Aurora: What’s the best book for newbies?
There is no best book for newbies. ‘book’ is a lonely word, and like trees and dogs, it always wants buddies. It should always be pluralized. If you are a newbie, read a shelf of books, starting with whichever one jumps off the shelf and into your hands and curls up and goes to sleep in your arms.
It is a process of triangulation: Witchcraft being an occult religion (as opposed to a revealed one), each seeker must do their own hunting and gathering down many others’ paths until they forge a path of their own.
One corner of the triangle will be the concepts and practices which you will read about and like, another corner will be the bits in the books that you do not care for, or the ones that simply do not resonate with you. The last corner of the triangle is you, and the things that you will create on your own. Your path will be blazed between the other two points, like the bolt of a crossbow. (Yes, Game of Thrones reference.)
Your local wicca stores will have this shelf of books for you to read, or ask any witch you meet and they will tell you about theirs. (And probably loan ’em to you.)
Flirty: Are pagans better looking than normal civilians or does it just seem that way?
Better looking? No. More attractive? Yes. Question is, why? Is it the clothes? The jewelry? the strange scents? The knowing smiles? All of these help, but they aint the crust of this particular biscuit: It’s the bodies underneath the trappings.
Not that pagan bods are more pleasingly shaped than regular bods but that we, as students of Nature and movers of molecules, are more in tune with our bodies and are not as hung up with societies stereotypes of Beauty. Ditching that whole Christian guilt thing has served us well too.
The physical beauty of the pagans is just the outer layer of being more at home in our own skins. Anyone sober will tell you that Knowledge and Confidence are two of the most attractive qualities in any person.
A snazzy cloak works well too.
Phil: A lot of the older books on Witchcraft that I am reading have an emphasis on plants and herbs. Are they still important?
‘Important’? Try ‘key’ and ‘foundation’. The use of plant material is one of the very cornerstones of being a traditional Witch, and this body of knowledge is one of the oldest and most practical aspects of the Old Religions. Indeed, the use of plants and herbs is sacred not only to workers of the Craft but to every pre-literate society. Being one with Flora is key to linking with your fellow Witches from centuries gone by and accessing your Higher Self more directly.
Grow em’, wildcraft ’em, buy ’em at your local Witchy store (along with a good book), and start getting messy: If you aint playing with the plants then you are doing it the hard way. Plus, if you do get into herbs you can toss around the word “wortcunning” at parties.
Sakti: Is it better to be specific or vague when doing magick?
It all depends on the spell. If you are trying to keep a bad person out of your home, then specific is obviously the way to go. If, on the other wand, you are after a better job then why limit yourself to the one in the paper? Go for the best job available within that company! The best job available in your city! The most outrageous job that you dared ever think of in the city of your dreams!
Examples on both ends of the spectrum abound:
- An old friend of mine concocted a highly specific spell on the coveted house next door, which he got, only to find that the even better house across the street went on the market at $100,000 less than what he just paid. (More general would have been the better option.)
- A lonely woman friend of mine once did a big, smoking, stinkbomb of a love spell in order to attract a tall, dark, attractive, rich, lover who would be devoted to her forever. The dreamboat soon showed up, (literally on her doorstep!) and was everything she wanted – and one thing more. The person making cow eyes at her through the screen door was a tall, dark, attractive woman. And my lonely friend is unfortuntely as straight as a crossbow bolt. (More specific would have saved a lot of embarrassment here.)
When you are writing out your spell and planning your ritual (which I highly recommend), try your desire on both ways to see whether General or Specific fits best. Doing this may also clarify what it is you actually need.
Lastly, if you do go for the specific way, it is always a good idea to toss in a sincere qualifier: “For the highest good of all….” “An it harm none….” that sort of thing. And white candles never hurt anybody either.
Seeking: What is “The Answer”?
“The Answer” is: 42. Perhaps you should be more specific.
Send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org