How to Practice Witchcraft - Pagan & Wiccan
“As I Will It, So Mote It Be”…Derived from the word ‘wicca’, which means ‘wise one’, witchcraft has been around for hundreds of years. We've all heard of the Salem and Pendle witches, but is witchcraft still practised today? Read on and find out...
Identifying as a Witch.
The pagan, wicca and witch community has the luxury of being open about practice of the craft in the 21st century. They often hark back to traditional beliefs, many living the simple life and focusing on inner healing and self-bettering rather than providing spells and potions for the wider community. I’ve identified as a practising witch for many years, and as with the majority of my brothers and sisters, I don’t fit in with the stereotypical image of a warty hag, hexing anyone who does me wrong!
The type of witchcraft you practice often depends on what kind of witch you are. If you choose to follow the wicca rede, then there are many different rules to follow, and the craft will have a very traditional feel to it. If you’re a pagan witch, you may find yourself drawn more to the spiritual side of things, crystals, scrying, and perhaps moon magic. A solitary witch is more likely to be eclectic, taking her spells and beliefs from many different traditions and folklores, worshipping more than one god or goddess - or none at all - and certainly not adhering to rules and coven leaders.
A hedgewitch or kitchenwitch focuses his or her energy on the home and hearth, dealing with the garden, herbal remedies, and pouring love and good intent into everything she cooks for family and friends.Of course, for every witch with a good side, there are some who peep into the darker recesses of traditional spells, working hexes and curses, dealing in poisonous plants. As a witch myself, I believe you need to embrace both sides of the coin.
Tools of the Trade
There are certain basic spells and chants that the majority of witches use at some point. The most important thing to remember is the intent in which you practice the craft. Most witches have a selection of things they find essential to practising the craft. Below I’ve listed a few things that come in handy…
Cauldron: Not necessarily used for brewing potions in, a cauldron is still useful for burning things in or to hold candles. For example, wishes or worries can be written on a bay leaf and burned in a cauldron to be released to the fates.
Crystals, charms, and amulets: Many witches keep crystals and charms for charging different energies, and for use in protection bags and stitching inside poppets (dolls).The simplest things can be used for charms and amulets – a piece of amber for love and good communication, an acorn for protection and to dispel loneliness…
Mortar and Pestle:This simple tool is an absolute essential for the witch and a traditional way of grinding your own ingredients for use in spells and potions. A simple‘Follow Me Boy’ dry perfume spell can be easily ground together in two minutes when you have a good mortar and pestle to hand.
Wand: Some who practice the craft like to fashion their own wand from a twig, usually plucked from the ground where it has fallen naturally from the tree, and only taken once the tree has been formally asked. The wand may be dressed in charms,amulets, crystals, and oils in order to charge it with your own energy.
Smudge Stick: For clearing the air of negative energy, and cleansing your surroundings, either for spell working or for protection. Sage is an ideal starter smudge stick.
Book of Shadows: A book of shadows is an essential part of the craft. Many of us who practice love nothing more than keeping notes of old spells, new spells, traditions, and everything pertaining to our practice. The best place to do this is in a Book of Shadows. But a witch never shares her book, it’s for her eyes only.
‘Witches Cupboard’:A store cupboard filled with jars and bottles filled with ingredients for working spells, potions, lotions, and oils.
A few basic spells to get you started…
These are some of the most simplistic and widely used spells,ideal for binding good intent and love, but also used to hex if you so desire.Knots can also be used for strengthening ties with a loved one, and for making wishes. A simple knot, tied with good intent whilst murmuring a benevolent wish, can be just as effective as a more intricate ritual.
Candles are an essential part of witchcraft, as different coloured candles are used for different spells. Often a spell may require a name to be craved upon a certain coloured candle, depending on your intent. A simple love spell would require you to engrave your own name and the name of your love onto the same pink candle. Anointed with a hoodoo oil such as ‘Love Me’, and lit under a full moon, your love should come to you within the week…
Charging water under a full moon
The moon is extremely important to those who practice the craft. Spells for love are often done under a full moon, as this makes them more potent. Water for scrying is often ‘charged’ under a full moon, that is,left in a clear container under the full light of the moon to gather power from the beams. The goddess Diana is also connected with love and moon magic, so making an Alter for Diana and making an appropriate offering also strengthens any spells done under a full moon.
Herbs, Potions, and Protection.
A typical witch will have a whole book full of recipes for lotions and potions for all manner of ailments, from acne to asthma, and all using herbs and spices readily available either from the garden or the supermarket. But herbs can be used for more than just traditional memories. A simple protection bag for the home would involve combining cedar, cinnamon, garlic, bay, mint, and basil and placing it in a small bag with snowflake obsidian and quartz crystal.
Probably some of the most notorious spells throughout witchcraft history are those aimed at bringing you the love of your life. From a simple ‘Follow Me Boy’ drawing powder, made from confectioners sugar,cinnamon and chocolate powder, and designed to draw your lover in, to a traditional love potion – which in older times would probably contain hair,nail clippings, and even bodily fluids! Binding spells and poppets are also used in love magic, but these take on a darker note, removing free will…
Lastly, a word of warning. Those who practice the craft mainly aim to do no harm, and to never take the free will of another. But as with all things, the craft has a dark side, and hexes, binding spells and using poppets, can sometimes have the desired effect. Just remember the power of 3 –whatever ill intent you do unto others, comes back threefold!
For more information on witchcraft supplies, see this store.