Myths and Misconceptions about Witchcraft
Let’s talk about some myths and misunderstanding surrounding witchcraft. But first let’s get on the same page about some basic terms and ideas.
What is a witch?
It’s quite simple in my opinion. A witch is someone who is aware of their own power and puts that power into action. In other words, a witch is someone who practices witchcraft.
What is witchcraft?
Witchcraft is a science, an art, and a spiritual practice. It’s the use of magick to create change in your environment, or the practice of exerting your will to get what you want out of life.
What is magick?
A quote from Aleister Crowley says, “Magick is the art of causing changes in consciousness in conformity with the will.”
So, that’s all pretty general.
But I think it’s important to get down to the essence of what these words mean. Because there are countless ways to express your witchy-ness but, when we get down to the very basics that’s what we’re doing. We are becoming aware of our power to create, and we are using that power to plan and design the life we want to lead.
You might go a step further and say that witches are in tune with our environment and we pay attention to the changes of season and the phases of the moon.
We use the natural world in our practice. The plants, animals and minerals we use offer a tangible connection to our intention and in some ways enhance the magick we all have within. But some of that may not apply to all witches.
You know what applies to all witches?
That we are aware of our power and we put that power into action to make changes in our environment.
Here are some other things I want to clear up.
You don’t need to be trained by another witch
It certainly helps to have some guidance and do your research. This gives you confidence, but it doesn’t give you power. The power is already inside you and to be a witch and to practice witchcraft, you only need to be aware of this power and learn how to use it.
You don’t need to be initiated either
Unless you want to.
However, should you choose to join a Wiccan coven, or one that works in a formal, ceremonial way, then yes, you will expect to pass through degrees of initiation to mark your knowledge and competency in that tradition.
For the rest of us solitary, informal witches, we can choose to mark our progress with a simple ritual, or not at all.
It’s a free choice.
All witches are not female
Whether you are male, nonbinary, trans, gender-nonconforming, or anything else, you can be a witch.
It's true that there is a beautiful history of women and witchcraft, in part because women have been historically silenced and have used witchcraft to tap into their power and subvert the system. Think of the term "kitchen witch," which means a witch who flourishes in the kitchen: When women were told their place was the kitchen, some simply focused their magickal energy there.
Oppression is experienced by other minority groups throughout history as well and there are similar connections between oppression and the practice of witchcraft.
Ultimately, though, magick is genderless.
Your ancestors do not have to have been witches for you to be one
Like many other communities, the occult world has problematic members who insist that to be a witch, you have to come from a magickal bloodline.
Remember how messed up beliefs about "Purebloods" are in the Harry Potter series? It's not okay to shame or exclude based on lineage in our world, either.
Some people do have witches in their families, and when you're looking for spirits to work with, magickal ancestors are a powerful choice — but so are any ancestors.
Of course a person can be a member of a family tradition, but it’s not a perquisite for being a witch, so there’s no ‘must’ about it. If you come from a non-magickal family, aren't close with your family, or have severed ties with them out of necessity, that has nothing to do with whether or not you can be a witch.
In fact witchcraft can be a wonderful tool to help you heal these wounds. Witchcraft is a path you are drawn to and choose for yourself.
You can be a witch. You can start right from where you are.
There is no such thing as “black" or “white” witches or magick
Some people use these terms, but they probably shouldn't. For one thing, it’s impossible to fully understand the consequences of your spells.
A spell for employment prevents someone else from being hired.
A love spell may create love between people who aren’t good for each other ending in unhappiness.
A weight loss spell may result in an eating disorder.
Is this white magick or black magick?
These terms also have racist undertones: rituals that are mistakenly believed to be "bad" and therefore labeled "black magick" often come from traditions such as Hoodoo, which is traditional African folk magick.
Generally speaking, magick itself isn't simply "good" or "evil": It's a tool. Evil and good are qualifiers for a force that is polar. This means magick has both properties in it equally at the same time.
Casting spells is simply working with and channeling energy toward a desired outcome. It’s neutral. What is important is that due consideration is given to the possible results.
We can all act out of selfishness, jealousy, and pettiness from time to time, and honestly, that's OK. We have good sides that are loving, too.
Often, the best way to get in touch with your loving side (and then inject it into your magick) is to recognize that you're human. Negative thoughts are normal. Instead of acting on them, perform a cleansing ritual, dance around or go to the gym, or take a long, hot bath to soothe yourself.
All such acts can be magickal rituals.So look at witchcraft as you would do anything else in your life. Is it good for you and others, or not?
You don’t have to join a coven to be a witch
A coven is a group of witches that meets regularly to perform magick and rituals. A coven can be traditional, with 13 members and a highly organized initiation process, or it can be more laid-back and designed by you and your witchy friends.
