So You Want To Be A Witch? Meeting the Gods and Choosing a Practice.

“The first time I called myself a Witch was the best day of my life”

I never went through a princess phase. I was always the Witch in my childhood games. Witches were powerful, had a deep understanding of herbs, potions and they spoke to the moon. I was innately familiar with this power and practiced Magick in my own way. I was never a wicked Witch – Mostly I was a Green Witch, living in a cottage in the forest creating medicine in my plastic bucket/cauldron filled with water (from the backyard tap), earth, grass and sometimes a grasshopper or two (sorry grasshoppers).

I infused my practice with what was known to me. I went to catholic school so when I celebrated the Autumn Season with my “funeral to the dying nature”, I’d bury leaves and wilted flowers in tiny graves and say catholic prayers over them. Mostly Hail Mary’s. The Goddess lived in me yet I still today cannot tell you where this knowing came from.

I went through the teenage Ouija Board games, started a Coven in college . We’d get together every single week for years to meditate, practice healing spells, study divination. I gave readings, did astrology charts and created magickal rinses with herbs for friends who needed an ‘aura cleansing’. Magick has been present in my life from the day at age 3, I told my sister that a spirit had arrived in the room we were playing in. To this day she says it creeped her out. To me, the world of the living and the dead have always been intertwined and I walked amongst it.

Today my practice has been scaled down. From elaborate altars and all the tools (athames, crystals, cauldrons and wands) I now practice through meditation, visualization, Kitchen Witchery and once in a while, simple candle Magick and spells.

Today, I want to share some fundamentals of Witchcraft for the new Witch.

I consider myself a Solitary – Eclectic – Kitchen Witch. I practice Tarot and Oracles (Ancient Trees, Crows and I Ching) for my divination practice and I’m most attracted to the Celtic, Norse and Egyptian Pantheons (Gods). I use Buddhist Meditation, Law of Attraction and Work with the Archangels (Michael, Raphael, Chamuel and Gabriel) and practice Yoga.

These are a few ways to get started:

Choosing A Magickal Name: Choosing a name other than our own is sometimes used in the context of Coven work for a couple of reasons. One, to protect our identity when being a Witch could be cause for persecution or losing your job. We’d like to think that the world is more open minded these days but even just this week I read about a woman who worked at Panera Bakery in the US and was fired “until she found Jesus”. So yeah, anonymity is something to consider. Second, having a name we use only during Magick can give us a sense of power and is a name we may want to use when communing with the Gods. It’s not necessary to use a different name but if you do, find one that has meaning to you. Names with gemstones you may like working with or spirit animals. I have a Magickal name that only the Gods recognize and know me by.

The Seasons & Sabbats : A large part of Witchcraft and Paganism is a connection to nature. This means advocating for all living beings, doing our part in keeping Mother Earth healthy and clean and a deep connection to the Seasons and Sabbats. Our ancestor knew the importance of the Seasons because it was a matter of life or death! They knew that during the last Full Moon in October, the animals who would not make it through the harsh Winter were to become sustenance during the dark half of the year. And just like that we too observe the cycles of the earth and celebrate the 8 Sabbats or Seasons:

  • Winter Solstice (Yule) Dec 21
  • Imbolc (Candlemas) Feb 1
  • Spring Equinox (Ostara) March 21
  • Beltane (May Eve) May 1
  • Summer Solstice (Litha) June 21
  • Lughnasadh (Lammas) Aut 1
  • Autumn Equinox (Mabon) Sept 21
  • Samhain (Hallowe’en) Oct 31

The Moon Phases: Understanding the phases of the Moon is important for Spell Work. Each phase brings it’s own power and it is said that using the correct moon phase will help with the success of certain magickal workings. Aside from each phase, Witches observe the Esbat which is the Full Moon of each month (as well as the Blue Moons we have each year – these are Full moons that happen twice within a 30 day period). The Full Moon is known for it’s powerful energy. Not only does it affect the ocean tides but you may not realize the reason you’re feeling extra energetic or restless is because it is the Full Moon. These are the Full Moons for this year.

