Advice for Beginners

Author: Moonspider

Beginners, you are about to embark on what may be the most important journey of your life. To you, I say, “Welcome. Be joyful on this road, for it has chosen you, and only special few are chosen. This is a powerful journey that may save your life; indeed it has my own, many times. Many blessings be with you on this magical journey.”0″>What is your best piece of advice for those just starting out?

To those just starting out — read, read, read, and when you’re eyes go buggy, rest them a minute, then read some more. Many wonderful books, magazines and web pages exist for you today, explore them. Remember, this is your journey and you must take active responsibility for it. There is literally a plethora of information out there available to you, and much at little or no cost to you.

Some may start by using the KIS method. Keep it simple. Choose one author, or one topic at a time, and methodically read and work it. Really study it and work the methods suggested. Submerge yourself in it. Get really acquainted with techniques, keep what works and discard the rest. Then go on to the next author or topic.

When you are called, and yes, I mean called by the Goddess, you will be guided. This path is not for everybody, and many may explore its ways and then choose to go elsewhere. When Goddess chooses you, the feeling will be very different. Either way inner guidance will show you the way.

Tools are lovely, but remember they are just that tools. You are the magic. The Witch is the magic. More magic exists in your mind and your own finger than any hand-crafted, solid (insert the metal (or wood) of your choice), jewel encrusted do-dad that you can buy at any price. Are they nice? Of course. But, I’ll match any found twig wand’s magic against any $2, 000 one any day. Pagan artisans do create beautiful tools, but the beginner need not spend oodles of money to work well on this path.

Your tools will be presented to you as you need them, and at the right price. It will be like the floodgates have opened. You will find the shop that you never knew existed. You will find a teacher, etc. You will find out that people you’ve been dealing with are Witches. And each are as varied as there are numbers of grains of sand. Your first teacher may not be the only teacher, so keep and open mind. And you may get the answers from unlikely sources, so discount nothing. Listening in the very beginning is vital.

As time goes on, keep notes and then question, question, question. Accept nothing at face value. Remember that this is more than just a religion, its a way of life. This is a very important road to travel, and you are in the driver’s seat.

Ritual is lovely, but its only part of the Craft. Some people get stuck on ritual — getting it right. Don’t worry about the mechanics. It will come. Ritual is like riding a bike, or any new task, it gets easier with practice. Remember, its only a part of the Craft. Until, I had students some years back, I did very little physical ritual. Because of living arrangements, most of the ritual I performed took place in my head. Did it make me less of a Witch? No. Did it make my magic less effective? No. Different strokes for different folks as they say. Witches are the most adaptable and creative people I’ve ever met. How do you think we’ve survived through time!?

Mistakes, will you make ’em? You betcha. Like anything they should be learned from; they are tools, too. Actually, this is important in any area of life, not just the Craft. Not only will you learn from them (hopefully), but you will then have a knowledge base that you can draw from when you become teachers. Yes, that is how we grow, the young’ens will become teachers eventually. Its simply a natural progression.

Elders — listen to them. They have a body of knowledge — experience, and that you just can’t buy, or read, its earned. Just like parents, they’ve been around the block and know a thing or two. And sometimes they need to tell you things that you don’t want to hear (many times for your own good).

It bothers me when I hear young folks criticize elders, especially with erroneous data. Or, those they’ve never met, or even read their work. Come on folks, get real here. Our computer age has added to this dilemma. Almost anyone can be an expert — NOT! As was mentioned earlier, read and question. Just because you found it on the Web or written in a book for that matter, doesn’t make it so.

Remember, that teachers (elders) are people too, and aren’t perfect. Our country is prone to hero worship, and it can be devastating to some when they find out their Œguru’ is human. At times you will learn more from a bad teacher, or experience, than a good one. Its extremely helpful to know what not to do, as it is what to do. This all helps build your knowledge base.0”>What was the best piece of advice or wisdom that you have ever received?

Know why you are doing what you are doing. Very simple. This does play off much of the above. You do not need toys. They are fun, but you don’t need them. You are the magic, you are the tool. Many times I feel my best magic’s come from when I am sitting on the edge of my bed, with my eyes closed, and performing the perfect ritual in my head. Solitaries are no less Witches than our covened brethren. On the other hand, public ritual is nice and fun for we are social creatures. Its great to join in with those of like mind from time to time.

If asked to do anything illegal or immoral, run. Oprah Winfrey has a saying with problems, you usually get a pebble before you get the brick. Beware teachers who push toys (I mean tools), or who charge exorbitant fees for training. If classes are held in a shop, the proprietor pays rent, and are providing a service to you, so some form of remuneration should be expected. Remember, you’re asking someone to share their knowledge with you that they earned. And, you will pay more attention to it, if you have to pay for it. Some of the poorest things come to you on a silver platter. Listen to your inner voice in all matters, it won’t let you down.

