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Tips On Getting Started

Tips On Getting Started

PostAuthor: TheWiseHedgewitch » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:05 pm

By Bonnie on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 06:39 pm:

I would like to offer the following article for folks wondering how to get started & apologize that it is so long. I hope that it will be helpful. It's only one person's point of view.

Where Do You Start?

Many people first interested in witchcraft have asked "how do I get started?", and the answers are as varied as the people asking the question. A lot has to do with who you are, what your interest is, what your previous experience may be. Some are drawn by the religious aspect of Wicca, some by its gentle relationship to Mother Earth, and others by the desire to use magic to control their lives. Many beginners are fascinated with some notion of "the powers" of a witch. We've all been fed the Hollywood version that depicts these "powers" to be greater and more reliable than the reality experienced by your common garden variety witch. Witchiness is no substitute for common sense. The reality is that achieving spell casting abilities is hard work. It requires the ability to control your body's energy, to connect to and channel the Earth's magnetic and ethereal fields, and to align your will with one's concept of the Infinite and Divine. Following are some simple suggestions for inquirers who have a general interest and are just starting out but not sure where they want to go with it. We've all been new at one time.

To breathe, center and ground is a constant routine you should do prior to any witchiness.

Rhythmic, steady breathing is a means of centering which is the easiest method of quieting the mind and body prior to any visualization. Inhale to the count of four, hold for the same count, and exhale to the count of four, hold again to the count of four. Repeat comfortably. It's okay to feel a little light headed, but not so much that you can't maintain your focused intention. Four symbolizes the Four Corners of the Earth and is therefore balancing to your mind and energies.

Centering puts you in touch with your inner self. It's a coming to yourself, quieting and coming back to who you are and what your purpose is. Additionally, there's a soul-spot within each of us that is every-where and every-when in place and time. This quiet spot is the point of connecting to the Infinite. You may associate the infinite with your concept of Deity. It only takes a moment of well-focused intent to connect. You can decide to visualize or meditate at this point. Visualization and meditation are not the same thing and unfortunately the terms are often mingled. For the purposes here, you might think of visualization as sensing or picturing in the eye of the mind and meditation as the fine art of listening with the heart.

To further balance yourself, you should be grounded. This means that you establish that connection between your body's energy and the Earth. This connection is something we have naturally but you enhance it by becoming aware of it. A witch should always be mindful of this basic connection because it provides greater energy and vitality to your body and your magic. Imagine you are like a bead on a string, with the string of light-energy passing through your body, from your head, down your spine, through the souls of your feet and anchoring into the Earth. You can see it in your mind's eye and feel it too. Don't let it stop there. Send that beam of light down into the very red-hot molten core of the planet. Gently call the warmth of the Mother upward along the same beam of light, back along your spine to fountain above your head and spill over to flood your aura (the natural energy field emanating around your physical body). You can do the fountain any time you need to strengthen your shields against the outside world.

Spend some time playing with this energy. Let it come to rest at each of the energy centers of your physical body, moving from feet to head. This strengthens your connection to the earth, and prepares you for magic. It is also good to use for clearing yourself after having worked a spell (some time in the future) as it clears the residue and replenishes your energies. Each center is associated with a color, although these vary with the system being used. Generally, the base of the spine around the gonads is red, the naval area is orange, the solar plexus yellow, the center of the chest green, the throat is cobalt blue, the pineal gland at the center of the forehead is indigo/violet blue, and the crown or top of the head is red-violet, or white/gold. Spend 5-10 minutes daily picturing these colors as you draw the Earth's energy upward and into the fountain of light surrounding your body.

How do you recognize your energy and control it? A simple way is to rub the palms of your hands together, creating friction. Then hold your hands with palms touching and slowly move them apart, then back together several times. You may feel a spongy push like two magnets of the same polarity. You may see a faint brightness between your hands or a blue-white mist radiating around your hands. Gently focus your attention on this pulse. Think of it and desire it to become various colors. Shape it into a ball. Re-absorb the energy into your hands and ground it when done. It's fun to practice this between friends too, holding your palms facing each other. This is the energy you will use to cast a circle and send a spell. When you know this is working for you, you will feel ready to move on to casting and un-casting a circle. (See the article on Circle Casting for more information.)

