Everything you ever wanted to know about witchcraft!
Every year around Halloween, there is a renewed interest in the topic of witchcraft. However, witches don’t only come out because of Halloween. There are witches from all walks of life and we see them every day, whether we know it or not. In this article, we’re going to look at what witchcraft is, what it isn’t, and how anyone can become a witch if they desire to do so.
There is a lot of confusion and misconceptions regarding witchcraft. Popular television shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and the movie “The Craft”, led people to believe that witches dress in all black, wear goth apparel, and belong to a coven. This is a Hollywood version of what witches are.
A real witch can be anyone like you or your neighbor, work a 9 - 5 jobs, support causes like protecting the rainforests and conserving our natural resources. They may wear regular clothes like everyone else and dress up in something “witchy” on occasion because they like it, or just for fun. They may read Tarot cards, create their own healing potions, and use crystal balls or other tools in their spell work for focus.
Where Did Witchcraft Originate?
The history of witches dates back to the time of the ancient Greeks. Most people associate witches with the Salem Witchcraft Trials that occurred in Massachusetts during the spring of 1692. These trials started because of a group of young teenage girls that claimed they were being tormented by witches at night. The residents of Massachusetts were a highly religious community of Quakers that had separated from England and sought freedom in the new world. A lot of innocent people (150 to be exact) were persecuted and killed after being accused of witchcraft. There is a lot of speculation that these trials had a different agenda, and the motivation was power and control. There is a lot of interesting information about this period of history, but it is too extensive to get into here.
The first recorded witches in history were mentioned in the Greek texts. Circe, in Greek mythology was considered an enchantress (another name for witch or sorceress). The bible also mentions the Witch of Endor, so the history of witches is much longer than previously believed. Every country has its own version of witches. In Italy, they are called stregheria, and brujeria in Spain.
What is a witch?
The definition of a witch is someone who follows their own path and has a deep reverence for nature. A witch learns the phases of the moon, and practices her art in harmony with the natural cycles of the earth. Spells for increase (success, money, fertility) are performed during the time of the full moon because that is the time of harvesting, while spells to decrease things (like negativity, poverty, selfishness) are performed during the waning moon phase.
A witch lives in harmony with Mother Nature and is sensitive to the subtle energies in the world around them. While many witches follow the practice of Wicca, which is an earth-based religion, you don't have to be wiccan to be a witch. There are many different types of witches, some who are witches due to family tradition, and others who choose to be witches for whatever the reason.
How Do You Become a Witch?
How does someone become a witch outside of traditional family witchcraft, without initiations and joining a coven? It’s simple. Becoming a witch is simply to make the decision, and declare your intention to the universe. After that, the next steps are learning about your chosen path and the basics of witchcraft.
Learn about your craft!
For those interested in becoming a witch, you can get started right away by getting a few books on witchcraft to learn the phases of the moon, and why certain spells are performed at certain times, as well as the tools and supplies used for creating your own spells and rituals.
Some great books for beginners are:
The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to the Natural Magic of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils and More by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
The Modern Guide to Witchcraft by Skye Alexander
Year of the witch by Temperance Alden
Witchery: Embrace the Witch Within by Juliet Diaz
Craft by Gabriela Herstick
Choose your path.
There’s no shortage of types of witchcraft, meaning there’s also no shortage of choices for an aspiring witch. Rather than get overwhelmed, get your bearings by having at least a basic understanding of the terms below.
There are many paths in witchcraft, and you can follow any that you choose. Witchcraft is a magical practice not tied to any religious path, unlike Wicca. Anyone can be a witch, you do not have to have any family associations like traditional witchcraft, and your practice can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. Some paths include:
Celtic Fairy Witchcraft
Set Up Your Altar
An altar is simply a place that you determine to be your spiritual place. It can be a table set up with your magical tools, candles, and etc. It is the place where you commune with Spirit. Some witches prefer to have a portable altar that they can bring out when they need to work a spell, and then put it out of sight (for family members who are not supportive of their choice).
What is a Coven?
The word "coven" refers to a group of witches who practice their craft together. It was thought that a coven consisted of 13 witches, but it can be a group of any size. You do not have to join a coven, you can practice as a solitary and be fine. It's there if you want it, but you’re not required to join one.
Stock Up On Tools and Supplies
Witchcraft does not need to be expensive. You can get any candle for any store. You are your most powerful tool. You do not need to prove your craft through money. Magic is about intentions meaning you also do not need to know about magical timing or only cast during certain phases of the moon.
Buying your spell-crafting supplies is easy, as you can get most items from a department store or local discount store. White pillar candles, tea lights, or votive candles can be used in spell work. You can buy herbs in bulk from online stores like dollar tree, Mountain Rose Herbs, and stores that carry botanical supplies. You’ll likely need at least a few oils, candles, herbs; roots, crystals, spell books; tarot cards, a cauldron; and, maybe a crystal ball.
Facts About Witchcraft
Many people are misinformed about what witches are, and what they believe. Here are a few facts to clear up the confusio
Witches are not evil.
They do not worship the devil.
You need to work with a god or goddess
All witches are WICCAN - no your path is up to you.
You need to be from a long line of witches
The pentacle, or five-pointed star, represents the elements (earth, air, fire, water, and spirit); it is not used to summon demons or dark entities.
Witches need to be a part of a coven. This is not true, most are solitary practitioners.
Now that you know a little bit more about witchcraft, and how to become a witch, we hope you’ll take the next steps and learn more about the theory and practice of witchcraft, and how to use the tools for divination, spell-casting, and helping others.