Are you just beginning your journey in the Craft? When starting any new practice, mundane or magical, trial and error are to be expected. Below, I listed a few of the most common witchcraft mistakes.
If you already made one or more of these mistakes, don’t be too hard on yourself. I definitely made some of them myself!
Being overly concerned with the details of a spell.
Newbies tend to look at a pre-written spell and think they need to replicate it exactly in order to achieve desired results.
Modern spells are more like recipes than laboratory experiments. A pinch of this, a pinch of that. But when you post the picture on Instagram, no two look alike.
There’s nothing wrong with detail-oriented spell casting. Focusing on details builds energy and helps to ground your intention in reality.
Many witches like to get very particular with things like candle color, compass direction, incantations and even the day/hour of the week to perform a ritual.
But it’s more important to incorporate elements that carry meaning for you.
Rather than trying to duplicate a spell exactly as it was written, try writing your own spell.
Not supporting spell work with mundane efforts.
Spell casting is about intent. And I really believe it makes a difference.
To be honest, I don’t know how or why it works. I just know it does.
But if you don’t carry your intent over into your mundane, real-world life, it’s unreasonable to expect “the Universe” to do all the work for you.
So if you cast a job spell, but never submit your resume to prospective employers, your intent is . . . well, pretty half-ass.
Something may come along anyway. But you obviously increase your odds drastically by doing your part.
Spending too much money on ritual supplies.
As a seller of handmade ritual supplies myself, I see nothing wrong with indulging in a little witchy retail therapy from time to time.
A freshly made candle or new statuary on the altar makes anyone smile.
But your Craft shouldn’t be about materialism or things.
You don’t really need anything at all. But even if you like working with tools, you likely have everything you need already.
If you tend to overspend, check out:
This is not really a “mistake,” because if it happens, it’s not your fault. But I am including it on this list because it’s important to know, especially when you’re first starting out and don’t necessarily know what to expect.
The vast majority of pagans are good, well-intentioned people.
But just like any other religious or spiritual group (including Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and everyone else) not everyone is above taking advantage of the vulnerable.
Run far and fast from anyone who:
-Makes unwanted sexual advances in the context of spirituality.
-Guarantees results from a spell (especially love, money and fertility spells) in exchange for money.
-Claims to have supernatural “powers” or implausible abilities.
-Offers to “lift a curse” from your life in exchange for money.
-Pressures you to cut ties from family members or make drastic life changes.
-Claims to have “secret knowledge” that they only disclose in exchange for money.
-Exhibits jealousy or hostility when you seek advice or knowledge elsewhere.
There is absolutely no reason to fear these things any more than you would fear them in a church or synagogue.
While we certainly have no shortage of harmless eccentrics, you will find this is generally an extremely loving, supportive community.
Ethical pagans go to great pains to avoid even the appearance of dishonesty because of stereotypes applied to them by mainstream society.
It is, in fact, the lack of awareness and education about modern witchcraft that unfortunately draws predators and scam artists, who sees an opportunity to take advantage of that ignorance.
Imposing one-size-fits-all beliefs on others because you read . . . one book.
If you just finished your first non-fiction book on the subject of witchcraft, bear in mind, you stand at the beginning of a long journey.
There are many, many theories about why and how magic works.
Similarly, there are many theories about what constitutes ethical witchcraft.
Spare yourself some drama. Don’t go lecturing people about the “left-hand path” or insist that the “3-fold-law” constitutes some kind of infallible doctrine.
Be open-minded. Ask questions. Take everything everyone says with a grain of salt—-and try not to take yourself too seriously, either.
Assuming that all witches are Wiccan.
Ouch, this just makes me cringe writing it.
The practice of witchcraft covers an astonishingly wide range of practices, from the voodoo of Louisiana to the Celtic rites of Northern Europe.
Wiccans make up only a tiny percentage of self-identified witches.
For goodness sake, please never use the terms as though they are interchangeable.
And while you’re at it, look over some of the other common misconceptions about witchcraft.
Being excessively anxious about coming out of the broom closet.
First of all, nothing says you need to come out of the broom closet at all.
Many people of all faiths believe that spirituality is a private matter. If that’s you, I respect it.
And if you have a job in politics or public service, or live in a country that punishes practitioners of witchcraft with severe legal penalties, the unfortunate truth is that it may not be worth it to “go public.”
But 99% of the time, the social consequences of “coming out” as a witch are not nearly as serious as you think they are.
I’ve been a very public pagan for many years now. I have conservative friends, I have liberal friends. I have Muslim, Jewish, and deeply Christian friends. We travel a lot, and have friends from nearly every inhabited continent on Earth.
My kid even goes to a Catholic school.
Guess what? No one gives a s&*! that I’m a witch.
Some of them think it’s quirky or interesting. Sometimes, they ask me questions that make me laugh.
But no one has ever cut off ties with me or fired me or kicked me out of a living space.
I’m not saying this never happens..
It’s probably not a good a idea to disclose your practice to a new landlord before signing a lease.
Discrimination in the court system is also a problem. (Family law attorneys love to point out that mom is a witch in custody cases)
And job loss is a real risk for people in politics or monotheistic religious orders.
But that stuff is far less common than you probably think.
Ignoring social responsibilities or neglecting the Earth.
Although witchcraft takes many forms, a respect for the Earth remains a nearly universal value.
Magic is a give-and-take relationship with the world around you.
If all you do is take, you’re bound to run into some trouble.
Balance your requests by making a conscious effort to help others and heal the Earth.
Donate to charity, accept volunteer opportunities and live in awareness of your impact.
Not sure where to begin? Check out Natural Living for Pagans: 10 Ways to Live Closer to the Earth.
Not exploring the culture or tradition of a particular magical tradition.
If you try using a spell from a culture or tradition that you know nothing at all about, it has no context or meaning.
Newbies tend to want to jump straight to the magic without taking the time to learn anything about where it comes from.
Trying to replicate a spell from an ancient Egyptian text when you don’t even understand the incantation is nothing but a bad parlor trick in poor taste.
Do your research. Spend time with people who know the tradition you’re interested in forwards and backwards. If possible, visit a temple or find a coven that specializes in whatever aspect of magic you want to explore.
The joy is in the journey.