Being a new witch is both exciting and terrifying, and occasionally very frustrating. It’s exciting because you feel like you’re on a path that speaks to your soul. It’s a calling, and you’re more than happy to answer it. But it can also be a bit terrifying because you don’t know what you’re doing, and you don’t want to fuck anything up.
Your head could be full of horror stories you’ve heard about what happened to people when magick goes wrong. This holds some people back from diving into their practice, which is unfortunate because a lot of those stories aren’t even real. I’ve known witches who make up these stories to discourage people from getting into the Craft.
If it isn’t the fear that stops you, the frustration of information might.
New witches are faced with a ton of overwhelm. We literally carry a world of knowledge in our pockets today with our smartphones. Anything you need to know or want to know is right there for you. You’d think this would make our practice easier, but it doesn’t. Not by a long shot.
When you have this much information available to you, it’s easy to get lost in it all. Even harder is being able to decipher between good and bad information. When you’re new, and you also happen to be solitary, a witch alone, this can be even more challenging at times.
I get a lot of emails from new witches asking questions about getting started that can be found with a simple Google search. When I ask them, “Have you tried researching this? What have you found so far,” most will reply with, “I tried, but there was so much out there I thought I would just ask someone that already knows.” While I’m flattered that they would trust my answers to their questions, it also defeats the purpose of your journey.
I began my journey as a solitary, but it was the 80s. There was no internet, there were no smartphones, and finding books was always a wild goose chase. I had better luck finding stuff in used bookstores than anywhere else. In the 90s, that changed, but when I was first getting started, I didn’t have a lot of options. In fact, the very first book on magick I owned was Scott Cunningham’s “Magickal Herbalism.” I found it in a used bookstore for $3. It would be a few more years before his “Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner” would come out. When it did, I found it in a bookstore in the mall and got it. And thus my own journey really began.
It’s been 30+ years since I started my journey, and over those years, I’ve learned a lot when it comes to the beginning solitary witch’s journey. I’ve helped a lot of newbies get started, and each time I help someone, I find a new challenge and a new way to deal with it.
I wanted to share 5 tips for the new witches venturing into the Craft alone that can help tremendously to keep you from losing hope while also growing with confidence.
1 Each Author is a New Teacher
This is probably the most important thing for the new witch to understand. Every book you read by a different author is like taking a course with a new teacher. Every witch who writes a book is writing from their own knowledge and experience. Like all teachers, there will be some that you resonate with and some that you don’t. I always tell newbies to read anything and everything they can get their hands on, but that doesn’t mean you have to believe and agree with all of it. You will find authors who you resonate with the most and who you trust, but always be willing to explore new ones to get fresh and different perspectives on the Craft.
2 You Don’t Ever Stop Learning
I’ve had new witches ask when they will know they have learned enough to start doing magick. The truth is, there is no such time. You can start doing magick when you intuitively feel that you’re ready because we never stop learning. Witchcraft is a path of personal growth, self-discovery, and of course, magick. All of these things require a constant willingness to grow and evolve. That means you never stop learning. You will always read books, take courses and workshops, try new things, and have ups and downs on your journey. Even the most expert of witches is still learning. Witchcraft is indeed a path where you need to focus on the journey and not the destination.
3 Start With Developing Your Intuition
One of the biggest questions new witches have after wondering where to find the best information is where to actually start practicing. Start with developing your intuition. This will be essential to everything else. Your intuition will help you determine when information you find resonates, when your magick is working, and how to make adjustments to your practice. Even if you are in a coven, you still need to listen to your intuition. Sometimes it will tell you that your coven isn’t right for anymore! When you’re trying to figure out where to start your practice, begin with listening to your intuition and learning to trust it more.
4 Don’t Compare Your Path With Someone Else’s Path
When you’re alone, you naturally look toward other witches to know if you’re “doing it right.” The problem with that is you often fall into comparison mode. You’re no longer paying attention to your journey but instead trying to find ways to emulate the journey someone else is on. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see what other people are doing, but you need to remember their journey isn’t your journey. And you’re always doing it right! The progress someone else has will not be the same as you, not because they are better but because you will have different strengths, experiences, and ways of doing things. Learn from their journey, but always focus on your path.
5 Always Be Willing To Adapt
Some of the stuff you’ll learn on your journey, especially from books, can be very dated. For 2020 I decided I would spend the year revisiting the books I read in my first handful of years studying Wicca to see what I can take away from them now. I’m currently re-reading “Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner” by Scott Cunningham, and some of it is VERY dated. About tools, he discusses how difficult it is to find tools like cauldrons and wands, even providing a list of companies to snail mail for catalogs and info. In the 80s, that was how it was, but today we can get our tools easy peasy online if we don’t have witch shops locally. You will find that many of the classic Witchcraft books to be dated, but that doesn’t mean you should skip them. They’re classics for a reason, so read them but adapt things for today.
Bonus Tip: You’re not actually alone!
If you’re solitary by circumstance and not by choice, it can be hard at times to remember you are never alone on this journey. You may be doing your rituals and spells solitary, and you may be doing most of your studying alone, but there are thousands of witches out there in the same boat who you can connect with online. Expand your idea of what community means. Your community might be in-person, or it could be online, but community is community no matter where you find it. If you want to find people locally but don’t know where to look, check out sites like Meetup.com and the events section of Facebook. You might think there are no other witches where you live because you don’t have a visible Witchcraft community, but you might be surprised at what you find.
The one thing I hope you take away from this is that just because you are alone on your path doesn’t mean you are less than or not “witch enough.” There are absolutely people out there that you’ll meet who will look down on you for not being a traditional witch initiated into a specific tradition through a coven.
I have two words for you to keep in mind when that happens: Fuck Them.
If you practice Witchcraft and you embrace the word Witch by calling yourself one, then you are one. Some people really like the idea of their Craft being special and exclusive to a select few. They like the idea that unless you do it their way, then you’re doing it the wrong way. Nope. Fuck them! If it works for them, that’s OK, but you don’t have to do it the same way. It’s your path, so follow your rules.