I am wondering how I can start my journey into the craft. I've ordered some tarot cards and have been doing a lot of research but would like your personal opinion on where would be a good place to start. I would love to cast my first spell in the New Year and was wondering if that would be okay.
ANSWER - I do not think age is all that relevant to starting a craft path and my own view is that the energies of the teenage years can be very beneficial in spell work. My only concern relating to your age would be that there are some unscrupulous people who do take advantage of younger persons so I would suggest personally that you practise as a solitary until you have gained enough experience to tell the genuine practitioners from the charlatans who seek to exploit enthusiasm about witchcraft for their own ends.
You are right that witchcraft can take years to master but the process is a gradual one of learning and practise. Sometimes people confuse the study of the craft with an academic profession like medicine. A doctor will do all his/her studying before applying that knowledge in a practical field. Witchcraft is different – you are learning on the job. Anybody who tells you that you need years of reading behind you before you cast your first spell is wrong. You will learn from a combination of reading the wisdom of others, your own experiences and your own intuition.
I actually feel that too much book learning up front can be a disadvantage as it will colour your way of thinking and encourage you to follow the paths others have trodden rather than using your intuition to forge your own. Yes it helps to understand the basics but there is no substitute for thinking for yourself and having the confidence to develop your own methods of working.
Tarot is an excellent beginning. I would suggest doing a card a day to familiarise yourself with the deck and also to get some daily guidance on your path. Don’t just pick a card and read the meanings though, really think about the card you have drawn and how it is relevant to you. There are also many sites on the internet where you can get other thoughts and opinions on the tarot cards. I’d suggest keeping a Tarot journal where you collect different meanings and your own thoughts and interpretations for future reference.
I think the best place to start is by getting into some good practises. Learn how to centre, ground and shield here and start to work with energy. By this I specifically mean gathering and focus your energy. Think about yourself and what has meaning for you and start to create some visualisations that mean something to you personally. Use these visualisations to guide you through regular practises of dumping negative energies back into the earth, raising new energy, using that energy to protect yourself and focusing on different methods of casting that energy out into the world to do your bidding.
This should give you some idea of how you are going to practise as a witch. Some witches employ the visualisation of the smoke from fire carrying their messages into the world, others may use the wind or the water. (Don’t be afraid to personalise the world you are creating in your mind, do what feels natural for you. Some of my finest magic has been preceded by a raising energy session that involves the mental exercise of me Irish dancing in my Grandmother’s old house. This is about you.) When you have these mental basics established in place then there is no reason at all why you should not consider spell work. (And even these basics are just a guide and to an extent my own opinion. There are no prerequisites to magic.)
Keep spells simple to start with – have a read of these articles for the basics:
Does magic really work and if so how?
If I study very hard can I call myself a witch?
Let us know the progress you make and how your first spells go.