A Theory of Magic • Beginner Witch Essentials
Witchcraft is a theory of magic. It teaches you how to harness and direct universal energies. It is a discipline and a practice that has developed over time, with distinct characteristics that set it apart from other spiritual theories and practices. Witchcraft is an art form, perhaps even a science, but Witchcraft is not a religion.
The cryptic nature of the tradition is both an asset and a challenge. For instance, not having a defined structure or rigid doctrine allows for coloring outside the lines. This empowers the new, burgeoning witch, giving them ample room to explore their magical practice as they see fit.
Conversely, the realm of magic is the Underworld. It is a bottomless chasm the size of the universe itself. If you dive in without a map or a blueprint, you can become lost in confusion. And while a seasoned witch knows to appreciate the chaos, a novitiate can quickly become overwhelmed.
Moreover, there are tripwires. There are rules in our contemporary understanding of Witchcraft that are developing. There are sensitivities to pay attention to, or you run the risk of offense through cultural appropriation or, even worse – perpetuating colonialist violence.
To not run afoul with those in various spiritual communities, it’s essential to remember Witchcraft is a spiritual tradition, but it’s not all spiritual traditions. There are different ways to see the sun. There are different approaches to spirituality that are not within Witchcraft and don’t necessarily belong there. And that’s okay.
Parsing this all out may seem intimidating, but there’s no reason it should be. When in doubt, focus on the magic and trust your path. Witchcraft is your craft, and you are the craft. Trust yourself and your inherent power, and you will find your way to the Magic.
Energy is Everywhere
“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” — Nikola Tesla
Do you feel the wind as it graces your cheek on its way to the East? Can you smell the scent of the lilac tree in full bloom a little distance away from you? Do you hear the children laughing down the block, and can you sense their merriment and joy?
These are all energy. Everything is energy. Energy comprises everything, and it’s everywhere in limitless abundance. There is energy in the ever-moving earth beneath you. It’s in the Sun’s rays shining down on you. It’s at your fingertips, waiting for you to reach out and grasp it, and it’s within you.
And as a witch, it’s at your command. It all starts with intent.
The Power of Setting Intentions in Witchcraft
The intent is what determines what fruit your enchantment will bear and the flowers it will bloom. Likewise, it is how you coalesce and direct energy – the essence of a spell. In the same way, spell work is one of the pillars of Witchcraft.
To illustrate the power of intention, consider the intellectual giant and father of modern electricity, Nikola Tesla. Tesla had Merlin’s touch when interacting with energy and could essentially bend it to his will. He understood electricity intimately, to the point where he could understand the language of lightning and even hold conversations with it.
Furthermore, Tesla could see the energy everywhere and in everything. Consequently, this fueled his intent to tap into that energy and allow that font of limitless potential to power our lives and electrify the whole world.
Subsequently, near the end of his life, Tesla confessed that he was “a defeated man” and couldn’t accomplish his dream. Corruption and greed of the fossil fuel industry made sure to suppress his intentions, for example, and a lot of his discoveries were hidden away by forces who fear change.
However, he came damn close.
His intention – that grand goal of illuminating the globe – led to countless inventions, provided the universal standard for utilizing power and electricity, and changed the world. In this regard, he was nonetheless successful.
This is the power of intent. From a tiny seed of vision in the mind’s eye, a forest of magic is born. As a witch, your intentions are powerful and can change the world. And your path will be continuously learning and experiencing this humbling truth.
What Does the Pentagram Symbolize?
The pentagram represents interconnection. The five cardinal points of the pentagram represent each element. Binding them together is an unbroken line. The unbroken line demonstrates that when one aspect transforms into another, the former still shares a cord with the latter.
As a witch, you will learn that everything is connected. The sun shines upon a lake, its heat warming the water until it releases its vapor into the sky. The sky fills with the water from the lake until it becomes heavy and pregnant with rain clouds. Finally, the clouds burst and release a deluge of water onto the land. This water then returns to the same lake from which it came. And thus, the cycle continues.
