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What to do Before You Start Practicing Magick
Where to Start
Witchcraft comes in just about as many systems as the number of people who practice it. Everyone has their own path, but there are some fundamental tools that will help you regardless of what spiritual path you choose. The most frequently asked question I get is how to start practicing, especially for those who are young or unable to come out of the broom closet yet, but still want to learn the skills they'l need to foster a strong spirituality.
Meditate, meditate, and then meditate some more
I have to admit, this is the piece of advice that irritated me the most when I was first researching magick and witchcraft. From brujas and sorcerors to new age gurus, it seemed like everyone was saying the same thing: learn to meditate before you start spellwork!
After quite some time, I've found that this advice was ubiquitous for good reason: it works. Spellwork is 10% preparation and 90% manifestation. You've probably heard that term used before, but I'll simplify it for you. Manifestation is simply the ability to alter your physical reality by visualizing the change you want to experience. From overcoming self-defeating behavior to improving your financial situation, you can move mountains with the power of positive visualization. Manifestation really is at the core of all magickal systems, and the best way to become a powerful manifester is to -- you guessed it -- meditate.
Improve your divination skills
Everyone has a form of divination that appeals to them, although some are restricted to certain practices. As soon as my third eye began to open, I received dreams of runes long before I even knew what Asatru (the path I now call my own) even meant. There are limitless forms of divination, but the most popular utilize some form of physical medium that allows you to interpret the intuitive information you receive during the divination process.
Common Forms of Divination
Yes, I said earthing. Earthing is a term used to refer to the practice of being in direct contact with the earth. Oneness with nature should be familiar to anyone considering a pagan path, but earthing can be practiced by anyone, from atheists and Christians do devout witches. The principle behind earthing is that we as humans are living outside our intended sphere, in oneness and constant contact with nature. While we once ran barefoot through the fields, taking in the refreshing, grounding energy of the earth through our skin and the warmth of the sun through our pores, we now sit inside all day, locked in artificially-lit cubicles.
By getting outside at least once a day, kicking off your shoes, and feeling the cool earth between your toes, you will immediately start to feel more connected to the natural world as it resides within you. This simple process will reinvigorate your mind and body, cutting away all the mental clutter and negative vibrations that make it so difficult to excel in sipritual pursuits like meditation and divination.
Develop a relationship with your deities
Disclaimer: you don't have to worship or even believe in a god or goddess to practice witchcraft. I know many perfectly fulfilled and effective witches who are completely atheistic or agnostic. However, if you are so inclined, developing a relationship with your deity or deities is a good idea well in advance of putting theory to practice. It's important to remember that most witches consider witchcraft itself to be separate from religion, but many of us do have faiths that encourage and work closely with the practice of witchcraft. For many, witchcraft is a form of faith expression, a beautiful way to connect with the ones you worship and in doing so grow closer to them, yourself, and the natural world.
Read, learn, ask
Education is by far one of the most important aspects of preparing to perform magick. Before you ever cast a spell, you will need to know when (sun and moon correspondences, deity days, etc.), why (the significance behind the herbs, stones, and other items used) and how (the flow and form of the spell). There is no right or wrong answer to any of these questions, but the simplest way to learn to craft your own spells and practice your own path is to learn from others. Don't take anyone's instruction as the end all, be all of witchcraft, but you can certainly learn from what others have done. Just remember not to copy another's spell verbatim, but rather to take inspiration from their general structure and add your own personal element. Customization is the key to an effective spell and powerful magick, but you can't play improvisational jazz without first knowing how to play the standards.