Wicca: A Modern Guide to Witchcraft and MagickHarmony Nice
Witchcraft and Wicca for a modern, mystical world, from YouTube vlogger and Instagram sensation Harmony Nice
The face of the witch is changing. The rise of social media has opened up a whole new world of learning and connection for devotees of real Wicca. For the "witch-curious" and for beginners looking for an accessible guide to Wiccan beliefs, YouTuber and Instagram sensation Harmony Nice reveals how you can explore natural magic and healing for yourself.
Complete with beautiful illustrations, Harmony introduces Wicca and its benefits, and what life is like for a modern-day Wiccan. She explores the positive impact that ritual and meditation can have on your confidence and mental health, and how the practice can help you to find your true self, build inner strength, and establish a harmonious connection with nature. For those just getting started, she offers practical guidance on:
Copyright Copyright © 2019 by Harmony Nice Cover design by @lawsdraws Cover copyright © 2019 Hachette Book Group, Inc. Hachette Book Group supports the right to free expression and the value of copyright. The purpose of copyright is to encourage writers and artists to produce the creative works that enrich our culture. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book without permission is a theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like permission to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support of the author’s rights. Seal Press Hachette Book Group 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104 sealpress.com @SealPress First published in Great Britain in 2018 by Orion Spring, an imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd. Published by Seal Press, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc. The Seal Press name and logo is a trademark of the Hachette Book Group. The Hachette Speakers Bureau provides a wide range of authors for speaking events. To find out more, go to www.hachettespeakersbureau.com or call (866) 376-6591. The publisher is not responsible for websites (or their content) that are not owned by the publisher. Illustrations by Laura Shelley at www.laurashelleydesign.com Library of Illustrations by Laura Shelley at www.laurashelleydesign.com Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data has been applied for. ISBNs: 978-1-58005-915-2 (hardcover), 978-1-58005-914-5 (ebook) E320190222-JV-NF-ORI Contents Cover Title Page Copyright Dedication My Story Introduction: Wicca for a Modern World Part 1: What Is Wicca? 1. Wicca, Witchcraft and Paganism 2. Divination 3. Nature 4. The Three-Fold Law, Morals and the Wiccan Rede 5. Magick 6. Wiccan Paths 7. The Book of Shadows 8. Deities Part 2: Why Explore Wicca? 9. Mental Health Benefits 10. Meditation 11. Self-Care 12. Creativity 13. Kindness Part 3: How to Get Started 14. Wiccan Holidays and the Wheel of the Year 15. Altars and Magic Tools 16. Spell Work 17. Colours 18. Crystals 19. Herbs and Plants 20. The Witches’ Alphabet 21. Astrology 22. Small Changes 23. When Others Don’t Accept Your Faith 24. Wicca on the Sly 25. City Wiccans 26. Small Spaces 27. Finding a Coven Last Few Words Discover More Harmony Nice Resources About the Author To my best friend Morena, strong witch; stronger and most valuable, irreplaceable friend. My family, To my mother Jade, without whom this book would not have been possible, Peter, Isabella and Genevieve (and the rest of them). My crazy family, close as a family, but even closer as friends. Yvonne, the highs were better with you; the lows will always be harder without you. To the others, loving boyfriend and incredible friends, where without them, the flowers would look less beautiful and the world would be so much less enjoyable. The many Witches & Wiccans I have encountered who have changed my path and my life, including my Inspirations, Scott Cunningham, Tituba, Stevie Nicks, Marie Laveau. Not to mention my closest Wicca friends, Georgia Burns, eclectic solitary Wiccan and the lady who has educated me on Wicca for the last four years, former Gardnerian Wiccan, current Faery Wiccan, who wishes not to be named. Last but not least, Anais Alexandre, the powerful Afro-Wiccan who was kind enough to share her information on Afro-Wicca and educate me on her path. My Story I was born on 19 May 1997, in a small town in Norfolk, England. My mother and father, Jade and Peter, both worked hard to provide me and my two sisters with a loving, noisy family home. According to my parents, I was a calm and cute baby, and for whatever reasons, I grew into a nutty child–the sort who couldn’t sit still, spent most of the time mixing up mud pies in the garden and didn’t ever want to be told what to do. I didn’t really enjoy primary or high school. I wasn’t bullied, and I didn’t really have a hard time, but I just wasn’t very good at the subjects that we were taught, except for the few that I loved, Drama, English and Biology. I’ve heard some people say that they knew what they wanted to do with their lives when they were very young, but I didn’t. I knew there was something more to life–just what that was, I didn’t know. When I was fourteen, I remember lying outside in the summer in my front garden with my mum and asking her about her family. Mum told me stories about her grandma, Maud, a kind and creative woman whose family owned a flower nursery, and with whom my mother spent a lot of her childhood, painting, baking and playing games. For the first time, she spoke about my great-grandmother, Hilda. My curiosity was instantly piqued. Hilda was a half-German witch; she made fur coats, played with Ouija boards and cast spells on people to give them headaches when they annoyed her–so, basically nothing like the type of witch I am. This was the first time that I realised witchcraft was real; magick was real. Even though I’ve never met these incredible women, somehow I feel connected to them both. After these conversations, it felt like a switch had been flicked in my brain. Yes, I’d had interests before–I had dabbled in hobbies, had a go at playing various musical instruments, become a bit obsessed with dyeing my hair every colour under the sun and even read up on Buddhism–but each time I grew bored and gave up. Witchcraft was different. I began reading up on it, and over the next few months gradually learned about the different types of witches, spells and crafts, about necromancy, divination, the lot. I purchased my first set of tarot cards soon after and began tarot reading. I also started doing witchcraft. I’m cringing now–at how I had no idea what I was doing and I most certainly made mistakes–but all of this was a great learning curve for the future. I’d love to say the rest is history–I found my way and that was it–but that would be far from the truth. My paternal grandmother, Yvonne Nice, had passed away suddenly in the previous year. Looking back, this affected me so much more than I realised at the time. We were all incredibly close to her; she had a funloving, larger-than-life personality, and her death left our family in a mutual state of shock for a long time. The combination of my grief and the fact that I was also dealing with a lot of other, typical adolescent stresses was probably the trigger for a long, difficult period of depression. This lasted for most of my teenage years. I also experienced a couple of negative and damaging relationships, the effects of which had severe repercussions on my mental health–resulting in self-harm, anxiety and finally dissociation. It wasn’t an easy ride, but, with hindsight, I didn’t make things easy for myself. My negativity and jealousy were through the roof; I was unkind and confused, and didn’t really give much thought to anyone else. No wonder I was so unhappy. This period lasted longer than I care to mention, but things did improve. There was no simple fix that stimulated my recovery; it took a long time and a lot of help from many angels. As things began to improve, in 2014, I created my first YouTube video, ‘Kylie Jenner Makeup Tutorial’. As you can see, my content has changed direction slightly. I started going out more and began to try and find a purpose. Obviously, life still had its ups and downs after that, but I continued to get better. The challenging aspects of my life, such as relationships, got easier to deal with. I felt as though I had the ability to get through negative times, which I hadn’t had before. There was one day in particular that changed everything for me. I was browsing in a second-hand bookshop in Norwich, when I came across Living Wicca by Scott Cunningham. I had heard of Wicca before, but never looked into it, and was under the popular misconception that a Wiccan was some kind of good witch (see here for the differences between Wicca and witchcraft). Scott would become my inspiration and guide for 80 per cent of everything I’ve ever done in my Wicca journey. At this point I hadn’t really touched witchcraft for a few months and it seemed like a distant part of me. I didn’t purchase the book then, but the drawing on the cover caught my eye. It was a picture of a red-haired lady, holding her hands in the air either side of a goddess symbol. I got home that day, lay on my bed and typed the words into my phone: ‘What is Wicca?’ Yes–as typical as it sounds–that moment marked another beginning for me. I began my Wicca journey, trying to learn something new about the faith every day. Nothing seemed to get in the way at this point. Wicca made me ask myself, what makes you happy? What makes you unhappy? It changed the way that I saw everything. I decided to clear out anything and anyone in my life that worked against my happiness or had a destructive effect on my self-worth. I also decided to apologise and make good any harmful acts that I felt I had committed towards others. I stopped tweeting about people–using negative force to fight my unhappiness–stopped speaking behind people’s backs, stopped using social media as a platform to validate myself and, instead, started trying to be myself. Wicca soon became something that I wanted to dedicate my life to. It has brought me many benefits. I learned acceptance, kindness and selflove. Therapy made a significant contribution to supporting my mental health, but learning about Wicca and dedicating my life to the faith helped me to see the amazing potential and compassion that surrounds us. I started my journey as an eclectic solitary Wiccan when I was seventeen, and I honestly feel that from that day everything improved: my friendships, my relationships, my morals, my creativity, my mental health. My faith helped me to accept things; even in difficult times I still feel at one with the universe. About a year later, I performed my ceremony of self-dedication to Wicca. Before you ask, I was very fortunate in that my parents had no problems with what I was doing. In fact, I think that my mother was happy that my interests were in something that benefitted my attitude and my health. Wicca felt like it was mine at that time; I didn’t know anyone else who was Wiccan. I kept it all to myself for a long while, it felt so personal, and I think that this allowed me to develop a strong bond with the faith. My YouTube channel was slowly flourishing, with the number of my followers beginning to rise, and one day I decided to mention in a video that I practised something called Wicca. The response that I got was overwhelming–literally thousands of people asking me to talk about the faith online and to help educate them and learn alongside them. I made my first ‘Enchanted Endeavours’ episode, a series on my channel which is still running two years later. The first episode was about crystals, and a whole new part of my journey began. I was now in communication with a worldwide community of Wiccans, with whom I continue to share a mutual educational journey. I have had so many fascinating conversations about Wicca because of this, including with one particular practitioner, who has over thirty years’ experience and has helped me open my eyes to new elements and not just to stick to one path. It was after this conversation that I realised I’d never stop learning about Wicca and that just made me want to work harder–which is what I’m doing still. I think that one of the most important things I ever did in Wicca was make mistakes: mistakes help you grow– far more than your successes do. And here I am now–years later–a solitary Green Wiccan who is definitely still studying, and who probably will be forever. Through my teaching and learning about Wicca on YouTube and in everyday life, it has become apparent that this is what I was meant to do. In these last four years, I have acquired the knowledge that I share in this book from so many different, amazing and inspirational people. I have also