I’m a beginner Pagan and interested in working a few spells; are there certain requirements when casting spells like a circle or pentagram?

“I am a beginner pagan and i would like to know as I am interested in working a few spells that span a different range of categories if there are any certain requirements when casting a draconic type of spell? Also when casting any spells in particular, as i said im a beginner to casting, are there any requirements such as a circle or pentagram?”

Generally speaking, a spell is a small piece of magic done with or without casting a circle, calling deities, or using any traditional tools. A spell can be a chant said to the moon or a candle burning to eat up negativity in a room. A ritual is a more formal type of magic; often, rituals include a structure of casting circle, calling energies, doing your magic, and then releasing what was called. In a ritual, you may include a spell between simply celebrating the season or acknowledging the full moon.

By a “draconic” spell, I’m assuming you mean a spell using dragon energies. In that case, I would strongly suggest further research on your end before any attempts. A wise adage would be “don’t call up what you can’t put down”, or don’t work with things you don’t fully understand. As a beginner pagan, it would be wise to learn as much as you can about the mechanics of energywork, spellcasting, and focus before attempting any magic.

Spells take on many forms, often based on their intent. A spell to send a message might involve toss a paper into the air, as Air is associated with communication. A spell to calm turbulent moods might include saying a chant while in the shower, as Water is associated with emotions and balance. Spells are simply the actions you use to direct your energies toward a goal.

I would suggest taking a look at the Wicca 101 list here. Several of the titles include a chapter or section on spell writing and technique. I especially recommend suggestion [7] Earth Power and Earth, Air, Fire and Water by Scott Cunningham. Both books are focused on natural spells, as opposed to full-blown rituals as found in some pagan books. I would also suggest practicing spells such as self-balance and inner peace on yourself; while it may seem less than exciting, the chances of harm or misdirected energies are much smaller while you learn to raise and direct energy toward a focused goal.

 

Larissa Lee
Guest Writer

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I’ve started researching the craft and I’d like some verification on a few points I’ve gathered, I don’t want to advance while learning the wrong principals.

“I’ve started researching the craft, and I’d like some verification on a few points I’ve gathered, I don’t want to advance while learning the wrong principals… Here are the points that I have so far:

-The main rule of witchcraft is the ‘Wiccan Rede’: “An it harm none, do what ye will” I believe that this means that we have the freedom to do what we want with our magic, and not only that, but our lives, as long as it doesn’t harm others in the process.
-Wiccan beliefs are different, and vary from person to person.
-Do not ask if the spells, ‘work’. Whether the spell ‘works’ or not is up to not only you for performing it correctly, but also the god(ess). If it is meant to be, then the god(ess) will grant you the power to successfully perform the spell.
-You do not have to use the exact same spell as someone else, have fun, and start your own book of shadows!
-Start for the right reasons.
-Don’t start because you want to be able to threaten people by saying you’ll curse them or something. Not only will you sound incredibly stupid for yelling death threats at people by saying you’ll use magic against them, but It’s also going against the Wiccan Rede.

Could you please tell me if they are all ‘fact’ and correct any of my mistakes before I continue my research?”

Blessings,

These are excellent points! My simple guide to beginning Wicca and Witchcraft could also be of use to you. A couple of other notes: Some Wiccans also believe in the Threefold Law: What you send out (positive or negative) will come back to you threefold. Some would also call the law Karma, it just depends on how you want to believe it. Also, your first point is slightly off – the main rule of Witchcraft is not the Wiccan Rede. Some people see the two as one, but in the bigger picture Wicca is the religion, whereas Witchcraft is simply the practice of magick (no religion associated with it).

Which brings me to your second point, Wiccan beliefs is very eclectic. Wicca has some set doctrine in place, but then you shape your own spirituality beyond those principals and rules.

Books 1 and 2 on my Wicca 101 book list is probably two of the very best beginner books that everyone should read!! Anything by Scott Cunningham is amazing, the Idiot’s Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft is just loaded with so much information, you can find anything you need in it!

You’re on the right track for a great spiritual life.

 

Blessed Be
Sage

Can you recommend any guides to the usage/meaning of different herbs, scents, colors, crystals, and other things like that?

“Can you recommend any guides to the usage/meaning of different herbs, scents, colors, crystals, and other things like that?”

That’s a very, very large list to provide. However, I recommend Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, and Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem and Metal Magic. They are great references and a big help to trying to find the right things for specific doings.

