be who I am. If you have ancestors, grandparents, parents who were/are witches, that is wonderful. BUT it does not automatically make you a witch.
It still requires much training and studying.

(Mainpage) (History, Salem and the Malleus Maleficarum)
(Moon Phases) (Sabbats)
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(Getting Started in the Craft) (Tips for finding a Coven)