As witchcraft has become mainstream, covens have become more casual. Some people enjoy the responsibility and framework of performing magick with a structured group, while other people perform better as solo artists.
By all means, form a coven if it's appealing to you. But if magick is something highly personal that you do alone, that works, too.
Your witchcraft doesn’t have to be Instagram-ready
Social media is a wonderful source of camaraderie and inspiration.It can also be disheartening to see the pristine, perfect-looking altars, clothing, and crystals on social media
Remember that your practice doesn't have to be camera-ready to be valid.
In fact, many of the most powerful witches prefer to keep their practices secret and their altars private.
It's OK to look at photos for inspiration, but your practice only needs to reflect one thing: you.
You don’t have to buy a bunch of stuff
If you look at old magical spell books and grimoires, people were often making do with what they had. It’s only been recently that big name stores have started selling things like crystals and sage. Capitalism is ready to cash in on anything people are willing to pay for.
It’s good to support local occult businesses, artists, and authors, but you don’t need to go out and buy a bunch of incense, wands, or crystals to get started.
Print out a picture of the god you want to work with from the internet, find what herbs you need in the pantry, or better yet outside.
Making your own magic only makes it more powerful.
You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing
If you scroll through Instagram long enough you may think you need three types of crystals, a fancy incense burner, an herb garden, and a black cat before you can say you practice magic.
The amazing thing about magic is that it’s everywhere, and we do it without even knowing it!
Practicing magic means becoming aware of how your thoughts interact with and affect the world, and getting good at magic means recognizing when you are in that “magical” mindset.
You don’t need to have a book of shadows that is written in the blood of fairies and handed down through the centuries. You don’t have to keep a Book of Shadows, or a witch journal or a spell recipe book at all. There’s no rule that says you must.
However, it can be a useful and fun thing to do.And certainly, a journal tracking your spiritual progress is always meaningful. Think of it as a place where you can work out problems, keep track of results, and generally confide in when there’s no-one else you can talk to. But, if you don’t like writing stuff down, then don’t bother. If crystals and pentagrams don’t feel very magical to you, don’t feel pressured to use them!
You will be just as good a witch without these things.
There is sacrifice involved in magic
Magick works because you do. It’s not the easy way out of your problems or even a solution. Magick helps you to find the solution, through practice, and becoming comfortable with new experiences.
This doesn’t mean magick should always feel like work, but just like with anything in life, you are going to have to put in some extra effort from time to time. This means making time for your practice and sometimes that means making less time for something else in your life.
You don’t have to find a new god or goddess to worship
Wicca popularized the idea of a “patron” god or goddess that you work with in magic. Many people have them, and if that’s what you want, go for it! Don’t feel like you have to, though.
Nearly every religion has folk magic practices, from Judaism, to Buddhism, to Islam, so you can totally keep your religion and practice magick at the same time if you want to.
If you prefer to see yourself as a co-creator with the Universe or the Spirit, or some other non-God entity that’s great.
And if god or religion is something you want no part of, that’s fine too!
Some practices like Chaos Magic hold that you can do magic and not work with “literal” gods at all.
You don’t have to be good at everything at once
I’ve been practicing magic for half a decade now, and I am still learning and getting better at things. One of the great things about magic is that you are constantly learning and growing in new ways.
Imposter syndrome is so real in the occult, and there will always be someone better than you at something, but don’t let that discourage you from practicing! No one ever learned to read Tarot cards in one night.
Things take practice, and that’s ok.
You can do it!
It’s easy to look at all the accomplished Occultists and witches out there, not to mention thousands of years of magical writing, and feel overwhelmed.
Magic doesn’t always go the way you want it to, and it’s an appealing thought to just give up sometimes, but stick with it!
Maybe magic isn’t your thing, but if you want to do it you can. I guarantee the first thing your favorite author wrote was bad, and I know for a fact no one is born a great singer.
Magic is the same way. Just go for it and keep trying until you get it!
Continue your journey and share your experiences on the Mumbles and Things Facebook page.
There is a group on Facebook and it was made for you. It is a safe and supportive place for New Age* practitioners to gather and grow their personal power while encouraging one another.
If you are a newbie hoping to learn how to become a witch or are experienced and would like to learn from like-minded folks, this group is for you.
*Metaphysical, Pagan, New Age, Lightworkers, Energy Workers, Shamans, Wiccan, Neo-Pagan, Witches, Angel Workers, Healers, Psychics, Spiritualists, and so many others fall under the umbrella of "New Age."
Join the Community Group.
Now it’s your turn!
What does being a witch and practicing witchcraft mean to you? What do you think Magick actually is? What is the power or force behind witchcraft? What kind of witchcraft do you relate to the most? What is your witch title? What kind of witch do you want to become? What kind of witch do you believe you will become?