Here is a simple colors reference list:

White: protection, peace, purity, truth
Green: healing, money, prosperity, luck, fertility
Brown: physical objects, healing for animals, houses and homes
Pink: emotional love, friendships
Red: sexual love, passion, energy, enthusiasm, courage
Yellow: clairvoyance, divination, studying, learning, the mind
Purple: power, healing deadly diseases
Blue: healing, meditation, tranquility
Orange: strength, authority, attraction, luck
Black: absorption of negativity, destruction of negativity

Blessed Be,
Sage

Answer #2: I’ve always been interested in Wicca since I found out about it a few years ago, but I’m not very religious and I don’t really feel comfortable performing any magic. How I should go about becoming a Wiccan?

“I’ve always been interested in Wicca since I found out about it a few years ago, I have a few books about the religion/culture and love reading about it. There have been a few times where I considered becoming a Wiccan, but I’m not very religious and I don’t really feel comfortable performing any magic, ceremonies, or anything like that. I guess what I’m trying to ask is how I should go about becoming a Wiccan.”

You’ve got a few questions rolled into that one:

1. Should you consider becoming part of a religion, although you don’t consider yourself religious? But what does ‘being religious’ mean to you?

2. You don’t feel comfortable practicing magic or participating in ceremony and perhaps wonder if this is a requirement to be a Wiccan.

3. You’d like to know what to consider in respect of becoming Wiccan.

Well, all these are excellent questions! I can help you with numbers 1 and 2, but there is only only one person who can answer number 3 – you! But you need to have the information and the tools which will be the response to questions 1 and 2 in order to make your decision and that is what I’m going to provide for you.

You’ve asked specifically about becoming a Wiccan. Wicca is but one flavour in this vast universe of pagan religions and practices, and I think it’s worth outlining the differences between them all for you.

First of all, you need to consider what a religion is.

The difference between a religion and a practice is that a religion is a set of beliefs that has a social aspect. This means that it is organised, has clergy, a liturgical calendar. A spiritual practice is a set of beliefs that lacks the social aspect. A religion will be a spiritual practice, but a spiritual practice may not be a religion. Most people I talk to understand that ‘being religious’ means proselytising, attending mass weekly, and being god-fearing. Really, it means holding a set of spiritual beliefs and participating in the social aspects of those beliefs with others.

So, would you consider that you could be ‘religious’ in the right religion for you?

How do you find that right religion? Let’s have a look at Wicca and paganism in the broadest sense as potential candidates.

The word pagan originally meant ‘one from the country’, but was borrowed by the Catholic faith to mean ‘not Catholic’. Today, a pagan is someone who is not a follower of an Abrahamic or Karmic religion and celebrates the cycles of the Earth. Broad, isn’t it!

Wicca is a pagan religion which has a specific subset of beliefs of paganism and usually encompasses the practice of witchcraft. Big names in Wicca are Buckland, Cunningham, Gardner, Starhawk… the list is as long as your arm. There are also various forms, such as Gardenian, Dianic, and Alexandrian.

Witchcraft is the practice of magic, or, as I call it, the direction of energy using ritual. On its own, witchcraft is not a religion but is a spiritual practice.

Considering the above:

·         A witch can be pagan

·         A witch can be Wiccan

·         A pagan can be a witch

·         A Wiccan can be a witch

·         A pagan may not be Wiccan or a witch

For example, I am a witch and a pagan but I am not a Wiccan.

What I think you should do is get this whole ‘should I become a Wiccan’ question out of your mind for a moment. The beauty of finding the practice and religion that is best for you is that wondrous ‘ah ha!’ moment. The, ‘I thought I was the only one that thought this way!’ moment that ignites your very core and stirs your soul.

Let’s sort out if Wicca is the path for you.

Collect:

·         A half hour of spare time

·         Pen and paper

·         Your favourite CD

·         Your favourite incense

Sit quietly and write down answers to these lists. Set a timer of three minutes for each list. The total is fifteen minutes of list writing.

First list is all the things that are important in your life. The non-negotiables. Things like living close to trees, treating others with respect, speaking your mind etc.

Second, write a list of what makes you happy. This could be sleeping in, walking in the forest, watching the moon, catching up with friends.

Third, write a list of what you believe is important about the Earth. Her seasons, day and night, animals are all possible answers.

Fourth, write a down three social justice issues that are important to you and why they are important.

Fifth, write the names of three people you admire and dot points about why you admire them.

At the end of these five lists, you should have an insight into what motivates and is important to YOU. Find the words and themes that overlap. These are your primary clues. Really sit and think about your results. Journal and contemplate today. Don’t do any more than that.

The next day or even a few days later, find some basic information about some Wiccan traditions and reduce them to a few key themes. Do these themes align with what is important to you? If not, it is likely that this religion is not for you. If so, GREAT! Enquire, read, talk to others, ask questions, then read some more!

In any case, read and ask more questions about paganism as this appears to be the underlying theme of what stirs you.

