Yer a wizard, Harry
About a month ago, Witch Mama announced a "Witchcraft 101" class she would be teaching November 19th and it got me thinking. It got me thinking about my own journey within the Craft and how much I've learned in the short time I've been practicing. I've only been practicing since mid-June, so I'm by no means an expert, but I would say I'm well-versed on getting into the swing of things. And it can be confusing. There are so many books and so many different practices, it's hard to figure out what to do and when, especially if you're a solitary practitioner. So I tried to think about the best advice I got starting out and I've boiled it down to these three things:
- Build yourself an altar
You don't have to physically build yourself an altar (unless that's what you want to do, then by all means go ahead). You just need to create a sacred safe place where you can meditate, pray, practice spells, or whatever. And it can be really simple. An altar should at least consist of the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. If you don't have money to buy anything, don't worry about it. I personally think there is no shame in winging it. Maybe all you have is a nice scented candle, a cup of water, a drawing of a bird or feather, and some loose dirt or a rock from outside. Or even some loose change. So much of witchcraft is intention, so if you have minimal supplies, you can make up for it with maximum intention. Having this small space gets you out of your head and connects you with elements. It's also said to be representative of your self-compassion. So taking care of this little sacred space and adding special objects to it is some always needed self-care. It also feeds into my next bit of advice.
Meditate at your altar. Go outside and simply get out of your head and connect with the elements. One of the first and most powerful things I did when I first got started was to take a quick little solo hike. Nothing huge or hard (I was by myself, so safety first), but I was alone in the woods, with no sounds from other humans anywhere near. I focused on putting one foot in front of the other and I paid attention to my surroundings. I focused in on the sounds of the forest. I was able to get my mind quiet and appreciate the natural wonders around me. It helped me tap into something greater than myself and it lead to my first experience with a deity. Meditating and getting out of your head is essential to the craft. Witchcraft is a spiritual practice and even though you can read a lot about it in books, you will learn as much from getting quiet and tapping in with universal consciousness. And the only way to tap into that spiritual side is to practice different ways of doing so, until something really resonates with you.
There are so many different types of practices and deities and ways to do things, you could literally spend days reading this stuff and not be any the wiser. For beginners looking for direction, I suggest one or both of these books:
"Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practioner" by Scott Cunningham
"To Ride A Silver Broomstick" by Silver RavenWolf
Both these books go over the basics of witchcraft and they have really good recommended reading lists. A word of caution: these books are not infallible nor do they claim to be. Witchcraft is not an organized religion, so everyone has their own way of practicing. That means as you are reading, if you read something you don't agree with, that's absolutely fine. This is your spiritual practice and you have to do what feels right to you. These books are simply notes and guidelines to aid you in your own journey.
From there, I leave you to figure things out on your own. Doing these three things will lead you to the people or things meant to guide you further down your path. And if you ever have any questions, you are more than welcome to seek us out at the shop, because that's why we're here.