Learning Witchcraft For Beginners: What to Look For In A Mentor or Teacher

Learning Witchcraft

When you're learning Witchcraft, it can be overwhelming. Your first job is to try to sort through mountains of information to try and figure out which sources are the good, which are the bad and which are the ugly. Once you do find decent sources, there's tons to read and it may leave you with many questions. When beginning Witchcraft in practice, you may hesitate or feel uneasy because it's new and you're not really sure if you're doing it right.

Many people hope to find a mentor or teacher to help put them on the solid road to success in the Craft. It can be really great to have a guide-- provided you find a good one. Unfortunately, not all those who offer services as 'teachers' are worthy of the title. They're either not what they claim to be, or have failed to learn the lessons themselves.

Here are some qualities to look for in someone offering to teach you the Craft.

Please note: this article is more geared toward the discussion of Witchcraft, not necessarily Wicca. While some may apply to Wicca as well, they're two different things. If you don't know the difference, please see Wicca and Witchcraft- Which is Witch, What’s What?

Learning Witchcraft: Finding a Mentor Helps

Source

Great Places To Find Witch Mentors or Teachers

Open Pagan Festivals and Events
Witchvox.com
Unitarian Universalist CUUPS Groups (Covenant of the Unitarian Universalist Pagans)
Spiritual Shops and Classes
Spiritual Reading/Study Groups
Psychic Fairs
Remember these are just places for networking where Witches may be around; there is no guarantee you'll meet a Witch, let alone one worthy of being a mentor or willing to mentor you. These are just suggested places to start looking if you don't know

Recommended Witchcraft Books

Witchcraft: Theory and Practice
Witchcraft: Theory and Practice

This book is more influenced by Wicca, however it provides a basic understanding of a lot of concepts and gives some great exercises to work on and improve one's abilities.

 

Find a Witch Who Knows Her Stuff

Witchcraft is such a broad term, and there is no one single way to practice it. Some people have learned from modern sources like Llewellyn books and the internet. Some may have been initiated into covens. Others may be practicing folk magic passed down through the family line. You will find conflicting information-- different schools of thought, different methods, and different opinions.

If you're seeking a mentor, make sure to find someone who appears to be well versed in at least some specific areas of the Craft. She should be able to provide you with the names of reputable books or of systems of magic she's studied, and should grasp those things in depth. If she learned traditional or folk magic from a particular culture, there should be records of it somewhere. If she joined a coven, she should be able to provide you with a name and lineage.

When you're beginning Witchcraft, it may be difficult to differentiate between people who know what they're talking about and people who are essentially 'wanna-bes' who watched too much Charmed. A good rule of thumb is to avoid people who offer you silly little rhymes as 'spells' and lists of 'magickal [sic] ingredients', and find someone who actually takes study, understanding, philosophy, mental discipline, ethics, etc. seriously. Look for people teaching the hows and the whys rather than just telling you 'do this and that'.

As you read and learn, you'll be able to determine the extent of your teacher’s knowledge. Never be afraid to research any of his or her claims in depth. A true Witch and a good teacher won't want a student who just takes her word for it. She won't be intimidated by having to explain her position on something or offended by different opinions.

Beware of Witches who seem to be making stuff up as they go along, who contradict themselves or who can't (or won't) explain why they think something. Avoid those who seem to be regurgitating things from books and web sites (especially while hiding the fact that they got the ideas from other authors, presenting those ideas as their own inventions). Avoid teachers or mentors who become agitated or angry if you question them or challenge their information.

Don't OD On Fantasy

I'm all for eccentrics for the most part; but some people are just looking to live out their high fantasies in their lives, and are more looking for LARPing partners than real students.
I'm all for eccentrics for the most part; but some people are just looking to live out their high fantasies in their lives, and are more looking for LARPing partners than real students. | Source

Find a Witch Grounded In Reality

While people with a flair for drama can be fun to be around, you still want a mentor who is grounded in reality. There's no doubt that Witches are people with open minds who may believe a lot of different theories and have spiritual interests. Sometimes what Witches believe may generally be considered 'out there' by most other people. That's a given.

But even as far as Witchcraft is concerned (or maybe particularly where Witchcraft is concerned) a dose of healthy skepticism is an asset. Witchcraft does not exclude common sense, or rational explanations. Jumping at shadows is not being open-minded, it's being gullible.

Beware of Witches who promise to teach you absurd things like how to fly, how to turn into a mermaid or how to raise the dead. If your potential mentor is making too many fantastic claims about things he's done or can do, consider it a red flag. Avoid people who are still under the delusion that Witchcraft is an Pagan ancient religion, who rant about "the burning times" or claim an unbroken line of Witchcraft through the ages.