Controlling energy is done with the Will, and this is associated with the color orange and the naval center. The Will is manifested by desire - wanting something. A well-focused Will is maintained by concentration on the finished, completed outcome of your desire, and not on the means to achieving the goal. The Universe will provide the means, opportunity and path to the goal. An orange candle is good to use to associate with the Will when you practice visualization, and you may want to set up a personal altar or workspace.

The ability to visualize is important to magic. You can work at this by inventing memorization games in which you look at an inanimate object like a pencil, postage stamp, or a photo of a friend. Then close your eyes and picture it in your imagination, on the mental screen right behind your eyes. Then another time, look at an organic or living thing like a flower or apple. Picture this too. You might notice a difference when you work with inanimate versus organic objects.

Another way to feel your energy and the variations of flux and reflux is to sit a few minutes in sunlight and feel your aural field. At another time, sit in moonlight and absorb this light. If you're near the sea, you can sense the tides. Think in terms of the cycles of nature. Nothing is wasted. Life re-cycles. The sun and moon have their own cycles observed in the Sabbats and Esbats. The interwoven dance of life is continuous.

Observe nature around you using all your senses. Listen to the variety of bird-song present whether in the city or country. Grow a plant. Pick up unsightly trash off the street as a way of honoring the earth. Be aware of weather patterns in your area. Connect with the energies of life all around you.

If you have one of the psychic abilities like seeing auras, telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, out-of-body travel or precognition you can invent fun ways to practice everyday. You can fine tune these talents just like playing a musical instrument.

You can practice seeing your own aura by looking in the mirror. Have dim lighting and a plain background. Let your eyes go out of focus. Eventually you'll see a luminous outline around your head and shoulders. You may see colors too. Practice with friends. The colors within an aura have various meanings, but generally the clean, bright colors indicate well-being & murky colors indicate that something is out of whack. Yellow is intellectual; Green is health & contentment; Pink/magenta affection; Blue devotion, and purple leans towards the spiritual. The aura is usually in motion so it will fluctuate. You can sense the aura with the palms of your hands as well.

Practice telepathy with one or more friends, taking turns being sender and receiver. Set a specific day and time to start and end each practice, but don't discuss the topic ahead of time. Send feelings and emotions as well as visualized images, or even smells. Spontaneous telepathy is very common between friends. You may also find that you and your friends begin sharing dreams.

Clairvoyance can be practiced by making a game of guessing what color car will cross your path at a certain intersection, or which of your friends is silently standing behind you; use precognition to guess what song will play next on the radio. Practice psychokinesis by holding your open hand over a Ping-Pong ball on a flat surface and push it with your aura and will.


Once you've discovered that you've got the power, you are ready to practice casting the Circle, also known as creating the temple. Don't try spell-working until you've gotten comfortable casting Circles and grounding them when done. The Circle protects you and is part of a spell's energy.

Keep some form of record of your observations in a journal. This will help you to judge your progress. Reviewing your notes on those days when you have doubts shows you that you're not just making this stuff up. These notes may become the basis of your future Book of Shadows.

Do things for yourself that promote your best energies like moderate eating, fun, work, sleep and exercise. Everything you'll do as a witch is energy, so it just makes sense to be good to yourself. When you give your word, honor it. Your mind must know that your word is your law to carry out your will. Respect yourself and others. This builds your integrity and strengthens your aural field. No spell-planning Table of Correspondences or auspicious timing can replace rock solid integrity. This doesn't mean you have to be an airy-fairy white-lighter or fluffy-bunny witch. It does mean your Will carries clout within the Infinite.

Further studies.

Good conscience requires me to encourage a vivid interest in continuing to learn and to suggest a life-time "arm-chair scientist's" reading list covering history, archeology, anthropology, mythology, medical and physical science, homeopathic medicine, gardening, astrology, astronomy, geology, mysticism, parapsychology, world religions, and of course, witch craft and magic. Visit the library and used-book stores. Many New Age shops also have a used-book and bargain section.

