Mystery and shadows, candles and incantations - you may think 'witchcraft' has a sinister ring. However, the Craft of the Wise belongs in sun-kissed cornfields, just as much as in darkened rooms. Witchcraft is basically 'Nature worship'. This implies respect for all that lives, because magic is all around us. Today we live in a world without soul, and the way of the witch can offer you much-needed inspiration in the 21st century.
There is a lot of argument about how witchcraft started. Discovering it may feel like coming 'home', to the oldest of ways. It draws on many traditions, including Egyptian occultism and Freemasonry, to form the basis of contemporary Wicca. But if you prefer to do your own thing, inspired by stream and hedgerow, wind song and moonrise - that's fine!
Many witches like to say they are 'white witches' to make sure no-one thinks they're off to blight cattle or turn someone into a frog! But that's just buying into the idea that there is such a thing as a 'black' witch - which there isn't!
By definition, witches love life and seek to help others, and the planet. Of course, in any religion there can always be those who seek to use their knowledge for their own selfish ends, but these would not be welcome in witchcraft circles. Neither would they be worthy to be called 'witch' because that word means 'wise one'.
If you are interested in becoming a witch, or just want to gain a deeper understanding, the Eight Festivals can help you tune in. These festivals are called 'sabbats' by witches and they celebrate nature in all its manifestations. The sabbats also focus on different aspects of the goddess and god, and from other pantheons, to enrich the ritual. The most well known is the old Celtic festival of 'Samhain' or 'Summer’s End', which we know as Halloween. Many witches believe that Halloween is New Year as the onset of darkness signified a beginning and so their day started at nightfall - so why not their year in autumn? Samhain falls on October 31st¬now witches honour the dead and the start of the ancient season of story-telling. The God is worshipped in his guise as Lord of the Underworld, Osiris, while the Goddess is Wise Woman.
Witches perform their rituals inside a magic circle. This is a protection against negative energy and a container for the energies raised, to 'up' the atmosphere. It is also a boundary between this world and the psychic realms. It is formed by strongly visualising, because imagination is very powerful on the astral plane.
When you. do a spell you are simply 'spelling out' what you want and getting the message through to your subconscious. This spell can be used for almost any purpose, but choose it clearly first. You will need a candle and a pointed knife. Make your magic circle and turn to the direction that is most appropriate - for instance love might be south or west, exam success east, material possession north. Use your intuition. Hold your candle and feel your energy and intention flowing into it. Carve a message, symbol or your initial into the candle and light it.
Candle flame, candle burn, See the wheel of my life turn, Candle burn, candle bright, Turn me now towards the light.
Say this three times, and imagine your desire becoming real. When you are ready, extinguish the candle and close down your circle. Light the candle and repeat the chant every day for a month. By then things should start to change!