What Do You Say

Have you ever had a mentor or teacher in Witchcraft?

See results without voting

Find a Witch Who Has His 'Stuff' Together

Witchcraft is known as the 'Craft of the Wise' for a reason. Unfortunately, however, some of its lessons are lost on people. Even people who have read every book, who has been studying and practicing for years, may never really 'get it'.

Before someone can offer to teach or mentor, she should have her own life together. That doesn't mean she has to have a perfect life; everyone has problems and everyone makes mistakes. But consider within reason whether she is a 'together' kind of person that has something worthwhile to offer. Has she herself achieved wisdom and learned to apply it to live enough so that she they can pass it down? If her life's a mess and she's like an emotional train wreck, chances are it may not be so.

A Witch that makes a good mentor should also have her own ego in check. Look for someone who can admit mistakes and faults, who can laugh at herself, and who doesn't make every lesson into a show about how wonderfully Witchy she is.

Beware of Witches who look like they need more help than they can give. If she doesn't have any happy relationships, if she has no self-control, if she finds life miserable, if she's deep in debt and legal problems because she's always making mistakes, if she blames the world for her problems, etc. -- how can you trust anything she tries to teach you about the Craft when clearly she can't even use it to straighten out her own life? Also, always remember-- you're a student, not a fan. If your teacher sounds like a crazy cult leader who expects to be worshiped, get out of there.

Common Symbol of Witchcraft

There are those who would look at a symbol or practice and call it 'evil'; most Witches don't actually see the world in such black and white terms. Ethics go beyond arbitrary rules and call for serious and intellectually honest considerations.
There are those who would look at a symbol or practice and call it 'evil'; most Witches don't actually see the world in such black and white terms. Ethics go beyond arbitrary rules and call for serious and intellectually honest considerations. | Source

Find a Witch Who Behaves Ethically

Ethics and Witchcraft should always go hand and hand. Obviously, ethics and morals are frequently something that is debatable. I'm not going to lay down any arbitrary list of laws that I think all Witches should adhere to. There are always going to be differences. For example, if you're a Christian Witch, you may not agree with all the morals and ethics of a Wiccan Witch. That's okay-- you have different sources for your ethics. It doesn't mean one must be right and one must be wrong.

However, when you are ready to crawl up under someone's wing to learn from him, that person should be someone who you can trust and respect. When he asks you to do things, it should be something you feel is a sound request, and something you feel ethically comfortable with doing. If you're not comfortable with something, your teacher should at least be respectful of your boundaries and feelings even if he disagrees with your ethics and morals.

Beware of Witches who would try to milk you for all you worth. While I'm personally not against charging for goods and services (even a Witch has to make a living), it should be for reasonably-priced supplies, or an honest service (you get what you pay for). Use caution if everything keeps leading to you 'needing' to make another purchase, the price gets higher and higher, and if the person tries to scare you with threats that something bad will happen if you don't pay. Beware of Witches who would encourage you to sneak around or lie to your parents if you're a minor. RUN AWAY from Witches who would try to pressure you into doing things you're uncomfortable with, such as anything sexual or criminal behavior.

Recommended Witchcraft Books

The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft
The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft

A lot of myths and misinformation revolves around Witchcraft. Hutton, a Pagan, respected Professor and historian, writes the most scholarly guide to date on Witchcraft's real history. This is a 'must read' on my list for any Witch as it separates myth and theories from evidence and facts.

 

Remember that Witches are People Too

Witches are human. When someone says she's a Witch, don't assume anything about the person. Witches can be nice or mean, they can be people with good intentions or bad intentions, and they can be upstanding citizens or criminally depraved, educated or just plain short on intelligence and common sense.

If you are considering someone as a mentor, get to know that person, listen to your gut, and don't be so desperate to learn that you're willing to ignore warning signs and red flags.


Image Credits

All images used here are in the Public Domain and can be found at Wikimedia Commons or Pixabay.

© 2014 Mackenzie Sage Wright

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Comments 17 comments

MysticMoonlight 2 years ago

Really important tips to keep in mind here...very well thought out, Sage. I think that finding a great teacher is hard. Although I'd love to learn from a great teacher and to be part of a group, I'm not sure, at this point, it will ever happen. I've browsed without luck. I live in the Bible belt and even finding like-minded people near me has, so far, turned up nothing. I've come to realize that I just may be on my own and if so, that's fine. I go about my studies and learn...slowly but surely!

Great advice and Hub!


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WiccanSage 2 years ago Author

Hi Mystic; I think sometimes it's just better that way-- no teacher may result in some struggling along, but a bad teacher can do a lot of damage. I'm sure if you're ever truly in need that the universe will help direct you to where you need to be, and who you need to meet. Thanks for commenting!


