Advice for Beginners on Wiccan, Pagan & Witchcraft Paths
My years of experience will do no good for anyone if I do not share it with you. I hope my words of wisdom and advice help you avoid many of the mistakes I made.
Spirituality is a process. Witchcraft is a journey, not a destination. There are many factors to consider when choosing a spiritual path. Witchcraft and Paganism are about devotion and practice. One cannot simply associate one’s self with this path, and call it their own. You must practice it. You must live the path each and every day.
The path of Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism is not about shock value. It is not about making your oppressive relatives angry or proving yourself different in mainstream society. Yes, by nature Witches and Pagans tend to go against the grain… but not always in the harshest ways. This path is about devotion. It is about finding a spiritual balance and focus that makes you a better person. It is about finding your place in the world. It is about living authentically.
Giving advice is not easy. I struggle to find the right words and points to make. So many times I have tripped over my own feet. Often I have searched for answers, only to find that the very answers I sought were right in front of me the whole time. I hope that the advice and wisdom I share will help you and make the uncertain a manageable.
Give yourself a break. There is a world of knowledge out there, and there is only so much you can learn and practice in one day, week, month or year. Witchcraft is a path of dedication and education; you must be in it for the long haul if you are to gain the knowledge and experience you need.
Even after 25 years of study and practice, I can only claim to have scratched the surface. Take a breath and take it one day at a time. Take it one week at a time. Take it one month at a time. Through persistence and patience, you will find what you seek.
You are responsible for your education. Read, read, and when you think you have read everything you can, and then READ MORE. Then when you are done reading, take classes, attend workshops, implement what you learn, and so on.
Wicca, Witchcraft, and most forms of Paganism are intellectual paths. If you are not willing to read and educate yourself, this is not the path for you. Start with the basics; there are many excellent books for beginners. BUT don’t stop there. Move on to read about complicated theories, biographies, ancient texts, philosophy, and so on. The content you read does not have to be directly related to your path. Read for the sake of gaining knowledge, and never stop learning.
Below are several books I adore! Some I wrote and others helped me a great deal when I was starting out. I am sure their wisdom will help you as well. These books stand the test of time and are written by very wise people.
Books I Recommend for Beginners
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Have a good sense of humor
You must be able to laugh at yourself once in a while. If you are too serious, you are depleting your energy. Laughter and having a light heart will get you through the toughest of times. It will help you find purpose and fun in everything you do.
So when things seem extra frustrating and challenging, take a step back and find something that will give you a good laugh. Maybe you act silly for a for few minutes or watch a comedy… find something that makes you feel light.
Spend time in nature
Nature is our greatest teacher.
Take frequent walks outside, go hiking, collect natural things to which you feel connected. Place them on your altar.
Honor nature every chance you get. Hug a tree. Smell the roses. Garden. Go camping… There are so many things you can do to connect with nature. Do this often and you learn what nature has to offer.
Practice your craft
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”
To become good at what you do, you must know your stuff. You can only gain knowledge through educated and repeated practice. Doing something once does not make you a master. You will need to make your spiritual practice a daily habit. Do it again and again.
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Have personal conviction
Personal conviction is unwavering. When we have this, we no longer need the approval of others, nor do we need to justify our actions or beliefs to others. This does not mean we “know it all.” Instead, it means we know what is intimately right for us. Personal convictions become our anchor in a sometimes stormy sea.
As you walk in your convictions, remember to keep an open mind. What is right for you may not be right for me, and that is perfectly fine. Personal conviction is just that, personal. Yes, there will be times when someone is completely wrong about an idea or practice. This does not mean you need to eat them alive. Be gentle and help them understand the conflict or error of their knowledge. Also, don’t expect to change their mind simply because you say so. Instead, help try to them understand through compassion, or keep your mouth shut and walk away. After all, ignorance is bliss.
Keep an open mind
I know I just touched on this, but I can’t stress this point enough. There are many views, people, and ideas in Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism. Some might challenge your beliefs or convictions – sometimes a little, and sometimes A LOT!
