We are nearing the end of this beginner’s guide to practicing solo. But it would obviously not be a guide to practicing solo without discussing… well, practicing. I’ve provided bits of information in each section about different aspects of practicing witchcraft. But how does one practice witchcraft in their daily lives? In this section, we’ll discuss some things you can start doing today that will help you grease the wheels and get you started.
I’ve touched on rituals and spell work a few times. But obviously there’s more to life than casting a circle and performing a ritual. What’s it like to be a witch in everyday life? To be honest, it’s not much different than the average person’s life. Being a witch doesn’t mean you have to start wearing black all the time, buy a pointy hat, or live in a secluded, creepy cottage in the middle of the forest. Here are 8 things you can do that will help enhance your new life as a practicing witch.
No, I’m not going to go into a spiel about how you should exercise more. Being outside in nature for a witch is vastly different from anyone else who likes the out-of-doors. Find a place that has a lot of natural life. It could be a park, a hike up into the mountains, or even your own back yard. Wherever it is, go there and interact with nature. Feel the breeze from the wind, take in the smells of the flowers, feel the cooling effects of the shade of a big tree.
As you take it all in, remember that Wicca is a religion of nature. Nature is alive. It has energy. It lives, breathes, and if you quiet your mind and allow yourself to feel the energy that the trees and plants and birds and squirrels are putting out, you’ll begin to realize that they’re welcoming you.
Even if you don’t think you’re intuitive (spoiler alert: all of us are intuitive, some more so than others; but we all have the innate ability to intuit different ways), walk through the park or the forest and walk up to a tree. Ask the tree if you may sit against it (you can ask this in your mind or out loud). Take a moment to feel the energy after you ask. If you feel “invited”, then sit. If not, thank the tree and go on to the next one. I know this may sound a little “kooky” but I promise you, the more you commune with nature, the less kooky it will feel and the more “intuitive” it will become.
When you’ve found “your” tree for this excursion, sit beneath it (be mindful of anything on the ground that may poke you as you sit!), and feel the energy it emits. You may not feel anything physically, but just take a few deep breaths, exhale, then close your eyes and quiet your mind. You may wish to do a short meditation while you sit there.
You can do a visualization that involves interacting with the tree, talking to it and allowing it to talk to you. Or you may wish to do a visualization where, as you sit with your back against the trunk of the tree, you visualize your spine becoming part of the base of the tree. Then visualize the bottom of your spine burrowing beneath the ground and forming roots, and spreading deep into the Earth. Then visualize the top of your head (your crown chakra) bursting out and forming branches that then bring forth leaves. Feel the energy from the Earth and from the tree. You have become a part of the tree.
Feel the stability beneath you, and the freedom above you. Allow the worries of your day to leave you through the roots you’ve created. Then draw up some positive energy from the roots and into your body. When you’re done, visualize the roots you created pulling back until they’re out of the ground and into your spine. Visualize the branches above you pulling back into the top of your head. Take a moment and note how you feel. Renewed? Relaxed? De-stressed? Thank the tree for its support, and be on your way. It’s also a good idea to bring bird seed or something to offer that you leave with the tree as thanks.
This is just one of many activities you can do while you’re out getting to know nature. Experiment! Create your own “nature ritual” and get to know our precious planet in ways you haven’t thought of before.
The Law of Attraction
One of the biggest aspects of witchcraft practice is the knowledge of and use of energy. If you’re unfamiliar with the Law of Attraction, I’ll sum it up fairly quickly. The Law of Attraction states that whatever energy you put out into the Universe is ultimately returned to you in kind. That is, if you’re constantly thinking negative thoughts, or you’re a pessimist, or you’re preoccupied with “negative” problems (not having enough money, being tired, being single, etc.) then that energy is sent out by you into the Universe. And the Universe responds in kind with more negativity.
In short, you get back what you put out. If you exude positive energy, happiness, love, joy, and a good attitude, then the Universe responds in kind and you get positive energy back. There’s definitely more to it, and you should take the time to study what the Law of Attraction is and how it applies to everyone, but especially to you.
The benefits of meditation span areas well beyond the spiritual. It’s good for your physical and mental wellbeing also. Meditating on a regular basis will help you to tune in to the energy of the Universe, the Divine, and your Spirit Guides. Along with meditation, you can add visualizations (the “I’m a tree” scenario I gave earlier is a perfect example of a visualization).
It helps a lot to visualize if you have trouble concentrating or clearing your mind when meditating. With visualizations, you’re still meditating, and you’re less likely to drift off into thinking what you need to pick up at the store or something non-meditative since your mind is occupied with bringing the visualization to life.
