Witchcraft for Beginners – Recognise Hype And Find The Others

witchcraft path beginner

How to rise through the clouds of hype and make witchcraft a permanent part of your life, with 8 magical growth tips from Lauren.

“The witches are coming”
Diana, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix Diana, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix

Our series binges, our Instagram feed, our local bookstore…where are there not witches right now? The witch aesthetic is everywhere, and it’s not hard to understand why. We feel uber disconnected from the natural world. We’re constantly being told the planet is dying, we need to live more ethically, we’ve become too skeptical as a species and are losing touch with our instincts and heart’s desires. What does witchcraft offer? Flowers and herbs, time in nature, self-empowerment, intention and maybe even changing your world…

I’m still new to the craft and already have been met with a wealth of information and so much love from an exciting community. Yet I’ve found, sometimes, that this ‘wealth’ of knowledge gets messed up with rumour, inaccurate media depictions, preconceptions and genuine misunderstandings.

Take the popular Netflix reboot, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina . It’s one of my go-to ‘switch-off’ shows and I love it to teeny tiny spooky bits…but the incorrect pronunciation of Samhain makes me wince, and it’s slightly irritating that, once again, IRL witches get lumped in with fictional satanists. All power to those who choose satanism as their particular spiritual path, but the two are not the same. I am a witch, and I am terrified of the dark and have 0% desire to mark my name on any entity’s sign-in sheet.

Another major talking point of last year was the (now cancelled) witch starter kit by Pinrose via Sephora –  $42 for tarot cards, perfumes, some sage and a tumbled quartz crystal. The good points: Sephora is a familiar place for less experienced practitioners who might be intimidated by witchcraft stores; and they were tuning into a previously untapped audience who might develop a passion for the craft and honestly give back to it. And the bad points? Sephora was accused of appropriating a craft that relies heavily on nature and handmade items for mass production and profit. The move had the potential to undermine the spiritual aspects of witchcraft, and teach a bad example of what it takes to be a witch (hint: it ain’t just money and a holographic starter kit).

I was lucky when I first ventured on the path. My tarot-reading, esoterica-exploring aunt kindly gave me books. My boyfriend bought me a couple of tarot decks, and I was already following some alternative youtubers who had plenty of thorough advice. I had been following creators like Harmony Nice and Magickians, and knew I wanted to commit after a year or so. I had also been collecting crystals since childhood!

Committing to the craft has taken a lot of time, learning, and patience. How do you rise above the hype and the misinformation and actually work becoming a witch into your life, so it becomes an organic and fulfilling part of you?

To commit long term, here’s what I have chosen to do, and what I’d advise other young witches just starting out. Here are my own 8 magical growth tips, and I hope they resonate with you.

8 ways to become a witch following your own path

Have an open mind.

Everyone walks the path in their own way – everything I’ve mentioned above has its place, it just isn’t the whole picture. Everyone is free to do their own thing when it comes to magical living, and mould the esoteric into their personal world. Satanic feminists, Christian witches… there’s room for everyone, and all paths hold value and meaning to those who walk them.

Heed advice from others.

Listen to experienced witches, other young witches, and those you see online. Listen carefully, and see what chimes with you.

Embrace regularity.

In so many ways, witches can be pretty well organised – we have a whole calendar to plan the year by! Even if you can only participate in the odd celebration or event like Samhain or Beltane, there are in-built reminders in nature all around you.

Take note of the lunar cycle, the seasons, the changing of the weather and the behaviour of animals. Let it all guide you.

Read, read, and read some more.

I began with Laurie Cabot, Scott Cunningham, Sarah Bartlett and others. I heeded what I agreed with, and left what I didn’t.

I have consolidated witchcraft as a practice, rather than a structured religion, in my life by also reading a lot of popular science and papers on quantum physics, the quantum mind, and so much more that felt fascinating and like a revelation to me. Make the craft your own – if you’re a kitchen witch, read recipe books. If you’re a divinator, read books on the tarot and psychology. I love science and space, so I smoosh that together with nature-based religion in my craft.

On a related note, find bookstores that offer inspiration.

In London I’m fortunate to be a stone’s throw from Treadwell’s and Watkins Books, two of London’s most fascinating haunts (and on Mookychick’s list of gothic and occult things to do in London). Both offer classes, talks and tarot readings along with their array of books on religion, self-help, mysticism, science, and so much more.

Take a course, online or in person.

Hone a skill like divination, motivational speaking and spiritual coaching, herbology and botany, ancient languages – you name it! Again, this is your chance to make your craft truly useful and unique to you. Even Hotcourses does courses in witchcraft and related topics.

A course doesn’t make you more ‘real’ as a witch. But the regularity and structured progression can really help you soak up knowledge and put it into practice in a structured way

If you’re the sociable type or simply don’t want to practice alone, you could seek out a coven or group of other witches and pagans. There are plenty on Meetup and the like.

When it comes to solitary witchcraft vs covens, there is no wrong answer. You can be a solitary witch or prefer group work. You can also explore both.

Maintain your determination and appreciation for spellwork.

Spellwork is really, for me at least, a way of empowering myself and giving a feeling of control in a world that often feels like chaos around me. All you really need is focus, and the ability to ground yourself. To be in the moment, and enjoy what you do. It’s your will that matters, not the fancy candles and crystals at the end of the day.

So, what do I hope for next in the witching world? More positive depictions of witches in media, more pagan pride and events, and lots of lovely new books to inspire the new generation to their path!

There’s so much potential for young witches to get involved and find their passions within the community. Whether you’re generally a skeptic or you’re all about the woo-woo, trust me, there’s an aspect of witchcraft that may be useful to and rewarding for you.

The witchy trend is great for exposure, but take all the surface-level stuff with a pinch of salt…and maybe a sprig of sage.

Main illustration: Lauren (YayaTales.com)