On a personal note, I never felt comfortable chanting in yoga until I had a mind-blowing experience with an amazing tacher who opened my eyes to what sound can mean as part of the practice. Lack of comfort can be a great thing. This is where we find out who we really are. But there is also the lack of comfort that comes from the ‘whoooa, wrong for me!!’ If you can learn to distinguish between the two and push your boundaries a little bit, you can learn amazing things about yourself.

Good luck, lovely! I wish you the absolute best.

Guest writer,
Sarah
http://underthewaningmoon.tumblr.com/

Wicca 101: Books for beginning and furthering your Wiccan studies!

Discovering Wicca, Witchcraft, Paganism can be one of the most thrilling things you can stumble upon. Especially if it grasps your attention and “calls your name” to look into it further. Nowadays, there are a plethora of books, articles, and websites about the Craft. There are more intro and Wicca 101 books than there are “advanced” or “advanced magick” books. Mostly because advancing in your practice is a personal experience and not something you can learn from a book. Because we all learn, experience things, understand, and practice differently, that’s the only way we can truly “advance.”

So… For those who just starting into the world of Wicca, beginning, or just curious. Here are some of the best books I think that every Wiccan should own, read and use as references. As you’ll see throughout this list, Scott Cunningham is a big favorite.

 1. Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.

This is literally, probably my favorite book of all time. It’s the first book I ever read about Wicca, and it’s a book I still use today, 10 years later, as reference and as a guide to writing my own blessings and spells. It covers everything Wicca 101: history, beliefs, deities, spells, rituals, sabbats, etc., and even includes a section of Cunningham’s Book of Shadows at the end of the book.

 2. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft, 3rd Edition.

Another favorite is the idiot’s guide. Obviously if you can comprehend reading a book, than you’re not an idiot. But this book is literally PACKED with so much great information it’s hard not to pick up and read! This is one of the “bigger” books I first started reading and took me the longest to finish, but it’s so worth it. With all the information in this book, it’s definitely ranks as one of the better reference books out there.

 3. Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft.

Buckland isn’t exactly on my love list of authors, but it’s undoubtable that he has some great books – his Complete Book of Witchcraft being one of them. This book is pretty much a “lesson plan” kind of book, where each chapter is a “lesson” and at the end of each chapter you have a little quiz on what you learned. The book isn’t geared just towards Witchcraft – it starts out that way, but then it goes into the different traditions of Wicca. One thing about Buckland is that he’s always been apart of a coven, so the rituals in this book are written for group work, but there are some solitary works as well.

 4. Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner.

Living Wicca by Scott Cunningham is a great book to start reading once you’ve gotten past the intro and 101 books. In this book, Cunningham goes further into the “Learning” of the craft with chapters on tools, magickal names, self-initiation, prayers and chants, creating a new path, deities, ritual design, and about teaching the Craft. The topics might not be “new” to you and you might have some concept of the topics in the chapters, but this book takes those basic ideas that you already have and expands on them, so it makes it just a little over a basic 101 book.

 5. Sabbats: A Witch’s Approach to Living the Old Ways.

Sabbats by McCoy is probably one of the best Sabbats books I’ve ever gotten my hands on! It’s literally the perfect Sabbats book you can find on the shelves. McCoy talks about the history, origin, practices, and traditions of each of the Sabbats. McCoy also includes group and solitary rituals, recipes, and crafts for each of the Sabbats. It’s one of the must-have Sabbats books for every beginner and experienced Witch!

 6. The Complete Book of Incense, Oils and Brews.

I go back to this book for reference and recipes more times than any other book I own! This book helped my curiosity, experience and knowledge of natural magick and herbs. It’s because of the herb combinations and brews from this book that I have a great knowledge of herbalism. This book contains recipes for pretty much anything and everything! Love, money, protection, gods, goddesses, sabbats, esbats, and so much more! Cunningham goes into details the best ways and basic ingredients to make incense, oils and brews. A great book for any Witch wanting to expand his/her knowledge of herbalism and natural magick.

  7. Earth Power: Techniques of Natural Magic and Earth, Air, Fire & Water: More Techniques of Natural Magic.

My final books and the last of Cunningham on my list are the Earth Power; and Earth, Air, Fire & Water books. Earth Power came out first and Cunningham had no intentions of writing another book like it, but by “popular demand,” EAF&W was written. These books are another big part of the impact and knowledge of natural magick in my practice. In Earth Power, Cunningham goes into brief detail about the magics of all the elements, as well as stone, tree, knot, candle, mirror, and sea magic – along with others. In EAF&W, Cunningham has almost the same Table of Contents, but goes into even MORE detail about the elements and nature magic. If your curiosity and interests sparks at all about natural magick, then these are some must-have books to add to your Witchy library!

NOTE: There will be another entry on more “advanced” Craft. So stay put!