Beginner Witchcraft – What to read:
But reading is less important than observing. You will be tempted to try to become a witch by reading, because those of us w/ big brains and big educations always operate that way. Try to keep a balance between hours spent reading, and hours spent walking in the woods.
–Joseph Campbell’s PBS series on mythology is now available on video. He’s a good storyteller and has a wonderful philosophy of how to incorporate myth into your life.
Anything can be a tool for working magic and gaining understanding (a leaf, a stone, a pen, a plastic dinosaur)–it’s all in what you invest it with –be slow to acquire toys (blades, wands, etc.)–it’s better if they find you, then your finding them –more important than a lot of gidgets, is setting aside a special place in your home as an altar. Start with candles and incense, and invent simple rituals: lighting a candle while you read, burning incense while you meditate. –because it’s nonverbal in form, the Tarot is actually a better source for learning about the Craft, than any book. Seek out one of the less Christianized decks–I personally like the Barbara Walker and the Motherpeace.
The first formal “magic” you should learn, is how to set aside sacred space. Pick a place in your home or your yard where you will practice this, and practice often, even if at first it makes you feel self-conscious.
I realize that a lot of this sounds terribly vague. I used to get frustrated when I read books about the Craft, and they didn’t have, like, RECIPES to perform. The hard part of it is, that you learn more from the Goddess, than you do from any human being. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do some simple spells, right from the very beginning: both Adler’s and Starhawk’s books have some straightforward descriptions of working magic.
Don’t get hung up on issues of reality, or the unknown, or the verifiable, or whatever. Just DO. It’s far more important to TRY things, than it is to READ about them.