I’m interested but not sure about the risks of becoming an outcast or how I should get started. Should I maybe start with making my own runes and work from there as a starting point?

“I’m interested but not sure about the risks of becoming an outcast or how I should get started. Should I maybe start with making my own runes and work from there as a starting point?”

Risks? Outcast? Do you feel like you have some sort of obligation to tell people? Because you don’t. One of the teachings of Wicca is to “keep silent.” By no means whatsoever do you have to tell anyone. People live their entire lives practicing the craft without telling a single soul. And that’s a perk about a personal religion, is that you can keep it personal.

There are several ways to start. The first step I’d suggest to do is read. A lot. Knowledge is power. And the more you know, the more power and control over things you have. Some of my previous 101 posts can help:

A simple guide to beginning Wicca and the Craft.
Being new to the Craft and living with parents.
Writing your own spells and the use of objects and tools
Where to start learning Paganism

And yes, creating runes can be your starting point. Do whatever feels most comfortable for you. Start with that and move into something else when you feel it’s time to do so. Start where you want, do what you feel like doing. You don’t always have to follow the rules of the book, but obviously you shouldn’t start somewhere big – start with something small and simple, and like I said, read! The more you read, the better you’ll know, and the more you’ll understand.

 

Blessed Be
Sage

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For the Last couple of days i’ve had the huge black bird following me around every time i’m outside, and when i’m in the house it takes the form of a cat. I dont know what to think about it, I dont feel its evil. Opinions?

“For the Last couple of days i’ve had the huge black bird following me around every time i’m outside, and when i’m in the house its takes the form of a cat, i guess not the scare me? i dont know what to think about it, i dont feel its evil. and i’ve tired to find information on it but cant find anything, and i’d like a second opinion.”

Well, black birds are often omens. Depending on the culture involved, this can be good or bad. From my own culture, the Norse, ravens are the messengers and watchers of Odin. They bring him the news of the nine worlds. Cats too, can be both a positive and a negative.

First off I would say trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel evil, it probably isn’t. That doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous, but presuming it hasn’t attacked you, I think you’re okay. My first suggestion is to leave out offerings for it. Sometimes doing this can turn a neutral spirit into a friend, and a hostile one into a neutral. Do this for a while, like you would with a stray animal, if you wish it to remain. After that, try sitting quietly and see if it will “speak” to you.

When we have spirits following us it’s generally for simple reasons. They want to feed, they want to communicate, they are curious, or they’ve been sent. Determining which of these is key, as is acting accordingly. I would get some things for a banishing ritual just in case, but don’t use them just yet. Try communicating first. Rune stones, Tarot decks, and pendulums are good ways for easy communication with spirits. Just ask it what it wants and see how your medium responds. Only if the spirit gets hostile should you then try to banish it away.

Guest writer,
Lucius Svartwulf

What type of divination is the most accurate? Which kind should I study and focus on the most?

“I want to start learning and practicing divination. What type of divination will give me the more accurate answers? Is there a type that is more powerful and better than the others? I want something that will give me more than Yes and No answers.”

Blessings,

There is no “most powerful” type of divination. The most powerful is whatever type of divination YOU feel most comfortable with, understand, and can “see” the answers you seek effectively. There are literally a plethora of different ways to do divination. You can even make up a technique if it gets you answers. Many Wiccans and Witches choose Tarot Cards as their main means of divination. It’s also the most popular.

Tarot cards, runes, water/mirror/flame gazing, pendulums, crystal balls, ouija boards, and tea leaf reading are just some of the handfull of ways for divination. Not one way is better than the other. It’s all up to what works for you. So in your quest to finding the “most powerful,” you’re going to have to try out a few different ways and see what you’re most “good at.”