There is no one right road. There is no single path. Your path, although it may seem similar to someone else’s, is vastly different simply because it is your path and your path alone. It is unfair to hold others to the same conditions, expeditions, limitation, and standards you hold for yourself. The more we learn about our differences the more we can grow to understand one another.
Develop a sense of compassion and empathy
To me, this is an essential quality of any student, practitioner, teacher and most of all; a leader. I am not suggesting you have to dance around with rainbows and bubbles spewing out of your fingertips – I am simply saying you need to have compassion for those around you. This goes back to being open-minded. Help those in need and you will find something marvelous happens in return.
This also extends to you. Have compassion for yourself. Don’t beat yourself up because you didn’t get something right away or forgot to do something.
Follow your path with dignity & respect
This can also be called professionalism. I am a huge believer in being professional. After all, there is a time and place for everything.
This one is directly related to how you act and appear in the world. As a practitioner of Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism you are the poster child for how others view us as a whole.
Showing respect should go without saying, but I find that this point must often be reminded. I know your mother or grandmother taught you basic manners, use them. It will not cost you anything, and you have everything to gain from using them.
Know when, where & how
There is a time and a place for everything. It is up to you to know when, where and how.
Look at it this way; Nature is kind, she is also vicious. You must know when and where the appropriate attitude and actions apply. Be silly, be serious, be loud, be silent. Be assertive, be gentle… just know when, where, and how.
Need an example? Cracking an inappropriate joke or making an insulting comment during a ritual is wrong, don’t do it. If you have to question if what you want to say is appropriate for the situation, you should probably keep it to yourself.
Find a really good teacher… NO! find a GREAT Teacher!
YES! Find someone with a good reputation in the community to help you learn. Learning on your own can only take you so far. You must at some point find a teacher who will take your practice to the next level.
There are many wise Pagans out there ready and willing to teach. Whether the teacher charges for his/her knowledge or not, find someone you trust and feel comfortable working with. Do your homework on this person, coven, or group. Interview the potential teacher(s), ask questions, and spend some time with them, so you know if you make the right fit.
Invest in your education & educational materials
There are MANY people out there who believe accepting and paying money for spiritual; educational services are wrong. I am not one of these people.
There is an undeniable natural law out there called The Law of Equivalent Exchange, that requires us to give something of value to receive something of value. What we give will determine the value of what we receive. If you are only willing to give a little, then you will receive something that is of equal value. This goes beyond what retailers and marketers have bastardized in our culture.
Plainly said, without going into a full lesson on The Law of Equivalent Exchange, you MUST give something of value in order to receive something of equal value. There is no such thing as 100% free.
In our culture, the offering of money in exchange for products, knowledge, and service is a direct show of respect and value for the products and services you wish to receive. It is perfectly acceptable to pay for services that benefit you. Why? Because they are benefiting YOU!
Also, paying for services like education makes it more likely that you will show up and be present. You will be less likely to flake out on the material or presenter. When you have to pay for something you will make sure that this something is what you deeply want. After all, you want your money’s worth, right?
Money is energy; energy is Magick. The exchange of money demonstrates your dedication to your education and spiritual path. This sends a direct and clear message to the universe. When we pay for service, knowledge, and help, we are showing the universe that we are ready for the next level of wisdom and consciousness. I will write more about this in another post.
Another point to make here is that you don’t always have to shell out cash to show the universe your dedication.
Perhaps your teacher or Elder does not believe he/she should accept money for his/her services. This is when you can step in and help him/her in another way. This show of dedication is common in Coven culture.
Coven initiates and pledges are required to spend their time and energy in return for their education. They have an obligation to dedicate themselves to the path they are being taught. They are required to show up early and sometimes stay late. They help set up, tear down, decorate, hand out materials to other coven mates, and so on. They also may have to spend their time (away from their friends and family) inside and outside the coven atmosphere studying specific limericks, guidelines, and other required educational materials expected for his/her advancement.
When you are outside the coven environment, this kind dedicated display (or payment for services rendered) becomes challenging. So instead, and perhaps when the opportunity allows, you can help spread the word about the particular teacher’s blog, speeches, forums, services, new book, etc. Maybe you can help them clean up after a workshop or seminar. Perhaps you can offer a service where you are knowledgeable, like computer work or marketing.