learned that there are many confusing and biased ideas about Wiccan teachings and practices. A few books that I have read now seem outdated and I have often felt that as a new Wiccan, starting my journey, I could have really benefitted from a book that explained the basics in a straightforward manner, without too much emphasis on rules! I wanted to create this book for Wiccans of any age and length of experience. I hope that it is an honest and informative read that will minimise confusion, while also being fun, interesting and appropriate to the modern-day faith. I wanted to write about my struggles and mistakes and to dispel the common misconception that there is only one correct way to practise Wicca; because holy hell, there’s not! I want to help people who, like me, have Wicca inside them, to guide them into something that could be as beneficial, and feel as right to them, as it does for me. Lots of love and light, Harmony x Harmony Nice @peachycinnamon Introduction: Wicca for a Modern World Paganism and witchcraft have been around longer than you could probably imagine, but in the last five years, Wicca has progressed in ways that Wiccans who practised in the 1960s, or even the 1990s, could never have imagined. Witchcraft has a long history of persecution and misunderstanding. In the sixteenth century, even being suspected of practising it could lead to being punished by death. By the eighteenth century, however, witches had mostly come to be seen as frauds, and were fined or imprisoned for using witchcraft to con and frighten people. By the twentieth century, Wicca was firmly established by secretive covens. At this stage witches were often perceived as crazy women, wearing pointed hats and capes, dancing naked around the fire! That began to change as films and TV shows–such–as Bewitched, True Blood and the Harry Potter franchise–fashion trends and an increasing number of books on and featuring witchcraft and Wicca fostered interest. Witchcraft and Wicca are, importantly, quite distinct. Thankfully, there is a genuine interest in the real meaning, practices and values of Wicca. We are a nature-based religion; we live and breathe true kindness and compassion, empowering ourselves and others around us, worshipping elements of our earth such as the moon, the sun, the universe, nature and the magick that they bring to us. We teach tolerance and diversity and acceptance. Solitary or in a coven, a practising Wiccan for a year or fifty years; we live our faith and respect our earth. The magick we produce comes from within and around us, not from looking the correct way or having the fanciest tarot cards. Popular culture has brought witchcraft into the public eye, with famous personalities such as musicians Stevie Nicks and Björk alleged to be involved in witchcraft. So, the combination of readily available accurate information and people in the public eye embracing witchcraft and Wicca has helped bring more acceptance. Society is realising that we do not promote evil concepts, using magick against people to turn them into frogs, but a peaceful way of life that benefits us and those around us. People from all backgrounds, cultures, races, genders and sexualities are finding their feet in Wicca, creating their free paths within the faith. They are discovering that it is a way to empower themselves and others and are using it to improve their lives. There is now nothing to fear and we can proudly announce to the world that we are Wiccans and witches! Wicca is certainly a faith for all but more recently, especially over the last few years, it’s opened a lot of eyes for many young women around the world. Wicca sparks creativity and allows people the choice to use elements of it to help them make their lives the way they want them to be. Lots of young girls are drawn to the faith because of the freedom and power it possesses. To me, it’s a religion that promotes equality in all; one that hasn’t been warped to suit one gender or race and has flexibility. Where some may feel trapped within other religions or even just in their everyday lives, Wicca can help break through those barriers. Of course, with the changes that the internet has brought to humankind in the last couple of decades, Wicca has entered the online world, making it so much easier for everyone to learn. There are amazing communities of Wiccans, posting about spells, their journeys, Wicca teachings and even online covens. The answers to everything that you may be interested in or may have been wondering about are potentially just a few clicks away. There are some incredibly informative, experienced Wiccans writing online blogs, and you can access teachings from famous Wiccans which are documented online. For practical help, YouTube videos allow us to watch people carrying out their magickal workings, such as divination, spell and ritual work, which can be far more useful than just reading about the theory of these things. However, the downside with this accessible sharing of information is that anyone can publish online, so you have to be aware of occasional misinformation. MODERN WAYS TO PRACTISE To me, Wicca will always be about experiencing the earth, working with what you can find and practising the craft for its true meaning. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t embrace the amazing, positive aspects of what living in 2018 has brought to us. First, as I mentioned previously, we can learn spells pretty much anywhere now. There are tons of spells, rituals and potions to make, adapt to our own intuition or use at our will, all documented online by experienced Wiccans. There are also an increasing number of books about spell work being published every year by incredible authors–not to mention the most accurate way of learning spells, from trusted witches and Wiccans. It’s also much easier now to find the tools that we may want to use in our practices and to research different types of tools and raw materials. We can order purpose-made athames and bolines (both ritual knives) and chalices for our altars if that is what we prefer. There are also many online shops now, selling an endless supply of tarot cards, wands, crystals and even herbs that you can order and import for all of your magickal needs. This may open up opportunities for us to create spells with elements that we could have never dreamed of twenty years ago. Wicca is no longer a secret–and before the faith’s recent growth in popularity, some practitioners may have felt it necessary to keep their activities confidential. Access to open discussion and education on the true meaning of Wicca has changed opinions on both personal and family levels and also in the media. The fact that we can (funds allowing!) relatively easily visit the ruins of the temples of ancient Rome, dedicated to our chosen deities, or that we can contact an online coven in another continent brings the possibilities of our practices, experiences, understanding and discussions to another level, if this is what we choose. Everything is so easy to source and learn now; it’s wonderful in so many ways, but it’s important to remember that a faith based on authentic principles is far more important than making a fashion statement and how you are perceived on social media. SOCIAL MEDIA FOR WICCANS Social media has benefitted today’s Wiccan community in extreme amounts and, without it, a lot of us would have never even heard of the faith. It’s an incredible tool to use on our Wicca journeys. There are increasingly more Wiccans, witches and pagans educating people on YouTube; they are creating tutorials showing us how to cast specific spells, illustrating how to do divination and sharing many more personal aspects of their practices. Instagram has also seen a new community come to light, with Wiccans either teaching or showing their followers aspects of their journey or simply enjoying the witch aesthetic that has become popular with the new wave of Wiccans online. There are also apps for pretty much anything, from tarot readings, to online spell books, to Wicca community pages for Wiccans to share and connect. In general, this is an extremely positive step forwards, but there are two sides to it. Yes– everything is easier and anything we want for our Wicca journeys, tools, herbs, information, etc., can be sourced easily and quickly. However, sometimes social media can affect people’s journeys negatively and a lot of younger Wiccans may not see the faith for what it truly is. Wicca is a faith, a way of life; you don’t need every tool or every herb, need to know every detail when you are starting out. Just because you have a crystal ball and someone else does or doesn’t have the economic means or space to have one, that doesn’t make you a better Wiccan. The witch style, aesthetic and vibes are fun and the online communities are incredibly interesting and entertaining but, in reality any true Wiccan can live and breathe their Wicca paths with or without the internet. The foundation and beliefs of Wicca will always be as simple as they were fifty years ago. There are some things you can learn only from experience, living as a Wiccan every day. This knowledge gained from daily witchcraft and the secrets within Wicca cannot be found online. The internet, used correctly, can be an incredible tool to help us with our practices and, as it’s a huge part of our society, why not embrace it? There are so many incredible Wiccans, witches and pagans behind this movement, so do seek out the writers, the YouTubers and the platforms we use to share our journeys with the world as witches and Wiccans. What Is Wicca? The Wicca faith, its traditions and principles can signify different things to different people and many aspects are open to interpretation. I have attempted to outline the basics as I understand them from my own experiences, study and day-to-day practices. 1. Wicca, Witchcraft and Paganism The most common confusion about the terms Wicca, witchcraft and paganism is the difference between them. I have often been asked whether all witches consider themselves to be Wiccans, and some people think that all pagans consider themselves to be witches and many people are under the misconception that to be a Wiccan just means to be a ‘good’ witch. There is a huge difference between the three, so let us clear up the difference now. This could also help you when thinking about which path to follow from the beginning and maybe discovering which one you consider yourself to be. WICCA Wicca is a pagan, nature-and witchcraft-based religion. A Wiccan is someone that follows pagan beliefs and also practises witchcraft as a part of their faith. We follow the eight Sabbats (festivals) and twelve Esbats (celebrations of the full moon) and practise magickal workings such as rituals and spell work at specific times related to the phases of the moon. A Wiccan follows the energy and power of the natural earth and the universe and all its natural occurrences, the moon, the sun and the stars. Wicca also promotes a great sense of freedom and positivity. It gives you the opportunity to take a path in the faith that you feel is right for you, allowing you freedom within the faith to do things in a way that you choose. Wicca embraces the fact we all have different beliefs and opinions while still being a part of the faith; it gives us the opportunity to live how we would like to but with the guidelines of our beliefs. Wicca promotes positivity but also self-love and empowerment, while trying to diminish negative energy and behaviours. Most of all we believe in balance: we believe that there can be no good without bad and that we cannot learn if we do not make mistakes. We own our mistakes and realise we alone are in charge of our behaviour. Wiccans tend to have morals and codes that keep this balance in our lives and that ensure we are as kind to humans, animals and the earth as we can possibly be. This also means keeping cruel, manipulative and toxic behaviour towards others as far away from us as possible. Wiccans practise their magick using the natural world around them. This can be from the ingredients that they use, the earth’s energy and even the timing of when we carry out our spell work, using the moon’s phases and seasons to guide us. We incorporate magickal workings into our philosophy to keep harmful factors out of our lives and to bring in positivity and goodness. PAGANISM A pagan is simply someone who follows a nature-based religion, paganism. There are several religions that could fall under the term paganism, such as Wicca, Druidry and Asatru. Pagans can be monotheistic or polytheistic, which means they can believe in one or many divine beings. Many pagans believe in one god and one goddess as they tend to believe in balance. Pagans practise nature-worship (which may sound a little strange to