It’s not all about the meanings and definitions in the books. For instance, the definitions for tarot cards, runes, and tea leafs in books are not always universal, but usually what the author believes those meanings are. You can use those definitions from the books as reference, but the true meanings come from YOU. You’re the one who decides what the tarot cards mean. You’ll need to spend time focusing and reflecting on what each card/rune/image means to you, what the images mean, and in what situation or part of life they belong to.

If you’ve never done divination before, or don’t have much experience with it – start slow and easy. Start with pendulums. Pendulums will give you those easy Yes or No answers. And from there you can work your way up the divination later.

If you can’t get your hands on a pendulum, tarot cards, runes, or any other tools – do what our ancestor witches did; glass of water and an egg (the white yolk only). Drop the white yolk in the glass of water and stare at it. Images should start appearing to you, sometimes moving images. This won’t give you a specific answer to something unless you ask a spirit for assistance, otherwise, this is a “this could be in your future,” kind of deal.

Flame and water gazing are other ways if you lack the other divination tools. Also with the assistance of a spirit, these are easy ways for divination. Flame gazing depends on what flame you’re using. With candles, you won’t so much get full images, but probably like the pendulum, get yes or no answers. On the other hand, if you’re using a fireplace where the flames are much larger and wider, you’ll have a better chance of seeing images and signs in the flames. For water gazing, it’s best done with a black or dark dish. Two ways for water gazing: the first, by simply gazing into the water. The second, by using en egg’s white yolk, dropping very small chunk-like crystals in the bowl, adding crushed herbs, or sprinkling sand (this is better in larger bowls). With all these ingredients, some kind of image or sign should form and appear.

Using an ouija board is probably the hardest and least effective way of divination. Because not always will a spirit listen to your call and give you a visit, and rarely do the spirits that do come around have the power to completely move or influence you to move the board’s pointer. Tea leafs is one of the oldest and probably best and most entertaining way of divination. With tea leafs, you’ll almost always get an image. Sometimes you’ll see a person you know, a thing, place, etc. You can look up what the different images mean, but be sure to cross-reference multiple sources to compare the similarities of meanings. But also use your own intuition and feelings about the things you see and feel to decode the message/image.

 

Blessed Be,
Sage

A simple guide to beginning Wicca and the Craft. Easy steps to beginning your new journey and self-development!

Wicca is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. Whether people are actually practicing Wicca/Paganism for the right reasons or not, it’s still one of the world’s major religions. To me, Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism are all different things. Wicca is the religion that follows so set guidelines and the Wiccan rede “an ye harm none, do what ye will.” Wicca also celebrates all eight, major and minor Sabbats. Not all Wiccan celebrate Ebats, though. Even though it’s “technically” apart of Wiccan religion. And believing in the God and Goddess as THE deities. Witchcraft is all about the magick; the spells, rituals, potions, divination, etc. Those who practice Witchcraft often worship multiple deities and spirits. And don’t usually celebrate sabbats or esbats. Paganism is ancient. It’s more of a way of life than it is a religion. The divine belief and worship of nature and everything in the universe. The belief that everything on this earth and off of it is interconnected and all a part of the togetherness and oneness of life. Pagans celebrate the solstices (four major sabbats) and the esbats. They are the followers of the Old Religions, the Old Ways, and the Ancient Gods.

It’s true there’s no hard evidence of ancient Pagan life or of it’s religion and beliefs, but references from other religions, cultures, and stories can help us put together the pieces of the everyday lives and practices of ancient Pagans. I call myself Pagan. Not Wiccan. Not Witch. Pagan. My research is about ancient history and religion, so little by little I can figure out exactly what the Old Ways consisted of. These are my opinions and definitions and by no means “true” answers and meanings. So think of each at your own.

