20 Experiences to Add to Your Witchy Bucket List

I love bucket lists.  Who doesn’t?  They inspire us to dream bigger, travel more, try new things and imagine all the possibilities.

But what about our spiritual lives?  What lies ahead in our path remains a mystery, but if you could make a few roadside stops, where would they be?

Sometimes called “The Witch’s New Year,” Samhain marks the beginning of a new cycle of the Wheel of the Year.  Celebrate by setting new goals for yourself!

designing your witchy bucket lsit

Try this: sit down with a pen and paper (yes, a real pen and some real paper), set a timer for 15 minutes and brainstorm all the things you would do in your pagan life if your resources and time were unlimited.

Here are 20 ideas to get you started.  As I do them (or have done them), I will leave a link to a post about the experience.

Start a mind/body workout regimen.   In a couple of months, everyone begins the predictable process of making resolute, well-intentioned New Year’s resolutions to be more fit and lose weight.  Rather than joining the (sometimes unhealthy) crowds in a crash diet stampede to the local gym, consider taking a more spiritual workout approach.

Participate in a paranormal investigation.  No matter what they say in public, most people feel something a little compelling about ghost chasing.  With the veil between worlds at its thinnest, the time before and after Samhain presents an amazing opportunity to try this out!

Visit Salem, Massachusetts.  Contrary to popular belief, no witches every actually stood trial or were put to death in Salem.  The victims of the Salem Witch Trials were very likely Christians accused of witchcraft falsely by their community.  However, this hasn’t stopped the pagan/Wiccan/modern witchcraft culture from making the trip to Salem a kind of unofficial pilgrimage.  Salem embraces this designation, especially during the month of October, when the many occult shops and practitioners put on events. 

Discover your pagan roots.  Everyone alive today in the world carries the genes of pagan ancestors.  Whether you people hail from Ireland or Botswana, discover and learn about where you came from for deeper meaning in your practice.  (I recently got my DNA tested and found out I descend partly from India and partly from Romania—-both historical and current pagan cultures that interested me greatly from the beginning.)

Create a mini shrine.  Already committed to a pagan path?  Express yourself creatively by designing a mini shrine that suites your specific approach to the Craft.

Get to know your tarot deck.   Refuse to let your tarot deck intimidate you anymore!  Break away from your dependency on the little booklet that came with your deck and become fluent in the language of tarot.

Gather fresh flowers for every Sabbat.  Nothing brings the spirit of the season into your home like a fresh bouquet of local herbs and flowers.  Be creative!  An arrangement of pinecones or winter vegetables makes a lovely centerpiece during the less garden-y months.

Try a weekly nature walk.  If you spend more time in front of a screen than surrounded by green, take some time out for yourself and commune with nature.  The effect of fresh air and the time spent un-cluttering your busy mind refreshes even the most frazzled witch.

Read every book on this list.   Or feel free to compile your own! Amazon lets you create lists if you constantly come across books you mean to read but never get around to.  It helps to refer to one for those trips to the library or when your friends/family start asking what you want for yule.

Celebrate every full moon for one year.  We all skip Esbats occasionally, but committing to a full year of planning them out and following through cultivates self-discipline, lending to power to you magick.

Visit New OrleansFamed for its rich spiritual traditons (like hoodoo and voodoo) and swarming with ghost stories, a stay in New Orleans enriches any pagan’s bucket list!

Try fasting for spiritual insight.  Fasting gifted me one of my more interesting spiritual experiences this past year.

Learn to write your own spells.  Learning to write your own spells puts the power (and responsibility) of your magick in your hands—-exactly where it belongs.  Get creative and express yourself!

Write down your dreams every night for a full moon cycle.   It’ll blow your mind.  You very likely experience reoccurring themes in your dreams that play out completely subconsciously.  Bringing them to the surface with a dream journal provides special insight into both your dreamning and waking life.

Do something special for the Blue MoonIt’s coming up on January 31st, 2018.

Take a belly dance class.  If you’re looking to discover your inner goddess this turn of the Wheel of the Year, a belly dance class makes the ideal introduction.  Explore your femininity, celebrate your mystique and draw out your unique allure.

Go to a lantern festival.   I haven’t yet done this, but it looks amazing!

Experiment with dark moon divination We tend to place a lot of emphasis on the full moon in witchcraft, but the dark moon calls to our sense of mystery and intuition.  Try a new form of divination this Wheel and commit to practicing every month during this sensitive period.

Commit to living closer to the earth.    All of us can do better.  And little changes make a big difference.  No need to go crazy, just pick one or two new habits to work on at a time.  Then notice the little ways Gaia thanks you for your contribution to protecting the natural world we love so much.