you, but it’s not, I promise). Many have a strong belief that the earth is sacred and they should treat it as an equal to themselves and take care of it as well as they possibly can. All of their practices follow the earth and natural occurrences such as the seasons, the moon and phases of the sun. WITCHCRAFT Last, but not least, is witchcraft. This is a practice. It is a craft. And a witch is somebody that practises witchcraft; to be specific, who practises magick and uses the earth’s energy to achieve a specific desired result. Anybody who practises a form of magickal workings, such as divination and future prediction, healing using the natural world, ritual work, spells, potions, alchemy, herbalism, etc., can be considered a witch. Sometimes even people with psychic abilities or who are spiritual mediums may consider themselves to be witches. So, a witch is someone who simply practises witchcraft in some shape or form. This means you do not have to be a Wiccan to be a witch, nor do you have to celebrate the Sabbats or follow any pagan teachings: a witch can have any or no religion. This also means you can be considered a witch if you are a Wiccan, even though ‘Wiccan’ is the preferred term, because we practise witchcraft as an element of our path. 2. Divination Divination uses a variety of tools in order to gain insight into situations, or your own or other people’s lives. Many Wiccans enjoy practising divination–it is a massive subject–and I get asked so many questions about it. Wiccans use divination to predict the future, to gain insight into the present and the past. Sometimes in life you need a little help, maybe you’re feeling confused about a situation or you want some insight into which path the situation is moving towards. By using divination, you are allowing messages to come to you by using tools in a specific way in order to hear guidance from the universe and the divine. I believe that everybody has some kind of psychic ability, but most of us mask it unintentionally throughout everyday life. Divination can be a tool to unlock and exercise our psychic abilities, allowing them to shine through. Your subconscious psychic mind needs to take over, which can be extremely relaxing and make you feel close with the divine; it can also help you to balance your emotions. Divination helps to bring the solutions to problems into the light. Some Wiccans prefer to stick with one form, while others like to explore and work with all methods. There are many incredible books and online resources that explain and demonstrate the different divination techniques. I would suggest researching the methods that most appeal to you and reading and watching as many tutorials as you can. Until then, here are some basics: DIFFERENT METHODS OF DIVINATION TAROT READING Tarot cards are a deck of seventy-eight cards, twenty-two of which are the major arcana and the other fifty-six, the minor arcana. The major arcana are the cards that you might have seen before, with the names at the bottom of the cards, for example ‘The devil’, ‘The lovers’, etc. These cards are typically seen as the stronger cards: you must take notice of these during your readings as they are cards for the long-term and are related to the more significant parts of your life. The minor arcana are split up into four suits–the wands, the swords, the cups and the pentacles/coins. Each suit has fourteen cards. Each of the suits count from one to ten; the number one is usually represented as the ‘ace’ card and the suit also has a page, a knight, a king and a queen. The minor arcana are still important cards, but are perhaps more relevant to the short-term and to the background of your life situations. It’s still important to treat these as significant as they can still impact on some major parts of your life. In a tarot card deck, each card symbolises something different, thoughts, feelings, situations and intentions all presented in each card. As you draw a card, it is telling you what it represents in relation to your life. There is a card for everything that a human can experience. Tarot card reading can give insight into the future, present and past. For me, the cards lay your life and the situations in your life out in front of you, making it easy to gain understanding and perspective. You can also use tarot cards in your other magick, for instance, in guided meditation; if you are focusing on relationship problems you might want to hold or place the Lover’s card in front of you. The tarot cards are made from organic materials and they collect energies in a similar way to the other tools that Wiccans use from the natural world. In the same way, you can use tarot cards for spell work; by choosing a card that relates to the spell that you are casting. RUNE STONES These are a set of stones, crystals, plastic or wooden pieces which have been painted, carved or engraved with ancient alphabetic symbols. A typical set has twenty-four stones, but can have as many as thirty, depending on where they are from. Sometimes each set includes a blank stone too. Most rune stones have the Elder Futhark alphabet written on them; each letter also symbolises significant power and meaning (see here). Some rune stones have different alphabets with different interpretations, but the stones with the Elder Futhark alphabet are the most commonly seen. There are many ways to cast rune stones. One method is to either hold the stones in your hand or in a bag and draw stones one at a time, noting their meanings as you do so. Another way is to cast your rune stones into a cloth, a mat or a bowl. Rune stones are known for having magickal and spiritual properties, you can use them for divination and guided meditation much like tarot cards and crystals. If you cast your rune stones and there is a stone in particular you would like to gain more insight into you can meditate with it too. You can also use rune stones for spell work. Rune stones are also often used for protection purposes. The symbols can be used and painted around your homes, on your tools and in your Book of Shadows. SCRYING Scrying is the term for gazing into mediums with a reflective or polished surface such as crystal balls, water, scrying mirrors made from obsidian, or into fire or smoke. The art of gazing is an extremely powerful thing. It relaxes your mind and allows your psychic abilities to see visions, images and messages. These can give you insights into problems that you might be considering and can answer questions about the futures of yourself and others. You must let the images and visions come to you. Don’t force it–it will come naturally with time and practice. These visions can be received in different ways; some people have them appear fairly clearly in their minds while gazing at the medium, some see visions in the reflections and others make out shapes and images within the medium that they are using–for example, in fire you could, briefly, see the face of someone familiar in the flames. The best way that I have had scrying described to me is that it is similar to when you’re lying in the dark, looking around your room, if you focus enough, you can organise what you see into shapes, objects and muted colours. Or you can do a similar thing if you close your eyes and concentrate on looking into the darkness behind your eyes. Seeing a situation from the perspective of a reflection is very effective for use in meditation, necromancy and also accessing other realms. It is difficult to work with and can take some getting used to. Meditation is a wonderful way to relax you into your subconscious if this is easier for you. PALMISTRY Palmistry is the art of reading the lines on somebody’s hand for divination and future prediction. The hands possess a large amount of power and their appearance can show us various different aspects of our lives and personalities. Each line, bend and mark, depending on the thickness and shape, has a different meaning. Different experiences in life are also represented, including career and relationships. TASSEOGRAPHY Tasseography is the art of reading tea leaves that are left in your cup after drinking the tea. You can work out shapes, pictures and symbols that you can interpret to predict the future. It’s an ancient form of divination that can be practised with different mediums such as tea leaves, coffee grains and wine residue as well. Tasseography is sometimes more difficult than other forms of divination because you are relying solely on your psychic intuition to work out what is in the cup. However, with a bit of practice you will soon be using your knowledge and intuition to work out symbols and meanings in the leaves. For instance, seeing a skull can signify an ending or something to be wary of and a snake can indicate betrayal. You can use any cup for tasseography, but a small, round, lightcoloured teacup seems to be better for getting accurate readings and to see the tea leaves more clearly than you would with a mug. A cup with a saucer is ideal because during a tea leaf reading you need something to flip your cup onto to put the excess tea leaves on. You can also buy tasseography cups that work in a slightly different way, with symbols around the cup so that the area that the tea leaves settle in is relevant to your reading. PENDULUMS Pendulums are one of the oldest, most incredible forms of divination, used in so many aspects of Wicca and spell work. A pendulum is typically a chain or string with a crystal or a wooden or metal pointed charm attached to the end. It is an extremely simple method of divination used to gain information by receiving answers, depending on how the pendulum swings. You have to train your pendulum to work by clasping the top of it in your hand and asking it to say ‘no’, then recording how it says ‘no’, asking it to say ‘yes’ and recording that action too. You may have to do this a few times to get the pendulum tuned to you and to make sure it’s performing in a consistent way for each ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answer. Once you’ve trained the pendulum and understood its movements, you have bonded and can use it to ask questions and gain insight into situations. You can also use a pendulum chart for your divination work. As well as being a relatively simple form of divination, it is also inexpensive and very versatile! 3. Nature Nature is everything to Wiccans. Nature is the basis behind our practices; it is everything that we believe in, live by, worship, use and honour. Nature is all around us, everything that the earth has produced, natural occurrences, weather, the trees, the grass, plants, animals, the stars, the seas, the moon and the sun. The earth owes us nothing; humans do not own the earth; neither are they more important. The earth is here with us–and in Wicca we work alongside nature. We love the earth and help it, respect it and honour it as much as we can. To Wiccans, the natural world is like a church is to Christians. Nature made us; we all evolved from the same place. In nature, everything has found its own natural balance and in Wicca, we strive to do the same within ourselves. This is why we treat everything as equal and respect that everything should maintain a balance. We also realise that nothing is perfect; there can be no good without bad, no dark without light and no birth without death. Wicca teaches equality, love and tolerance; it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, your race, gender or sexuality. Everything and everyone evolved from the same place; the earth and the natural world that created us; we all exist in the same universe and without every individual living thing, the world would not have balance. Over the last centuries, science has made so many breakthroughs and discovered many amazing things, such as the Big Bang theory, cures and prevention of diseases and various energy sources that we now take for granted–which are all incredible, aren’t they? Yes, all of these things have been proven or developed by science, using our earth’s natural reserves and properties, but this doesn’t make them any less magickal. The natural world has so much incredible potential–and magick and witchcraft use some of the earth’s capacity to push boundaries and discover ways to heal, help, create and communicate. Nature produces medicines and plants that have proven effects on our body. For instance, you can eat fungi that make you have visions (I don’t recommend this!), you can drink camomile tea to calm an upset stomach or rub lavender oil on your forehead to help you sleep. Early practitioners of witchcraft were damned and seen as evil, but they were herbalists who combined natural materials to benefit and heal; their potions were early medicines. Everything that the human race has ever discovered comes from the natural world; it’s all already