So… Back to the guide. First, ask yourself: “Why am I interested in Wicca/Witchcraft/Pagansim?” It’s a question many fail to ask themselves. Sure, it’s mostly appealing to teenagers and young adults because of media, movies and television. We can thank TV shows life Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed to introduce us to Wicca and Witchcraft. But people often get caught up with that they think Wicca is, and what they hope it’ll be. Well, it’s NOT going to make you levitate a pencil or yourself. It’s NOT going to let you say a spell and it automatically working. And it’s NOT going to let you move things with your mind or by waving your hand. Teenagers, especially, mainly get an interest in Witchcraft for attention. To scare and threaten by accusing that they’ll “cast a spell on you” or use “voodoo to control your mind.” The true essence of what Wicca is isn’t even in their mind. So ask yourself that question. Think long and hard. If answers like, “because it sounds cool,” “I want to do magic,” “I want to scare people,” “because I don’t like my old religion,” or “my friend is Wiccan,” then you seriously need to go get educated.

If any of these keywords like “spirituality,” “divine essence,” “peace and freedom,” “nature,” pop in your head when asking that question, then you MIGHT be on the right track. The next question to ask yourself is: “Why do I want to be Wiccan?” You might have some similar answers from the first question and answer, but your answers to the first question should be by using keywords, the answer to this questions should be answered in full sentences.

In traditional Wicca, studying for “A year and a day” is common. And if Wicca is THE path you want to follow, then I think it’s ideal. Give yourself a full year before REALLY “committing” to it. For a lot of the young folk, it often turns out to be a phase. Sometimes a short phase when they realize their spells aren’t really working, or a long phase where it last for years when it starts out strong and just fades away – either into complete loss, or just little to no practice.

  • Read. A LOT. Read as much as you can and everything you can get your hands on. Though the Craft is mostly about personal practice and experience, I believe reading and learning everything you can first will help you better understand things, ideas, practices, etc. No two Wiccan authors have the same ideas and beliefs, so it’s important to see that though Wicca has some basic ground rules, there’s no “this is how it’s only done” rule set in stone. Wicca has many different paths and traditions, and eclecticism is one of them, so you’ll be able to divise your own beliefs and practices for your personal “religion.”
  • Dedication. For Wiccans, a dedication/commitment ritual is usually the beginning of your Wiccan path. It can be a sweet, short, simple ritual dedicating yourself to follow the Wiccan way and to the Goddess and God, nothing ridiculous or complicated. A dedication ritual can be implemented to dedicating yourself for “a year and a day,” or it can be done after the year and a day.
  • Start with trying to master meditation. Before any ritual/spell/magic work is done, meditation comes first. Without knowing how to properly meditate and visualize, then all you’re doing is saying a bunch of rhyming words and lighting things on fire. So practice meditation everyday, if possible. Even if it’s only for 10-15 minutes whenever you can. It’s pretty important. Refer back to my meditation post – it’ll be quite helpful for you.
  • Depending on what path, tradition, etc. you want to follow, it’s important to connect yourself and attune with nature. If available, go to the woods, the park, or pretty much wherever there are trees, plants, flowers, etc. and maybe some animals. Pick a spot or a tree. Try to connect with it. Feel its pure energy and its spirit. Sync with it and find that connection.
  • While you’re in nature, gather some things to place on your altar. Stick, branches, stones, flowers, plants/herbs – whatever you can find. If you’re going to follow a nature path (Paganism, the ancient ways, or any other ancient celtic/druid path), remember to “ask permission” for anything that you have to break or pluck from nature. If it resists, then your request has been denied and move on.
  • Start small with magick work and work your way up. For example, work with herbs. Create magick sachets, teas, brews, potions, etc. Empower your tools if you have any. Or your crystals and stones. Everything needs a cleansing and empowering!
  • When you feel comfortable, you can conduct a small, simple ritual. It doesn’t have to have a purpose besides just invoking the guardians, elements, deities, or whomever you choose to attend to your circle. Your circle itself should be simple, as well. Traditionally, made by salt, but you can use rope, sticks/branches, candles – whatever you have available. Heck, you don’t even need a physical circle! Conjure it up and visualize a circle protecting you from evil, harm, and negativity.
  • When you feel ready – no book, source, or person can tell you when you’re ready, ONLY YOU – you can begin on spells. As mentioned in the post on how to write and create your own spells, your spells don’t have to be elaborate, complex, or even rhyming. It’s just a worded guide for you to help you concentrate on your intent of the spell. You can start on simple spells like protection and banishing, and move your way up to perhaps attracting love, money, or luck.
  • Then comes the celebration of Sabbats and Esbats. These are the rituals, at least for Sabbats, that many practitioners tend to make elaborate. I know I do. I probably spend more time putting everything together than the duration of the ritual itself! But, because it is a celebration, that’s usually why I like to make it a little bit more fancier than just a normal ritual. Elaboration is by no means a requirement, I’m just saying. Point is, Sabbats and Esbats are usually a “step higher” than your normal ritual, because it usually involves longer incantations, offerings, and objects.
  • Divination might be your next step up. Though I don’t recommend divination if you’re JUST starting the path. It’s something you’d do after everything mentioned above. Start with the easiest forms of divination; pendulums, water, black mirror, fire, or crystal gazing. Then try Tarot cards and runes. And finally an ouija/spirit board and spirit contact. However, I highly recommend you don’t attempt to use an ouija board or spirit contacting until you’ve had some experience. And I don’t mean a year and a day.