MysticMoonlight 2 years ago

That's very true, Sage. Great point...thanks for the encouragement :)


witchgirl 2 years ago

Uh I want to learn witchcraft but my parents are antiwiccan what do I do


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WiccanSage 2 years ago Author

Hi hon; I actually wrote an article on that topic:

https://exemplore.com/wicca-witchcraft/Teen-Wiccan...

I hope you will read it as it contains useful information for someone in your situation.

Bright blessings ~


brokenangel 2 years ago

If an earth bound angel where willing to join you would you be receptive?


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WiccanSage 2 years ago Author

Hi broken angel; thanks for your comment.

I'm Wiccan; not a Judeo-Christian Witch. I don't personally believe in angels, earthbound or otherwise. If someone believed themselves an 'earthbound angels' I would encourage them toward a Christian or New Age Witch for guidance, and again-- only if they're above 18.

I'd be hesitant to take on a student who felt the need to consider themselves non-human or above human. If someone can't come to terms with being human, this speaks to me issues they need to work out, either an inflated ego, low self esteem, etc.; Being Wiccan, my beliefs are more based in nature, and I feel it's kind of important to accept our own human nature because lying to ourselves or building delusions gets in the way of growth.

So if someone thought they were part angel, demon, vampire, werewolf, mermaid, etc... whatever... my advice to them wouldn't change.


WolfAngel 14 months ago

I am looking for a mentor, I have no clue if I even have the talent, my element and so one.

Web site tests can't tell you those things nor can it help you learn in the way that you need when you are just starting.

If there is some one who is willing to help me learn I will be truly greatful.

I am 15 years old and ready for some learning


WolfAngel 14 months ago

I do not know if I'm a witch or something else but I do know that I have magic in me


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WiccanSage 14 months ago Author

Hi WolfAngel; as I mentioned, it's unlikely you'll get offers of mentorship from anyone reputable if you're a minor, unless your parents are on board with it. I'd be very careful of people online making random offers. Please re-read the article here, there is some good advice to help you protect yourself, as well as find a mentor who can truly help you rather than mislead you. Best of luck on your search!


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WiccanSage 14 months ago Author

Hi WolfAngel; magic is woven into the universe-- it's in everyone. If you want to be a Witch, it starts with studying the craft. I hope you find my articles on the topic helpful, they can really give you a good basis for beginning. Thanks so much for commenting!


Lunabird 4 months ago

Hi, I'm very new to this but am eager to learn more :) a dear friend of mine is devoted to studying and learning this craft and I was hoping to get him a gift but not sure where I should purchase it from- I was hoping you could tell me where you purchase your colored candles from?


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WiccanSage 3 months ago Author

Hi Lunabird; Amazon.com, lol. Seriously, yes. I shop at Amazon, Walmart, Target, thrift shops, garage sales, etc. When it comes to things like candles, even most specialty shops are just getting the same stuff from the same manufacturers.

I do like to shop at specialty shops sometimes, to support the Pagan merchants-- they deserve it! I usually will buy hard-to-find herbs and objects, or ritual tools, or arts, or gifts for others in them. My favorite ones are listed and linked to at the bottom of this page here: goo.gl/UCYlg7

Hope that helps!


Dark DAH 2 months ago from Utah

when you talk about witches you say she why

i am a witch but im male is that bad


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WiccanSage 2 months ago Author

Hi Dark; I honestly don't think about the pronoun, either one can come up. I am female, and I know mostly female Witches, and I have a largely female audience and most of my students are female. So 'she' comes up more often than 'he' I guess.

It certainly isn't bad to be a male or a Witch at all. The article applies to Witchcraft in general, who is practicing is irrelevant.

Hope that helps!


Mz.lady 5 weeks ago

I'm looking for a mentor I have lots of questions and would love to learn more.


WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 5 weeks ago Author

Hi Mz. Lady; I can't personally take on any more students right now (I have a new year-and-a-day Wicca class getting started in January), but I'm always happy to answer questions or guide people towards resources. You can ask them here or on my website at wicclit.com.

My articles on Hubpages are designed to answer questions, so you might even want to go through them. Here is a directory of my Witchcraft articles: https://exemplore.com/wicca-witchcraft/Witchcraft-...

In the Spring I plan to start teaching online workshops, and that's something that info will be available on my website in March.

Blessings on your path!

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    Mackenzie Sage Wright (WiccanSage)550 Followers
    203 Articles

    Sage has been a Witch for 25 years. As a teacher and writer, she enjoys writing informative articles to teach others the Craft of the Wise.



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