here. It sometimes just requires us to open our eyes so that we can see it. HOW DO WE EMBRACE NATURE? So, how do you incorporate the natural world into your Wicca journey? Like I said, it’s the basis for everything that Wiccans believe. We celebrate the seasons and the moon phases (see Part 3, Wiccan Holidays and the Wheel of the Year) and we use natural materials in our practices. We welcome and support nature by studying and learning as much as we can about the natural world and how we can use crystals, herbs, plants, trees, water, snow, rain, the moon, the sun, etc. In fact, my favourite and the easiest recommendation is embrace nature when you are starting out in Wicca. Go outside–go for a walk, for a swim in a lake, pick some flowers, plant some seeds, feel the elements, really think about your experiences and write about how these things make you feel. Nature has provided everything that we have, we simply wouldn’t be here without it! Celebrate what it has given us. Don’t take advantage of the power that we have to destroy it. Try your best and embrace every second you have with it. Work alongside nature to benefit your life and to assist the earth. Every day the sun rises and the cycle of life continues, where would we be without it? 4. The Three-Fold Law, Morals and the Wiccan Rede As we have discussed, the Wicca path is typically a super free one–and this is one of the factors that makes Wicca so special. But that does not mean that Wiccans can do whatever they please without a care for anyone else. Of course not! Within Wicca, we have moral principles and laws that keep us on the Wiccan path and that encourage a positive, kind and thoughtful lifestyle. THE THREE-FOLD LAW The Three-Fold Law, also known as the law of three, is a moral guide for some Wiccans; it’s a kind of Wicca form of karma. The basic belief of the Three-Fold Law is: whatever energy you send out into the earth, you will get back three times over. Some Wiccans interpret this as the positive or negative will return to them three times and others believe that whatever type of energy they send out into the universe will have an effect on the three major parts of their own being–physically, emotionally and spiritually. Not all Wiccans follow the Three-Fold Law, but most Wiccans believe in the basic principle that whatever energy you put into the earth, be it negative or positive, it will return to you. For example, if you are a Wiccan who practises positivity and respect throughout their life and also in their Wiccan practices, you send out a lot of positive energy and this positivity should return to you. I, personally, think that this is true, regardless of whether you believe in the Wicca faith. Think about it this way, if you spend your time being unkind, writing passive-aggressive tweets or statuses, making harsh or hurtful indirect comments or, in general, are super negative to those around you, chances are people will legitimately not enjoy your company and may not want to be associated with you. This could lead to you being alone and not feeling respected, which will inevitably give you negative emotions and affect your life in a potentially damaging way. Again, whether or not you believe in the spiritual side of this principle, there is something here for us all to reflect on. During magickal workings, it is crucial to remember this way of thinking and to bear in mind that a lot of (all though not all) Wiccans live their spiritual, mental and physical life by the saying from the Wiccan Rede (see here), ‘An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will’. In a modern form, this is, ‘If it harms none, do what you will’ and relates to emotional, spiritual and physical harm. It’s important to ask yourself how this applies to whatever you’re about to do in your magickal workings and to make sure it’s not manipulating anyone’s free will or causing a short-term or long-term harmful effect on any living thing. It is perfectly okay to perform spells for selfish needs, as long as it doesn’t break this rule. You can be selfish and benefit personally from magickal workings without causing harm to others. It’s very important to never carry out magickal workings if you are angry or highly emotional; similarly, you wouldn’t perform divination while in a negative or emotionally charged state because your energy would affect the outcome. Wiccans may follow ‘If it harms none, do what you will’ as law, but this does not mean that you have to back down in every situation or let people hurt you–and, if people go out of their way to cause you harm, the law doesn’t mean that you have to sit back and do nothing, just in case you harm them in some way. Another factor of this principle is to stop or prevent harm being done. There are two types of wrongdoers; those who do the wrong deed, and those who see the wrong being done and don’t try to stop it from happening. If somebody is causing you harm in any way, you have a right to stop this harm. There is always a limit to what you can do, but as long as you follow the law as strictly as you can, remember that balance is the key element here. If harm comes your way, you have a right to put a stop to it. Also, sometimes harming something is inevitable; for example, accidentally, stepping on an insect or accidentally hurting someone’s feelings; none of us is perfect and we have to remember this, we are all human beings and everyone makes mistakes. FREE WILL Free will is also important to remember during your Wicca practices and magickal workings. Even if you believe that you are doing good and causing no harm to someone during a spell, if you perform a spell that in some way manipulates someone’s free will, this is not okay. You should never perform a spell that can change someone’s actions for your own selfish desires, even if you have the power to do so. For example, if you have a friend who is in a situation with their partner that you feel is bad for them, it is not okay to interfere in this by using a spell to control your friend to make them leave their partner. Even if you feel sure that this is the right decision for your friend, it would be controlling their free will. Always consider whether magickal practices are the correct answer for the situation; there are always several ways to approach a problem. Also, try to put yourself in the other person’s situation; ask yourself if you would be okay with this? This doesn’t mean that you can’t perform spells on other people, just remember not to compromise their free will and consider whether the spell will harm or manipulate them in any way. Some people may not want a spell cast on them even if you are just trying to help! I would suggest asking them before doing anything unless you are certain that they would be happy with your actions. THE WICCAN REDE The Wiccan Rede is a set of moral codes or key statements that Wiccans can use as principles to guide their lives. As I said, many, but not all, Wiccans choose to do this. Of course it is entirely a personal choice. The Wiccan Rede is written in the form of a poem and is frequently written at the beginning of your Book of Shadows. The original author of the Wiccan Rede was influenced by several well-known Wiccans dating back many, many years, but in fact the author remains unknown. The Wiccan Rede Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust. Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give. For tread the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out. To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme. Light of eye and soft of touch, speak you little, listen much. Honour the Old Ones in deed and name, let love and light be our guides again. Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the joyful tune. Widdershins go when the moon doth wane, and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane. When the Lady’s moon is new, kiss the hand to Her times two. When the moon rides at Her peak then your heart’s desire seek. Heed the North winds mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail. When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast. When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth. When the wind whispers from the West, all hearts will find peace and rest. Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow. Birch in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows. Oak in the forest towers with might, in the fire it brings the God’s insight. Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower. Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland. Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye. Hazel—the tree of wisdom and learning adds its strength to the bright fire burning. White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility. Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine. Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen. Elder is the Lady’s tree, burn it not or cursed you’ll be. Four times the Major Sabbats mark in the light and in the dark. As the old year starts to wane the new begins, it’s now Samhain. When the time for Imbolc shows, watch for flowers through the snows. When the wheel begins to turn soon the Beltane fires will burn. As the wheel turns to Lamas night power is brought to magick rite. Four times the Minor Sabbats fall, use the Sun to mark them all. When the wheel has turned to Yule, light the log the Horned One rules. In the spring, when night equals day, time for Ostara to come our way. When the Sun has reached its height, time for Oak and Holly to fight. Harvesting comes to one and all when the Autumn Equinox does fall. Heed the flower, bush and tree, by the Lady blessed you’ll be. Where the rippling waters go, cast a stone, the truth you’ll know. When you have and hold a need, harken not to others’ greed. With a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend. Merry Meet and Merry Part bright the cheeks and warm the heart. Mind the Three-fold Laws you should, three times bad and three times good. When misfortune is enow, wear the star upon your brow. Be true in love, this you must do, unless your love is false to you. These Eight words the Rede fulfill: An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will. VEGANISM AND VEGETARIANISM Another controversial subject which is discussed a great deal in the modern Wiccan world is the question of whether all Wiccans should be vegetarian or vegan. Because many Wiccans live by ‘If it harms none, do what you will’, this leads to a debate about whether it is acceptable to contribute to harming animals in any way; this includes unnecessary product testing on animals, as well as actually eating animals and animalrelated products. Some Wiccans interpret the saying to extend to the earth. Personally, I choose not to eat meat and to only purchase crueltyfree products as far as possible. For me, this relates back to the eightword saying above, which I try to live by. However, we have to remember that this choice is not always available to everyone and that others have different priorities and limitations in their lives. As I said before, not everybody thinks and feels the same about things and a Wiccan’s choice on how to eat or what to purchase is entirely up to them and we must try to understand one another’s differences. Even if we have completely different beliefs, all we can do is discuss with and educate one another on why we feel a certain way, without attacking each other. In my opinion, we should do what we can to prevent harming the earth and other living beings as much as we can; every little thing helps–from making small changes like using crueltyfree make-up and toiletries and maybe having a meat-free day once or twice a week or only consuming meat and/or dairy products at the weekends. It all depends on your own personal ideas about your faith but sometimes, just making a little change or contributing to a more positive, less harmful life by taking tiny steps can have a huge, positive effect on how you engage with the world and how you feel in yourself. This is just something to consider and is not in any way compulsory for being a Wiccan. Veganism and vegetarianism were not major considerations when Wicca was created, but now that we have such easy access to education and discussions on the subject of choosing a low-cruelty lifestyle, these choices seem to be increasingly popular and open for debate in the modern world of Wicca. 