I find having a spiritual practice of some kind is extremely important to keeping me grounded and compassionate. Today I want to share why I'm falling in love with modern witchcraft. It's helped me to see the world from a different angle, and I'm tremendously grateful for that.
I've dabbled in a lot of spiritual practices and communities in my life. Raised by free thinkers, religion and spirituality was something that I came to on my own. I'm so grateful to my parents who taught me to read and study everything I could get my hands on and make up my own mind.
For a time in my mid-20s, I actually worked as a youth leader at a liberal Christian church in Oklahoma. It was a hugely rewarding experience. I connected with the Baha'i community in Nashville, and again met some of the most gracious and compassionate people I've ever known. But mostly I've been figuring things out on my own.
What is modern witchcraft?
If you're wondering "What the heck even is modern witchcraft?" don't panic. I didn't even realize this was a thing until I heard about it on NPR. Obviously. I remember my husband overhearing the podcast and saying "You want to become a witch now, don't you?" I was all, "Sorta, yeah." At that moment it still seemed a little bit crazy and weird.
That was in October of 2018. It wasn't until August of the following year that I really started to dig in. The idea had continued to float to the surface of my brain, but I didn't allow myself to take it seriously until then.
Witchcraft is not about flying on a broom and communing with the devil. For me, witchcraft is about connecting with nature, tuning into my own intuition, and most importantly, focusing my energy on my explicit intentions. If you had to distill it down to it's simplest definition, I think it would simply be about using your energy to manifest an intention. That's really all there is to it. Except that there's so much more.
There are so many things you can learn about in the world of modern witchcraft. Tarot, crystals, astrology, mythology. You could study the rest of your life. Naturally, this is another thing I love about it. There's always more to learn.
Do I need to buy a bunch of stuff to be a witch?
Maybe you've seen some #witchesofinstagram and thought, "that looks expensive," let me tell you that you need absolutely nothing to practice witchcraft other than your own mind.The tools are just physical symbols to help you bring your intention out of your head and into the real world. You can spend a ton of money on pretty rocks and exotic herbs, or you can use what you already have. Quite often, I just go to my kitchen and see what's in the pantry, then create my spell from there.
One of the things I love about modern witchcraft is that it is so individual. One witch's practice doesn't have to look anything like another's. You follow your intuition and do what's most meaningful for you. It's given me permission to focus on myself and what I want and allowed me to cleanse myself of the guilt that I carried around for so long.
I also like to use candles quite a bit in my practice. There's is nothing supernatural about magick, but I'm here to tell you that there is immense power in writing down all your fears and worries, setting it on fire, and flushing the ashes down the toilet. It makes my soul feel lighter, and that changes everything.
Where do I start with witchcraft?
As with most things, I think any new witch's best friend is Pinterest. Of course, you have to wade through some nonsense to find what's right for you, but whatever you're drawn to will be there.
Through Pinterest, I discovered Mumbles & Things. I joined the mailing list and signed up for the free e-course Witchcraft 101. If you can get over the multiple typos, I found this to be a simple, systematic, easy to understand introduction. If you're like me, and you like things to be presented in an orderly fashion, I'd recommend this e-course.
I was also lurking in the spiritual section of the bookstore one day and found the book Waking the Witch by Pam Grossman. I haven't had the chance to read her book yet, but it's on my list. What I discovered in the bookstore that day was that she also has a fantastic podcast called The Witch Wave. I absolutely recommend listening to this if you're at all interested in anything even witchcraft adjacent. It's the perfect balance of scholarly and entertaining. She gets incredible guests. I also went back to check that original NPR story, and of course, Pam Grossman was one of the guests. Synchronicity.
There are lots of entry points into magick and witchcraft. Start reading and find what your drawn to. For me, it was working with the phases of the moon that first drew my attention. I now have a Moon Phase app on my phone, and I keep a lunar journal, modified from this one, again from Mumbles and Things.
Naturally, I'm also drawn to kitchen witchcraft, as that's where I spend most of my time. I have loved learning about the magical properties of the ingredients I use in my kitchen all the time. I can infuse my food with a positive intentention and share that with my friends and family. Can't hurt. Might help. Makes me happy. Why not?
You can also make your own bath and beauty products and infuse them with magick. Homemade Brown Sugar Body Scrub is perfect for a little new moon cleansing magick in the bath or shower.
You can use magick and witchcraft to help you achieve whatever you want. All you need to do is set an intention, focus your energy on that intention, and take action to manifest it. Want a car or a big fat mansion? There's a spell for that. What I want is peace in my soul and to own my own business. Witchcraft is unquestionably helping me to achieve that.
What I didn't realize is that I was already on the path to becoming a witch before I even knew you could actually be one without a letter from Hogwarts. I was already doing mindfulness meditation, yoga, and aromatherapy. I have been a long-time lover of Joseph Campbell and mythology. I've always been fascinated by the stories we've told ourselves to try to figure out our purpose in this world. It's hardly a wonder that witchcraft was awaiting me on my path.
If you've been wondering if this whole witchcraft thing might be for you, I definitely encourage you to dig in and do your research. I'm no expert. I've only been doing this a few months. But I do know it's made a difference in my life. I'm more confident and more determined then I've been for most of my adult life.
If you're hesitating to learn more about witchcraft because you think it's a bit too woo woo or you're worried what other people will think, just give it a try. Pick up a book from the library, or dive into a witchcraft website. It may feel silly or strange at first, but I think you'll know pretty quickly if it's right for you. And if it's not, that's cool, too. Anything that makes us more connect to each other can only be a good thing. Find what makes you feel most connected and embrace it. For me right now, it's witchcraft, without a doubt. I can't wait to see where it takes me next.