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How to Teach Yourself


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#1 sarasuperid

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 07:30 PM

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Now, there is no doubt a bunch of threads pretty much on this topic. But often those are in kinda of convoluted ways, teacher vs teaching yourself etc.

But really there are simple strategies for teaching oneself.

Okay I have in the past mentioned five major foundational areas for witchcraft. Okay they aren't everything you need, it doesn't include the characteristics you need, it doesn't include some of the soul searching. But they are skills one can learn and teach oneself to an extent.

1) Herbalist (or geologist (gems) or birdology (okay sue me I don't know the latin names) other natural craft). Get a few guidebooks for your area, go outside. Then once you have identified a few (plants, stones, birds) with your manual and taken notes, drawn pictures or taken photographs, gotten samples (a leaf or flower, a rock or a feather), look up folklore about that thing--especially local, see if there are any places named after it. Look at those. Build a relationship with the natural thing, as you are building up the other foundational areas, think how you could incorporate this natural craft into those areas.

2) Seer. Just pick up a simple divination tool, whatever draws your fancy or just whatever is cheapest, don't obsess over it: tarot, runes, playing cards, a pendulum with a pendulum with a pendulum chart, whatever. Okay now if its tarot, you can begin by just getting to know your cards, yes you can look at the white book, but primarily figure out what they mean for you. If you do runes, read the runic poems. Then just practice with your new tool. Take it to bed with you, put it under the pillow etc. You are getting to know this tool, it will take a while. Do readings for friends and family, don't feel bad if you need to pull out the meanings book while you are practicing, but try to read as much of the spread as you can without it before grabbing the book. Start thinking about how you can use your divination tool in other forms of witchery as laid out below and above.

3) Spirit Medium. Okay some may disagree with me, that's fine you could skip this one, I did it when I was a kid and I am still alive and well. "Play" with a oujii board. Alternatively, try automatic writing or drawing. Neither of these forms of spirit communication require much more than a pen and paper. You can make your own spirit board and you can automatic write draw in a notebook with a pen. You might just be talking to another part of yourself, or you might contact a spirit, either way you are doing something. Once you start having some success with it start thinking of how you can combine this with the other foundational areas.

4) Mystic. Everyone is different, some people can sit still and meditate, others can't. Some people rock, some people drum, some dance, some listen to meditation tapes, some stare at a symbol or a spot on the wall until their imagination starts wandering out. Find one that you think you will be able to do and do it. Do it for five minutes a day for a week. Then add a few minutes next week until you are spending more time day dreaming and can start getting far enough into the day dream to leave your own conciousness and go out. If you fall asleep, try getting more sleep and doing your practice at a more awake time of day for you. Start thinking about ways the other areas of foundational skills can assist you.

5) Magic User. Its this easy, get a candle a little one like about two inches tall, how about a white one. Write down what you want to happen on a piece of paper or carve it into the candle. Light it every day for an hour, just sitting by it and thinking about how great it will be when it happens. Okay after the candle burns out, wait a week and get a new candle and burn it towards another goal. Have these goals written down somewhere in a small notebook, but don't look at it unless you are doing a new spell with it. Don't think too much on it outside of when you are doing the spell. Then when you are doing like your tenth spell, look at your first, has it happened yet? Start thinking about how you could combine your other skills with the spell work.

---Now really candle spells are not the only kind of magic nor the most important. And if you cannot burn candles where you are, well then go somewhere where you can. This is magic this is witchcraft, you are going to have to get uncomfortable, try new things and get out of your comfort zone sometimes. If you can't burn candles at home, go to a small park. Are there always people at the park? Find a time to go when there aren't a lot of people, or climb a tree and light your candle in a lantern that protects it from the wind and catching other things on fire. If you are not able to climb trees or there are no parks, find another place you can go to light a candle, there is somewhere, even if you gotta take two buses to get there. Why am I saying this? Why am I pushing the candle issue? not because I think candles are all that important, but I think doing what you have to do is important. Making excuses all the time for something as minor as even lighting a candle to me means you don't have what it takes to be witch. If you cannot figure out a way that you can light a candle so that you can do a few spells, then you might not have what it takes to be a witch. Does this apply to witches who are already practicing and do other types of magic not candle magic? No, it only applies to new people who claim they want to get started and haven't yet.-- We aren't a site for teens, I am assuming you are an adult and therefore you can make decisions for yourself--your first clandestine candle spell might be to get in a situation where you can light candles whenever you want! Hey you don't even have to do what I say, you are an adult, I am just pointing something out, if you want to be a witch you gotta figure out your own power and how to make things happen for yourself.