Along with these physical basics, you'll need to become familiar with the eight holidays and thirteen lunar cycles that witches observe and know to be times of heightened power. You may want to learn about how incense, plants and stones can enhance your spells. Understand the Correspondences to plan your magical work but don't feel you're tied to a paper chart. Be inventive. A study of the God/dess through mythology is a valued and popular means of connecting to the power of Deity. This is one way to connect with the Infinite that acts as the incubator of our Will when we align our goals with the highest good.

Familiarize yourself with the tools used by witches to understand how these represent and manifest the witch's Will. The tools represent air, earth, water, fire and spirit that are the elemental substance from which everything that exists in nature, and all that has been invented by man, is made. What else is there but Sky, Land, Sea, Fire and the invisible Spirit of the Infinite? Tools are symbols of these elements and aid in materializing thoughts into form through sympathetic magic.

Always think for yourself because everything written here could be wrong. The best talent that you can develop is to trust your own sense of when something is right or wrong for you, and then to act accordingly.
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Re: Tips On Getting Started

PostAuthor: TheWiseHedgewitch » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:06 pm

By Stacey on Wednesday, January 29, 2003 - 03:16 am:

Bonnie!

I wanted to thank you for posting this! I immediately printed it out! It is a great guide, place to start. I really enjoy your posts!

I think this a great message board! Everyone is very helpful and friendly. Many thanks to Rae and all of you!

Bright Blessings!
Stacey
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Re: Tips On Getting Started

PostAuthor: TheWiseHedgewitch » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:07 pm

By Bonnie on Wednesday, January 29, 2003 - 04:01 pm:

Hi Stacey, thanks for your kind words. Feel free to ask any questions you might think of on the way. It's good for all of us.

Just for the sake of passing on information, I thought I'd add one of the traditional wiccan teachings called the "Eight-Fold Path to the Center" (amongst other names), just so those who don't already know it will have run into it sometime in their self-taught path.

Personal experimentation & talents will determine which of the paths can be combined for your own best results, and which can comfortably be left alone. No one is expected to do all 8. Each according to their own lights.

1. Intention and the concentration of intent, including visualization and meditation.

2. Rising on the planes, trance-states, spirit-journeying and out-of-body experiences, sacred and psychic dream work.

3. The sacred holiday rites, rituals (like casting the circle), chants and spell casting; use of runes, charms, amulets, talismans, magical links and contacts.

4. Controlled use of hallucinogens like hemp, mushrooms & peyote. (Warning: the possession of illegal substances is not recommended.) Also included is the use in ritual of wine, whiskey, & herbal teas that promote trance work and the making of incense and oils to compliment your intention

5. Raising power through dance, drumming, chanting or the use of repetitious chants and sacred movements that enhance your intention, i.e, mantras and mudras. Focusing and releasing power.

6. Warricking - the control of blood flow using cords. For the life of me, I cannot think of any real use for this except in Navy Seal training. A modern understanding of the intent of body-control could be breath control through sacred breathing to raise the creative force energy through the energy centers of the body.

7. Scourging to purify - this was common in mystery schools of the dim past as well as the Catholic Church of the middle ages where it was performed as sacrifice, & some religious orders still allow it as ascetic practice. A gentle, rhythmic slapping of the scourge was used to produce trance; the wet-towel snapping on the buttocks type of scourging was done in the dance to shock-release energy. Rhythmic physical motion that does not involve thought - such as the up/down on a playground swing - can also induce trance.

8. The Great Rite, spiritual and physical union in private, sacred ritual.
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Re: Tips On Getting Started

PostAuthor: TheWiseHedgewitch » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:08 pm

By Rowan on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 05:18 pm:

thanks, Bonnie that's really interesting. Do these skills correspond to the nine talents that witches have? Do you know what these are if they're different to those you've just talked about? Cheers, Rowan
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Re: Tips On Getting Started

PostAuthor: TheWiseHedgewitch » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:08 pm

By bonnie on Tuesday, March 25, 2003 - 03:59 pm:

Hi Rowan. O'm'gosh. I hadn't seen your question until today. I don't recall references to witches having nine specific talents (which goes to show ya' I have more reading & learning to do); but I could make a guess that you could condense a list out of the 8-fold path as you suggest. In my best guess these would be: concentration, visualization, meditation, astral travel OOBEs, raising energy, sending energy, charging talismans, herbal knowledge (including poisons and antidotes) and use of sexually produced (tantric?) energy. Well, that's nine anyways. Lots of room for argument.


