How to be A Witch

 If you want to be a witch, the truth is: you are one.
     Just like that.  You don’t have to own a broomstick or adopt a cat or sacrifice a goat.  You don’t even have to wear all black.  It’s as simple as making that conscious choice, to acknowledge your subconscious desire, to have the will to become your true self.
     I’m not saying that being a witch is easy, but becoming one is.  I’ve been a witch all my life although my parents didn’t raise me this way, and I’ve never been initiated into a tradition, and nor do I belong to a coven.  I practice alone because that’s what suits me.
     I have found my own rhythm, my own unique solitary path which does not make me any less of a witch.  My faith both comforts and tests me, and guides me through many situations in life.  At times, my beliefs have literally been the only thing I had left and it couldn’t be taken away from me because it is a part of who I am.
     I’m not saying my way of worshiping Nature or working with energy is superior or in any way better than any other way- it’s just that I do what feels right for me, and I believe everyone has a right to believe in whatever rings true with them.
     You don’t have to believe in any god in order to be spiritual.  Many witches choose a deity or a pantheon to envoke or dedicate rituals to, based on their own personal preferences.  I myself work with the Greek Pantheon (although my practice is not traditional Hellenic) because I really love the legends of the Gods and Goddesses and I feel connection to this collective of deities.  So believe in any god or no god- it doesn’t matter as every aspect of witchcraft is optional- it’s all about what feels comfortable and right for you.
     But there is one thing about true witchcraft that isn’t optional, and once you switch it on, there’s no going back.
     It’s awareness.
     Once you open your mind and really take a look at yourself and the world around you, you wake up a part of yourself that never goes to sleep.  Your awareness will open you up to the subtle energies that intertwine with our reality.  It helps us to see connections and probabilities, allows us to see the bigger picture, the good and the bad in everything; the truth in it’s stark and raw nature.
     As a witch you will try to improve yourself, take care of your environment and help other people.  These are the three fundamental things a good witch does.  Witches are curious by nature and always ask questions to try and figure out the boundaries and dynamics of a situation.  We ask questions and accept that sometimes there isn’t always an answer.  The world is not black and white to witches- we see it in many shades of gray.  Witches quest for the truth, right at the heart even if it’s ugly and brutal.
     So what do you think being a witch means?  Do you think it’s all exciting and mysterious?  Maybe you like the idea of chanting around a cauldron or fancy joining a coven to perform spells?
     What you’ve first got to ask yourself is: WHY?
     Why do you have an inkling to read up on modern day witchcraft?  Asking yourself why you’re interested in witchcraft will give you a good idea where to begin your journey.  Once you understand your expectations, you can gain insight into your personal motives within the craft and can embrace your intentions, which is a key part of Magick- acknowledging and focusing your intention and personal reflection.  Exploring the root of your intention is a vital element of working with Magick, as without having a clear idea of our motivation, our power has no focus.
     So why do you want to be a witch?  What do you think being a witch will do for you?  Knowledge?  Power?  Guidance?  Protection?  These are all things witches have and from experience will tell you these qualities already exist within you, you just have to learn to recognise and tune in to your true self.  It takes time, patience, persistence and a lot of trial and error, but that’s the only way to truly be a witch.  There are no short cuts, no quick fixes and no easy rides.
     Don’t fall under the illusion that you can buy your way in to become a witch.  No matter how many dried herbs, wands, spell books and crystal balls on your shelf, no matter how long you’ve been a member of a coven for, no matter how many times you’ve made the pilgrimage to Glastonbury or Stone Henge- you are not a witch unless you follow your heart and celebrate your individuality.
     Similarly, don’t think that a certificate validates your authenticity as a witch.  By all mean go on a course or workshop to expand your skills, but it’s how you use the knowledge that makes you truly qualified.
     So if you want to be a witch, how does one go about doing so?  The best place to start are your own interests.  Again, this is asking yourself what you want to get out of witchcraft.
     For some people it’s community, being drawn to like-minds.  Festivals, fairs and workshops are all publicly accessible gatherings where you are likely to meet people who are interested in similar things to you.  Some places have mind, body, spirit shops on the high street.
