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what was it like when you started?

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#1 wildflower

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 01:30 AM

i joke that i've always been a witch, because I've always been drawn to nature attuned to the "natural energy" of things, always believed in at least the possibility of magic - but in terms of actual, organized magical practice I'm still very new. i've been starting to explore what my path might look like - I know that I am drawn to nature magic, herbalism, crystals, and the tarot, and I've tried a few spells using sigils with mixed results. a friend (not a witch) suggested keeping a notebook of spells and results, bits of research that resonate with me, and lists of things to look into. i've been enjoying researching and experimenting, slowly compiling a practice that is uniquely my magic, but I'll admit that my excited scribblings and amateur spells look like a whole lot of nothing next to the fully put-together practices of more experienced witches. sometimes i think it would be nice to be handed a fully developed practice, but i also know that won't work for me.

 

i suppose the frustration for me is feeling like i'm not enough of a witch yet. i know only time and practice can get me there, so i am trying to be patient!

 

i suppose my question is, what were the early days of your practice like? was there a point when you started feeling like a Real Witch? do you have any advice for a newbie to incorporate witchcraft into daily life?

 

 


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#2 Zombee

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 07:04 AM

I'd become interested in WC in my mid-30's. In my first 2 years my tools & supplies were limited to a cereal bowl and a blade, Nag Champa incense & a 1/2 box of after-Xms sale taper candles. My only books were a used copy of Medici's out of print Good Magic & I'd filled every blank space in it with notes, & Cunningham's Solitary Wicca that I'd lightly underlined. No Internet. I spent my time experimenting with circles & I kept notes in a spiral bound notebook. I tackled altars the same way as I'd done circles. I meditated sporadically. For me it wasn't about spells. It was the energy & observing how it moved.

Then, oo-lala I began to collect books, herbs, oils, incense, and oMg the rocks! I've always collected rocks where ever I went... But now, mwahaha, I had A Reason. In 2 more years I'd amassed so much stuff I needed a room devoted to holding it. Collecting for every contingency became the reason for the practice rather than the practice being the reason for a few things. Oops. it was all so distracting & I accomplished so little that I quit practicing and journaling.

I began meditating daily. I spent more than a year just experiencing with all my senses each of the elements where they were found in nature. I kept notes. I'd composted the excess & reduced my ridiculous collection to what mattered. I worked on transforming my ragged notes into an organized reference book of my experiences. My practice revived itself. That's when I felt like I was doing the real thing because I wasn't manufacturing craft-related activities any more. instead my ordinary, daily activities were the practice & my senses were fully engaged. Kind of zen & in-the-moment.

Then I sought the roots and core beneath practicing. The meanings and underlying spiritual connections took hold. The experiences were leading me, guiding me, coming to me. Then I realized I was a witch.

Edited by Zombee, 27 June 2018 - 02:42 PM.

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#3 ThreeCircleTarot

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 01:07 AM

Beautiful piece with regards to getting caught up in the tools of the trade, Zombee.

 

I think I realized I was a witch when I realized the power of spells devised entirely by me. The idea that I could create my own correspondences for example was really freeing. I'd read recipes and I thought the intention was interesting but I didn't have what the spell called for, or I thought something else would work better... and realized I wasn't looking for an ingredients list, I was just looking for new ideas for spells. I've realized it makes way more sense in my mind to just follow the beat of my own drum. Putting my own spin on manifesting x, y, z lends me power. You are only limited by your creativity--realizing that is acknowledging your power.


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#4 PapaGheny

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 04:56 PM

I figure things may have been a bit different for me than some. I was being taught about Witchcraft, folklore, and superstition since before I could read. There was no internet and only one or two satisfactory books at the public library, none that covered spellwork and such. Growing up a lot of what I learned came from being around witches or mystics, cultists, and like. We were all from different backgrounds and walks of life. In my experience its seldom that two witches are just alike. Sometimes I found them or the other way round, ether way we would teach each other some of the things we learned, or more often just learned from being around one another.

 

I suppose what I'm getting at is I never struck out to be a witch. I had interest and aptitude that I nurtured. Because I nurtured it so did the world around me. Had I not had aptitude I would like to have studied the same things with scholarly intent or just for the sake of keeping up an interest.

 

When I was younger sometimes folk would call me a witch. Sometimes talking me up, more often in that “Don't let your kids hangout with them.” sort of way. If they said it to my face I would mostly tell them, I had learned enough about witches to know I wasn't one, or that they didn't know what that meant.

After years of this witches I knew would ask for help with more difficult spellwork. They had started relying on my outcomes for their own work and I had gown comfortable with that responsibility. Then folk started coming to me for advice or with their troubles they though otherwise impossible to deal with. Sometimes I did what I could, other times I'd tell them they needed a doctor, someone clever with money, or to just stop picking at it. It's still that way.