Subject change. I've added some more thoughts to expand the "getting started" theme below:

You can learn to project out of body by visualizing your astral-double body standing in front of you and transferring your awareness to it by imagining it to be so. Be sure to work in a safe place where you will not be interrupted. Gentle desire and intent are the deciding factors in success. You're less likely to fall asleep if you're seated rather than lying down, but many people "travel" reliably in their sleep, and will do this transfer at bedtime. This can lead to another overlapping talent of lucid dreaming, in which you control dreams as they occur.

Distant or Remote Viewing is another way to employ clairvoyant sight. Your desire and awareness are focused on your mental screen and your intention is to see another location on the screen. Practice viewing locations that you can physically visit later to check out your impressions. You might print 3x5 cards with local map coordinates of your city and then view from just the coordinates. Later, after you've viewed all the 3x5 cards, record the street locations machining these coordinates. Then visit the sites within a few days to check your accuracy. (You can extend this talent to viewing historic events, both past and future. Interpret your impressions as possibilities, not as hard reality. Keep records and someday your historical research may prove your impressions.)

Once you've discovered that you've got the power, you are ready to practice casting the Circle if you choose. This is also known as creating the temple. You can, of course, work makeshift without the circle. Usually Rites and group spell workings take advantage of the circle's containment of bio-energy. When you are within your circle, you are between the mundane and spiritual worlds. All times and places become as one, which makes your job easier. The circle is a safe place in which to meditate, do spiritual journeying, to meet one's familiar spirits, to charge prepared potions, charms and amulets, and of course to work magic. Casting the circle is a ritual that is appropriate to the 8 Sabbats and 13 Esbats. You do not have to cast a circle for every magical effort. It is not necessary around your kitchen stove when brewing potions, or when cutting herbs in the garden, lest you trod your plants into the ground.

Circle Casting: Use a broom to sweep the area where you will be forming your temple. Ground and center yourself. Draw earth energy up from the feet and solar energy down from the head to meet at the belly. Visualize this as a raw pool of energy. See it snapping down your arm and pointing forefinger to scorch into the earth as you walk the rim of the circle. Start north, move east, south, west and return north. You can follow this with cleansing the circle with charged, salted water and smoking incense (or a ringing bell or singing, if you're allergic to incense). Then with respect and good manners, greet and call upon the spirits/guardians of each of the 4 directions. They will hold your circle in place and act to move the astral energy pattern of your goal from the ethereal world and into the material channels of least resistance. Usually the north represents the earth, east/air, south/fire, and west/water. If you work with a Deity, greet them and invite them to witness your circle. You might add devotional invocations as you become more advanced.

Sending energy is done before closing the circle. You will raise up the circle's very real and physical power into a spiraling cone, which you instruct or imprint with your visualized goal, and then release the cone with a firm command to do no harm nor return to you unsatisfied. You will get back what you send out, and may elect to ignore this warning at your own risk. Once you've sent the energy, do not idly speak of it lest you drain the power. Keep in mind that not every situation needs you to throw energy at it. Busybody types of intervention are never appreciated. You are not master of the universe.

Closing the Circle: When you are done, you must let-go the elements, thank the Deities and ground the circle's energy by pointing your finger at the ground and walking the rim with the intention that the energy be earthed. Visualize the circle fading away. To fail to close the circle is like littering the campsite and calls bears. It's your choice whether you walk a reverse circle called widdershins or retrace deosil. It's your intention of earthing the energy that counts.

By the way, when I use the word "tradition" in reference to witchcraft, it goes no further back in history than the 1950's when modern wicca became public knowledge. For the record, I am not a "traditional" family initiated or coven trained witch, if this matters any more. I'm self taught and anything I write here is based on what I've read & put thru my own trial and error experimenting, or subjected to my own psychic experiences and trance channeling. I've just been around a heck of a long time (LOL) & have been a trance medium since the '70's. So if you read something from me that doesn't ring true for you, then follow your own lead by all means. In the long run, you'll learn more & have more fun.

