Anyone who knows anything about witchcraft knows that the current stereotype of witches has been run through the dirt time and time again. Let’s be honest, witches don’t fly on brooms, wear big pointy hats or have an evil cackle. In fact, witchcraft is a much more complex and in-depth practice that has many different branches to explore.
I myself have been dipping my toes into these practices and am going to share how I found what fits me. Witchcraft can be overwhelming at first due to the vast amount of information published online every day.
Here are some helpful tips for anyone wanting to start and how to figure out what branch fits for you.
Find what practices match your ideologies
Finding what road you want to go down can be difficult at first. I myself had no idea about the enormous amount of different kinds of witches there are. Two of the most popular kinds of practices are Paganism and Wicca, which is a subcategory of Paganism.
Wicca usually follows three pillars: magick, nature and the worship of deities. Wicca is a newer religion, starting in the early 20th century, that takes some of its practices from Pagan traditions. Paganism, which dates back to the Renaissance period, is a bit more broad, but it typically follows the worship of deities as well, except the practice centers more through ceremonies or festivals. Now let me be clear: these are obscure definitions, as many people practice these religions differently and it is best to do research on your own time.
I fall more under the Wiccan practices, and I identify as a hearth and green witch. My practices focus on plants and the home I currently live in. As someone who follows Wicca I cannot speak for the Pagan religion, so this will mainly be for anyone who wishes to know more about Wicca.
The most important thing to do when starting out is research. One great place to look is in any text written by Gerald Gardner, who is nicknamed “the father of modern day witchcraft.” The main text many Wiccans follow is Gardner’s “The Gardnerian Book of Shadows”. Another important figure in the history of Wicca is Aleister Crowley, who Gardner knew and drew inspiration from, to start the new religion.
One thing to also keep in mind is to do research on what type of practices you want to follow. As I have stated before, I follow the hearth and green witch practices. There is no certain way or exact practice you follow when becoming a Wiccan, it is usually something you do for yourself or to help others.
For myself, one book that helped me with my journey with magick is “Witchery: Embrace the Witch Within” by Juliet Diaz. This book dives into what magick is and how to embrace the inner witch inside. It also touches on some of the basic information that is necessary to understanding some of the terminology and basic rituals.
Another book that is great for any witch is “The Modern Witchcraft Guide to Magickal Herbs: Your Complete Guide to the Hidden Powers of Herbs,” written by Judy Ann Nock. This guide gives the history, characteristics and magickal properties of many common herbs and flowers. Nock also includes some potions and spells allowing you to practice some basic magick.
For my practices, I focus on plants and the home that I currently live in. As a hearth and green witch, I don’t have much experience with alter work as they do not necessarily fall under my self-studies.
Potion making and healing through plants have become like a second language to me. When making potions, you don’t need a recipe. All you need to know is what the ingredients you choose to use will do in the potion. It is also important to make sure you have an extra bottle of moon water around, as this is commonly used to heighten the strength of a spell or potion. When making potions myself, I always have a clear mind and I focus on the purpose of the spell as I prepare the ingredients and as I make it. Many of my potions are used to bring good luck into my home and for healing.
Becoming a witch isn’t something one does overnight. Research and looking into yourself is a big part of starting the journey and is not to be overlooked. For anyone hoping to start their journey into witchcraft, I hope I have helped make that journey less overwhelming.