In my line of work I have the distinct blessing to meet a lot of newbie Witches. I meet people of all ages who are just starting out. I get to talk to folks that have been reading esoteric books for decades and are finally ready to get hands on with it. Folks come into my shop having been through a divine encounter and want more information. Or they found a deck of tarot cards at a garage sale and are curious. There are people I meet that have always known they were a Witch, but didn’t fully understand what that meant and now they feel ready. I meet a lot of amazing, brave people.
One of the things repeated by these folks over and over again is this: “I’m afraid to do anything because I don’t want to do it wrong.”
I always smile and nod. I tell them that is understandable, but it’s called a spiritual practice and not a spiritual perfect. In these conversations I want to encourage these newbies to take the leap! Only recently did I realize that’s because I was one of those fearful Witches, afraid of doing it wrong. As if some Goddess would come down from on high to revoke my witch card because I said thee instead of thou or used mint instead of alfalfa.
It doesn’t work that way and it’s not that simple.
When we practice esoteric arts, whether that gets labeled Witchcraft, spell work, or Paganism, we are likely relying on writings or teachings that predate us. There are already formulas out there that are proven to work. They are proven because practitioners wrote them down and other folks still use them or taught them to us. Right? Right.
It’s like a cake recipe. If you follow the recipe you are likely to get the same results. BUT, even when following the same recipe you will have small and subtle differences from the original creator. Your oven is a different brand. You live at a different altitude. You have a glass bowl instead of a metal bowl. Your eggs are from different chickens. Whatever. These subtle differences can make different outcomes, subtle or obvious.
If your outcome is different it doesn’t mean you are wrong.
Things are going to work for you that don’t work for others and vice versa. If a recipe calls for peanut butter, but your allergic, try it with almond butter. I mean, this is a ridiculous example. I get that, but spells and rituals work the same way. You don’t have a blue candle, but you do have an orange one? Okay, use it. The fact that you are doing the work is way more important than following the road map perfectly.
Plus, all of those writers and teachers had to learn what they did from someone. And that someone learned from someone; and so on. At some point it was all made up by somebody. Give yourself permission to try new things, experiment, test, play, have fun! Sometimes I worry that we Witches and Pagans take ourselves far too seriously.
Let your spiritual practice unfold like a grand experiment, because that’s exactly what it is.