 

Eventually this all came to the point that when I overheard folk call me a witch for good or ill it couldn't be denied anymore.

 

A laid back rainy morning seems to be trying to make this a bit long winded. So suppose, the advice I'm trying to give is not to try to hard to be a witch. You might trip over your own two feet, or worse not like what you become. Folk may get a lot further if they just follow their interest and let themselves grow into the person they should be. May'hap one day they find that they're a witch, or maybe just happy and knowledgeable.


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#5 Onyx

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 07:44 PM

I always fantasied about being a witch, and knowing what animals were thinking and being able to talk to them. Of course, I tried it with my dog, who was actually pretty easy to understand.
So now I am a witch, and apparently if you say "I am a witch" three times, you are one.
At first I was caught up with all the tools and my Book of Shadows. Copying all and everything, until I read a really interesting article about making your practice your own.
Now I only write about my feelings, my spells, my practices, my truths. I stopped trying to be like everyone else and became my authentic self. I am much happier now and more effective and confident in my practices.
Be brave, be bold, and don't burn the house down.

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#6 witchinplainsight

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Posted 24 June 2018 - 10:37 AM

For me, I find it hard sometimes to separate what is being a witch and what is being an effective person. So I've always had a knack for manifesting things when I'm feeling connected in myself but I always put it down to being lucky or being clever or whatever. That said, I did actively seek out opportunities. So was it just common garden hard work or was it magic?

The point I'm at now is that I'm beginning to study and understand the processes behind the manifesting and I'm trying to deliberately play about with those energies. And I take the time to give thanks to the world around me instead of taking everything for granted. I'm starting to do healing work for people. My ability to manifest is becoming more concentrated and obvious. So this is what is tipping me into my definition of witch.

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#7 wildflower

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Posted 24 June 2018 - 05:16 PM

Thank you for your replies and advice! I'm also a huge collector, but instead of collecting witchy instruments I've been amassing a giant reading list I'm so excited to read and explore more and find where my affinities lie!
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#8 wildflower

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Posted 24 June 2018 - 05:19 PM

I was being taught about Witchcraft, folklore, and superstition since before I could read.


I've been reading about folklore, superstition, and the accompanying history since forever! I was always drawn to it, even as a kid. Do you have any books you recommend? They don't necessarily have to be witchy!

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#9 Zombee

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 10:03 PM

The first 3 are very popular and beware that rip-off used book sellers are outrageously overcharging. Suggest buying direct from the publishers or through regular Amazon books or local bookstore.

Roebuck in the Thicket, Nigel Jackson - compilation from WC trial records of practices & folklore; not a how-to
Traditional Witchcraft, Gemma Gary - Cornish folk magic. She has several titles out.
Treading the Mill, Nigel Pierson - right to the point how-to modern trad basics

Way of the Shaman, Michael Harner - all his books relate to modern shamanism (roots of WC today)
Quantum Physics for Dummies - Alchemy for Dummies - the Dummies series just explains things
Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches Sabbath by anthropologist Carlo Ginsberg - slow reading study gleened from the European WC trial records; takes the whimsy out and keeps the mystery in. References to witches spirit flight. Not shamanistic.
Gobekli Tepe by Graham Hancock - Armchair archeology re: 13,000 year old stone circle construction in Turkey
Gilgamesh (any translation) - the earliest hero journey tale as a root for transformative ritual practices

Edited by Zombee, 25 June 2018 - 10:47 PM.

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#10 PapaGheny

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 11:41 PM

Those sound like some good picks Zombee. I don't know Gobekli Tepe by Graham Hancock I'll have to take a look. Not trying to sound funny but Gilgamesh never gets old. Its just as good now as when I was a kid.

 

As far as recommendations I find it really depends on the type of study your doing at the time with such large topics. Of late I've been focused on local folklore, and how superstition and witchcraft play out and affect daily life in a cultural.

 

More recently I've enjoyed.

Pierre Dubois's works on fairy lore it's been worthwhile. All I can really say so far is that he seems to take his work seriously. His writing and the illustrator he found to work with have made it quite enjoyable.

 

I've been reading several booklets on Pennsylvania folklore. This included “Popular Home Remedies and Superstitions of the Pennsylvania Germans”, by A. Monroe Aurand, Jr. I found pretty good. These small booklets are a tradition in Pennsylvania, but I also enjoy the insight of local writers and historians. They often have perspective not seen in more many stream works.

 

For something more to the topic of starting out.

Those who have read myths and folklore and now want to go a bit deeper into it. I would say check out Joseph Campbell's work. I personally disagree with many of his ides. However, he was able to look at and talk about folklore and mythologies as more than stories in a way that allowed an easier shift to deeper academic studies. I find its worth it, even if you want to yell at him a lot like I often do.

 

What are your specific areas of interests in these topics Wildflower? Do you have any recommendations?


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