Witchcraft is a practice or a skill. It is not, in and of itself, a religion. It is not a faith (although some people may practice witchcraft in a religious sense). Anyone, of any religion, can be a witch. A witch does not have to be a Wiccan or even a Pagan. Though many Wiccans and Pagans are part of the witchcraft community, there are also many Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, and more.
A person’s personal craft is any collection of practices that they utilize to change their fate, see the future, get revenge, speak to the dead, heal the sick, and/or any number of other things that can be done through witchcraft. Witchcraft can (but doesn’t necessarily need to) include divination, herbalism/wortcunning, blessing, banishing, kitchen witchery, spirit work, cursing, gardening, spell work, ritual, worship, astral travel, trance, and much more.
How Do You Become a Witch?
There is only one way to become a witch. Luckily, it’s very simple.
- Step One: Take an interest in witchcraft.
- Step Two: Start practicing witchcraft.
- Step Three: Call yourself a witch.
Please Note: Steps two and three are interchangeable.
The great thing about witchcraft is that there are no rules. There is no big, white-robed Council to tell you what you can and cannot do. There are no punishments (beyond the legal consequences of outrageous things like human sacrifice; which is obviously not a good idea). Since witchcraft is not a religion there are no religious codes to tell you right from wrong. You don’t have to work with gods (though, you can if you want to).
Witchcraft is a practice. Therefore, the only laws and codes you have to abide by are the laws set down by your government, your individual religion (if any), and your personal code of ethics and morals.
Lots of things bring people to witchcraft. Sometimes it’s a book, a movie, or a television show. Sometimes it’s a childhood dream that they decide to go after. Sometimes it’s music. Sometimes it’s family members or a friend. I, myself, was introduced to witchcraft by my family. My grandparents on my mother’s side of the family (and some of their children) practiced witchcraft. My father, who had been a friend of the family since grade school, was also introduced to the occult through my grandparents.
In the witchcraft community, I have encountered people who were drawn to witchcraft through popular movies and books. I’ve met people who came to witchcraft because they dated a witch. I’ve even come into contact with a few people who accidentally discovered witchcraft while doing research for their own fiction novels.
In the end, it doesn’t matter how or when you started practicing witchcraft. What matters is that you did.
A Note About Communities
During your journey through the wonderful world of witchcraft, you will probably stumble into a community (if you haven’t already). Communities can be a great way to meet other people of a similar mindset, give and receive support, and bounce ideas around to help your craft keep moving and growing. And there are lots of ways to find community. There are websites specific to witchcraft and the communities that embrace it. There are corners of large blog sites where witches have made their online homes. There are forums, online groups, in-person groups, and countless other ways to meet other witches who may be experienced practitioners or just starting out. If you’re feeling a little insecure, a little uncertain, or a little alone, a peek into a witch-filled community is a good way to connect and perk up—but be careful.
With the sweet comes the sour. While witchcraft communities may be full of wonderful, experienced witches who can help and support you in your path, you may also happen upon the occasional Big Bad Wolf. Every community has its predators, and witchcraft communities are certainly no exception to that rule. I’ve been a member of witchy communities (both in person and online) for almost as long as I’ve been practicing; and I’ve come into contact with more predators and prey than anyone would ever imagine were lurking in the aisles between the spellbooks and Tarot cards. The types of predatory behavior can range from moderately manipulative to sexually sinister; so always be aware of the possible dangers involved in putting yourself out there.
How to Stay Safe In a Community
If you’re new to witchcraft or new to the idea of the community, I’m sure you’re feeling a little nervous now—but I don’t want you to feel that way! In fact, I wanted to put this note early in this post so that you, the reader, would be armed from day one with the some common sense ways to stay safe in a community setting. Here are just a few starting points:
- Be skeptical. Skepticism is healthy in a setting that is based on the extraordinary. You don’t have to believe everything a person tells you. There’s nothing wrong with double-checking or doing your own research if you feel that something is just not right.
- Beware of manipulative witches. Be careful around people who will use things like alleged past lives, divination, or grand claims to get what they want from you, or to get you to stick around.
- Again, watch out for mentions of fate or destiny. As nice as it is to think that everything is planned for us, there are people who will use this against you.
- Always think for yourself. In communities, we tend to desire a certain level of peace and harmony. All too often, this results in the community asking the individual to change their way of thinking to a non-confrontational, passive thought pattern. While that may not sound so bad, this leads to a think called group think or hive mind. Not only does this result in a lack of individual creativity, it also opens the door for Bigger and Badder Wolves (like shared delusions and cult mind).
- Don’t let anyone force you into anything. It doesn’t matter how much more experienced they are. Again, always think for yourself. Make your own choices. Don’t let anyone pressure you into anything you don’t want.
There are bullies, monsters, and predators in the world, but arming yourself with your individual thought and a strong resolve will help to protect you against them.