Deciding Between Paths: How To Know When You Are Ready?

I’ve been raised as a Christian my whole life. But about 2 years ago, I realized that it wasn’t my true calling or a place where I felt at home at all. But about a year ago, I fell upon Wicca. To me, it feels true and right and I feel so at home within it, so I just decided to call myself Wiccan. More recently, I realized that that wasn’t any way to follow Wicca and that I’d gone about it in a way that wouldn’t truly benefit me. So now I’m taking the time to learn more about both Christianity and Wicca and I’m so excited to finally choose and follow Wicca as I should’ve done in the first place.

However, going to church every Sunday has made it increasingly difficult to commit myself to Wicca so I’m left feeling unsure whether I was too quick but in Christianity I feel uncomfortable and unsafe and judged so I know it’s not what is right for me. I guess I’m just looking for advice and how to release all this doubt and fear. I truly want to dedicate myself to the God and Goddess but I’m just doubting whether I’m ready or not. At my age and in my ‘situation’ it’s hard to find other Wiccans who I can speak to and learn from and be guided by.

Probably not what you are going to want to hear, but at 14 you have plenty of time to figure which path is right for you. Particularly if you are having doubts, it’s good idea to take as much time as you feel is necessary.

From a traditional standpoint, Wiccan covens will not initiate anyone who is under the age of 18 (sometimes even 21), so there is not any need to rush to anything at this point. If you still feel pulled towards Christianity, keep in mind that, even if you are uncomfortable at your current church, that may not be indicative of all churches, or even all denominations. So it may be worth it to explore other areas of Christianity before making any major decisions.

Once you are sure that Wicca or Wicca-inspired NeoPaganism is more your calling, there is still not any real reason to start dedicating or oathing yourself to anyone at this point. Oaths and vows are something that the Gods take very seriously and doing such during the teen years is just not a good idea (in any way). It’s not always a good idea for some, even when they are older – things change and we think we will always be able to follow through, but that’s not always the case. And trying to take back an oath… it doesn’t always go well and some Gods are less forgiving than others. So patience at this stage is a good thing.

In the meantime, I would suggest lots of reading. We have a couple of previous posts with some recommendations (here and here). This doesn’t mean you can’t practice anything, but it simply means don’t look to settling in just yet. Give yourself plenty of time to explore.

Additionally, if you feel that maybe there are bits of both Paganism and Christianity that call to you, there are things like ChristoPaganism which may be of interest as well. In particular ChristoPaganism: An Inclusive Path by Joyce and River Higganbotham is a good one. Another book that encompasses multiple views is CUSP: A New Way to Walk An Old Path by Eric and Katrina Rasbold. In terms of going to church, it may also be worth checking out the Unitarian Universalists.

I know that when we are young, it often seems like we need to make a decision about things NOW, but in truth – particularly with the really important things, careful consideration is the better course of action. During our teen years things change rapidly and those things that we feel strongly about one day soon fade, and by the time we reach young adulthood we are often completely different people. Making any sort of decision, particularly involving dedicating oneself to a God (or Gods), is not something to make until one is absolutely sure that one can keep that commitment*. So don’t feel that you need to be doing anything, until you have resolved any lingering doubts are are fully ready to take those next steps.

*worth noting too that for some people, they are never ready to take an oath or dedicate themselves, and that is perfectly ok too. Never feel like you have to do such a thing, even if it said so in a book or on a website, etc… ;)

Spellwork: Timing and Other Influences

Can one do a spell a day late?

The short answer is: yes. Because, as long as one is proficient enough in spellwork and writing/creating their own, they can typically modify almost anything to suit. However, having said that, it really depends on what the spell is, what the day was – were there specific energies that were being harnessed that are really only present at that specific time/date, etc…

For example, a friend recently lamented that they’d missed the Equinox and another had said it was no big deal they could still celebrate. Which is true, for the most part, except if one is looking specifically to do balancing work or some other spell that requires the equality of day/night that is typically only found on the Equinox. So could you still do it the next day… sure, but it’s not going have the same ummph as doing it on the day.

Similarly, the Blood Moon/Eclipse that occurred last night – having spellwork that was centered around using the energy created by the eclipse itself will not be as effective if it’s done tonight. Sure there will still be the full moon, but it’s missing that something extra. In this case, if one were going to change the date, it would be better to modify the spell so that the eclipse energy was no longer a key component.