In this illustration, you see the connection between all elements. The lake is water. The sun’s heat represents fire. Water molecules escape into the sky to become one with the air. And then the rain falls back to the earth to merge once more with lake and land. Water. Fire. Air. Earth. And Spirit creates the cycle, maintains the balance, and is reborn from the process.
Once you encircle the pentagram, it becomes a pentacle. This circle protects the magic enclosed within from unwanted influence. As you set out to cast a spell, keeping aberrant energies out of the magic you are raising is vital. Doing this helps to ensure the effectiveness of the enchantment and make sure that nothing corrupts the magic.
The pentacle is proof of magic — a formula that explains how the elements work. It can raise the efficacy and precision of your magical work. It proffers protection when dabbling with the unknown, which is very beneficial. Use it to your advantage.
►Video: The Nexus of Magic
Beginner Witch Essentials • How the Cauldron is Used in Witchcraft
In Witchcraft, the cauldron represents the womb of the divine feminine. The goddesses womb is the crucible of rebirth – the receptacle that conceives all life and where all death occurs. Her womb is the very universe itself and the totality of mystery and magic.
The concept of divine feminine energy may alienate some. This is especially true for those who identify as male or don’t see themselves reflected in a binary gender system. However, the aspect of the Goddess expresses itself in all genders – male and female – and all gradients in between.
We express our divine feminine with every poem or song we write. It is Goddess energy that inspires our words and melody. When we nurture and show tenderness to others, that is the aspect of the Goddess. Furthermore, it is the ability to create and give birth to new ideas and our capacity to undergo transformation.
No other goddess quite solidifies the connection between the womb of the divine feminine and the cauldron as Cerridwen. The enchantress of Welsh lore was known to possess a cauldron of poetic inspiration or awen.
Awen is the font that provides the bard their melody, the poet their lyric, and the soothsayer their vision. These are all essential to true magic, as true magic is musical, poetic, and visionary. Hence, the cauldron provides these attributes to your magic, amplifying their potency.
The cauldron as a tool has been employed since the Bronze Age by both witches and non-witches alike. It is only through pop culture and literature that it became a witchcraft cliché.
However, there’s no reason not to reclaim this highly symbolic tool in your magical practice if you so desire. You can use it to burn magical petitions or incenses or prepare your ingredients for spellwork.
►Video: The Crucible of Magic
Cleansing with the Besom
The besoms form predicts its function, as its use is in ritual cleansing. Its use is to remove stale and stagnant energy, effectively “resetting” the aura that fills your space. We typically perform this ritual before the arrival of spring and summer to make way for Nature’s bounty and blessings. Additionally, it’s custom to use your besom to cleanse your magical and sacred spaces of unwanted energies.
After all, there’s a reason we have the tradition of Spring cleaning. A stillness and stagnancy sets in during colder months making us less than inclined to the hustle and bustle. But once the newness of Spring is in an air, it’s time to cleanse our nests — both figuratively and literally.
Our besom is designated explicitly for spiritual cleansing instead of the broom you might use for everyday sweeping. Additionally, when ritually cleansing with the besom, we hold it slightly above the ground to avoid contact with the floor.
To be true to tradition, we sweep in a clockwise direction, or deasil. Scottish tradition deems this the “prosperous course” — the direction that will bring good fortune. Conversely, cleansing in a counterclockwise fashion, or widdershins, invites adversity and misfortune.
Sweeping in the anticlockwise direction does have the consequent use of banishing negative spirits in the Wiccan tradition. However, this is usually to remove maligned entities that one might sense are actively corrupting the space, not simply for ritual cleansing.
After you finish ritually cleansing your space, you can place your besom above your door, bristles pointing up to protect your home. Moreover, if it’s your first time using this particular besom, don’t forget to make a wish once you break it in – there’s a good chance it may come true.
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