     And then there’s Moots and covens.  Both are social gatherings of Pagans and witches, but there’s important differences between the two.
     A Moot is purely a social gathering to meet people and chat.  A Moot might have organised activities such as picnics, open Sabbat rituals or workshops.
     A coven is a private group of people who come together to perform spells, rites and rituals as well as teaching about the coven’s specific tradition.  It is traditional to have to be asked by a current coven member in order to join; initiation is performed by the High Priest/ess.  If you are seeking a coven to join, the best way is to casually mention this at a moot or social gathering and express your interests.  Covens by nature are very secretive which can make it nigh impossible to determine if any covens exist locally, but rest assured if there are, your request will be channelled along the grapevine.  If there are any existing covens, they will discreetly observe you, and there would proably be much discussion on the matter within the coven before an invitation is extended to you.  It’s a matter of making yourself known and then waiting.
     Other people seek knowledge, for knowledge is power.  But using knowledge and power to control others is not the way of the witch.  Knowledge and power are to support and protect for the greatest good.  A true witch won’t brag about how much they claim to know, but will humbly help those in real need.  Witches always try to do the right thing to get the best possible outcome without automatically expecting something in return.  This does not mean that witches work for free or are obligated to help people- but witches know the value of their worth and know when-and when not-to offer support.  A good witch uses their time, energy and resources wisely.  In the past, witches were valuable within their communities and would use their knowledge and philosophies to help those who came to them.
     Witches also know that there is no energy that can control people, as the power of free will is the greatest power of all.  Witches accept that a lot of things are out of our control- people being one of them.  But what witches do learn is how to get better control over yourself.  Witches practice self-discipline and respect all living things.  Through dedication and reflection we learn about ourselves- what we’re capable of and also what we need support with.  A smart witch knows when to ask for help, when it’s needed.
     Witches understand that although we can’t change a situation at times, we always have the power to change our perspective.  Transforming negative, destructive energy into positive, creative energy is something witches constantly practice.
     A lot of people are attracted to witchcraft to gain powers or abilities.  Sorry, but you’re not going to wake up with the power to read minds or summon lightening or teleport yourself somewhere.  That kind of magic purely exists in fiction, although there is a grain of truth within the fantasy- bear in mind things are blown out of proportion or exaggerated to increase entertainment value.  Psychics are not mind readers, they are people with the ability to read other people through nonconvential cues.  The art of divination is not predict a fixed future set in stone, but rather to allow us to see the possibilities of a situation we hadn’t considered before; witches know that the future is a constantly changing concept.
     Witches don’t seek power because we are already aware that we have power.  We are all born with natural talents and skills which witches recognise and honour in ourselves and in others.  We have the power to choose, to change our minds, the power to help or hinder.  We are all beings of the power of potential.  It might not give us the ability to leap a tall building or change our eye colour or have the housework done with a twitch of our nose, but true power is: change.
     So if witches don’t sacrifice virgins or juggle crystal balls or fly around on broomsticks…what does a witch do?
     Witches look after themselves, look out for others and honour our environment.  At the heart of witchcraft is a deep reverence for Nature.  The force of Nature affects our entire world and everything in it which is why we honour Nature and it’s mighty power.  We can learn through observing our environment about birth, death, rebirth, transformation to gain insights.  Nature gives us lessons and does not discriminate.  Witches observe and work with the balance of Nature.  Get outside- feel the sun and wind on your skin, smell the rain, feel grass on your bare feet; make an effect to connect with nature and it will embrace you.  Good witches have good ecology habits to help protect, sustain and heal their environment.  Ask yourself how you can be more ecologically friendly by changing your habits such as recycling more or driving less; or you may use less gas, water and electric, or boycott buying from big companies to support independent local businesses instead.  Whatever changes you make will be positive and is part of living mindfully.
     Being a witch isn’t something you are exclusivly at a full moon or on a Sabbat or only when you’re wearing your robe- it’s a way of life, a guide to living and a philosophy that will guide you as much as test you.  It is not a path for the faint hearted, nor the ignorant.

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