Practicing Wicca/Witchcraft/Magic is an amazing way to get in touch with your personal power and strengths. It teaches you to honor the Earth, the elements, and the divine power of the Universe. Tapping into the infinite source, awakening your intuition/psychic senses, and honoring the natural rhythms and cycles of the Earth can shift you into alignment with your highest self and allow you to manifest accelerated progress in your physical, mental and emotional life.
As a Solitary Eclectic Witch, I have studied and practiced Wicca/Witchcraft on my own for 6 years, integrating many different belief systems into my practice and using spells and magical workings to enhance my spiritual journey. In this article, I'll be sharing with you some of the key principles of Wicca/Witchcraft that have helped me to develop a deeper understanding of myself and the Universe.
What is Wicca/Witchcraft/Magic?
Wicca is a nature-based belief system that honors the feminine and masculine principles of the Universe commonly known as Yin/Yang and referred to in Wicca as the Lord and the Lady. In Wicca, it is common to worship, pay respects to and seek guidance from both the Lord and the Lady. Both the Lord and the Lady often take the form of many deities from ancient Pantheons. Each form that the Lord and Lady take may relate to a different aspect of masculinity or femininity often giving each God/Goddess in the pantheon a specific role that contributes to the whole. For example, the Triple Goddess is often represented through Maiden, Mother, and Crone goddesses forming the three aspects of feminity.
You have the choice to connect with whichever deity you resonate with most to enhance your practice. Connecting with ancient pantheons can be beneficial because it helps to connect to the wisdom of Ancient Civilizations and archetypal energy. Your connection to a specific deity may span many lifetimes and eras of time giving you a special past life connection to a particular culture or archetype. Trust your intuition in choosing which Pantheon to connect with. Some witches choose not to connect with Pantheons at all - it is all up to your preference. It is not necessary to connect with Pantheons to connect with the Masculine and Feminine embodiments of source Creator, you can simply connect with the symbolism of Yin/Yang. Below are some Pantheons that you can research and connect with based on your interest.
Japanese Buddhist Pantheon
Native American Pantheons
Another key tradition in Wicca and many Witchcraft practices is to honor the Earth and Moon and follow their seasons and cycles through celebrations and rituals. The movement of the Earth affects your mind, body, and spirit in a profound way. Emotions can run high at Full Moons and New Moons and spirits can soar during the Summer Solstice. These astronomical occurrences depend on the position of the Moon and Sun relative to the Earth, creating cycles that have deeply imprinted upon human traditions for thousands of years. There are two major kinds of celebrations in the Wiccan tradition - Esbats and Sabbats.
Esbats are celebrations of the Moon and are acknowledged during the apex and nadir of the Moon's power - the Full and New Moon. Celebrating the Full and New Moons helps you to honor the Moon's impact on our lives and embrace the healing energy she has to offer. The Moon's phases affect the tides of the ocean, agricultural cycles as well as our psychological and emotional states. Acknowledging the Moon's phase can help you to tune into a deeper level of wisdom and understanding of yourself.
Cycles of the Moon
The Moon has 8 phases with 4 quarters and two major culminations/releases.
New Moon - the New Moon is the beginning Phase of the Lunar Cycle marking the beginning of a new cycle. The Moon is completely dark at this time and is invisible because it is behind (astrologically conjunct) the Sun. Now is the time for releasing what no longer serves you so that you can plant seeds for new growth. Write a list of things you would like to accomplish over the next four weeks. Now is the time to connect more deeply with your inner self through the darkness of the Moon.
Waxing Crescent Moon - This is a good time for taking the first steps towards making progress on newly conceived ideas and projects. Start to plant seeds for growth through taking small actions and coming up with ideas.
First Quarter Half Moon - The First Quarter half Moon creates pressure to achieve balance through taking action and rectifying any issues that need to be solved. A challenge can come up now forcing you to face obstacles in order to overcome and achieve momentum towards your goals. Creating a balance between shadow and light aspects of yourself is important now.
Waxing Gibbous Moon - The Waxing Gibbous Moon is a time of great momentum and movement, plans are moving at full speed and victories may be won with good effort and resilience. Make sure to give it your all and do not stop progress. A lot can be achieved right now if you play your cards right.
Full Moon - Full Moon is a time of great achievement, fullness and release. You have worked really hard and accomplished a lot, overcoming many challenges along the way. Now it is time to look back over your achievements and celebrate - true realization and enlightenment can be achieved now. Full Moon energy is very powerful and can increase psychic abilities and the intensity of your emotions. It is good to use this energy towards relaxation, celebration, or healing to maximize the benefits of the Earth's electromagnetic power at this time (aka vibrational power).
Waning Gibbous Moon - At this phase of the Moon the waning phase begins slowing down the output of energy you have to give and allowing for deeper appreciation and reaping the rewards and benefits of the hard work you put in over the last two weeks. It's a good time for gratitude and taking opportunities presented to you.
Last Quarter Half Moon - The Last Quarter challenges you to clear up any old habit or energy that is preventing you from moving on from the past and releasing that which longer serves your life. Old habits, and negative patterns may show up for reevaluation at this time, it is good to deal with these issues through doing self reflection
Waning Crescent - This phase of the Moon offers deep rest and reflection on the past three weeks allowing psychological and emotional understanding and integration to take place. It is a good time for taking it easy and getting realigned with yourself before the new beginning at the New Moon phase.
Sabbats celebrate the Sun as it affects seasonal changes. These specific dates mark changes in the seasonal progressions of the Earth. The Sabbats are mostly focused on seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere where inhabitants experience four separate seasons, however, these holidays can be adjusted for those whose climate is near the equator, of a tropical nature, or those who experience wet and dry seasons.
