Everywhere you look, there's another news article about how popular Witchcraft is right now. I don't really see a problem with that. Frankly, I think the more people that get in touch with the world around them and their personal power, the better. People thinking for themselves and exploring new ideas is truly wonderful.
But glancing around the Internet, from fashion spreads to carefully curated photos on Instagram and Tumblr, you might be misled to believe that Witchcraft is found through "the stuff." That you have to have a collection of crystals, skulls, esoteric symbols, fancy candles, elaborate tools, expensive grimoires, and maybe a fabulous manicure at your disposal. There's nothing wrong with any of that—I totally like the stuff, too! (Though the fancy nails on me would be absolutely tragic, I tell you. I'd probably have them messed up within five minutes, or covered in paint by evening!) But the way to Witchcraft isn't through the stuff or the look. They can certainly help create the vibe, but you have to recognize the power within you first.
Nor is the way to living Witchcraft through a self-help-style book that focuses on step-by-step tidbits, every ritual and spell laid out exhaustively with glossy details. You certainly do learn from experience, which means actually doing the thing and figuring it out for yourself. But do you know the difference between doing something because a book or online personality said so, and doing it because you simply know deep down this is the thing you need to do? That can be a hard thing to figure out, especially for new Witches.
Truly, I think the hardest thing about Witchcraft is learning how to discover and empower yourself, without getting lost in ego, sucked into fantasy, or relying on the material things. The essence of being a Witch means be able to trusting your gut, your own intuition, and psychic sense of self. Honing these abilities helps you to engage more fully with the world around you—seen and unseen. That's not something you can dig out of a book of spells or find in a crystal shop for any amount of money.
So if Witchcraft isn't in the things, how do you become a better Witch? Here are five tips to aid you on improving your personal practice and forging an authentic path for yourself.
- Recognize the Power Within
We are each truly powerful beings. I'm talking about humans in general—not some idea of genetic witchy bloodline or special gifts. Every human has the potential to tap into their power. The simple fact that we are each animated collections of atoms that have a consciousness is amazing. No one is more special than anyone else, and we are each vibrant, unique, and capable of working magic. Celebrate this beautiful phenomenon that is you and own your power. To do so, you just need to be open to believing and seeing that this is true.
- Connect With Where You Are
Every place has a spirit—whether that's out in the woods, by the ocean, in the desert, or in the middle of the city. Orient yourself with where you live, and take time to study it. We often take for granted the things we see every day without giving them a second thought. What are the landmarks that distinguish where you live? Do you have a favorite building or tree? What animal and plant life surrounds you? Pay closer attention to the patterns of life around you, and recognize the power of the place you live.
- Find Your Magic
Magic starts with thought, and of course thinking begins with you. All the tools, elements, herbs, crystals, candles, symbols we use in sympathetic magic help to stimulate our brains. The better we can visualize a working, the faster it can manifest. They are aids to accompany us in the process, and they may lend energy to a spell or ritual, but the power comes through you. Keep this in mind next time when you're worried about having the right crystals, certain colored candles, or a long list of ingredients. They're not absolutely necessary, but you are! Be creative and think outside of the box.
- Discover Your Talent
What skills do you need to be a Witch? Do you need to be able to read the Tarot and runes, mix oils, grow baneful herbs, and concoct powerful potions? Those are indeed great skills to have, but they don't necessarily make the Witch. Being a Witch means observing the world around you, listening carefully, choosing your words and actions with foresight, and making effective change happen within and around you. You can work magic through playing music, being a hospice nurse, or helping people with their finances. Everyone has their own way of working magic, so don't be afraid if you don't fit some stereotypical checklist or match the pictures on Instagram. Remember, Witches are a diverse bunch—all colors, ages, genders, and backgrounds.
- Develop A Daily Practice
What's the best way to hone your practice? Witchcraft, every day. Does that mean doing a spell a day? Not at all—do spellcraft when you need to do it, not because you feel you ought to in order to be seen as a Witch. But there are many things you can choose to do daily that build your path. For some people, that's pulling a Tarot card or a rune stone in the morning, studying it, and making some notes. This is a wonderful way to learn a divination system while getting some insight into what's happening in your life. Another way to build your practice is to take a few moments each day to meditate or connect at your altar. Or, if you're an avid gardener, spend some time with your plants—even in winter to observe their cycles and what's going on in the garden. At the office, claim your space before beginning to work, by breathing, centering yourself, and focusing on what you wish to accomplish. All of these suggestions can take anywhere from a minute or two to possible ten to fifteen minutes—not very long at all when you think about it. Once you start the practice in motion, you will definitely notice a lot more about the world around you.
So there you have it! Sure, these ways are not as simple as buying a crystal, but they will give you more insight into yourself. The time is certainly worth investing in yourself and your path. The deepening sense of self, the connection with your power, and the ability to interact more skillfully with the world around you will have a huge impact on your practice. This all makes "the stuff" the icing on top of your cake, instead of the substance. I guarantee you'll know and feel the difference!