Meeting The Goddess and God : Witchcraft is a Polytheistic practice meaning the belief in more than one God. Many religions around the world have always understood the balance of the Feminine and Masculine energies. Paganism and Witchcraft observe the Goddess and God. We know the Goddess as the “Triple Goddess” – Maiden, Mother and Crown. Just like us, we go through phases in our lifetime from childhood to maturity and Witchcraft honours these changes. The Goddess is the main character in Witchcraft as she is the one who gives life. She represents the Earth, it’s soil, the life on it and it’s bounty. The God is known as the “Horned God” represented by a Stag as well as the Holly & Oak King, each presiding over either the Dark or Light half of the year. He is the spirit of the Forests, the Mountains, the hunt.

The Elements: Witches work with the Elements and Elementals to give power to our Magick and Spell Work. We believe that the psychic energy of each element is found within us and by evoking them we can bring balance into our work and life. The elements are:

Air – represented by the Sylphs (fairy like creatures). Air is also the energy of Communication

Fire – represented by the Dragon or Salamander. Fire is the energy of Passion and Drive

Water – represented by the Nymphs, Undines and Mermaids. Water is the energy of Change, Slow and steady movement as well as the Emotions

Earth – represented by the Forest Gnomes . Earth is also the energy of the Material plane.

At the beginning of the ritual we call each Element to the circle to aid us with their specific powers.

Rituals : I won’t get too in depth here because I can write a few blogs on this topic alone. Basically, within the practice of the Craft, we celebrate ritual for different reasons. It could be the Sabbats or Esbats or for a specific purpose like a Healing ritual or prosperity Spell. Regardless of what the theme is, there is always a set of steps that are taken. All Magick is practiced inside a sacred space or Circle. When we are ready to begin a ritual we always begin by preparing, this could be by bathing, changing into ritual garb (a robe or a special dress used for ritual), Grounding, Casting the Circle, Calling the Quarters (Air, Fire, Water & Earth), evoking the Elementals, Gods, Archangels, Teachers, Ancestors (whoever you choose to work with) and raising a cone of power. Again, I will come back to these things in a future blog.

Choosing A Practice That Resonates With You :

There are many different branches within Witchcraft and as we move through our practice we usually find that we resonante with one or a few more than the rest. Witchcraft is about Authenticity. Nature doesn’t force itself to be and neither do we. A few practices are:

Green witchcraft: These are the Garden and Forest Witches. Highly connected to the Earth energy a Green Witch will always have their own garden and grow herbs and study their local area and become knowledgeable about the flowers,plants and trees that grow near them. They like to be as close to Mother Earth as possible and will prefer to live away from large cities.

Kitchen Witchery: Kitchen Witches are very home based. They use herbs and ingredients in their cooking sometimes gathered from their own garden and create spells with things found in their homes: Essential Oils, Herbs, wine.

Eclectic Witchcraft: The Eclectic Witch doesn’t have a set practice or tradition. They pull what works for them from different beliefs. They make their own rules and are unique. I like to work with the Archangles of Christianity, as well as using Buddhist mindfulness meditation and Celtic and Norse Pantheons in my practice.

Sea Witchcraft: Sea Witches feel a deep connection to the element of Water. They will use things like shells, stones, sea water and sand in their spells. They will work closely with the Mer-people

Hedge Witchcraft: Hedge Witches work a lot with the spirit world, they communicate with the ancestors and live in between the boundaries of the living and the dead. They practice astral projection and can send messages (like the Raven spirit) to and from the worlds.

Elemental Witchcraft: The Elemental Witch works with the 4 elements (air, fire, water and earth) and usually like to create and altar for each one and this way work their Magick from the altar energy they need. They sometimes prefer one element over the other and focus more on that one.

Ceremonial witchcraft: Ceremonial Witches have many practices but infuse most everything they do with a ceremony. They will call upon beings and spiritual entities to assist them. Rituals are held in high regard.

Hereditary Witchcraft: The Hereditary Witch is born into the Craft meaning their Parents and or Grandparents are Witches and initiated them into the practice at a young age. Their Magick is passed down from generation to generation.

Solitary Witchcraft: The Solitary Witch can be any of the Witches above except they choose to work alone instead of within the structures of a Coven or group. Legend says these are reincarnated Witches who don’t need to study with other Witches as they have an understanding of Magick from past lives.

Whether you’re thinking of starting your practice, are a well versed Witch or just curious about other religions and beliefs. I’m happy you’ve joined me today.

Until next time.

Love,

Jennifer

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