Of course for some people, things like correspondences, moon phases, planetary alignment, days of the week or other considerations aren’t a huge part of their magical practices – and that’s perfectly fine. So in those cases, doing something one day versus another may not make that much of a difference. However, if one does feel that those things (or the lack thereof) do have an impact, changing days can affect the energy of the spell and/or cause it not to work the way it was intended.

In the end, it’s going to come down to one’s own personal practices – whether they are solitary/eclectic or part of an established tradition that may or may not have specific guidelines for spellwork. If one typically places a strong emphasis on timing, then changing something even slightly can throw things off. If one is more flexible and able to work with whatever is available, then changes are more easily compensated for. The key in both is to make sure that the spell being used is customized for the person using it – don’t take something from a book and use it “as-is” if the conditions don’t fit. The more energy we put into making it fit our needs (including timing, if that is important) the better it will be in the long run, in terms of working the spell successfully.

Wedding Location: Does It Matter?

I live in a rural town and was married at my property. Would it be advised to get remarried (to a different woman) at the same location? My first marriage was tumultuous and failed. I have met my soulmate and am divided between starting fresh with my soulmate at the place we will call home and the fact that I was already married at the same location. Please advise.

Honestly, this could really go either way…

On the one hand, you are looking at having to compete with memories of your previous marriage. Which, to be sure, you’ll have to deal with anyways – but when you literally start off in exactly the same place, there are bound to be those who automatically assume it will end up going the same route the first one did. Additionally, if there are any residual hard feelings related to your previous marriage, going through the ceremony in the same place can cause those feelings to bubble to the surface during the wedding and could cause your day to be less than perfect.

Conversely, making awesome new memories literally right on top of the old ones, can help to fully chase out any lingering “ghosts of the past” that might be hanging around. Having your and your new wife, stake your claim – this is ours now – can really help to set the tone for your new life together.  So, especially if you are going to be living in the same house that you previously lived in during your first marriage, this might not be a totally bad idea.

Personally though, I wouldn’t do it, as it seems like there would be too much “baggage” associated with it. From a more objective perspective however, it could potentially work out. A lot too depends on what sort of other options you have available. If it’s a budget issue, then just doing your best to make this wedding as different as possible from the other one, even if it’s being held in the same place, may be enough. Suggest as well (if you are into that sort of thing), that doing some heavy-duty cleansing rituals beforehand might also be a good idea. Just to banish any lingering negative energies that might hanging around, that way you can start fresh.

I think the really big question to ask however, would be to your wife-to-be… how does she feel about it? This is her day too, and if she doesn’t feel comfortable having the wedding in the same place, then that needs to be a serious consideration when making your choice.

Jealousy and Unconsiously Cursing

I have a long time best friend I love like a sister. We met in High School and I quickly learned that her life had been extremely difficult. Her family was cruel, unsupportive & financially unstable. She took medication that caused a lot of weight gain which crushed her self-esteem. While she is otherwise fiercely loyal, supportive, and caring, she is very bitter about how different our lives were. My family life as a high school student was the complete opposite of hers. She didn’t know I had an eating disorder and resented me most for being thin.

She would act very petty, bitter, and jealous towards me on a daily basis.

I stopped tolerating it when she began copying my appearance, speech, and eventually my artwork. When I confronted her she refused to back down. We didn’t speak for a REALLY long time. When we did finally become friends again she had long since quit her medications and lost the weight. She seemed really happy, like she grew into herself. I assumed she wouldn’t feel the need to act the way she used to and wrote it off as being part of the past.

after that I moved to a different country and when I came home to the US she visited me. I had gained weight as a result of fracturing my tailbone which was healing very slowly and the muscle pain that came with it. I decided to tell her about the eating disorder and asked her not to talk about things that related to that subject. Instead she made sure to bring it up in not so subtle ways as much as possible. I know she did it because she is insecure and bitter, but it troubles me that she was so happy to see me unhappy with myself.

since then I still struggle with my weight constantly despite playing roller derby, becoming a clean eating vegan to help my body and mind, regularly going to the gym, and doing everything I can to stop my negative thoughts and correct them. I keep a record of my food/exercise habits and my doctor looked over it and said everything looked on point.

