Coloring Outside The Lines: How To Make Your Craft Your Own
Every week I receive emails from hundreds of witches who are taking my courses or who’ve enjoyed my blog posts. Some are sending me assignments, some questions and others simply want someone to talk to about the craft! Communicating with so many witches on a regular basis has given me a unique peek into the minds of our diverse community and despite how truly wide-reaching our diversity may be I’ve noticed one common thread ties many of those I speak to together.
Many, MANY witches aren’t confident enough in their own knowledge and abilities.
I receive messages every day from so many witches who want to know what they can do or what they should do. They want to know if something is allowed or whether or not a spell they wrote is good enough. Some simply need a hand even getting their first spell out of the way because they aren’t sure if they’re ready! Whatever it is that they’re asking, they’re all seeking the same thing. Validation from an external source.
You’re the witch. You make the rules!
The thing is, your craft is just that. Your’s. It’s your spiritual life, it doesn’t have to be perfect as long as it works for you! Rules and guidelines can be excellent ways to help you guide your study if that suits you but if those rules are causing you to stagnate because you’re afraid of “messing up” are they really serving you?
Yes, you can do that.
This is me giving you permission to experiment as much as you want. If the question “I wonder if I can…” or “I wonder if I’m allowed to…” pop into your head, the answer is YES. Give it a try! With a few select exceptions (that I’ll cover a little later in this post), it doesn’t hurt to just give it a go.
Witchcraft is such a personal thing! What works for me might not work at all for you and what you do might work brilliantly for you but look absolutely crazy to another witch. These differences are a wonderful thing. Magic is the result of applied intent and willpower. As long as you are utilizing your intent and willpower it doesn’t really matter HOW you go about applying them. It just has to resonate with you.
As an example, I tried for years to follow spells written by other people and for some reason halfway through I always lost the feeling of the magic, it would just fall flat and feel like nothing more than going through the motions. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong! I was following all the steps and I’d be feeling the power of the spell building and then… poof, it would be gone and I’d be standing there in a robe wondering why the hell I felt like I was playing pretend suddenly.
Finally, I found the root cause of this strange flattening of my spells. As luck would have it, I am not an incantation kind of witch! I’m a super verbal person but saying someone else's words out loud made me feel like the spell was no longer mine. When I realized the incantations were the problem I began winging it, I’d keep every other part of the spell but when it came time to speak my words of power I’d throw out the ones that came with the spell and speak straight from the heart. Sometimes a few words would come out, sometimes I’d speak at length while I was casting spells. I just went with what felt right and just like that my spells started flowing smoothly from start to finish. Things just clicked! I no longer felt like I was playing pretend and I stopped losing the connection to my power in the middle of spells!
I would NEVER have found the solution to this problem if I hadn’t been willing to bend the rules and experiment on my own. Remember, your magic is all about YOU. If it’s not suiting you or not working for you then what are you doing? It’s time to try something else.
What if I screw up?!
It’s alright, I hear you. The fear of messing up can be so paralyzing! This fear is simply a reaction to the unknown though. When you aren’t aware of the potential dangers involved in this sort of thing it can seem like the craft is a minefield just waiting to blow up in your face and turn your life into a raging inferno of misfortune.
The thing is, it’s not.
There are some pitfalls which I'm happy to help you avoid but aside from those few potentially hazardous mistakes the most common risk you run is simply having your magic do nothing. Yep, you read that right. The majority of the time if you screw something up in your magical practice the only result will be a whole lot of nothing. So stop worrying so much!
Now, there are tons resources for you to learn from and I’m NOT discouraging you from consulting them or other witches for help if you’re concerned about the safety of your magic but sometimes the only way to learn is to take a flying leap! Could you mess up? Sure! But I guarantee you’ll learn something along the way AND you’ll find an entirely new perspective on yourself and the craft.
Magic is about taking back your control. It’s about having a hand in the circumstances of your life and influencing the events and outcomes that shape your day to day reality. So WHY are you giving up your control and decision-making power in the one area of your life that is supposed to be all about claiming your own power?! Get out there, take your craft by the horns and see what it can do!
Life is lived on the precipice of “I’m not ready”. If everyone stayed comfortably within their boundaries all the time we would never grow, there would be no forward progress and humankind would stagnate into a pile of sad, frightened little beings. That’s not how we’re hardwired though, we’re wired for experimentation and what-if’s, we’re constantly pushing to find out why something works or how far we can push an idea. This is your legacy! It’s ok if you don’t feel 100% ready, you’re allowed to take that leap and try something out anyway.
Ways In Which You Should Definitely NOT Experiment
Now, there are limits to how far experimentation should be pushed. These limits might at first glance seem contradictory to what I’ve just been telling you but they are actually the very thing that makes your exploration in your craft possible. Without these limits, you wouldn’t be able to try things and make it up as you go without worrying that you might hurt yourself or someone else. Not to worry though, arming yourself with the proper knowledge will help you avoid such pitfalls.
Avoiding Poisonous Stuff
It should go without saying but some things are poisonous and will kill you. You should NEVER experiment without knowing full well that everything you’re using will be safe for you and anybody else who will come into contact with the materials you're using (including your pets!).
You should always verify the safety of herbs before using them, even if the herb is recommended by another witch! Don’t leave your health and wellbeing in the hands of others! Always check to be sure the herbs you’re using are safe to consume and safe to burn if you'll be using them in that way. Additionally, you should check to make sure that the herb in question won’t interfere with any medications you're taking or cause issues with ailments that you might have. As an example, St John's Wort is a commonly used herb but it is quite dangerous! It can cause sun sensitivity which can lead to very severe sunburns if you’re already sensitive to sunlight or are taking other medications (like many common antibiotics) that cause sun sensitivity already. There are also things that are perfectly safe for humans that are NOT safe for our pets. Citrus, for example, is toxic to cats and small pets of all varieties (rodents, birds, reptiles, etc.) should be kept away from smoke entirely.
Crystals receive fewer warnings but can be just as dangerous. Many people recommend creating crystal elixirs by placing crystals in water but not all crystals are safe to put in water. Ruby and moonstone, for example, contain aluminum that can leach out into the water which you do NOT want to drink. Likewise, fluorite contains fluorine which is highly toxic. You may also wish to ensure that your crystals won’t be harmed by such activities, hematite is not toxic but it will rust which would ruin the stone!
Basically don't eat, drink, or burn anything unless you are 100% certain that it's safe to do so for you and anyone else who will be involved/exposed.
Other People's Lives
For the most part, it’s a good idea to keep your experimentation within the confines of your own life. In the event that something should happen you want to contain and reverse it as quickly as possible which you won’t necessarily be able to do if you’re tampering with someone else’s life. Trying new things is fun. Turning your friends, family, and acquaintances into guinea pigs is not.
It’s also not ok to experiment with culturally significant terms, practices and beliefs that come from closed cultures. Appropriative behavior can be incredibly harmful to those cultures on top of which it’s just plain rude. If it’s not for you then don’t touch it! There are respectful ways to appreciate and learn about cultures without stealing their practices.
Now get out there, get your hands dirty and have a little fun with your magic!