By popular demand: a true-life account of my life as a Witch – Part the First
I never thought that I’d be asked to detail my experiences of twenty-odd years of magickal practice and general witchy shenanigans, but here we are. I did not want to be seen as self-indulgent or ego-centric. I have noticed that the new generation of “Baby Witches” so earnestly want to learn, and there are so many shiny things to choose from, that they get overwhelmed. Plus they get fed information that is at best, simplistic and misleading, and at worst, bloody dangerous and just plain wrong!
Disclaimer: I do not claim to be some mega guru of the Right and Only Way to Do Things. I am speaking purely from my own experience and passing on what I’ve learnt over the years. I’ve been asked to give a bit of direction and to pass on some tips and tricks, so here we are.
Also, the words in bold (not the above word “disclaimer” obviously, unless you don’t know what that word means) will eventually link to other blog posts elaborating more on that particular aspect of Witchcraft, but until I get around to actually writing the buggers, assume that that’s your cue to Google – LOL.
At the dawn of the digital age, back in the early Noughties, I was in the same position. The internet was still in its infancy. Websites had yet to obtain their gloss and professional sheen. They were blocky walls of text, relatively free from adverts. SEO, monetised blogs, and social media were not a thing. I could Google (well, Netscape Navigate) information about witchcraft and paganism without hitting paywalls, or encountering sites at the top of the search where Amazon was trying to flog me books on the subject. These were simpler times. I was standing between the worlds of the Analogue realm of wind-down windows in cars, being able to smoke in pubs, and recording songs off the radio onto cassette; and the Digital Age where the online world was the new Wild West – a frontier fraught with unregulated dangers.
I was at University in the south of England. I was about 20 years old. A friend told me she was Wiccan. She had wrapped in red ribbon, an item of clothing belonging to her boyfriend. She said it was for protection. I was intrigued. (I am not Wiccan now, but this was how I started.) So I started looking online and I found a wealth of resources. Back then, the online forums were open and friendly. I did not encounter the terrible gatekeeping and virtue signalling that we see now. I was told to learn the basics: grounding, centring and visualisation. After that, how to cast a Circle, protect yourself, invoke the Elements (also known as Watchtowers or Quarters), and how to invite Deities to oversee your Rite, and to give any spells their blessing and a bit of Cosmic “oomph”.
Then I learnt about the eight Sabbats – the “Wheel of the Year.” Wicca is a religion that personifies and worships nature in the form of the Goddess and the God. The most well known of these religious festivals are probably Samhain, which is October 31st – Halloween. That’s a biggie for Witches and Pagans alike. Even if you have no intention of invoking or working with the old Gods, still research this. It’s an excellent foundation. Samhain is what Easter means to Christians, Yom Kippur means to Jewish people, and Ramadam is to Muslims. I will need to write another article explaining what the difference is between the two, but basically speaking, all Pagans are Witches, but not all Witches are Pagans. VERY generally speaking, Pagans tend to incorporate a religious aspect into their witchcraft, whereas Witches cast spells. This is a massive generalisation I know, but I don’t want to go into a massive explanation and divert too much attention away from the original focus of this article.
Then there’s Esbats – rituals performed on the Full, Dark, and the waxing and waning Moon. I need to write separate articles for those too, but for now, you can just Google “Esbats”, print the pages off, and then write them up in your own words on loose-leaf paper and then stick them in a binder. This will form the basis of your Book of Shadows.
After that, research correspondences – the what candle goes with what day of the week, on which phase of the Moon, with what herbs and crystals for what spell. The more correspondences you have, the easier it is to focus your intent, and it makes your spells so much more powerful and effective. Yet another article to write on this MASSIVE subject, huh…
Then, learn how to dismiss the Quarters/Elementals/Watchtowers (same thing, essentially), bid farewell to your Deities (if applicable) and close your Circle. And, for the love of all that is holy, learn to GROUND that energy you have raised. This is crucial, so I’ll go into more detail as to the reasons why:
You’ll feel wobbly and drunk if you don’t – also, any entities attracted to the energy could latch on to you and cause problems. Ground by placing your hands on the ground and visualising the excess energy draining into the Earth. Or, you could “push” the energy into a rough (i.e. untumbled) crystal or geode. They act like power banks that can give you a much-needed boost if you’re feeling under the weather. You can also use such a rough, unpolished crystal to “charge” your smooth crystals. This was something I was taught many years ago by a Spiritualist friend. She also did Tarot readings and Clairvoyance. She was high(and this is my terminology) a “granny witch.” – the version of the Crone archetype that bakes cookies and feeds you until you nearly explode like Mr Creosote.
Anyway, don’t even think about driving or operating heavy machinery! Ground the bugger, and, if you’re still feeling a bit wonky, eat a chocolate bar. That will sort you out.
Adept, hostile Witches will pick up on your energy signature – the mantra of Forensics is “every contact leaves a trace.” In Witchcraft, it’s no different. Every witch and spellcaster have their own, unique”fingerprint” or energy signature. Clairsentient (meaning “clear feeling”) enemies are like bloodhounds – they will get the scent and figure out what kind of work you have been doing and will, depending on their intention, and what you’ve been actually doing, be able to use that against you.
Anyway – that should give you Newbies more than enough to get you started. So buy a lever arch file and a pad of lined paper, research the words I’ve put in bold in this article, print off your research, get a highlighter pen and highlight the most important bits, then write it up in best in your own words. This will form the basis of your Book of Shadows. This is what I did all those years ago. Once you have gotten your head around how to do simple rituals and have some understanding of correspondences, then you can get around to writing your own spells.
The most powerful spells are the ones you write yourself. This is where the real fun begins! Exciting, huh?
Until next time, Witchlings….