NOTE: Almost every Wicca 101 book will say that astrology, moon and star correspondents, timing, and all that good stuff is important when it comes to doing spells and rituals. And in a way, it is – obviously for Esbats. But, among some other things, it’s not necessary. However, feel free to reference it if you haven’t already.

NOTE II: It’s understandable that some might still be in the “broom closet” and live with family or others, and having tools or ritual supplies is near to impossible. However, guess what? If your rituals consist of having elemental representation objects (the four elements), the simplest of objects are: sea shells, sea salt, water, the color blue for the element of water. Incense, plant leafs, feathers, the color white for the element of air. Candles, lava rocks, the color red for the element of fire. Crystals, stones, dirt, the color green for the element of earth.

The real guide to beginning Wicca is really the steps you feel and do at your own pace. Our lives doesn’t revolve around Wicca, it’s only a part of it. So if you miss a Sabbat or Esbat, or missed a certain eclipse or time when the stars are aligned, or something that has to do with timing or significance, don’t stress or worry about it. It’s not all about Wicca. It’s all about You. It’s about how and when you feel comfortable, how and when you feel the time is right, and how and when you know you feel ready. Don’t think just because you’re a “witch” that you’re some big-shot, because you’re not. You’re not special to anyone. You’re only special to yourself, the God and Goddess, and the Universe.

Just remember to keep things simple. Nothing has to be fancy, elaborate, or complicated. You don’t need fancy tools, a decorative altar, a candle of every color, or an expensive ginormous leather Book of Shadows. All you need is “me, myself, and I” to work true magick. All the “stuff” comes with time. You’ll be surprised the things you’ll accumulate over the years. After over a decade of practicing the Craft, I have two shelves stuffed with things I used to have on my altar, and then I have everything that’s actually on my altar! If you’ve ever taken a college English course, you might have heard the term “KISS: keep it simple, stupid.”

What comes after the books, spells, and rituals? How do I advance, learn more, and go further than just another Wicca?

“I’ve read all the books, the articles online, and whatever else that comes my way. I’m not saying I know everything, but every book (even the “advanced” books) are practically repetitive and not really giving me more or new information. I guess what I’m trying to ask is, what now? I know there’s more to Wicca than the spells and rituals; I still do my daily basic meditations, communing with deity, etc. In other words, is there more to learn beyond the books and information?

Thank you. Daisy”

Dear Daisy,

Should I be welcoming you to the Craft or something? No offense, of course. But if you’ve read all the books and everything you could get your hands on like you said you have, then you should know by now what “really” comes after the books: Self-growth and self-development.