I am not suggesting she has made it impossible for me to lose weight! I just wonder if it is possible for someone to unintentionally ‘curse’ you by resenting you out of envy and bitterness, especially if that person has resented you for such a long time? and as a result hinder your own progress. because she is VERY bitter. . . and she seems to need me to be less successful in my endeavors to be happy with her own self, at this point in her life.

I decided not to be passive anymore and to give my two cents on any snide comments, but also that I will be understanding and patient because she is still struggling with her own insecurities.

What can I do to protect myself from jealousy?

It may seem harsh, but if this person’s behaviors are bothering you, to the point that you feel their jealousy and bitterness are potentially unconsciously cursing you – then you need to permanently sever your ties to them. That is the best way to protect yourself from this sort of deep-seated hatred. And make no mistake, it is hate. No one who is a true friend, would harbor these sorts of feelings, or act in this manner – particularly over such a long period of time. To put it bluntly, a “friend” who gets their kicks from seeing their friends fail, isn’t a friend.

Within healthy relationships, we may all have occasional moments when we are jealous, or feel a bit of bitterness here and there, particularly when we may be struggling and they seem to get all the good stuff, but it is typically fleeting. A momentary dark cloud that moves across the sky and is then gone, to be replaced by happiness and genuine supportive feelings that our friend is awesome and deserves all the good things. Because hey… if we’re not making it, then someone better be!!! Lingering negative feelings speak to a relationship that is not a healthy one, and unless the underlying issues can be resolved, it’s often better to part ways, rather than allowing such negativity to continue festering.

As to unconsciously cursing or even casting spells in general – I think that any time we put a lot of energy into something, especially energy that is emotionally charged, we have the potential to affect things. At it’s most basic, magic is simply manifesting a desired change through force of will, and as such, when one is intensely focusing specific negative thoughts (particularly over a long period of time), the odds are pretty good that there will be some sort of manifestation related to those thoughts.

Having said that however, I don’t necessarily think that your friend has caused you to have difficulties losing weight. While it’s sometimes easier to look for magical reasons behind something, the answer is generally much simpler. In this case, it’s likely just a matter of genetics or basic human biology. Once we reach a certain age our metabolism slows down, and it becomes much harder to lose any extra weight that we might put on. Couple that with an injury that makes exercising hit or miss and it’s the perfect recipe for weight that doesn’t want to budge.

Though it may be difficult, especially with someone that you consider almost like family, in the end, there often comes a time when we have to chose our own well-being over our “friends.” If we are to lead happy and healthy lives, we have to be mindful of our own mental, emotional and physical needs, and sometimes that means cutting the negative people from our lives. Even even more so, those whose sole purpose in life seems to be sabotaging the happiness of those around them.


What Beliefs or Practices Link All Pagans Together?

  • what is the pagans/wicca community belief system?
    and i am a beginner so i do not know much
    thank you
  • Pagan seams to be a very vague term for non main stream religion, but what is it that links these particular religions that are labeled pagan together?

In fact there really isn’t much of anything that links ALL Pagan religions and paths together. At it’s most basic, the term Pagan is an umbrella term that encompasses all “non-Abrahamic” religions, and that’s it. Some paths may share some similarities, but there is nothing else that ALL share as a defining practice or belief. Even when used as a short-hand for the NeoPagan paths that are loosely based on the non-oathbound parts of Wicca, the joke is – ask a hundred people, get a hundred answers. In terms of a label, it works well enough for those who don’t know and don’t care to know the actual differences, but within the community itself, it can be a poor description of what one does. When possible, it is better to look to words which are more specific to one’s own path, as these terms are better at conveying the actual idea of one’s practices and beliefs.

For example: If we are all standing around at a local meet up and everyone introduces themselves, and tacks on at the end “I’m Pagan” – no one has really learned anything about anyone else’s path. But if that same group tacks on “I’m Heathen,” “I’m Celtic Recon,” “I’m Kemetic,” etc… (or other appropriate term), then we have a better idea of what it is that each of them do.

This of course assumes that one has a general idea of what some of the specific Pagan religions entail, but even if one doesn’t, it’s a great way to start discussion and dialogues, which can be used to learn more about those other paths.