5. Magick Since the start of my journey in Wicca, I’ve been asked many questions about magick: What is it? Is it real? Why do you spell it like that? Is it dangerous? There are many misconceptions around magick which have created a fantastical, false idea about what many people think magick is. In reality we do not fly on broomsticks, flick our wands and make frogs appear. Real magick can be numerous things; it can be a ritual, or a spell, it can be the creation of a potion or magick can be divination. Or it can be as simple as cooking a meal for a loved one! Yes, magick is powerful, but there really is nothing to be scared of. Magick is not imaginary or pretend; we use the power of our five natural senses, combined with the power of nature, crystals, herbs, stones and the five elements (air, fire, water, earth and spirit) to achieve effective results. Magick is everywhere, right in front of us at all times; we put our desire into something and make it happen–this is magick. Numbers, words, colours, thoughts, actions and symbols are all magick, the natural world that surrounds us is magick. A lot of Wiccans believe that everything in our world is made up from the same substance; we are connected to everything else, we are made up from the same matter as the sun, the stars, the earth below us and the sky above us. We are made from the same substance as the entire natural world is made from, presented in a human being. We have the same energies and properties that the earth holds, all within ourselves; we each hold all of the power and energy that we need. If we use our senses to their full potential, we can manipulate energies within nature to gain effective results. Magick doesn’t work by lighting a candle and mixing a few herbs together and saying ‘abracadabra’, magick comes from within you and your intentions. You can’t do spell work without intent; it won’t work. There is nothing to be scared of in magick and you should explore it and study it, especially if your intentions are good. However, magick is definitely not easy and it takes a lot of practice and adjusting to–and it’s extremely draining, as well. Magick also requires getting into the right frame of mind; meditation can help with this as it enables you to tap into your psychic abilities and to open your third eye (heightened intuition and perception). Then maybe after a while you will no longer need to meditate and it will be easier to access. MAGIC VS MAGICK Magic with a ‘c’ is commonly associated with fantasy magic, such as stage tricks; pulling a rabbit out of a hat, etc. It’s a form of entertainment and is a performance based on tricks. While magick spelt with a ‘k’ refers to the type of magick used by witches, Wiccans etc. in witchcraft. Some prefer to use the word ‘magick’ with a ‘k’ so that it isn’t confused with fantasy magic. You don’t have to spell it differently–just be aware that there is a difference between the two. THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MAGICK There are tons of different types of magick, to do with the mediums you use to create or assist it; for example, kitchen magick, herbal magick, candle magick, etc. All of these can be used to cast spells. SPELLS Casting spells can take a few different forms, the main two being charming and potions. Spell work is something we do for personal gain and assistance. The energy that you release in spell work will bounce back to stimulate the intent of the spell. A spell could use verbal indications such as chants, sayings or simple word formations, sometimes combined with physical movements and different variations of objects and tools and mediums to create a magickal energy. See the Spell Work chapter in Part 3 (here) for starter spells and how to prepare for them. RITUALS RITUALS Many people think that rituals and spells are the same but they are not. Rituals are for a longer lasting purpose; they reach deeper within your core. Rituals are performed as a part of the Wicca faith, you can do them within a group or alone and they are typically used to become closer to the divine. We usually cast spells for a few main different intentions. Honouring spells can be used specifically for our deities, for the Sabbats or Esbats, or for the deceased. They are used to give thanks to the natural earth, to natural occurrences such as seasons and to your deities (however you perceive them). You can cast a spell to get rid of something, to expel or remove something that you no longer want or need in your life. You can cast spells to bless something or someone–objects or people–and these types of spells can help a situation, a venture or a relationship to begin with good energy and intentions; to create a positive start to something. For example, this type of spell could be used when you or someone you know is moving to a new home; blessing the house will create a positive new beginning. You can also bless new tools that you are going to use in your magickal workings. Existing tools, places and relationships, etc. can also benefit from blessing spells–for instance, maybe you have been going through a period of negativity, for whatever reason, and you feel that this has attached itself to your room, your personal space or haven; blessing the room can create a new energy and new beginning in that area. Or you can cast spells for something that you may want to add to or gain in your life or to help you to create positivity for yourself in some form. For example, you might be hoping for a promotion at work and you can cast a spell to help with this. POTIONS A potion is a mixture of ingredients that, when combined in the proper fashion, has magickal energy. A potion can be a blend of herbs, oils, teas or other natural materials. Potions can be used externally, bathed in, or consumed by drinking or eating, sometimes even steaming, or burning. Potions are so diverse; there is probably a potion for every type of spell that you may need! There is no specific potion or spell for each subject and intent; for example, there is no one potion for a love spell. There are lots of different ones and every combination works differently on every person. Liquid potions should be stored in bottles, jars are best for dried materials or, if the potion is not suitable for storing, be sure to discard it properly, by burying it in the ground, for example. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO DO MAGICK? There are certain times of the month, week and moon phases that are the optimum times for particular magick or to ask for specific things. We follow the moon during magick. The moon is our goddess and has a huge impact on our earth and has associations with everything that grows and is created. It enhances psychic knowledge. WAXING MOON The waxing moon is the time straight after the new moon, when the goddess in is her maiden form. This is a beneficial time to do spells for growth, new comings, also improving things, any aspect of your life that may need this, such as career, love life, friendships and spiritually. This is a time for increasing aspects of your life. It’s also a great time for magick that’s connected with changes, taking up new hobbies, financial spells and balance spells too. WANING MOON From after the full moon to until it’s the new moon again is the phase of the waning moon. This is a good time for banishing spells, removing obstacles and health and wellness spells, for both mental and physical well-being. This is also a great time to decrease the negative aspects of our lives, to get rid of or ‘lessen’ anything that we feel we need to. Also, it is a time to let go of anything affecting your happiness, whether it be any angry thoughts and feelings you may have towards someone or situations causing you stress or rage. Spells for clarity and to help you understand the way to move forwards in a situation, and cleansing spells are also relevant at this time too. The goddess is in her wise crone form in this phase. NEW MOON The new moon is always the best time for spell work relating to new beginnings and ventures, in any form, whether it be looking for new love, a new job or starting on a new path or phase in our lives. It’s also good for beginning to let go of the past and starting afresh. It’s a beneficial phase in which to assess what is required to change in our lives in order for them to progress and grow. Change is good–we need it to remove what no longer serves us, to remove anything that has a negative impact in our lives. The new moon is a fantastic time to look to the future. The triple moon goddess is in a secretive state and the moon is dark. FULL MOON In Wicca, the celebration of a full moon is called an Esbat, (see Part 3, Wiccan Holidays and the Wheel of the Year for Esbats and how to celebrate them). This is a relevant time for numerous types of magick, as the night of the full moon is the most magickal night of each month. It’s a good time for magick related to healing, strength, power, money, dreams and psychic knowledge. It’s an excellent time of the month to draw the energy from the moon to help create positive energy within yourself and your life and to bring about bigger changes. It is generally a good time for ‘bigger’ spells, where you require more energy and power. It’s a beneficial time to meditate on important issues in order to find answers, and divination is also at its most powerful. Psychic energy is radiating from the moon now and it’s also time to use that to its full potential for significant and powerful magick. The goddess is in her motherly form at the full moon. MAGICK ACCORDING TO THE DAYS OF THE WEEK MONDAY Monday is named after the moon, and associated with moon deities. Colour correspondences: Silver, white and blue. Magickal intent for Monday: discovering unknown knowledge, uncovering mystery, illusion, sleep, emotions, travels, peace, fertility, insight, creativity, wisdom, new starts, dreams and seeking answers. TUESDAY Tuesday is associated with the planet Mars. Colour correspondences: Red and orange. Magickal intent for Tuesday: Conflict/resolving conflict, success, overcoming obstacles, protection, cleansing and strength. WEDNESDAY Wednesday is associated with Mercury. Colour correspondences: Purple, lavender and orange. Magickal intent for Wednesday: finance, change, creativity, work, luck, improvement and art. THURSDAY Thursday is associated with Jupiter. Colour correspondences: blue, green and purple. Magickal intent for Thursday: strength, protection, overpowering obstacles, healing, inner strength, mental health and physical health. FRIDAY Friday is associated with Venus. Colour correspondences: pink, red and light blue. Magickal intent for Friday: fertility, love, relationships, friendships, sex, passion, birth, romance and improvement. SATURDAY Saturday is associated with Saturn. Colour correspondences: black, purple and deep red. Magickal intent for Saturday: wisdom, psychic abilities, protection, banishing, safety and cleansing. SUNDAY Sunday is associated with the sun. Colour correspondences: yellow and gold. Magickal intent for Sunday: peace, self-expression, creativity, fame, promotion, career, wealth, healing, growth and victory. IS THERE A WRONG TIME TO DO MAGICK? There are so many good opportunities to do magick, but unfortunately, sometimes, there are times when it just shouldn’t be used or it just isn’t the appropriate time. Magick should only be performed when you are feeling at your neutral mental state, no matter what that might be (it is different for every individual). You don’t have to be ecstatically happy or extremely positive, just in the clearest, most reasonable mental state that you can be in. Being angry or creating a spell out of anger is never good; it can reflect in your magick and come back to you. It is the same with being highly emotional, sad or overly stressed. Also, doing a spell from the perspective of purely seeking revenge or in order to harm someone is never good. Always look to the law of three (or Three-Fold Law) if you’re undecided over whether to do something or not and, if you’re not sure, meditate on it, seek the answer and then rethink. If you’re just not feeling up to doing a magickal working that you have planned, for whatever reason, there will always be an opportunity to do it at another time, so there’s no need to rush, it will work a lot more effectively when you’re feeling up to it. RULES OF MAGICK There are a few rules that some (but not all) Wiccans like to follow when casting their magick to ensure that they are following the law of three. If you can solve the situation without magick, do so. Magick is not used to solve something that you simply can’t be bothered to sort out in other ways; that lack of thought and energy will show in your magick and the outcome will be unsuccessful. For example, if you’re having problems with someone that you cannot avoid–a co-worker or someone who attends the same classes as you but who is manipulative, a bully or who generally brings harmful energies–try to think of ways to confront them, involve other people to help you or physically distance yourself from them. Explore all other avenues before turning to magick. This might solve the problem, but even if it doesn’t, you will have the motivation for magick, which will make its use far more successful. As we spoke about in the chapter on Three-Fold Law (see here), never manipulate free will while casting spells. Remember ‘If it harms none, do what you will’–a line from the Wiccan Rede (see here) which some Wiccans try to always follow. Don’t be greedy, Wicca is all about balance; don’t ask for the world. For example, you may want to improve your career, so, instead of asking to instantly become the CEO of the company that you’re working for, you could do a spell to help boost some aspects of your career and to help you advance along your chosen path. It’s always important to be aware of maintaining balance, because whatever you’re asking for has to come from somewhere; materialistic things don’t just appear. