Curious about the Craft? The article below discusses some of the more common questions about witchcraft. If you’ve wondered about these things, you’re not alone. All of the questions below come up constantly in my inbox, on discussion threads and even over coffee with my friends.
Can anyone be a witch?
Yes! There is a little magic in all of us. Like anything else, the more you develop your practice, the better you get.
Never let anyone tell you that you need to be of a certain heritage, or born into a tradition of witchcraft in order to learn.
Certainly, some people are gifted with special talents (like sharp intuition, or a keen ability to focus).
But you have your own special talents. The trick is to discover what they are and how they apply.
Are you a great cook? Try the art of kitchen magic.
Love gardening? You’re a green witch in the making.
From midwifery to a knack for raising parakeets, there’s a way to translate almost any ability into a magical practice.
Do spells really work?
Ah! This is a tricky one.
It kind of depends on how you expect them to work.
If it sounds absurd when you say it out loud, it probably is.
But I think most people with experience in the magical arts will tell you that spell craft does change your life and your outlook in the long run.
The ways in which this happen are often subtle, barely perceptible, and easy to talk yourself out of.
They also rarely go as planned. The Universe has a pretty twisted sense of humor that way.
I don’t know if it’s really helpful for me to say “I did X, and the result was definitely Y, and I’m sure it happened because I did X.” For skeptics, this will always sound like self-delusion, and for me, it kind of prostitutes a very profound, personal experience.
Magic is very personal. And the way it effects you is, too.
Let me put it this way: millions of people around the world practice some form of witchcraft—whether they call it that or not. People have been doing this for tens of thousands of years.
I think it is extremely dismissive to say that all these people are simply ignorant and backwards and there’s no merit to a magical practice at all. Certainly, I know lots of intelligent, rational people who consider themselves magical practitioners.
But ultimately, I think it’s best for you to judge this for yourself and your own life.
Is witchcraft evil?
No. Of course not. Not inherently, anyway.
In fact, you probably practice some form of witchcraft without even knowing it.
Ever carried a rabbit’s foot for good luck? Opened a fortune cookie? Worn the same socks to win a baseball game?
Did your grandmother ever come at you with some funky-smelling home remedy to cure a cold?
Have you ever seen an herbalist? Practiced meditation? Carried a good luck charm? Blessed a meal? Talked out loud to a dead relative?
(Okay, maybe that last one is just me).
Magic is everywhere if you know to look for it. It’s no more evil than than plucking petals from a flower and chanting “He loves me, he loves me not.”
There are lots of really messed up historical reasons that mainstream society and religion continues to demonize witchcraft. For more on this phenomenon, check out How Witchcraft Became Associated with Evil.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t people with bad intentions who also happen to practice witchcraft. Just like there are people with bad intentions who practice Catholicism or Buddhism.
But most Catholics and Buddhists are good people who practice with good intentions and want what’s best for the world around them.
The same is true for witchcraft. It is what you make it.
If you practice with malice in your heart, you’re almost certainly setting up yourself for disaster.
But I would no more fear a bad witch than a bad Catholic, and neither should you. Speaking of which:
Help! A witch says she cursed me. What should I do?
First of all, on behalf of the pagan community, I’m sorry you ran into one of these idiots.
Most of us find this behavior profoundly embarrassing.
Rest assured, 99% of time, these people are either frauds or lunatics or both.
My advice? Ignore it. Recognize it for the stupidity it is and move on. Do not engage.
If the person in question continues to pursue or harass you, treat it as you would any other form of harassment. Document anything you can document, save any harassing emails or phone calls, and if need be, call the police.
Whatever you do, don’t rant about curses or you’ll make yourself look crazy, too. Just stick to the facts.
Law enforcement will likely recognize this nutter for what he or she is.
If all else fails, contact a lawyer.
Stalkers are much more dangerous in the physical realm than the spiritual. Concern yourself with that and ignore the rest.
Can you be a Christian and a witch?
Who are you asking?
If you’re asking me, yes. I welcome you to the Craft. I respect your Christian faith, and I absolutely believe you can honor it and still practice magic.
Lots of people do. Most of my tarot clients are Christian. At least one of my coven members is a practicing Catholic. There’s a whole Christian witch movement. I can’t really speak to that branch of witchcraft, because I’m not part of it, but there are almost certainly Christian witches out there who will be happy to help you along that path.
However, I can’t promise you other people on both sides of the coin won’t tell you differently.
Unless you’re a Unitarian Universalist, Christian clergy will likely discourage the practice of witchcraft.
On the flip side, there are, unfortunately, practicing witches who have an attitude problem about Christians.
Wait, why do they have a problem?
For what it’s worth, many of them had terrible experiences in the Christian church. In some cases, they were downright traumatized, and it’s difficult for them for recognize that not all Christians are the same.
In some cases, it’s the opposite. Some pagans have little actual contact with Christians and only rely on what they’re heard or read about them.
I know it’s a lot to ask, but try to be patient with them.
We need more Christians in our community to show them that there’s more to Christianity than oppression and abuse of power.
Trust me: it’s the very best way to change their minds.
Also, keep in mind, we’re not all like that.
Personally, my experiences with Christians have been largely positive, and I try to recognize that as often as possible in my own circle.
Bottom line: your faith is your business. And I sincerely hope that foolishness does not deter you from pursuing your chosen path. There are lots of us on it who want to help you along the way regardless of your spiritual background.
I’m interested in beginning a magical practice. Where should I start?
Wherever you want.
Pick a subject that interests you. Maybe you feel drawn to tarot cards, or you want to learn more about how to set up an altar.
Start there. Let your practice evolve as you evolve.
Or, go for the broad overview, and pick up a 101 book on witchcraft. Here are some of the more common titles (affiliate links below):
The Green Witch by Arin Murphy Hiscock
The Modern Guide to Witchcraft by Skye Alexander
Is it okay to include my children in my practice?
That is a deeply personal decision. No one can answer it but you.
I’ve seen people go their entire adult lives as practitioners and never once include a child in ritual.
I’ve seen people with children who never miss a full moon.
Certainly, if you decide to, there are lots of kid-friendly ways to introduce your child to a magical practice.
Of course, you should never include other people’s kids in your practice without permission, no matter how benign you think it is. Holding a bonfire in the backyard to celebrate the Summer Solstice and including your kids’ friends probably seems pretty harmless. But to someone with deeply religious convictions of another faith, it might be downright blasphemous.
Always respect other people’s decisions about what’s right for their families when it comes to religion. Don’t get defensive and never take it personally.