First, I want to thank Heather for the inspiration for this article. I’ve been wondering if I should continue writing, and she gave me some good ideas that made me want to try again. Thank you Heather!
I’ve been on my spiritual path for many, many years. I dedicated myself to a Pagan path in 1993, but even before that I spent a lot of time studying witchcraft (as well as other world religions). I was confident when I dedicated myself that I had really explored everything and knew what I believed in my heart to be true. It’s the Capricorn in me. I had to be sure.
Fast forward to now, and there are some things that I’ve learned. I’m not trying to set myself up as an expert by any means, but hopefully these things will help some younger witches on their path!
Meditate as much as possible!
Meditation is crucial to getting started on a Pagan path, and really it should be a part of any spiritual path. My meditation practice hasn’t always been steady, but right now I meditate every day. It’s really helping me stay attuned to my spirituality. It also helps give you a firm basis for things like visualization, energy work, breathwork, and any astral travel you might want to do. I’ve meditated to meet my spirit guides, meditated to find my spirit animal, meditated to astral travel, etc. It can even help you bring an element of trance into deep solitary rituals that bring you closer to the magick. I highly recommend meditating if you don’t already!
Keep a record!
This can be in the form of a Book of Shadows, or it can be as simple as a journal. The main idea here is that you can look back and see how far you’ve come. I’ve started several Books of Shadows over my time, and none have really stuck, but I’ve kept journals throughout. And it can be really interesting to go back and look at dreams, spellwork that may or may not have worked, and other observations along the path.
You can do this in so many ways. You can keep your record in a priceless, handbound book that you only write in with special inks, or you can keep a document on your Google Drive with dated entries. My Book of Shadows is in Scrivener right now, and I’m printing it bit by bit. My journal will soon be moving to Goodnotes on iPad. You can make your journal public on a blog, or you can even keep a shoe box with notes written on index cards. The right system is the one that works for you!
Keep an altar in your mind!
This is a little more of an advanced technique, but I think it makes sense to start working on it as early as possible. The idea here is that you can do magick with no tools, no trappings. The magick comes from the practitioner’s mind and will. This technique will become easier if you follow my earlier advice and meditate a lot.
First, you visualize your perfect altar. Is it a stone slab? A Victorian table? A clearing on a forest floor? Then you visualize what you will put there. Do you have the traditional Wiccan tools, like an athame or chalice? Or do you keep a more random assortment of goodies, like candles and bones? Keep visualizing it until it’s as clear as possible. Later, you can grow this area. You can create a house nearby, paths into different areas of the astral realms, a whole world that exists for your magickal practice.
I’ve been working on mine for years, and it just keeps getting bigger and more complex. I can visit it the second I shut my eyes, and I have shortcuts there to any magickal place I want to go. What’s really nice is that I don’t have to worry about whether I have the right herbs, stones, etc. for spellwork, because I can create it there!
Remember that spirituality ebbs and flows!
This can be confusing or frustrating the first time you notice it happening. You may feel disconnected at times, or hyper connected at other times. That’s all natural, and part of the natural ebb and flow of life! Don’t kick yourself if you forget/don’t care about a full moon. And don’t expect to always be on the ball when it comes to your daily practice. You may just not want to do an elaborate ritual this sabbat, and that’s fine!
Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to go within and reassess what it is that you truly believe and what the core of your practice is. If you feel happy and centered where you are, then you’re on the right path! Maybe you choose to light an incense stick every day, regardless of whether you feel connected or not. Maybe you plan an elaborate ritual for each and every new moon. All that matters is how it makes you feel.
I hope this all helps! I’m sure there’s more that I’ve forgotten, and I’ll write about it as soon as I remember. My main piece of advice would be to remember that your spiritual path is your own. People can and will try to tell you how to practice, but in the end, spirituality is personal. These are just suggestions from an old salty witch. I wish you magick in your path!