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t ask for something big if it’s in great need; just make sure that you balance it out. In order to gain something, maybe you could sacrifice something else; for example, perhaps you need a promotion, but maybe some of the money you get once you’ve been promoted could go to charity to help someone else, or you could use your position to assist somebody in need in your line of work. 6. Wiccan Paths Unlike some religions, Wicca is adaptable to you, your lifestyle and who you are as a person. Of course, there are basic principles and beliefs, such as the fundamental ‘If it harms none, do what you will’ and the eight Sabbats and twelve Esbats which are celebrated by all Wiccans. There are also, unfortunately, people in the Wiccan community that think their way of practising is the only correct way. However, I have also found that there are crazy amounts of paths or traditions you can follow to make the amazing journey that you are embarking on right for you. Basically, Wicca is adaptable for anyone who has a passion for the faith. WHY WOULD YOU CHOOSE ONE WICCA PATH OVER ANOTHER? All humans are unique: we each have different desires, feelings, beliefs and powers in us, and if some traditions and paths may suit one person, they might not make sense to another. Choosing a Wicca path that feels right for you can also help you find your way in the faith; the basis of your chosen path, its magickal workings and practices, can provide you with a much clearer route for your Wiccan journey. The path that you follow can also help to shape your identity as a Wiccan–which can be both personal and important to the individual. FINDING YOUR PATH So, how do you decide which path is right for you? It’s actually a lot easier than it sounds. Typically, in order to find your Wiccan identity, you can research into the different traditions and paths until you find one that suits your beliefs and interests or that you simply feel drawn to on some level. You might find that you are already instinctively following some of the traditions that relate to a particular path. Some people like to use divination to determine which route to take while others just seem to know instinctively! Many Wiccans, myself included, may feel that they identify with more than one path, for example, I’m an eclectic Wiccan, but I also practise the faith independently, without a coven, so I’m an eclectic solitary Wiccan (see the following sections for further explanation of what I mean). You can combine paths that work together if it feels right for you to do so. There are no restrictions or rules about how you decide which path is best for you. I have described a list of Wicca paths and traditions that I feel can help you make an informed choice. Also, remember that people change paths all the time, you can follow many different traditions in a lifetime and some paths may suit you at certain points in your life and at other times you may feel a different path works better for you. I am going to explain a little about some of the different types of Wicca paths and traditions that you can follow. First, I would like to say that this is not a definitive list, but it includes the main paths that I am aware of and am educated about. If none of these feel right for you, there are still lots of others and, as I said, it’s completely fine to combine paths as I have. There are some limitations in that some traditions don’t work together, but, in Wicca, I don’t feel there are many restrictions or limitations on what you can do. So, it is about thinking over which path is best for you in the faith to help you with your journey and guidance. This is just a short list of the traditions in Wicca that you can follow and a short briefing on them, so please do some of your own research online and in the many reference books available. Also please remember that each path is open to individual interpretation and may mean different things to different practitioners. I hope this section helps you with deciding your own correct Wicca path. DIFFERENT TYPES OF WICCA PATHS GARDNERIAN WICCA I’m starting with this very well-known Wicca path. Gardnerian Wicca was created by Gerald Gardner, who is considered to be pretty much like the dad of Wicca. Around the middle of the twentieth century, Gardner had a huge influence on the Wicca faith; he was responsible for promoting the religion throughout the world. The Gardnerian path is a coven-based path which supposedly follows insight and practices that Gardner learned from his previous experiences with other groups. In the Gardnerian path, you typically only follow one god and one goddess. It is believed that Gardnerian coven practices are kept secret from anyone not initiated, that Gardnerian Wiccans cannot share the fact they are in a coven and that they have to sign an oath to keep the secrets of the coven safe. This might be why there is a lack of published information about the actual Gardnerian beliefs and practices. Gardner has initiated many High Priestesses and High Priests to lead their own covens and membership is only achieved through initiation by these High Priestesses or High Priests. There is thought to be a system of hierarchy or levels attained within this path. It follows that it is rare to find a solitary Wiccan practising this path. CELTIC WICCA Celtic Wicca is a more modern form of Wicca. Its traditions teach a deeprooted love for the earth and spirituality and it incorporates Celtic lore. The Celtic path typically has two main deities: the Mother Earth Goddess and the Horned God but can also have other minor deities that they can still worship and help with their practices which are typically from a Celtic/druid pantheon. They study the magickal properties of plants and crystals, stones, herbs, flowers, trees, elemental spirits, gnomes, sprites and fairies, which they also use heavily in their magickal workings, including rituals and spell work. Celtic Wicca can be learned and practised solitarily but some practitioners of Celtic Wicca believe that being part of a druid-led coven helps the followers of this path find their way. ALEXANDRIAN WICCA Alexandrian Wicca was introduced by Alex Sanders in the 1960s. It is heavily influenced by Gardnerian Wicca, being coven-based, with rituals led by a High Priest and Priestess, and members who are initiated have to sign an oath of secrecy to the coven. The differences between Alexandrian and Gardnerian paths are firstly the deities; instead of believing in two principal deities as Gardner teaches, in this path you can believe in any number of deities and from whichever pantheon you please. Sanders had practised Gardnerian Wicca throughout his life and felt as though it was too controlled and forced. This particular path incorporates elements of ceremonial magick and Qabalah. Alexandrian wiccans are thought to emphasise gender polarity; I feel that it is a good thing that this emphasis is decreasing in the modern world of Wicca as we learn more, progress and grow as a community. ECLECTIC WICCA Eclectic Wicca is one of the paths with the greatest following. As I mentioned previously, I identify as an eclectic Wiccan. An eclectic Wiccan does not follow a specific tradition but picks and chooses specific deities that they are drawn to; for instance, they could follow any sets of deities or can just pick and choose one or any number from different paths. Some eclectic Wiccans believe that all the deities represent the same entities but they just stem from different cultures and are presented in different ways. The majority of eclectic Wiccans are solitary Wiccans but there are, of course, a lot of covens that have eclectic Wiccans, as it’s a very accessible path for your Wicca journey. SHAMAN WICCA For an extremely long time, Shaman practice was seen as an individual path, distinct from Wicca. Nowadays, being a Shaman and a Wicca are thought of as being a very modern combination despite the fact that uniting the two paths has been a tradition for longer than we could imagine. Shaman Wiccans follow the same typical traditions as other Wiccans but they use their practices and techniques to connect with the spirit/sacred realms. Shaman Wiccans can reach different states of consciousness, speak to spirits from which they gain knowledge and answers and predict the future. Shamans also practise both physical and spiritual healing. A Shaman Wiccan can follow any deities they would like but can also use spirits to help with magickal workings. Again, Shamans can be solitary or work within a group or coven. SEAX WICCA Seax Wicca is heavily influenced by the folklore of Anglo-Saxon traditions. It was founded by Raymond Buckland, who was originally a Gardnerian Wiccan who moved from England to the United States in the 1970s, where he created this new path. Buckland established a more accessible and open path in that Seax Wiccan covens follow a democratic system, electing officers and High Priests and Priestesses with a yearly vote. There is also no secret oath taken. Runes play a significant part in divinatory practices. You can follow this path solitarily but because of its openness, joining a coven or an online coven may be a good path to take if this suits your lifestyle. There is no one set of rules or regulations for Seax Wicca. DIANIC WICCA Dianic Wicca is a feminist form of Wicca that is quickly growing in popularity. This path was founded by a hereditary witch named Zsuzsanna Budapest, in 1971, in Venice Beach, California. This path generally follows the typical traditions of Gardnerian and Alexandrian Wicca. However, Dianic Wiccans tend to focus on female energies and the goddess side of things and not so much on the god and male energy side of things. They also focus on female deities but typically worship one main deity, which is the Roman hunter goddess Diana. Typically, this path is for females only and works to create a safe space for women who may not, for various reasons, feel comfortable practising with men. HEREDITARY WICCA Hereditary Wicca is the term for a Wiccan that is born into a family that also practises the Wicca faith or has ancestors that have practised Wicca, even if they follow a different path to their family. A Hereditary Wiccan may be brought up as a Wiccan or they might decide to adopt the Wiccan faith into their lives later on but, either way, they come from a family that practises it. Once again, Hereditary Wicca can be combined with other paths. Hereditary Wiccans can sometimes be part of a family coven or choose to practise as a solitary Wiccan. SOLITARY WICCA As you could probably guess from the name, a solitary Wiccan does not belong to any coven or group and mainly practises the faith alone. As with eclectic Wicca, solitary Wiccans follow whichever deities they are drawn to, and they are not limited to a specific number of deities; they may follow just one or a whole pantheon. Today, many Wiccans choose to be solitary because they want to explore a path or multiple paths and make their own discoveries in the faith. If you define yourself as solitary, you are probably not actively looking to join a group or coven. FAERY WICCA A Faery Wiccan places importance on the fae; sprites, faeries, elves, gnomes, etc. who keep everything balanced in the natural world. Faery Wicca developed from early Celtic traditions and beliefs. Faery Wiccans tend to practise faery magick and work closely with faeries and other members of the fae. They also use faery power, an energy from the fae. They work with faery energies and hold them in high regard, above other deities. Some believe that Faery Wiccans should only worship the fae themselves as their deities whilst others worship an eclectic mix of deities, depending on individual preference. Some people in the Faery Wicca community also like to have specific Wiccan names for themselves (this is common with other traditions as well). DRACONIC WICCA Draconic Wiccans worship dragons and dragon lore. Believe it or not, dragons and dragon lore are part of the super ancient