II - Getting started as a witch

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Coven:
A group of witches who practise magic and perform rituals together.

Solitary (witch):
A witch who doesn't belong to a coven and practises magic alone.

NOTE: If you wish to be in a coven, this book doesn't give you advice on that. I'm writing with the presumption that my readers are solitary witches.

Researching
You just entered the world of witchcraft, but what now? What do you do?

The answer is research.

You should gather as much knowledge as possible on anything witchcraft-related (this book will get you started!). Stay open-minded and read everything you can find – books, articles, blogs, websites, journals... It might sound a little boring to you, but if you really want to start on the Path it's crucial to have a lot of knowledge. Read about history, psychology, science, myths, folklore, songs, and poetry related to witchcraft. Although it might feel odd, you should also read about other religions – to understand them, and to see all the possibilities available that you can mix and match (or pick one!). Of course, you should spend more time researching the topics that interest you. You can take notes and highlight parts that seem important to you. Write responses to what you read: explore your own beliefs. You can write your notes and thoughts in your Grimoire (see next chapter).

During your research, you'll encounter a lot of different traditions, beliefs, and opinions. None of them are wrong, but none of them are right either. There is no true way to practise witchcraft, and that's why you have to look at many, many sources. When you gather information, you slowly start to form your own beliefs and opinions – you don't have to decide which ways you prefer right away, because it will happen automatically.

Remember to take everything you read with a grain of salt. Question what you're told. Think for yourself too. But even if a concept sounds insane, keep an open mind, and don't reject it right away.

If you know any witches, you can also ask them about witchcraft. Ask specific questions. Maybe take notes. You can also ask witches online. Again, ask specific questions, because they don't have the time to tell you everything there is to know about witchcraft. Don't say, "Can you tell me how to perform a ritual?". Instead, you might ask, "Is meditation necessary in a ritual?". First, do research on your area of interest. THEN, if you have questions, ask.

There are other ways you can do research as well. Go out in nature and feel its energies. Listen to its sounds, smell its scents. Whether you live near a forest, mountains, or the sea, nature is everywhere. There is ancient knowledge all around you in nature – in trees, flowers, water. Spend time in nature; witchcraft is heavily nature-based after all. Attune with nature and get to know the plant and animal life around you. You might even want to try some meditation out in nature. You can take notes on the things you observe and encounter. You can also bring home flowers, leaves, rocks, shells, and twigs that attract your attention. Think and record why they attracted your attention.

As witches, it's also our responsibility to protect nature. We hold all life sacred. You can start volunteering or donating money to preserve wildlife in the world and locally. Maybe take a few hours cleaning up trash at the park – even a little bit helps. You could set up a bird feeder on your backyard, or plant some flowers or a garden. Your indirect choices can save the environment too – how much you use water and the food choices you make have a big impact in the long term. Buying less is an easy way: don't go shopping for new clothes every month.

You should spend at least a few months doing research. If you feel comfortable, you can try spells, casting circles, or performing a ritual. If you do try magic, remember to be careful since you're a beginner. But more importantly, you should be always having fun! Don't take spirituality too seriously; there's nobody judging you. Laugh at your mistakes and explore freely!

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