30 Study Topics For Beginner (or Any) Witch to Research

This is only an overview, and a place to get started. Let it spark your research. I often will take a moon cycle to do an in depth study of a topic (ie. chakras) and see where is takes me. No topic is in isolation. Chakras, for example, link to color magic, energy work, meditation, healing, yoga, Eastern philosophy. Maybe it will lead you to your next topic, maybe you’ll go back to the list and decide to study something else, like Tarot, next. One thing that I truly believe is that Witchcraft makes students of us all. We learn about ourselves and the world around us as we study esoteric topics.

Hope that you all get to go out and experience the sun’s energy on this longest day of the year. Dance with the fairies, drink honey mead, and jump over the bonfire (though maybe, that should come before too much mead).

May Day or Beltane, while it may be translated to other cultures or traditions is based on Celtic history and traditions. In Celtic tradition, the two greatest festivals of the solar year are Samhain and Beltane, celebrations of death and rebirth, respectively. Love is in the air at Beltane. In traditional (Celtic) Wiccan rituals, we celebrate the union between the Great Mother and her young Horned God. Their coupling brings fresh new life on Earth.

Fertility Sabbat

Some form of this Great Rite is enacted on this sabbat in many modern pagan circles. The Great Rite symbolizes the sacred marriage and/or sexual union, of the Lord and Lady. Often the rite is performed symbolically by a male and female who place a knife (a phallic symbol) into a chalice (a female or yonic symbol). In Old Europe, whole villages would celebrate May Day by slipping away into the woods for indiscriminate sexual encounters. Any children conceived during this occasion were known as “merry-begots” and were considered children of the gods. These “greenwood marriages” were acts of sympathetic magick believed to have a positive effect on their crops, animals, and themselves.

So, I recently got a wild idea and started posting some beginning wicca/witchcraft info here. I know it can be hard to find reliable beginner information that you can relate to. Personally, it is probably because of the great YouTube videos that I have been watching at work. (Check out Hearthwitch and The Witch of Wonderlust if you get a chance.) So, I hope that my writing is a voice that you can relate to as you find your own path.

Personally, I follow an eclectic Wiccan-based path, with some differences to traditional Wiccan teachings. I don’t know if anyone would be interested in me posting things regarding that (ie. Elements – I assign Air to the North, not Earth; Sabbats – I follow a Demeter/Persephone Hellenic focused Wheel of the Year), and encouragement for you to create your own practice and traditions that work for you..

Let me hear from you, if you would be interested or think this would be helpful. Hey, also let me know if you have non-traditional practices that you want to talk about.

Happy Imbolc, Groundhog’s Day, Brigid’s Day, or whatever you celebrate. I call this holiday Candlemas, which is a call back to my Christian/Catholic roots, I suppose, but I don’t feel comfortable with Irish/Celtic holiday designations, since I am Hellenic.

Candlemas itself is an “adaptation” of a pagan goddess holiday by the church, where people light candles to banish dark spirits and the dark of winter. Today represents the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Animals are beginning to be born, and seeds planted a hope for the coming spring. In fact, a ritual involving starting seeds for the coming spring, along with the things you wish to manifest is a good inclusion for your Candlemas ritual.

Candlemas/Imbolc is a cross quarter day (not one of the four main quarter days that mark the start of each astronomical season), and is also why it is famous (in the US) as an inverse weather indicator. If the groundhog sees his shadow (we have a bright, sunny day) there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t (the sky is gloomy or overcast), spring comes early. This year, ‘Punxsutawney Phil’ saw his shadow, so six more weeks of winter for us.

The New Moon is tomorrow, Sunday 25 Sep 22, and while the day of celebration for Mabon was officially the 22 of September, I am going to take advantage of the energy of the season (and my day off of work) and celebrate the equinox as well. The focus of these celebrations is my new home! We bought the house last month, and have been in it for one full lunar cycle, not I am going to do a major cleansing and home and hearth blessing. Big energies happening!

Mabon History and Lore
by Mike Nichols

There were three men came out of the West,
Their fortunes for to try,
And these three men made a solemn vow,
John Barleycorn must die…

Despite the bad publicity generated by Thomas Tryon’s novel, Harvest Home is the pleasantest of holidays. Admittedly, it does involve the concept of sacrifice, but one that is symbolic only. The sacrifice is that of the spirit of vegetation, John Barleycorn. Occurring 1/4 of the year after Midsummer, Harvest Home represents mid-autumn, autumn’s height. It is also the Autumnal Equinox, one of the quarter days of the year, a Lesser Sabbat and a Low Holiday in modern Witchcraft. Technically, an equinox is an astronomical point and, due to the fact that the earth wobbles on its axis slightly (rather like a top that’s slowing down), the date may vary by a few days depending on the year. The autumnal equinox occurs when the sun crosses the equator on it’s apparent journey southward, and we experience a day and a night that are of equal duration. Up until Harvest Home, the hours of daylight have been greater than the hours from dusk to dawn. But from now on, the reverse holds true. Astrologers know this as the date on
which the sun enters the sign of Libra, the Balance (an appropriate symbol of a balanced day and night). This year (1988) it will occur at 2:29 pm CDT on September 22nd.