X - Practising in secret

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NOTE: This chapter is directed towards underage people. Anyone can use the actual tips, though.

If you have family or friends who don't accept witchcraft, you may wish to keep your practice a secret. It can be a little tricky, and you'll have to hide some things, but it can be done. It can be upsetting when people aren't open-minded, and you can try carefully explaining to them that witchcraft isn't evil. But if things aren't improving, you may want to continue practising witchcraft without your family or friends knowing about it. I'm here to help and support you! Stay strong.

If you want to have an altar but can't have it visible, you can make a semi-permanent altar (an altar that can be broken apart and "re-assembled"). Hide your altar decorations in boxes or your closet, or place them around your room to make it look like they're regular decorations. Then, when you need your altar for a ritual or prayer, gather your stuff. You may not be able to have pentagrams and other clearly witchy items in your room, but most people are okay with candles – they are part of many, many religions. If your parents are Christian, you can use statues of angels, Jesus or Mary to secretly represent your own deities (if you have any). Similar things would probably work if your parents belong to other religions too. You can also use decorations you've collected from nature – twigs, stones, and flowers. You could grow potted plants in your room. These are some of the most witchy things you can have without even looking suspicious! If you need an excuse for buying crystals, just say you think they are pretty and you want to start a collection. They should be okay with that.

If you want to perform rituals or spells, you might want to do that early in the morning or late at night when everyone else in your family is asleep. When speaking, whisper or think the words. Your magic will be equally powerful even if you don't speak out loud. You could also perform magic in the bathroom – nobody can see you there and they won't burst in unexpectedly. Meditation can easily be done in the bathroom, too. If you want to hide any sounds, you can leave the shower or tap running, but be careful about this – it wastes a lot of water, so at least don't do it frequently. Prayer is easy to disguise as praying to whatever deity your parents believe in. If they want you to go to church, you should still do it to respect their wishes and beliefs; they're still your legal guardians and while it may suck to go to church, you can't completely decide for yourself until you're 18. When you're there, you can still pray to your own deities, or nobody. They can't read your thoughts.

Just in case, don't draw a pentagram on the cover of your Grimoire, and don't write "Book of Shadows" on it. Your family/friends might find it and you'd have some explaining to do. Get a regular-looking journal to use as a Grimoire, or make it all digital. Maybe don't leave your Grimoire on your desk if your family/friends are the curious type. Hide it or put it in your bookshelf among other books.

It may be disheartening that you can't have all the beautiful tools used in witchcraft like athames, cauldrons, and broomsticks. But these are still just tools. They don't make your magic more powerful – the magic is always in you. You can perfectly well practise witchcraft with no tools. Remember, witchcraft isn't all about spells. It's also going out in nature and honoring and appreciating it, improving yourself as a person, being thankful for what you have, helping those around you, and so much more. Spells are just a fraction of all that witchcraft really is. And many of these other things are something your family or friends can't despise or forbid; being close with the Earth is no crime in anyone's eyes. Another thing you can do is volunteering – nothing is witchier than helping others!

If you have a witch friend, ask if you could go to their house to perform a ritual or spell together sometime. You don't always have to do magic at your own house! If you live near a forest, tell your parents you're going for a walk, and perform your magic in the forest. This probably works with other natural places like fields, rivers, mountains, or the beach, too.

The library can be a good place to study witchcraft. Libraries allow you to stay for hours, and you can read as many books as you want. Go to the library, pick up a history book about witchcraft, and start reading! Even if you don't find any books directly related to witchcraft, you can still learn about things that will benefit you in your practice. History (pagan history), psychology, sociology, mythology, other religions, other cultures, gardening, health, wellness, and spirituality are some types of books you could read. You might even want to read fiction with witches in it (yes, it's fiction, but it could give you some cool ideas for your own practice, especially if the books portray witchcraft realistically). Find a remote corner next to a wall if you don't want other people's eyes on you as often. Here you're able to write in your Grimoire too – it's especially useful if you want to copy from other books. For personal journaling that you don't need a reference for, you can do it at home ("I'm just writing in my diary, mom!"), in nature, at school, in the library, on the bus... If you want to avoid all eyes looking over your shoulder and reading your book, create or learn another alphabet. The Theban alphabet is fairly common among witches:

There are countless other alphabets you can use (Pinterest is good for finding some), but you can also create a more personal writing system, unique to you

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There are countless other alphabets you can use (Pinterest is good for finding some), but you can also create a more personal writing system, unique to you. Simply write out all the letters of the Latin alphabet, and start experimenting with all kinds of swirls and lines. Draw the letters invented by you next to the corresponding Latin letters until you have the whole alphabet. You can now use this as a key until you memorize the letters. Your family/friends might think a foreign alphabet very suspicious-looking, though, so if you go for another alphabet, simply make sure nobody finds your book.

Of course, you don't have to do any of the things listed above. They're just suggestions you can do if you really want to or have to hide your witchy practices.

"The Theban Alphabet", author: Catherine Noble Beyer, site: wicca.cnbeyer.com.

"Teen Wiccans: What to Do When Your Parents Won't Let You Be Wiccan", author: Mackenzie Sage Wright, site: exemplore.com

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