When money is not an acceptable form of exchange, you can find other ways to show the value you place on your education. You may have to get creative, but the universe will know the energy you send forth and will reward you accordingly.
Establish a Set of Core Values
When you are looking to establish meaning and purpose in your Spiritual and Magickal path, you need to understand why you do what you do.
What drives you to be and do more? What meaning do your actions have?
Sit down with yourself and write a list of values you feel are important as they relate to your character and path.
Once you have your large list, then cut it down a little more. Pick out what I call Your Core Values. The values that honestly hit home for you and have a genuine connection to your ideas and goals for your future.
This shorter list will become your guidepost in all things. This list will help you determine if your actions are true to your path and personal convictions. Like a moral compass, your core values will help you make tough choices, and keep you true to your path.
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Refrain from Hypocrisy
Walk the talk! It’s as easy and that. When you are honest and dedicated to your path, this will not be hard to accomplish.
You must establish and follow your own core values. Think of them as a compass for your path.
However, I do need to say that a set of core values will have little meaning unless you follow a spiritual path that is void of hate and negative emotions.
When we follow a path that is filled with negative emotions, our core values become ash in the mouth. They are meaningless and filled with hypocrisy. You will end up like many who say a lot, without saying anything at all. The closest example I have to this scenario is politicians. They use plenty of meaningful words, but these words are false because they lack convictions related to the individual’s cores values.
Find your balance
Balance is not something you attain once and keep forever. Balance is something you work to maintain daily, and even hourly. It is about checking in with yourself and deciding if things need adjusting. When we have too much turmoil and stress, we are imbalanced. So take note of your actions, feelings, and thoughts often.
Energy follows focus, and what consumes your thoughts will consume your life. Like an arrow being pulled back on a bowstring, our thoughts, emotions, and mental focus lead us to our next blessing or curse in life.
Keep your head in check. Don’t allow others to control your emotions, thoughts, or mind.
Your energy will waver as soon as you do. Remember Magick is energy, and you are the energy in your Magick. You must know yourself and know your practice to be successful. Click HERE to read more about Successful Spell Work.
Confidence comes with education, experience, and practice. Some people are automatically confident. Others need a little push in the right direction. Find your confidence so you can be productive in your practice.
Care for yourself. Eat healthfully, exercise, and make time for you
Take your fingers out of your ears and listen. *chuckle*
This is another critical element for being successful and dedicated to your practice. If you do not take care of you, who will? If you are constantly taking care of everyone one else, what is going to happen to your energy over time?
I guarantee you will be depleted, and you will not be effective in your workings. Then what is left? You will not be around to care for anyone, much less yourself. To perform well, you need to be well. Self-care is essential to the practice of Magick. You need to eat healthfully, get enough rest, take a break now and again, and exercise daily. Alone time is critical in knowing you and replenishing your stressed out mind. Take time for you and make sure you are healthy both mentally and physically.
I know I could say so much more, but I think this is enough for now. I hope you find my words and experience helpful! If you need more guidance, I am always available. Feel free to CONTACT ME, if you have questions or need direction/clarification on anything.
I love food and everything that goes with it. I have spent more than 35 years in the kitchen, enjoying every minute of it. Okay… well, enjoying nearly every minute of it.
In addition, I have disbursed nearly as many years studying Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism. Combining these two interests has created a Magickal path where food, spirituality play brilliantly together.
My love of whole healthy foods, and unique recipes has also lead me to help run a local teen cooking program, where I teach kids valuable life skills in the kitchen. In addition, I teach different cooking classes for adults on subjects of making the time spent in the kitchen more enjoyable and efficient, recipe creation, and how to make cooking a part of your Magickal and spiritual practice.
From this, The Magick Kitchen was born. My journey with you is about developing a spiritual experience with food, far beyond the dull habit of consumption. We have a marvelous opportunity here to take a most basic-mundane task and make it Magickal!
Please enjoy the recipes, article, and content here on The Magick Kitchen. If you have questions or suggestions, I’m listening.
I am so glad you joined me! The personal act of sharing knowledge, experience, and personal perspective with you is an honor. Thank you!