Okay none of these methods of teaching yourself require getting a book about witchcraft or watching a video. Yes they do require you do some research, but the vast majority of it is finding your own knowing. You can start with any of these, but they all benefit each other and can be combined in bajillions of ways.

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"A Craft, a calling, a set of Keys to unlock a particular cosmology that is borne, and born, in the blood of the practitioner, and sets the Work to be done with which one may commune with those who hold the patterns and keys of the life of the practitioner and hir stream. The Work is to be done, and we are to do it." --Aiseling the Bard

#2 aurora

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:44 PM

I think that's bloody marvelous. Im sure it will help loads,plenty in there to do/start with. Good call S :thumbsup:
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#3 Lynn

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 08:54 PM

[quote name='sarasuperid' timestamp='1337887809' post='126509']
or birdology (okay sue me I don't know the latin names) other natural craft)

*giggle* Its called ornithology. My Dad is one. ;)

(An Ornithologist, not a bird)

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#4 Alienor Bel

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 11:12 PM

I agree. Absolutely BRILLIANT! Well done, Sara. :)
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"The apple cannot be stuck back on the Tree of Knowledge; once we begin to see, we are doomed and challenged to seek the strength to see more, not less." - Arthur Miller

#5 Marabet

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 11:22 PM

Love it, Sara!

I want to add that everybody's got their something. I have come to similar conclusions about those 5 things being what makes up the craft (more or less) but not everyone is going to take to 1 or 2 of those things yet may excel at another. For example, I suck at herbalism and natural things. I'm not terrible but it's just not my thing. However, I took to the Tarot like a fish to water. Go with your gut and with what works for you but do go with it.

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I ran to a tower where the church bells chime
I hoped that they would clear my mind
They left a ringing in my ear
But that drum's still beating loud and clear

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#6 Ayrmids_Runes

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 11:40 PM

Spectacular advice Sara!

This is probably the best, most direct advice for beginners I've seen anywhere.

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#7 sarasuperid

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 11:52 PM

Most definitely, those five things are just a general foundation. I am not very strong with certain areas, but I find I do often go back around the "pentacle" as time goes by. And of course there are other things I didn't even list, that are kinda beyond the basics. I figure if you know a handful of herbs, trees, stones and/or feathers(and other animal bits) you can use for witching then you are set for a while. And so on through the five "points". What is also key here are there are so many ways to approach this. Except the spell work then you gotta light a candle no other options(just kidding!).
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(ps, if you are disabled in a way that keeps you from using candles, of course, don't mind me, use another method that works for you)

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"A Craft, a calling, a set of Keys to unlock a particular cosmology that is borne, and born, in the blood of the practitioner, and sets the Work to be done with which one may commune with those who hold the patterns and keys of the life of the practitioner and hir stream. The Work is to be done, and we are to do it." --Aiseling the Bard

#8 Sylvan

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:36 AM

How very generous and succinct. :clap:

This might make a good pinned topic, though I am not sure how that all works.

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#9 sarasuperid

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:47 AM

I never even mentioned what brought me into the craft, history and mythology. But those are so reading focused and not doing focused.
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"A Craft, a calling, a set of Keys to unlock a particular cosmology that is borne, and born, in the blood of the practitioner, and sets the Work to be done with which one may commune with those who hold the patterns and keys of the life of the practitioner and hir stream. The Work is to be done, and we are to do it." --Aiseling the Bard

#10 Nefreya

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 06:15 AM

Excellent advice Sara!

For those who can't burn candles, crystals are excellent (or any lump of rock ... it's all of Earth), this takes your spell (IMO) via earth rather than the air. At this time of year, another really nice way of sending spells to the ether is by using dandelion clocks, although unlike candles, these are a one-hit ... but dandelions are normally quite abundant.

xx

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#11 Wych Elm

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 08:39 AM

All I can say is, I wish I'd read this when I first started out. I've spent so much time stressing that I can't pick something up or do something and not thinking what I can do. It's taken me until this year to accept that I'm the Medusa of the plant world. I can kill them just by looking at them. Chill the heck out and just look at what I've got growing naturally around me. Whereas I'm better at animal magic. I can't meditate (in the classic way) to save my life but sitting under a tree with my eyes open & watching nature is when the magic happens.

As for candles. My father went into a blind rage whenever he thought I was doing 'that stupid magic stuff'. Actually he went into a blind rage over pretty much everything. He stormed into my room once and blew the candle out so I had to start all over again. After that I learned to be sneaky. I had to do candle spells in stages. Let them burn for a bit, then snuff out, then relight, snuff out etc. My spells worked perfectly fine. Maybe the fact that I was rebelling against a bully and not just giving up meant I summoned some strength & that strength was transferred to the spell. Maybe the universe likes a bit of deviousness!

