Anonymous Hello, (I hate to ask really, it seems like you get these so much but) I've become interested in becoming a witch but do not plan on practicing Wicca- and I'm afraid that I may end up doing something wrong or incorrectly and searching hasn't done me very much good. Is there anything I am suppose to know so I wont mess up along the way?
hi! take a deep breath and relax — I don’t think you should worry too much about doing something “wrong.” witchcraft is a practice and it’s a learning process. there is usually trial and error involved. it’s okay to make mistakes (we all learn from them), so try not to be afraid of messing up.
here are some things I’d suggest in general for a beginner:
RESEARCH! this is one of your most important tools when approaching witchcraft. never stop studying! there is always something new to learn or a new perspective to consider. The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft by Judika Illes and Witchcraft: a History by D.G. Maxwell-Stuart are excellent books to start with. you can click here for a list of non-Wiccan related witchcraft books. here are some more book recommendations that you might find useful, categorized by topic.
go at your own pace. try not to rush, but don’t be afraid to jump in, either — do what feels right for you; trust your intuition and instincts.
it’s a good idea to research correspondences (herbal, mineral, lunar, etc), though there’s nothing wrong with coming up with your own correspondences and associations for materials. here’s a helpful post to start you off: How to Use Your Stuff.
this one is important: research materials before using them. for example, certain herbs should be handled with caution because they’re poisonous and/or may cause skin irritation, while others may interact negatively with certain medications. certain minerals should not be used in gem elixirs due to toxicity (here’s a list).
work on practicing meditation (see tips on my FAQ) and visualization (click for tips).
remember that tools are just that — tools. you don’t need a fancy altar, an athame, a wand, tons of herbs and crystals, or even candles to practice witchcraft. these are items that help you focus, but don’t sweat it if you don’t have everything on hand. it’s also fine to use substitutes. for example, white candles may be used in place of other colors, rosemary is a good substitute for most herbs and olive oil can be used to anoint items if you do not have any essential oils.
prior to performing any spellwork, it’s a good idea to cleanse the area (some people like to cast a circle). there are a number of ways you can do this - smoke cleansing (here’s how I do it), sound cleansing (bells, music, clapping, chanting, etc), steam, salt water, and/or sweeping with a besom (traditional broom).
be clear when stating, focusing on and/or directing your intent/energy when doing spellwork.
generally, it’s not a good idea to invoke any deities or other entities if you are not familiar with them. you do not have to call upon any gods or goddesses for help during a ritual or spell, unless you are comfortable with doing so.
I advise against performing spells that influence other people’s free will (mainly love spells to “make” someone fall for you).
Anonymous Hi! So I can't really wrap my head around witchcraft and I don't really have a big belief in polytheism but all my other values line up. I've tried tarot cards and it was freakily accurate. But my question is, Would there be a section of paganism that would fit for me?