beliefs and customs of many different cultures. Draconic Wiccans mainly practise Draconian magick, which is powered by the strong energies of dragons. For most practitioners of Draconic Wicca, dragons represent wisdom and balance. It is common for them to work with dragon gods and goddesses, who are called to you or into you in times when needed the most– Sabbats, during a full moon or if you have a powerful spell to tackle. They also call on elemental dragon guardians for rituals which represent the elements used in traditional Wicca practices. Draconic Wiccans, again, can be in a coven or clan or practise solitarily. Draconic Wicca practices are usually passed down by word of mouth but as this path increases in popularity, more published information is becoming available if you would like to do further research. GREEN WICCAN A Green Wiccan practises mainly nature-based and earth-oriented witchcraft. They typically use herbs, flowers, trees, fungi and plants in kitchen magick (which can be a separate Wicca path in itself) and herbology. Also, growing their own gives them a deeper connection to the plants. Green Wiccans usually practise witchcraft using elements of the earth, rocks, crystals and fossils. Green witches also tend to specialise in herbal remedies. Green Wiccans can follow whichever deities they choose or they might specifically follow nature spirits, which are the dead of humans, animals and plants. A form of green witchcraft which is better classified as Green Wicca was popularised by Ann Moura. This connects to the forest, but places a lot of emphasis on folklore and folk magick from a wide range of cultures. Green Wiccans can be solitary practitioners or part of a coven. Many Wiccans follow some of the Green Wicca practices, particularly growing their own herbs for use in their practices. AFRO-WICCA Afro-Wiccans follow the Wheel of the Year, celebrating and honouring the natural world. They perform rituals and spell work according to the sun and the moon and follow the Wiccan Rede and the law of three, and live by the rule ‘If it harms none, do what you will’. Followers of Afro-Wicca will invoke, honour and worship deities from the Egyptian, African and Afro-Caribbean pantheons. Their magickal workings might include practices found in rootwork, voodoo and hoodoo. Afro-Wicca is a relatively new path of eclectic Wicca; it is a combination of paths in which some practitioners include elements of their cultural heritage and energies while still following the main beliefs and practices of the Wicca faith. DECIDING ON PRACTISING SOLITARILY OR IN A COVEN? Deciding on whether you want to practise solitarily or in a coven can be super easy and lots of factors can determine what’s best for you. Like I said before, there may be a path you are drawn to that is coven-based, while some other paths can be more flexible and can be practised in a coven or solitarily. Some people feel their level of concentration and power within the world is best alone, and some feel it increases when they are surrounded by people sharing the same path as them. Either way, there are positives to being in a coven, like learning from other incredible Wiccans all embarking on the same path as you, having a community to share your journey and the Wicca path with, including the Sabbats and spell and ritual work, and also having a group of people to be a part of spiritually–which can also include amazing support. You can look into joining an online coven or search for one that you can be a part of in the real world. You could find that you enjoy being in a community with like-minded people and accept that you’re going to be learning from other Wiccans and taught a specific way for the path you have chosen. Find out more on how to find your coven here. On the other hand, you may like to practise the faith alone, and embark on your journey alone because you may feel you can concentrate and strive within your magickal workings and that being solitary may give you the freedom to create your own journey and possibly a broader path. Practising the faith solitarily can give you an opportunity to do things your way, and make your path your own. For most Wiccans, it’s completely normal to fall naturally into being in a coven or to practise the faith on their own. Whichever path you choose, though, whether solitary or a coven, you can always change your way. A Wiccan’s will is free. 7. The Book of Shadows A Book of Shadows is a personal record that anyone embarking on a Wicca journey can use to document absolutely everything that they learn and discover along the way. It is your own book that can be used to record your personal and individual growth in the faith. You might include spells, rituals, potions, aspects of magick, chants, information on the elements, magickal tools used in your workings, divination such as information gathered from tarot cards, tasseography, rune stones, etc. You also might include more personal information, such as your own deities, your path, information about your own particular magick tools and documentation of individual methods and results of your spell and ritual work. It is important to keep documentation of all your work as a Wiccan– for me, the main reason is that a Book of Shadows holds so much information about your personal Wicca journey which can be looked back on and reflected on at a later date. A Book of Shadows can be any type of book, but it is preferable to begin with a durable, thick book because, trust me, there will be a hell of a lot of information to fill it with. It can be hardback or paperback and some people like to use binders and loose pages because they are easy to arrange, add to and put neatly in order–all super helpful for documenting your journey. Also, an ordered Book of Shadows can make it easier when you need to look back at a particular section or subject. Some Wiccans choose to have one book documenting everything; others work on multiple Books of Shadows. Personally, I find that it works well for me to have two books; one for recording practical experiences, such as spell work, and one that I use more for recording information, such as the historical side of spells and why I might use them. It is entirely up to you: start recording your journey and see what feels right and makes sense. However many Books of Shadows you start with, the chances are that you will end up having more than one in your lifetime. You will find that you never stop learning and recording, so after you’ve finished your first Book of Shadows, simply purchase or make another and continue the documentation of your Wicca journey. A Book of Shadows is like any of our magickal tools that we keep safe and sacred to us. Many Wiccans find that they prefer to keep their books extremely private, because they are so very personal–similar to keeping a journal. It is absolutely fine if you feel that you don’t want anyone to see your book. Alternatively, some Wiccans are more open and not so protective, allowing close family and friends and people they trust access to their books. Once again, everyone feels differently and it is up to the individual to decide their level of privacy. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BOOK OF SHADOWS AND A GRIMOIRE? While a Book of Shadows is a record of your own personal experiences as already described, a Grimoire is similar but would not include personal paths and choices, such as your own personal deities, information on how you do your own spells or your own individual methods. It focuses on the practical and factual elements of your journey. Families and covens are likely to have a Grimoire to share their teachings with the entire group and they also may have a Book of Shadows. A Grimoire is not usually written for one specific Wiccan. You will find that the way you document your journey will naturally fall into the style of a Book of Shadows or a Grimoire. CREATING YOUR OWN BOOK OF SHADOWS There are lots and lots of commercially produced Books of Shadows these days that have been designed and printed worldwide, but I strongly recommend creating and writing your own. I believe that documenting your own growth and achievements helps you learn and progress on your path and helps you to discover your own identity and to become the Wiccan you would like to be. Starting your Book of Shadows can be really confusing and nerve-wracking, but remember there’s no rush; you have the rest of your life to write about your newfound faith. One of the most difficult parts (for me anyway) of creating your Book of Shadows is actually getting started. You can begin by personalising the cover of your book to suit your Wicca journey and yourself. Some choose to leave this until later, when they know how they’d like to express themselves–perhaps decorating it to suit a path they have chosen or aspects of the faith that they would like to emphasise or reflect. Some leave it blank or decorate it simply with a pentagram. The possibilities are endless. Here are some ideas to help kick-start your journey–but really just follow your heart. • Symbols that are relevant to your journey, for example, pentagrams, pentacles, protection symbols, element symbols, god and goddess symbolism, etc. • Crystals (preferably ones that are relevant to you, ones for spiritual protection or that you are drawn to) • Relevant or interesting drawings, paintings, pictures • Make or buy a cover for it • Dried herbs or flowers (make sure to glue these down well) • Feathers, shells or other natural objects • Protection charms, written normally or in code • Lace or string for decoration or protection And now some ideas to get you started with documentation in your Book of Shadows: • A protection charm • The Wiccan Rede–or any other moral codes you may follow • Deities you work with and connect with • Notes about a path or tradition you you work with and connect with • Notes about a path or tradition you may have chosen to follow (for now) for your Wicca journey • Elements • The Sabbats and Esbats • Divination information • Dreams and interpretations • Ritual work • Spell work • Potions • Herbs, flowers and their properties • Different types of Magick you learn about • Chants • Information on magickal tools • Magickal workings and your way of doing things After you have taken those first steps in creating and writing your Book of Shadows, you will enjoy building a relationship with your book as you record more and more, whether it is in the form of notes, drawings, found objects, clippings, artwork or anything else that you choose to include. 8. Deities In Wicca, the deities are gods or goddesses that we follow and worship. There are so many deities that you could follow and many ways that you can choose to see and worship them. There are no right or wrong choices here. It simply depends on what feels right to you–which deities you feel drawn to and also the path that you decide to take as a Wiccan. Do not be put off Wicca because the idea of having a god or a goddess doesn’t feel like your thing. Following deities is actually very simple. A lot of Wiccans don’t think of gods and goddesses as actual people, higher beings, someone that once existed or as all-knowing creators of everything. Instead, we view deities as personifications of nature. Each deity represents a different aspect of something that we experience on this earth, including the natural world; there is a god or a goddess to represent every single aspect of the earth and all that comes with it. It becomes easier to connect with nature if we see aspects of it in human form, because we find it easier to understand and visualise looking up to, listening to and communicating with people. So, we see deities as just human forms of nature. For example, the Armenian deity Anahit is the goddess of fertility, healing, wisdom and water, and we think of her as the personification of these elements and powers and the spiritual energies surrounding them. Of course, you can also believe in deities in the traditional way, as supernatural powers that keep whatever they represent and look after in balance; that’s just another way of believing in your deities. Some Wiccans might follow a group or pantheon of deities such as the Celtic, Norse or Egyptian gods and goddesses. It’s also a common idea that gods and goddesses from different pantheons represent similar things, so they are actually similar deities that have originated from and developed and adapted in different civilisations and cultures throughout the world. If you believe this train of thought and you are happy to potentially honour all of the deities, depending on which feels right for you at the time, you could be an eclectic Wiccan. Or you could just choose one group of deities to work with if you prefer and still follow this belief, but just choose one pantheon