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Dance me through to the stillness, to the point where the motion begins. Dance me through to the silence, to the edge where the world begins. - Kathryn Price NicDhana

#12 CelticGypsy

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:21 PM

All I can say is, I wish I'd read this when I first started out. I've spent so much time stressing that I can't pick something up or do something and not thinking what I can do.




" Today is the first day of the rest of your Life "

Author unknown, but attributed to the 1960's era. ;)

Regards,
Gypsy

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" The last thing you wanted a Witch to do is get bored and start making her own amusements, because Witches sometimes have erratically famous ideas about what was amusing "

 

Terry Pratchett Legends 1 


#13 Wych Elm

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 04:59 PM

" Today is the first day of the rest of your Life "

Author unknown, but attributed to the 1960's era. ;)

Regards,
Gypsy


How true!

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Dance me through to the stillness, to the point where the motion begins. Dance me through to the silence, to the edge where the world begins. - Kathryn Price NicDhana

#14 Autumn Moon

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 06:16 PM

Voted this up. Nice Job Sara!
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#15 Betula

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 06:45 PM

Great topic Sarasuperid! It's accessible to anyone starting out and doing based! Super nice! I'd vote for this to be pinned too!
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#16 Guest_Rev. Gregori_*

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 03:40 PM

i miss my ouija.:confused:
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#17 Grumble

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 04:02 PM

Very good advice. Your suggestion of automatic writing/drawing is something I hadn't even thought of doing on a regular basis (I've tried it a few times throughout my life, but never seriously). Definitely will start doing it more.
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#18 westofthemoon

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 04:18 PM

Thanks, Sara, this is a great topic. Methinks I should get a big 3-ring binder for collecting all my info (despite liking the look of hardbacked personal grimoires, one of every subject stacked together, it's kind of hard to edit those).
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Wouldst thou like to Live Deliciously? ~ "The VVitch"

Say what you know, do what you must, come what may.

#19 sarasuperid

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 05:34 PM

Thanks, Sara, this is a great topic. Methinks I should get a big 3-ring binder for collecting all my info (despite liking the look of hardbacked personal grimoires, one of every subject stacked together, it's kind of hard to edit those).


I guess it depends on how you use your grimoire. If you are just starting out and learning I would use a journal and a binder instead. A journal just to record your thought and discoveries during special experiences, like your mystic, spirit medium, and seer stuff could all be kept track of in a dairy. Then for your natural craft, you might just keep a separate notebook/photo album for it. For a while you will just want to keep your spells in the diary, but once you develop your core spells (if you do, many do different spells everytime) you might take the developed knowledge from your notes and make a grimoire. The binder is for all the stuff you print out from online, photocopies from books, and random notes you took when you didn't have your journal on scraps of paper and can put in there. Its nice because you can put in dividers and move things around.

My book is just a hardback book with a bunch of other loose pages shoved in there. It does the job.

Whatever you do, don't let perfectionism keep you from getting started. A binder full of print outs and hand outs is a good way to start out, that's what I did at first.

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"A Craft, a calling, a set of Keys to unlock a particular cosmology that is borne, and born, in the blood of the practitioner, and sets the Work to be done with which one may commune with those who hold the patterns and keys of the life of the practitioner and hir stream. The Work is to be done, and we are to do it." --Aiseling the Bard

#20 westofthemoon

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 06:38 PM

I guess it depends on how you use your grimoire. If you are just starting out and learning I would use a journal and a binder instead. A journal just to record your thought and discoveries during special experiences, like your mystic, spirit medium, and seer stuff could all be kept track of in a dairy. Then for your natural craft, you might just keep a separate notebook/photo album for it. For a while you will just want to keep your spells in the diary, but once you develop your core spells (if you do, many do different spells everytime) you might take the developed knowledge from your notes and make a grimoire. The binder is for all the stuff you print out from online, photocopies from books, and random notes you took when you didn't have your journal on scraps of paper and can put in there. Its nice because you can put in dividers and move things around.

My book is just a hardback book with a bunch of other loose pages shoved in there. It does the job.

Whatever you do, don't let perfectionism keep you from getting started. A binder full of print outs and hand outs is a good way to start out, that's what I did at first.


Thanks, Sara, that's a good idea.

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Wouldst thou like to Live Deliciously? ~ "The VVitch"

Say what you know, do what you must, come what may.