One of the things that I think can help us to get more secure in our chosen path is to establish a sense of regularity & constancy. Y'know, that daily meditation thing. As solitaries, we have to supply our own support. Our days of observation happen at 13 moons and 8 holidays, which is only 21 scheduled opportunities. What do you do with the other 344 days? Nobody needs that many spells. J

We can go beyond reading everything we can lay our hands on & get into the rhythms of Nature; needed especially if we're city-folk.

Pick a theme like "healing" & learn about healing related Moon phases, herbs & stones then do the same again for prosperity, love, protection and wisdom. Write down what you learn.

Do you feel confident in your circle casting so that when the next full moon arrives you don't have to look for your notes? If not, practice! You don't need a reason to cast a circle - just ground the energy as a gift to Mother Nature when you're done.
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Re: Tips On Getting Started

PostAuthor: TheWiseHedgewitch » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:09 pm

By Anonymous on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 03:25 pm:

is astral travel, moving things with your energy, clairvoyance and other things that you have mentioned here possible? can any hedge witch do these things? i have read about them but thought that only "gifted" witches can do these things
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Re: Tips On Getting Started

PostAuthor: TheWiseHedgewitch » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:09 pm

By bonnie on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 06:17 pm:

Hi Annon. You bet it's real. I've experienced telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, astral travel & seen auras since childhood. I believe everybody has the innate ability but most of us don't recognize it & learn to use it. Then, like any muscle that isn't used, it weakens & is easily ignored. Being open to it & not pooh-poohing the abilities is important to recognizing it when it happens to you. There's a whole lot more "happening" in Real Life than we are taught about in mundane education, but this doesn't mean witches are running around zapping lightening bolts off their fingertips. For most folk, it's just plain hard work to focus the mind. Even bonafide pros like Uri Geller break a real sweat to bend a spoon, believe me.

Have I helped you? What makes you ask?

Just an after thought - part of the 8-fold path to the center (the traditional training of a witch) includes development of whatever one may have along the lines of psychic abilities.

The 8-fold path is a separate topic here if you want to look it up.

Spontaneous psychic phenomenon can be intrusive to daily life & there was a time in my life I wished it would just go away. The more I wanted to get rid of it, the stronger & more frequent the outbreaks became. So I figured "what the heck - can't beat 'em, join 'em" and began to learn to roll with it. Resistance was futile J I can laugh now but 20 years back it was a roller coaster ride at times of in-coming data overlaying mundane reality.

If anyone ever is having difficulties with spontaneous psi, I hope you will feel free to seek a friendly ear here. You don't have to reinvent the wheel & do it alone. And for gosh sakes please don't think you're nuts. You just have your eyes open where other people's are closed.

Princeton University, PEARS laboratory & Duke University (USA) & Edinburgh University (Scotland) all have accredited university courses available in psychic research. I'm sure they aren't the only ones, but they all have nice web sites & publish many of their research results on their sites.
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Re: Tips On Getting Started

PostAuthor: TheWiseHedgewitch » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:10 pm

By Anonymous on Thursday, November 27, 2003 - 03:29 pm:

yea that has helped thankyou, i am new to the craft and i have read that people can do this i just never thought it was something you can learn i always thought it was something that you were born with
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Re: Tips On Getting Started

PostAuthor: TheWiseHedgewitch » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:10 pm

By bonnie on Friday, November 28, 2003 - 02:54 pm:

Joe MacMoneagle is the author of a few books on the US military's use of remote viewing. Joe was their #1 viewer. Now the program is declassified and just about the entire unit has written their account of the program,its effectiveness, and the training protocols. If you do a web search on REMOTE VIEWING you will come across their various web sites & the Army's remote viewing training manual is on line. God, I love the internet!

Heh-heh. Nice to know I haven't lost the knack... I was awake early on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day Holiday in the US) & had the 5:00 AM news on TV. The reporter said that Pres. Bush was going to be spending the holiday at his ranch. I spoke right out loud & said "No he's not. He's gone to Iraq to visit the troops." Then I looked around to see who said that! The rest is history as they say.
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Re: Tips On Getting Started

PostAuthor: TheWiseHedgewitch » Fri Oct 01, 2010 12:11 pm

By Anonymous on Tuesday, December 16, 2003 - 02:43 pm:

how do you get started on developing these skills as this is something i have always tried but failed
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