Cycles of the Sun
Winter Solstice (Yule) December 21st - 23rd
This day marks the longest night of the year, a time when the cold of Winter sets in and the days begin to get longer. The last of the leaves fall off of the trees and snowfall begins. The air is crisp and quiet offering time for reflection on the past year. This is a time of renewal and hope, allowing for the rebirth of the sun after months of increasing darkness.
MidWinter (Imbolc/Candlemas) February 1st - 3rd
MidWinter or Imbolc/Candlemas marks the coldest days of Winter but brings a spark of light and inspiration as we await warmer Spring days. While the Earth is still cold, some brave plants and flowers begin to sprout, and many mammals awake from their hibernation. It is a time of spiritual devotion and divine light that reinvigorates the spirit and helps you to feel drive and inspiration for the warmer days to come. It is the time to conceive new ideas and inspirations to bring forth in the coming months.
Spring Equinox (Ostara) March 21st - 23rd
The Spring Equinox (Ostara) marks the beginning of Spring - bringing joy and creativity for the Spring season. Day and night are equal and from this day on the days will get longer and the nights shorter. Flowers and plants are just poking their heads out of the ground, birds and other animals prepare for mating season and a stirring of activity awakens the Earth. It is a time of great creativity and is usually a good time to take bigger actions on the ideas and projects conceived during Imbolc.
MidSpring (Beltane) May 1st - 3rd
MidSpring or Beltane is probably one of the most famous celebrations in Wiccan tradition, it marks the start of consistently warm weather and is often filled with celebrations and good news. The Sun is shining more brightly now and beautiful flowers fill the grass. Trees sprout their leaves and send out seed pods for new trees to grow. Butterflies and bees come out to pollinate the flowers and trees creating a beautiful interplay of color and harmony. It is an excellent time for romance and marriage. Beltane brings joy and fire to the spirit and can bring the passion needed to take any goals or manifestations to the next level.
Summer Solstice (Litha) June 21st - 23rd
Summer Solstice marks the longest day of the year when the Sun is at its most powerful. Warm and radiant rays of light flow to Earth creating an atmosphere of happiness and completion. Flowers and trees are in full bloom and the birds sing their sweet song of joy and happiness. We come to a place of full maturity of lessons and goals, offering a greater view and perspective on our achievements during the last 6 months. This is a time of high energy, fun and joy that can be channeled creatively into amazing projects ad accomplishments.
MidSummer (Lammas/Lughnasadh) August 1st - 3rd
MidSummer or Lammas/Lughnasadh occurs during the dog days of Summer. The blistering heat, the shimmering water, and the richness of the Earth create a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. Abundance flows easily now and you can begin to harvest some of the rewards of efforts put forth during the previous seasons. Often grains are harvested at this time creating an abundant food source. Now is the time to be grateful for everything you have and appreciate the fullness of Summer because these days will be ending soon.
Autumn Equinox (Mabon) September 21st - 23rd
During Autumn Equinox or Mabon, the time has come for deep reflection as we learn to balance both the light and the dark sides of ourselves. Day and night are equal once again giving us a greater ability to balance. The weather becomes a bit milder making the nights chilly. Taking a moment to reflect on everything learned and accomplished this year and turning towards connecting to our shadow selves will help us to prepare for the longer nights to come. An even greater harvest comes during this time as the Fall season brings a fruit and nut harvest.
MidAutumn (Samhain/Halloween) October 31st - November 2nd
MidAutumn or Samhain/Halloween marks the ending of the Wiccan year as it represents a time of closure and metaphorical death. The leaves start to change to beautiful golden, auburn and yellow hues. The air becomes crisper and the change in weather is more clearly sensed. It is also a time of greater darkness and perhaps spookiness. It is easier to get in touch with your magical side during this time and draw upon the deep wisdom of the spiritual realms as the veil is very thin. Letting go of what no longer serves you and cleansing yourself of old baggage is important now so you can move into the new year with greater clarity and insight.
Each of these celebrations honors the state of the Earth at that particular time, whether it is currently in the barren season of Winter or in the fertile season of Spring. There are many correspondences, spells, and rituals in relation to each Sabbat and they each deserve their own article which will be coming soon.
Many wiccans and witches alike practice spells and rituals. Spellwork is used to enhance your spiritual journey by concentrating your energy and focus on a specific area or goal in your life. Rituals can do the same but in a bigger way and are usually done for a greater purpose like an Esbat or Sabbat. Spells usually incorporate corresponding items such as herbs and symbols that will imbue the spell with their energy and help to enhance the outcome. Spells can be simple or complex, but the most important thing is the energy that you put into them. There are many spells for many different purposes, love spells, money spells, glamour spells, etc. It is encouraged to do spells only on yourself or people who have given you their permission, because interfering with another persons free will can cause negative karma to come to you.
Types of Magic
Banishing - Releasing, deflecting and sending away unwanted energy such as negativity or unwanted influences/attention from the outside.
Sweetening - Bringing positive influence to situations by adding a sweet and harmonious energy to your manifestations.
Protection - Shielding and deflecting negative and unwanted energies through using protection methods/spells.
Glamour - Using spells to create a projected image of yourself, so that those who view you see you the way you want them to percieve you.
Dream - Using crystal/herb correspondances to enhance vividness of dreams, induce lucid dreams and astral travel.
Candle - Using candles deocrated with oils, sigils and herbs to set andeal intentions.
Integrating other Belief systems and practices into your craft
Integrating other belief systems such as Buddhism, Christianity or any other mix of beliefs is entirely up to you. As an eclectic Witch, I have integrated many different New Age and Religious beliefs into my craft based on what I am comfortable with and what I resonate with. The Solitary path is meant to be introspective, experimental and completely tailored to your own needs and desires, so feel free to explore and experience what you feel is important for your growth!