that suits you best and you feel drawn to. Some Wiccans only worship one or two deities and others may just choose to work with one god or goddess if the pull towards that one deity seems sufficient. Some Wiccans follow the traditional Gardnerian teaching, believing there is only one god and one goddess–the god of the sun and the goddess of the moon. There are so many deities that you can follow from different cultures and countries. Don’t worry if it takes you a while to find which gods and goddesses feel right for you. You can worship deities from anywhere in the world, but there are a few common ones that you hear about frequently in Wicca. This doesn’t mean that you have to follow these ones, these are just a few of the options. GREEK Apollo–god of music, prophecy, truth, healing, the sun and light Aphrodite–goddess of love, beauty, eternal youth and fertility Ares–god of war Artemis–goddess of the hunt, wild animals, chastity and childbirth Asteria–goddess of falling stars and night-time prophecies Athena–goddess of wisdom, strength, crafts and knowledge Aura–goddess representing a gentle breeze Demeter–goddess of the harvest Eos–goddess of the dawn Eros–god of love Hecate–goddess of magick, witchcraft, ghosts and the night Hades– god of the underworld Helios–god of the sun Hera–goddess of women, marriage and family Hermes–god of trade, shepherds, travel and literature, particularly of poets, also the messenger of the gods Nyx–goddess of the night Persephone–goddess of the spring and queen of the underworld Persephone–goddess of the spring and queen of the underworld Poseidon–god of the sea, earthquakes, floods and horses Rhea– mother of gods and goddess of motherhood and female fertility Selene–goddess of the moon Styx–goddess of the river Styx which divides earth from the underworld Thea–goddess of sight and divine light Zeus–the god of the sky and the ruler of the Olympian gods. ROMAN Apollo–god of light, music and healing Aurora–goddess of the dawn Bacchus–god of wine, farming and fertility Ceres–goddess of the harvest and a mother’s love Cupid–god of love Diana–goddess of the hunt, nature and the moon Juno–goddess of love and marriage Jupiter–god of thunder and sky Luna–goddess of the moon Mars–god of war Minerva–goddess of wisdom, war, commerce, crafts and poetry Neptune–god of the sea Pluto–god of the underworld Proserpine–goddess of the underworld Sol–god of the sun Terra–goddess of the earth Venus–goddess of love EGYPTIAN Amun–god of the sun, the air and life Anubis–god of the dead Bast–goddess of protection, cats and of the home Bes–god of war, but also of the home Hapi–god of water and fertility who brought the annual flooding of the Nile Hathor–goddess of joy, love, the annual flooding of the Nile Hathor–goddess of joy, love, motherhood, beauty and fertility Horus–protector of Egypt Isis–goddess of fertility and empowerment Khensu–god of the moon Maat–goddess of truth, justice, stability and harmony Min–god of fertility and male sexuality Mut–goddess, mother figure Neith–goddess of war Nut–goddess of the sky and the heavens Osiris–god of the afterlife Ptah–god of craftsmen and creation Ra–god of the sun Sekhmet–goddess of destruction, war and healing Set–god of disorder, storms and war Shu–god of dry air and the earth’s atmosphere Taweret–goddess of childbirth Tefnut–goddess of water, moisture and rain Thoth–god of writing, science, magick and the moon CELTIC Áine of Knockainey–goddess of love, crops and farms Airmid– goddess of medicinal plants and regeneration Amaethon–god of agriculture and luck Andraste–goddess of the moon and divination Angus Og–god of youth, beauty and love Anu– goddess of the moon, fertility, prosperity and comfort Arawn– god of the underworld, revenge, war and terror Artio–goddess of animals and fertility Bel–god representing sun and fire Bendigeidfran–god of the arts, music, writing and prophecy Branwen–goddess of love and beauty Bres–god of agriculture and fertility Brigit/ Brigid–goddess of fire, sun, hearth, fertility, crafts, inspiration, home and divination Cailleach–goddess of the winter months Ceridwen–goddess of poetic inspiration Cernunnos–the horned god of nature, the underworld, wealth and physical love and masculine energy The Dagda–god of protection, weather and knowledge and the father god of Ireland Danu–goddess of water, wizards, magick and wisdom Latobius–god of mountains and sky Lugh–god of craftsmanship and light Manannan–god of the sea Maponus–god of music and poetry Morrigan–goddess of war Nuada–god of war Rhiannon–goddess of horses Taliesin–god of poets Taranis–god of thunder and the wheel NORSE Aegir–god of the sea Balder–a gentle, pure and wise god Bragi–god of poetry and eloquence Eir–goddess of healing Forseti–god of justice Freyja–goddess of fertility, beauty and war Frigg–goddess of love, fertility and motherhood Gefion–goddessof fertility Heimdall–god of light Hel–ruler of the underworld Lofn–goddess of marriages Loki–the trickster of the Norse gods Njord–god of the wind and sea Odin–king of the Norse gods; god of poetry, war, death and wisdom Sif–goddess of fertility Sjöfn–goddess of passion Skadi–goddess of winter, the hunt and mountains Thor–god of thunder Ullr–god of archery and skiing Var–goddess of marriage oaths Vör–goddess who knows everything SLAVIC Dažbog–god of the sun Jarilo–god of war, spring, fertility and harvest Lada–goddess of love, marriage, summer, beauty and fertility Morana–goddess of harvest, winter, death and witchcraft Perun–god of thunder and lightning Rod–the supreme god Svarog–god of fire Svetovid–god of war and fertility Triglav–god of war Veles–god of earth, forests, waters and the underworld Vesna– goddess of spring, love and youth Zaria–goddess of beauty Živa–goddess of love and fertility JAPANESE Amaterasu–goddess of the sun and the universe Benzaiten–goddess of literature, music, love and wealth Ebisu–god of fishermen, luck, prosperity and crops Fujin–god of the wind Inari–goddess of prosperity, fertility, rice, tea, sake, agriculture and industry Jizo–the guardian of children, childbirth, women and travellers Kannon–goddess of mercy Raijin–god of lightening, storms and thunder AFRICAN Anayaroli–god of harvest and wealth (the Temne of Sierra Leone) Asa–god of protection and mercy (the Kamba of Kenya) Asase Yaa–goddess of fertility (the Ashanti of West Africa) Chiuta–god of rain (the Tumbuka in Malawi) Inanna–goddess of sky, war and love (the Banyarwanda) Jok–god of rain (Zaire and Uganda) Mungo–god of rain (Giriama of Kenya) Ngami–goddess of the moon Ochumare–goddess of rainbows (the Yoruba) Ogun–god of war and iron (the Nago and the Yoruba) Olorun–creator god (the Yoruba) Oshun–the goddess of love and fertility (the Yoruba) Oya–goddess of storms (the Yoruba) Rock-Sens–god of weather (the Serer of Gambia) Ruhanga–creator god and god of fertility, disease and death (the Banyoro of Uganda) Shango–god of thunder, war and magick (the Yoruba) Yemaya–goddess of the seas and rivers (the Yoruba) Yemoja– goddess of the river, women and children (the Yoruba) Why Explore Wicca? Wicca has had such a positive impact on all areas of my life. So many elements of the faith go hand in hand with improved physical and mental well-being and positive emotional health and relationships. 9. Mental Health Benefits Thankfully, mental health issues are recognised and discussed much more openly nowadays. A question that I am frequently asked is, can I still be a Wiccan if I have a mental health issue? My answer is always the same. Yes, of course you can. There are so many different mental health issues that people struggle with daily. You can work alongside them to develop your Wicca journey, hopefully improving or at least helping your mental health. It’s always important to bear in mind that when you are feeling highly emotional or just not okay, it’s fine to take time for yourself. Don’t perform spell work or rituals when you’re not feeling up to it. Always consider the law of three, if you’re in two minds about doing magick, and make sure you are in a neutral state. It doesn’t make you a lesser Wiccan if you don’t feel up to doing your tarot cards one day or celebrating a Sabbat. Wicca is a lifelong journey and if you intend to be in it for the long run, there’s always another time– everything happens in a cycle. Having a Wicca journey can create something to focus on, to distract your mind–giving you something to look forward to and discover each day. This can be a huge benefit while struggling with mental health issues. Even when the world feels like a difficult, flat place, Wicca helps you look into the natural beauty of it all, making you realise that, no, this isn’t ‘it’: there is more. I also feel that Wicca encourages you to go outside and experience the natural world. The fundamentals of the faith do not need the day-today things we are distracted by. It helps you take a look around, notice plants, trees, the stars, the moon and the sun, aspects of the world you may not always take notice of. It can help you see how beautiful the world is, even when that seems to disappear when you are struggling. Not to mention, there are lots of aspects of Wicca that involve mental, physical and spiritual healing, which can help to balance your mind and emotions. Healing with crystals, herbal remedies, healing using spells and also, the most important, meditation. Meditation can help numerous aspects of your life: everyday life can offer so much stress, especially when dealing with mental health issues. Things that can hit people without mental health issues hard can hit those with them harder. Meditation helps you escape; it makes you see the world from a bird’s-eye view and your problems appear minuscule sometimes or, at least, more manageable. It helps balance your mind and body, relaxes every sense and taps into the parts of your brain that are subconscious to help your mind work through problems you may not be able to deal with on a day-to-day basis. It can help you make the correct decisions and lead your mind to what you truly want, which will inevitably benefit you. Wicca can benefit the way you think, feel and allow you to experience beautiful aspects of the world, but it is not a cure. We require help from all around us. Remember what we said about science? It’s all magick. There’s nothing wrong with not being able to cure your mental illness with meditation and healthy eating alone: sometimes you require help from the magick of science and medication–and that’s totally okay. CONFIDENCE CONFIDENCE As well as being a factor that can contribute to your mental health, Wicca can also help you gain confidence, which, in turn, can benefit your mental health too. Early on in my Wicca journey, I noticed that my faith helped me create an identity, not based on how everyone else sees me, but on how I see myself. Discovering aspects of Wicca, such as which path suits you best, the deities you feel attracted to, crystals you feel a connection with, tools you use that really do ‘choose you’, can make you feel as though you are a part of something larger–they did me. Wicca makes you feel as though there is a place for everyone. Should you keep your beliefs private or talk about them? Sometimes exploring other Wiccans’ journeys can be amazing and also contribute to your knowledge and this may require talking to people. Your confidence may be lacking, especially when it comes to talking to people, but finding a place and starting a journey can give you a common ground with other Wiccans. You may want to go to events for your new faith, take part in forums and download apps that help you connect with fellow Wiccans. Your curiosity and ambition to learn in the faith can push you to want to speak to others following similar paths to you. Confidence can also be gained in places that you might never have imagined, such as performing magick. This can be a physical task that sometimes takes action, speaking, asking and requesting from the universe, which require massive amounts of power and intent. The actual performance aspect of spell work and rituals can build your confidence, kind of like practising a performance before you go on stage in a play. Magick can also give you a massive sense of self-empowerment; having control over aspects of your life you may not have felt before can build up the confidence inside you to create change, which a lot of young boys and girls struggle with in the modern world. Becoming power-hungry can be a problem, though, so remember to keep humble and balanced throughout your practices. Balance can also help you gain confidence, accepting that everything is as it is: nobody is better than anyone else, no one is worse off, we are all at balance with each other, we do not need to be in competition with each other because we are all individual people–just because someone may