Learn to live with less.  If it’s been a while since you’ve de-cluttered, experiencing the spiritual rejuvenation of weeding out unnecessary clutter.  You’ll literally breath easier.  I promise.

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10 New Year’s Resolutions for Pagans

New Year’s resolutions like losing vanity weight or making more money take us further away from our inner lives.

Try a spiritually based resolution instead to create a richer, fuller life experience.

Here’s some inspiration.

Start a meditation  practice.  Want to acquire that razor-sharp concentration of an expert spell practitioner?  Meditation is like boot camp for the mind.  Start you new year right by committing to a daily meditation practice.  Even if it’s only 5 minutes in the morning before you get out of bed, the benefits are astonishing.

Eat seasonally.  Considering the emphasis pagan culture places on staying in tune with the Wheel of the Year, eating seasonally rarely gets the attention it deserves in the context of spiritual life.  Strengthen your connection to the seasons by eating locally and seasonally.  Join a co-op for fresh vegetables.  Find a beekeeper to get honey for cereal and coffee.  If you eat meat, know when deer season is and try incorporating local venison or beef into your diet.  These lifestyle adjustments go a long way to helping you stay close to nature, not to mention the health, environmental and social benefits.

Commit to celebrating all the Sabbats for one year.  Pagans tend towards a lax holiday schedule.   With 8 holidays on The Wheel, many of which fall on weekdays and aren’t widely recognized (the only exception being Samhain), it’s easy to skip a few every year.  I’m the same way.  But one year, I committed to celebrating all the Sabbats, and it proved extremely rewarding!  My advice is to plan in advance.  If you have a job that typically requires you to be at work during”normal” or mainstream holidays like Christmas, you can even get your holidays off.  Co-workers are usually very happy to work for you on the winter solstice if you work Christmas, or give you Ostara off if you work on Easter.   But even if you can’t get off, plan something special for every Sabbat.

Find your tribe.  Many people find satisfaction as lifelong solitary practitioners in the purest sense.  Festivals aren’t their things, group rituals are too noisy and their practice is best done in quiet, personal contemplation.  Awesome.  But most of us prefer at least some human interaction in our spiritual life.  If you’ve been going it solo for a while, maybe this is the year to branch out.  Unitarian Universalist congregations usually offer some pagan services, and Meet Up almost certainly has something “pagan flavored” available in your area.  If not, there’s probably a hunger in your community for a pagan group, so start one yourself and become a leader.

Learn tarot.   Many practitioners look longingly at me when I pick up a deck and pull cards like old friends.  “I wish I had that gift” is something I often hear.  I don’t know where this comes from.  No one was born reading the tarot, and I wasn’t, either!  With diligent practice, a year is enough time to master the deck.  See my recent article on “Getting to Know Your Tarot Deck.”

Become a healer.  Whether it’s perfecting your at-home massage technique, learning Reiki or getting better at using essential oils and herbs to promote wellness, learn a new way to heal and experience the rewards of bringing comfort to those around you.

Contribute.  The pagan community thrives on participants from all walks of life.  Agree to volunteer your time at least once a month to making our shared world richer.  Teach a workshop at your local occult shop, volunteer at festivals, or organize your coven to help out at a soup kitchen.  Whatever you have to offer, offer it.  The world needs you.

Go on a weekly nature walk.
  Most people only walk outside in ideal conditions—warm, dry weather that’s only available in most places during certain times of the year.  But nature offers so much more in the “off” season.  Rainy weather means the perfect opportunity to go mushroom hunting.  A snowy day makes for a quiet, contemplative time for a walking meditation.  Commit to a weekly nature walk for one year and see what it teaches you.

Maintain your altar.  For one year, commit to keeping your altar fresh and rotated.  Decide what means to you.  Does it mean decorating for the Sabbats?  Keeping the offering bowl freshly offered?  Lighting a nightly candle or stick of incense as a daily devotion?  Try maintaining your altar “religiously” (pardon the pun) for one year and notice how much more spiritually mindful you become.

Train a familiar.  I saved this one for last because I believe of all these suggestions, it is by far the most serious commitment.  Involving a living creature is not a light endeavor.  While I certainly wish you luck, all the above New Year’s resolutions may be broken with no harm to anyone.  But taking responsibility for an animal does carry with it the potential for harm should you decide it isn’t for you.  Please be certain you are prepared to care for an animal for the entire duration of its life.

If this is something you’ve considered deeply and you feel you are ready, there are many options.  Some are quite obvious and amusing (a witch with a black cat is always hilarious).  But birds, tarantulas, rats, snakes, fish and turtles all make excellent familiars, depending on your time constraints and spiritual inclinations.

mabon incense 3