As we have gotten a couple different questions on the subject recently, thought it would be a good time to remind everyone that the Paganism FAQ link at the top of the page is there to answer some of this directly and to give a bit of background on some of the more common Pagan traditions.

Of course, if there are specific questions, that are not covered in the FAQ, please feel free to ask! :)

Mentoring and Circle Casting for a New Witch

Hi! so recently I’ve gotten into witchcraft and was interested in starting as an eclectic witch, the problem is, I need a teacher (I’m scared I wont cast a circle right and I would like a teacher to teach me correctly so I don’t screw up). help?

You can always ask questions when you have them, here or via our tumblr page, but unfortunately, we don’t do direct mentoring/teaching. You can also check WitchVox or Pagan Meetup, for groups or individuals in your area who are open to teaching others. In both cases, make sure you ask prospective teachers about their expertise and background to verify that that they are in-fact knowledgeable (as much as you can anyways). It may also be difficult to find anyone, depending on how old you are, as many people will not work directly with those who are under 18, for legal reasons.

In general terms of the “how to” of doing rituals, I would highly recommend The Elements of Ritual by Deborah Lipp. It’s probably going to cover everything you could ever want to know, including “why” some things are done the way they are, which will be helpful in understanding that (among other things), short of not fully closing/opening a circle, there’s not a whole lot you can screw up with casting a circle. Additionally, there are innumerable ways to cast one, so generally, however works best for you is fine. But I can understand too that it’s nice to have someone to talk it all over with as well, which is hard to do when one is solitary.

It’s probably important to note too, that not everyone even uses circles, so it also depends on your own style of witchcraft. I do think, that regardless of circle use, it’s always good to learn proper grounding and shielding techniques, depending on what sort of workings one will be doing. But a full-on circle may not be necessary for many things, again, unless it’s something that works for your practice.

Also worth mentioning, is in being solitary and eclectic, the benefit to that is you can do, more or less, whatever you want to (within reason). The caveat of course, is if you are taking practices or beliefs from other cultures, make sure it is done so with respect and a deep understanding of the religion/culture that one is pulling from. So if you are doing your own thing, you may not have as much to worry about, in terms of screwing things up.

The other part, is that we all make mistakes, it’s an inevitable part of life. The good thing is that we can learn from those mistakes. So when they happen, don’t get too upset over them, simply take them for the learning opportunity they are, and resolve to do better next time. It may also help to keep a notebook when you are just starting (separate from any BOS or grimoire that you might be keeping), with detailed notes on – hey… this went well, or ewww, no… not doing that again. That way you can refer back and know what parts does and doesn’t work for you, hopefully, making the learning process a bit easier.

For additional resources to check out on your new journey, I would suggest reading the following – Solitary Witch – Where Do I Start? And again, if you have any other questions, feel free to ask. :)


Passing On: What To Do With A Wiccan’s Things

I just found out that my Grandmother, who passed away several years ago, was a Wiccan. It was never discussed, and was never brought up in the past. I didn’t come to the realization until recently when my mother had mentioned that she had books on witchcraft in a passing comment. While I don’t practice spellcraft, being more focused on spirituality and meditation, I would like to recover said books as it breaks my heart to think they are gathering dust in some basement. I’m not sure if I will find her grimoire or not, as no one knows if she kept one. Like I said, her being a Wiccan was never discussed, and my mother wasn’t even certain that was her religion. So what I’m getting at here, I’m not sure what to do if I find it. I was hoping you could offer suggestions how to handle this situation. Part of me feels as though I’ll be breaching a boundary of privacy by looking into the grimoire if I find one, another part of me demands that I look inside if I do find one for there were a lot of questions that sprung up around her passing.

The answer really depends on if she was an initiated Wiccan (or similar Witchcraft tradition), which would make much of what was in her BOS likely oathbound, or if she was solitary, eclectic, or other non-oathbound tradition. If there is any way to ascertain this, that would be an important first step.

If she was an initiate of an oathbound tradition, her regular books and things would probably be fine for you to keep (though I would suggest cleansing and re-consecrating before using any tools), however her BOS should be returned to someone else who is of a similar initiated status/lineage. If she was Wiccan (BTW) you can check on Amber and Jet, to find someone who can help, if that is the case. If she was part of some other oathbound tradition, you would need to see if you can contact others from within that tradition for their thoughts on disposing of it. The alternative, in either case, would be to simply burn the book, which seems extreme, but is the best way to ensure that any oathbound information contained within does not fall into the hands of those who are not supposed to have it.

