Firstly there seems to be this all pervasive belief that the craft is an intellectual exercise, almost like an exammination board that hands out your certificate of witchiness at the end of a lot of reading. The word study gets bandied about a lot. But a lot of the young witches don't make it very clear what they hope to get from all this studying. Is it validation that they are taking their craft seriously? The acquisition of knowledge so they can feel secure in what they are doing. Or is it a substitute for good old fashioned practical hands on magic? I'm not one to dissuade people from reading, I love a good book myself but in all honesty I don't think in this case books are an adequate substitute for just getting out there and doing it. So if you want to learn about magic, try writing and working a spell. There is a lot of value in books but there is also a lot of value in your own head and you don't want to forget that.
The other theme I've noticed among a lot of my questions is the worry that becoming a witch means you are doing something wrong or even something against God. This seems to be a major worry for a lot of people. But the thing is that witchcraft is what you choose to make it. I won't lie and say that a lot of witches don't use their powers for personal advancement and no doubt there are even some who could be considered to use them for evil. But fundamentally the craft is a tool. It is to be used in whatever direction you focus your intent. So if you only want to use it for what you believe to be the advancement of good then just direct your will that way. And whatever God you believe in, I'm sure him, her or they will be fine with you following your own genuine good intentions.
I think the biggest influx into my inbox is concerned with "Will you cast a spell for me?" Or "Will you curse so and so (poor Justin Bieber!) for me?". Now I can understand that you might think a spell has more potency if cast by a practised witch (and sadly I know many witches who will collude with you in that belief) but in my opinion the energies and personal investment you bring to your magic are worth just as much as the experience of an experienced witch. I really feel it is important not to underestimate the power of casting a spell to which you have a personal link. Magic isn't about clever words, rhymes and precision, its about focusing intent. And as a newbie you can do that as effectively as any practised witch. So don't dismiss your own abilities. You may well have as much success as an older more accomplished witch as you are going to put a lot more of your own personal desires into the spells you work.
And especially in terms of the cursing, some of you seem way too quick to implement a magical solution before the good old tried and tested practical methods. As you know I'm not above the odd curse myself but its last resort territory, not a reactive action to annoyance. There is a danger that the new magical practitioner sees magic as the first solution for all problems. And that's a bit of a shame because people who think like that can become very unbalanced in their approach to life. Magic and spells are only one weapon in your armoury. Don't over look reason, logic, empathy and good old common sense.
And finally, there is this association with elitism in the craft. That only certain people are good enough, powerful enough or clever enough to be a witch. Young witches worry they aren't old enough, poor witches worry they can't afford the tools, male witches worry they won't be as good as their female counterparts. And it seems that a massive number of you worry about whether you are entitled to call yourself a witch at all. But these worries seem rather unfounded to me. Young witches, you've probably got more passion and enthusiasm than old bags like myself, use that to make your magic powerful. Poor witches, your intent is far more potent than any tool you can't afford to buy. Direct your energies with your hands rather than an expensive atheme. Your results will be equally as good. Male witches, nothing to say a male can't be as effective as a female. Embrace your masculinity and look for ways to incorporate it into your craft. And let's knock elitism on the head. My view on all this is that if you practise witchcraft, you're a witch, simple as that.
Pagan Blog Project 2013