I know, I know. I just talked about this. But it bears repeating. Studying is one of the most important things you can do, because the more you learn, the better you’ll become at things like rituals, spell work, meditation, etc. Read anything and everything you can about Wicca. You’ll invariably come across books and websites that have “junky” information. As I’ve said many times, just use your critical thinking skills and use your intuition.
If something doesn’t resonate with you, then do some cross-referencing with different sources to determine if what you’re having trouble with is something others have struggled with. If something strikes you as complete hogwash, or it otherwise doesn’t fit into what you believe, that’s okay.
It’s possible that, further down your path, that what you once viewed as hogwash will resonate with you as time goes on. Or it won’t. Either way, always be open to new experiences, new information, and new beliefs. This is how we grow as witches.
Start keeping a “spiritual journal” and write. This is different than your Book of Shadows, which I’ll discuss next. As you move forward and study Wicca and witchcraft in greater depth, keep a journal of the things you’ve learned and how those things resonate with your spirit. After you meditate, jot down the key things that you experienced while in meditation.
You can also use this journal to keep track of dreams, as many times our Spirit Guides and other forces at work in the Universe will reveal things to us in our dreams. Keeping a spiritual journal is a great way to see how far you’ve come, and to help jog your memory about things you may forget in six months. What’s more, the act of writing (or typing if using a physical pen doesn’t appeal to you) exercises a different part of our brain than reading. It makes whatever we’re writing down more “permanent” in our minds. You don’t have to journal every day, but I certainly recommend it, especially for newcomers to the Craft.
Book of Shadows
A Book of Shadows (also sometimes called a Grimoire) is a personal collection of spells, rituals, combinations of magickal herbs, tables of correspondences (i.e. white candles are used for x, y, and z and the like), and basically anything that involves the practice of witchcraft. Some traditions differentiate between Book of Shadows and Grimoire, where the former is more of a “personal” book that each witch has (which may or may not get passed down to others) and the latter being more of a “how-to” manual. At the end of the day, a rose by any name would smell as sweet.
The term Book of Shadows was highly popularized when the TV series Charmed aired back in the early 2000s, and it was one of the few things they actually got right about witchcraft. You should start a Book of Shadows as soon as possible, and list all of the spells, rituals, and other information that you’ll refer to again and again. As you grow and mature along your path, you’ll add more and more to your Book of Shadows. It will grow with you.
Don’t Preach; Just Share
One of the big things that many Wiccans pride themselves in is the fact that Wicca is a non-proselytizing religion. That’s a fancy way of saying we don’t pound the streets trying to shove our beliefs down the throats of others. There’s nothing wrong with openly professing your faith, just as there’s nothing wrong with keeping it private.
Either way, however, it’s important that you don’t go out and try to “convert” everyone you know to Wicca. If someone asks you about what Wicca and witchcraft is about, then they’ve invited you to share your experiences and beliefs with them, and you should feel free to explain what you know and what you’ve experienced. But Wicca is not a religion that seeks out converts. Why not? Because we don’t believe that there’s anything inherently wrong with anyone else’s views on spiritual matters.
We’re all on our own path, and we all experience the spiritual and the Divine in different ways. Judeo-Christian religions all have a dogmatic view that dictates that everyone who doesn’t believe like them needs to be “saved” from an eternity in hell. Wiccans don’t operate like that. We are a religion of peace, of harmony, and of love.
So if your dear old Aunt Bertha, who is a hardcore Baptist, you don’t need to convince her that Wicca is the “one true path” because it ISN’T. There is no “one true path” as far as Wiccans are concerned. This path is not for everyone, but we accept everyone as they are, including their inherent right to believe whatever they wish when it comes to matters of spirit.
Finally, just because you’re flying solo doesn’t mean that you can’t make friends with other Wiccans, both solitary and coven practitioners. Especially in the age of the Internets, it’s easier than ever to make friends who share the same beliefs as you. There are online forums everywhere (including the Wiccan Universe Forums), there’s Facebook, there’s Reddit, there’s all kinds of ways you can make witchy friends all over the world. So don’t feel like you’re an “island” because you’re not.
There are solo witches all over the place, and the vast majority of us are friendly and would love to make new friends! You can also visit your local metaphysical store (if there is one in your city or town) where you’ll likely be able to find information on Wiccan and pagan activities. You can check out www.WitchVox.com to see if there are any groups in your town.
You’ve taken a tremendous first step on your path, and you should be excited about the journey ahead of you! There’s so much to learn and so much to experience. May that journey be filled with light, love, peace, and MAGICK! Blessed Be!