If she was solitary and/or part of a non-oathbound tradition, then it’s really up to you. If you knew your grandmother well enough, you are in a better position to know whether or not she would want someone with similar interests using her things. If you are unsure, I would suggest meditating on the question. Maybe even doing some sort of journeying or communication work, in which you contact her and ask specifically – Do you mind if I do this? Personally, if I passed, I would want my things given to someone who would find them useful, but I know that is not always the case with others.

Also, you mentioned questions about her passing – not sure what that means exactly, but realize too that her beliefs and practices probably had nothing to do with her death. If there are lingering questions, the answers probably won’t be found in her things. If they are just general questions about her life, then I think reading through her things would be a good way to better understand her, and keep her memory alive. The key of course, is making sure that what you are reading is not anything that is supposed to be oathbound.

Do Spells Work?

I have a question about spells, 1 do they work,  and do you think this one will work (one I came up with)

As I sit here in this hour,
And I raise up all my power,
I ask the God and goddess to send,
Money to me on the wind,
I charm this necklace on this night,
And wear it when money is tight,
Now I say this to you from me,
Now I say it so mote it be.

Yes. No. Maybe so.

Spellwork is very unpredictable. Can it work? … sure. Does it always work, every single time? … nope. Is there any way to guarantee that it will work in any particular instance? … again, nope.

At its most basic, magic is simply manifesting a desired goal or change through force of will. This is something that most people do, without realizing it, on a daily basis. We formulate a goal and we make it happen. In terms of spellwork, it’s simply a matter of doing it in a slightly different way.

Like anything else in life, there are many variables that impact whether or not a spell manifests the way that we want it to. A few points to consider:

  • First and foremost, magic cannot defy the laws of nature/physics. So things like sprouting wings, or transforming into some other being, are not something that are possible through spells.
  • Focus and clarity when working the spell – left unguided, magic will work in its own way and in its own time. So a vague, “money to me on the wind” could mean that you find a lost $5 bill in your pocket, rather than an actual sum of money that helps your financial situation improve. So be clear and concise when forming the intent of the spell, especially if you need specific help with something.
  •  Magic is not like what we see on TV or in the movies – there is no snap your fingers and POOF. Manifesting a spell takes work, and in general, doing something mundanely is infinitely easier than doing it magically. So if you are expecting to recite a few words and suddenly have money rain down on your head – while it’s not completely impossible, it would be very unlikely unless you first play the lotto, or (even better) take some other concrete steps towards improving your financial situation, such as applying for loan/grant, looking for a job, or some other sort of fundraising.

As a charm, your words are fine, especially if you are just looking to attract money in general. The key is raising the energy necessary to fuel the spell, charging the necklace with that energy, and then recharging it as necessary. However, if you have a specific need or need a particular amount of money before a certain deadline, then you need to be clear about that to avoid any potential misunderstandings. Additionally, the Gods aren’t ATM machines, so often if we want something from them, we have to give something first. Along that same line – if you don’t already work with a particular God or Goddess, you may want to look into at least introducing yourself (and/or forming a working relationship with them) first, before asking them for favors.

So it definitely has the potential to work, but as mentioned previously, nothing is ever guaranteed. But the way I see it, can’t ever hurt to try. ;)

Previous posts on spells and magic that might be helpful…




Wiccan Rede: An It Harm None

I am dating a man who is Wiccan…we are having a very serious disagreement about a spider!  I respect his Wiccan views and beliefs…but I cannot understand his logic regarding this topic.  I am terrified of spiders…it is irrational and logically I know its silly.  However, I cannot control that fear and it truly causes me serious distress.  He has a very large spider living above his front door.  Initially he wanted to bring it inside, but has agreed not to now.  I asked him to relocate the spider because he does not believe in killing them.  His response was no…it would cause the spider harm…and he believes in the first do no harm principle.  Its his belief relocating the spider will directly cause it harm.  Isn’t leaving the spider there causing me harm?  It causes me to have heart palpitations, extreme anxiety, and I cry!  Again, I know my fear is unsubstantiated, but it is real!  I feel he is completely disregarding my feelings and well being by not relocating it…but all he says is do no harm is in his blood and who he is!  Any advice?