Books doesn’t give you power. They give you knowledge, which is the root of power. Books are just the tools and guidelines to what comes after that. You can literally read every book in the Wicca/Witchcraft category and that wouldn’t mean a single thing without practice! You can read every single book that you can get your hands on about spell casting, meditation, astral projection, etc. So you know how to do it all and how it works, but do you really KNOW how to do it and how it works? Being a book-worm doesn’t make you an active practitioner.

Books are just a fraction of what the Craft is about, or any religion for that matter. It’s what you do with the things you learn. So you learned how to meditate. Okay. Go further with it. Exercise deep meditation, astral projection, visualization, learn to meditate within your meditation. What about divination? It’s practically in every book, so work on it. Divination, next to spirit contact, is one of the “tougher” tasks. Choose a divination method – tarot card, runes, gazing, etc. – and master it. Just because you have and know the definitions of what the cards or runes say, or what you see in gazing, doesn’t mean anything more than checking your mail – you get your mail (spreading the cards or runes), you know what it is/who it’s from (the definition), but you don’t really know what it means or the answers to your questions until you open the mail (go beyond the surface meanings).

You want to develop your psychic powers? Work on opening up your “third eye.” The first step in psychic power comes with meditation and being able to really master visualization and holding that visuale in your mind for more than one second. For example, a good way to exercise your visualization skills is with a candle. Light a candle and stare at it for a few minutes. Look at it and look past it. See the way the flames move. See the different colors. The way it sounds. Try to look at all the details of the candle. And when you think you’re ready, close your eyes and visualize everything you just saw – see the color of the candle and flames, the way the flame flickers and moves. From one candle you can move on to several candles, and from that to details on your altar, and then your room, etc. Every time having the image bigger and more complex. Seeing what’s “not there” when your eyes are closed will also help you enhance your ability to see auras, spirits, and bad energy.

Spirit communication is another way, and probably one of the most difficult and dangerous, to “go to the next level.” For more than half of the time I have been practicing, spirits and spirit contact has been my biggest focus. I have had some great successes and many failures. It’s something that takes much time, extreme patience, practice, and finding the best way that works for you and for the ritual. If you look at the rituals in a lot of Occult books, the Key of Solomon or the Geotia for example, you’ll see that the “magic circle” is a very elaborate and dramatic design for just invoking a spirit. I have done the elaborate rituals with full-blown designs and symbols, and I’ve done basic circles with little to no designs and symbols and just used crystals, herbs and runes. And you know what, the “basic” circle works better for me. So it’s just a matter of what you feel is necessary and what you’re more comfortable with. Of course, you don’t always have to conduct an entire circle or ritual for spirit communication, it’s only recommended just so you’ll stay safe from the spirit and not have to worry about it attacking you or “messing with your head.” You can simple be at your altar and try to commune with a friendly spirit that may be visiting your home or somewhere near by.

You can commune with friendly spirits with an almost seance setting and way, by lighting candles and placing bread on the table. Dim any lights and eliminate all distractions. Concentrate on only attracting good, friendly, loving energy. And when you’re ready, you can say something along the lines of, “friendly spirit, I (we) bring you gifts from life into death. Commune with me (us) and move among me (us).” You can repeat the chant until you feel, see, or hear something respond. At this point you can communicate and ask questions. Start with basic yes or no questions. When you are done, you can bid the spirit farewell and thank it for coming to you. Blow out the candles to conclude the ritual and dispose of the bread by burying it.

Advancing comes and happens in many ways, shapes, and forms. Work on herbology, potions and concoctions. Learn and develop yourself to be one with nature by meditating and doing ritual work and whatnot outside. Advancing doesn’t always have to stay within Wicca, you can also explore, learn and understand new faiths and religions. Buddhism and Egyptology are always the “famous” ones. As well as Shamanism. Think outside the box. Developing yourself doesn’t always have to be about magic and spells, but concepts, ideas, and self-improvement/empowerment.

Blessed Be,
Sage