In my last post I addressed the idea of making your magic personal. There are those little things that you connect to that have personal meaning to you, and those are the most powerful. It could be a tool that you have, a picture or representation that resonates with you, an herb that conjures a childhood memory. These things tap directly into your emotions, your subconscious, and your direct connection to your magic.

On my altar, I have a beautiful compass. It is a lovely brass compass in a leather case. Aesthetically, it is beautiful and was a gift from my husband. Yes, it has a mundane use as a tool in determining the four directions, but it is there more for the metaphysical meanings. Inside the lid, it is engraved with “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. It is a beautiful poem that reminds us that we have miles to go before we sleep. The compass keeps me going in the right direction, in more than one sense.

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.

I don’t consider myself an expert on what is or what isn’t Wicca or what you should or shouldn’t do in your own practice. I do however consider myself to be Wiccan, though of a solitary, eclectic slant, and have since 1997. I am constantly examining my beliefs and practices, and really believe that is one of the core tenants of Wiccan beliefs and witchcraft in general – to discover what you believe and why you believe it. So, this is my current understanding of what it means to be Wiccan.

At its heart, Wicca is a religion and it is loosely defined by Principles of Wiccan Belief as set down by a group called the American Council of Witches in 1973/1974. While there are many people who claim traditions or lineages that go back however long, officially Gerald Gardner is considered to be the father/founder of the current religion of Wicca. Following the 1951 repeal of Britain’s archaic witchcraft laws, Gardner published Witchcraft Today (1954), founded his first coven of followers, and, with the assistance of high priestess Doreen Valiente (1922–99), developed what became known as Gardnerian Wicca. During the 1960’s and 70’s, following the civil unrest and social revolutions that were happening in the US, Wicca started to develop a following in the US.

Sympathetic magic can also be referred to as representational magic. It is basically, using one thing in place of another, or as a representation of the target of your magic. Poppets are a sympathetic representation of a person. Candles are a representation of the element of fire. It is like a shorthand of our magical intent, using representations of the energies and targets of our spells.

There are many symbols which can be made or used to symbolize your target or intent in magic. These could be as simple as sketching a rune on a candle, or creating a bindrune, or using an image of a shield in a protection working. You might create a money bowl to draw money, using currency bills and coins, herbs that represent abundance and prosperity, a drawing oil with gold flakes in it. These are all symbols of the magic that you want to manifest.

First a disclaimer: Nothing is required in Witchcraft. You don’t need big extensive piles of supplies or tools, you just need (to be) a witch. That being said, physical representations of your intent can help aid you in your magic. That doesn’t mean that you should go out and spend $$$ on witchcraft tools and supplies. It means you look around and find those symbols, those associations, that mean something to you and help you to accomplish your goals. You use only what you find you need to make your magic work.

A simple way to begin working with the elements, is to practice invoking and banishing them. You can do this one at a time, if you want to meditate on the qualities and feel of a specific element. Or, you can call all of the elements as a part of a circle casting. I use these simple invocations as a basis for the invocations that I use in ritual, because they are easy to learn, and easy to adapt for future workings and purposes.

My calls begin with Air in the North; if your traditions are different, you can easily move them around to suit your practices. You can also easily change the qualities of each element that you wish to call upon. These calls are meant to get you in the practice of calling and releasing the elements. You can next practice on adapting these basic calls to more complicated ones.

This is always a difficult one to explain, especially over the internet, but being able to use and manipulate energy is an absolute cornerstone of powering a spell. Energy has to come from somewhere. When you light a campfire, a spark is added to wood, the wood is consumed and in return you get light, heat, energy and ashes (the remains). Spell work is a lot like that. You need to be able to apply that spark, and also to direct the resultant energy toward your goal. To do that, you need to be able to manipulate energy. That is the basis of Witchcraft and working magic.

The fire analogy is also a good one, because it can also give a sort of feedback that you are beginning to succeed. A candle flame has its own energy, but if you feed energy into it, or draw back from it, then you can often see the flame respond to you. The flame may rise super high, or it may dance or lean as you play with it. Most people practice gathering the energy in their hands and pushing it outwards, but others prefer a more ‘mental’ push.

The question is ‘How do you learn to generate, feel and direct that energy?’

Let me tell you a secret. Do you know where I got most of my stones for spells, especially in the beginning? At truck stops and various places, they have these big bins of tumbled stones that you shove in little velvet bags and pay one price for the bag. Like the scientist that I am, I would peruse those bins with intent to find the perfect quartz, or perfect amethyst, or perfect agate, and then stuff my little bag as full as possible. I love doing touristy stuff, and I love to find the perfect stone.

I got my first magical name, ‘Amethysta’ because Barnes & Noble had this spinny rack of gemstones with little description cards, and I would close my eyes while my partner spun the rack around, and I would inevitably choose the amethyst because I was so drawn to it.

Stone magic can be awesome, kind of like those pet rocks for kids, except sometimes it feels like they really do respond back when you communicate with them. They can help you, comfort you, ground you. You just have to find the right stones to work with your magic.

13 Herbs You Can Find in Your Cupboard (or Grocery Store) to Get Started

Whether you are just beginning to learn about and use herbs, or are stuck in the broom closet, any kitchen witch will tell you not to overlook the spice rack in your very own kitchen! I have pulled together a witches’ dozen (13) of basic herbs that can be found in most kitchens. If they aren’t there, you can easily find them in your local grocery store to help you empower and work your spells.

As always, your feeling for, and how you actually work with these herbs is going to be influenced by what works for you. If you have any allergies, or issues working with any of these herbs, don’t. (I love lavender, but had a near anaphylactic reaction after ingesting it – it is now on the no go list for me.)

Numerology is another good foundational subject. This is starting information for spellwork, tarot, and other divination. You may have a slightly different perspective on some of the numbers, but this gives you a place to start exploring that. Do you have a favorite number? Do you notice number patterns in your life – either recurring numbers or numbers that just seem ‘cool’?

While I will sometimes use numerology, for me it is an ancillary system, to be used in conjuction with other information. I notice patterns a lot, because that’s how my brain works, but primarily I use numerology to help me understand the tarot.

Most numerology has you reducing a quantity to its base number – adding its digits together over and over until you get a single digit or one of the ‘special’ numbers. Example: April 12, 2023 = 4+12+2023 → 4+1+2+2+0+2+3 → 14 → 1+4 = 5