I’ll start with straight and to the point. If your boyfriend cares more about potential harm to a spider, than he does about the woman he supposedly loves, then you need to RUN (not walk) to the nearest exit. Dump him.

Regardless of the actual meaning of the Rede itself (which I’ll get to in a moment), there are plenty of ways to humanely move a spider. There is absolutely zero reason for him to put that spider’s well-being above your own – A) because it can be moved without harming it and B) because even if it would cause harm… your life (and physical/mental health) should be a priority to him. If it’s not, then there is something seriously wrong. If he is not willing to put you first in these sorts of situations, he’s not worth your time or energy.

As to “do no harm” – at no point (ever), does the Wiccan Rede prohibit one from causing harm, and in fact, it is literally impossible to go through life without causing harm to someone or something. The Rede, which in full states ‘An it harm none, do what ye will, simply tells us that if it doesn’t cause harm, we can do whatever we want. But nowhere in that statement does it say if it causes harm, don’t do it. The point of it all, is for one to carefully consider their actions before taking them, and to be willing to accept the potential consequences of such actions – for good or bad. In the end however, if one feels that a harmful action is justified, and is willing to accept the consequences, then there is nothing preventing them from taking the action. For more information on the history and meaning of the Wiccan Rede, I suggest reading The Wiccan Rede: A Historical Journey.

It’s unfortunate that there are books and websites which offer misinformation regarding the Rede, which in turn cause people to end up believing that it is a literal prohibition against causing harm. But again as I mentioned to start, if your boyfriend is unwilling (or unable) to see that the harm he is causing to you is more detrimental than the harm moving the spider would cause, then he’s really not someone that you need in your life. It may sound harsh, but this is just a spider (and very easily remedied in a way that could make you both happy, which he is refusing to even consider)… what happens when it’s something more important?

Healing Spells for an Animal

Hi. I have a pet bird who has grown ill, and I was wondering if you know of any good healing spells for animals?

I know a spell is not a replacement for care from a vet, but our vet has told us there isn’t much we can do to help him, so I decided to try a spell to see if it can do something medicine can’t.

I have done healing spells on people in my family and friends and gotten results, but never a bird, are there major differences between the two? I’ve only found one spell but the moon is not in the right phase, and my bird might not make it until it is. Do you have anything that is not centered around the moon phase?

Any advice you can offer on the subject is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

The short answer is that any spell that you have used successfully on a human should be fine for an animal, unless it’s crafted around a particular illness, or body part/function that is not found on the animal you are looking to help. If you need a better idea of the anatomy and physiology of the bird, in order to better direct the spell, you should be able to find information or diagrams online via a web search.

The longer answer involves thinking carefully about your pet, and the nature of its illness, as well as critically examining whether prolonging its life is in the pet’s best interest. Magic is not a cure-all, and it is unlikely anything you do will completely fix whatever underlying condition the bird has, if even a veterinarian can’t help. You may give your pet enough energy to sustain it for a while longer (months, maybe even years), but at what cost? If the illness is debilitating, or something that gets progressively worse as time goes on, will the bird’s quality of life suffer the longer it lives? No one (animal or human) wants to suffer needlessly, so it’s something to consider when making such a decision. No one wants to lose a treasured pet, but at the same time, it’s necessary to understand when magic might be helpful and when it’s time to let go.

In terms of actual spellwork, we are just past the full moon* and as the waning moon is good for banishing spells, I would suggest seeing if you can modify the one you have to fit. Otherwise, use it as a guide for crafting one with a focus on banishing the illness, or removing the source of the illness. It’s hard to be more specific without knowing the actual nature of the illness, as some healing spells are not appropriate for certain types of illnesses. I’d hate to direct you to something that isn’t right for your situation. For example, many healing spells focus on increasing healing, or other positive properties – the unfortunate downside is that if one has cancer, or another illness where growing/spreading would be severely detrimental, increasing is bad. Which is why knowing the nature of the illness is important when determining which spell would be effective or a better choice.

* (This was written based on that particular moon phase, however the current moon phase may be different depending on when one is reading this page. So if the moon phases are something that factor into one’s magical workings, be sure to verify the correct timing/phase before doing any sort of spell work.)