Welcome to Ask-A-Witch. Please feel free to explore our previous answers and advice, but we are no longer answering new questions. We hope you enjoy the information provided and wish you all a very witchy day!

Advice for New Witches

We've received so many questions from people new to the path! Here are a few of the most common responses we give to beginning witches.

What books do you recommend for beginners?

Raymond Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft is a great resource. Although this book was written in the 1970's and does reference “skyclad” a lot, the information and history of witchcraft he shares is timeless. Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft has a serious, no-nonsense undertone as well as comprehensive lessons and assignments.

Another book you should read is Dorothy Morrison's The Craft - A Witch's Book of Shadows. Dorothy has a way of writing that speaks true to the simplicity and passion we should have for the craft. She also has a way of writing invocations that are very poetic and powerful.

If you're a teenage witch, I would recommend Teen Witch: Wicca for a New Generation by Silver Ravenwolf. This will give you a good solid foundation.

Last but not least, I would recommend Scott Cunnningham's Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. Most of us start off and remain solitaries. Cunningham's book is one you can refer to no matter how long you remain in the craft. 

If you have any witchy friends, most of them have all of these books sitting somewhere in their bookcase.


Where can I take classes or find other witches?

If you're in the Northern Virginia area, 13 Magickal Moons offers a large variety of classes. Check out their class schedule here. They also host Tea Night every Wednesday evening from 6-9 pm, where you can meet others in the community.

Another great way to find local events, stores, and people near you is to visit The Witches' Voice. All you have to do is search by your state and city.


Do I need an altar? What should be on it?

The altar is one the most important and personal tools a Witch creates and uses. They can be as large or small, expensive or inexpensive, as you want them to be. As witches, we use our altars as our place to hold ritual, cast spells, meditate, and to make offerings to or connect with the Divine.

To set up your altar, most agree that you should have a representation of the God, Goddess, earth, air, fire, water, and yourself. It doesn't have to be expensive; it just has to be meaningful. You'll find as you grow into your spirituality that you will add to your altar often.


Why don't my spells work?

Make sure you're performing spell work that is realistic. If you're trying to perform a spell to win the lottery, it won't work and it'll make you feel like a failure. 

This can fuel one of the biggest problems many new witches have: their lack of confidence in their spell work. Instead of practicing with spells, try practicing with rituals. Cast a circle, call the elements, invoke the Lord and Lady. Keep doing this until you feel their presence in the circle with you. This is a great way to practice because it requires you to focus your mind and your energy and it connects you with the elements and the Divine, giving your spirituality and your spell work more oomph. And remember, when casting spells, have confidence and a positive attitude that it worked!


How do you cast a circle?

There is no standard way to cast a circle. In general, each of the elements as well as both the masculine and feminine divine are invited to your sacred space. 

Start with an example from a book or website and modify it to suit your own needs. Use the materials and wording that makes you feel the most comfortable and powerful.


I'm a natural witch / I was born a witch / I am a hereditary witch / I have psychic abilities so I must be a witch...

A witch can be any person, male or female, thin or hefty, short or tall, with any skin color, in any career. A witch is a person practicing Wicca or witchcraft (or other pagan paths). In the movie Practical Magic there is a great line: "There's a little bit of witch in all of us." Psychic abilities are nothing more than being more in tune with or aware of the energies around you. But being psychic doesn't make you a witch.

Please don't insult other witches by claiming you're natural and others aren't, or you're more powerful because your mother was a witch. No one is better or more special than another. If you're a witch then you're a natural witch. All witches are natural witches. Treat everyone with equal respect.


How do I help my family understand my new path?

Unfortunately, the media portrays witches as evil, crazy, slutty, or a combination of the three. This can sometimes cause problems within families if your relatives have these preconceived notions. 

I wish there was an easy answer. It's hard to be passionate about your spirituality and have to hide it from your family, but sometimes it is in your best interest to leave well enough alone if you suspect they would have difficulty accepting your path. There is no reason for your family to know you are Wiccan. 

If you decide that you do want to share your spiritual beliefs with your family, I have two books I would recommend you have on hand: When Someone You Love is Wiccan by Carl McColman and Pagans and Christians: The Personal Spiritual Experience by Gus diZerega.