Enjoy the journey, don’t rush it. You don’t have to get everything right, right away. This is a lifelong journey, not a 6 week course and your done. Take your time. Enthusiasm is one thing, but rushing is unneccessary.

If you could tell a beginner only one thing, what would it be?

Trust yourself. This goes from choosing a teacher, to performing magic. Take nothing at face value, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Its that simple. Nothing should be forced. Does this mean the Craft will be smooth sailing? Hardly. You will be tested, Goddess knows, but never before you are ready. Remember, without conflict there can be no growth. Witchcraft is not static, it grows and evolves.

One last piece of advice would be to check out all the goodies available to you right here at The Witches’ Voice. This is simply one of the best sites for Witches and Pagans anywhere. But, since you’re reading this piece on that site you already know that. Many blessings on your journey.

Are You Old or Young?

Are You Old or Young?

  • Deepak Chopra

The typical American way of handling the polarity of old and young is to fixate on being young forever. But the image of America as the land of eternal youth is grossly at odds with reality.

If we look beyond the false duality of “old” and “young,” what we find is a different reality: The body is a network of messages constantly being transmitted and received. Some of these messages nourish and sustain us, while others lead to disorder and breakdown.

Life-nourishing experiences go far beyond cell biology. The tenderness of a mother watching her toddler walk for the first time feeds the baby’s body (witness how a baby languishes when motherly love is withdrawn, even for a day). To a growing child, the sensitive encouragement of a teacher is as important as a hot lunch. What makes for a straighter spine, vitamin-D milk or self-esteem?

Once we reach adulthood, gaining the wholehearted respect of co-workers wards off heart disease as effectively (and much more naturally) as counting milligrams of cholesterol. Respect makes the heart feel trusting and confident, two ingredients that belong inside any healthy body. The decisions we make in terms of our basic happiness and fulfillment are therefore exactly the ones that determine how we age.

It has dawned on medicine that nurturing is immensely valuable physiologically. If newborns are touched and caressed, their levels of growth hormones increase, and the protective coating of the motor nerves, myelin, becomes thicker. A mother’s loving urge to cuddle her baby translates directly into life-sustaining biochemical reactions.

Babies deprived of loving attention can become emotionally stunted or dysfunctional. The instinct for emotional nourishment proves more powerful than does that for physical nourishment.

Adapted from Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1998).

The Best Gift of All

The Best Gift of All

  • Selected from Owning Pink

During one of her shows a few years back, Oprah Winfrey made a profound and beautiful statement that I appreciated very much. She said, “We do shows about lots of ‘stuff’ and my ‘favorite things,’ but what people want more than anything else is to know that they’re appreciated. . . that’s the best gift of all.”

At this time of year it’s easy for us to get caught up in the stress of getting everything on our list crossed off, preparing for parties and events, and rushing around to buy last minute gifts. And, if money is tight, there can added stress when thinking about what gifts to get for family members, friends, co-workers, and others.

Instead of just giving “stuff” for the holidays this year, what if we gave the people in our life the most meaningful gift of all; our appreciation? Let the people around you know what you appreciate about them and why.

What do you value most about your best friend? What is it about your kids that you really appreciate? What do you love best about your spouse? How does your co-worker or your boss make your job and life easier and more fun?

Expressing our heartfelt and genuine appreciation for the important people in our life is magical and it’s essential to our ability to create happiness, fulfillment, loving relationships, healthy families, successful teams, and productive communities. Appreciation is also an important element of effectively dealing with the stress of challenges and uncertainty that so many of us are facing these days.

This year, our holiday gifts can be expressions of true appreciation which will have real impact on our relationships and make our holiday season one to remember. Here are three simple suggestions to make your holiday gifts and your holiday season special and meaningful:

  1. Write cards of gratitude. In addition to (or instead of) giving actual presents, take time to write heartfelt thank you cards letting the people around you know what you appreciate about them and how they have impacted your life this year in a positive way. Express your appreciation genuinely, specifically, and personally – in a heartfelt way.
  2. Ask people what they really want. Giving something specific that someone really wants will have them feel appreciated and valued. It doesn’t have to be expensive, as long as it’s personal to them. And, if you ask them directly you may find out that what they really want is something simple that can’t be bought or doesn’t cost money.
  3. Give the gift of your time or service. Make a list of a few important people in your life and instead of buying them something, call and ask each them if there is some project they’ve been putting off or procrastinating that you might be able to help them with. Schedule time to come over to their house or support them specifically in getting that task or project accomplished.

Remember what most people want, more than almost anything else, is to know that they are loved, valued, and appreciated. Appreciation truly is the best gift we can give to the people in our lives (for the holidays and at any time of the year).