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The Llewellyn Journal

Witchcraft on a Shoestring: How to Deepen Your Practice without Breaking the Bank

This article was written by Deborah Blake
posted under Pagan

We are all feeling the effects of a tough economy and having to make difficult choices about how we spend whatever money we still have. And this concern can affect our Witchy lives as well as our mundane one. Letís face itóWitchcraft can cost you a lot of money if youíre not careful: ritual garb and velvet cloaks, athames and wands, crystals, magickal candles, herbs, and oils can all add up to a chunk of change. And thatís before you even include books, my particular weakness. Or have all your friends over for a big ritual and feast.

Does this mean that we canít have a satisfying spiritual and magickal practice without spending money we canít afford? Not at all! All we need to do is adopt a different attitude and a new approach. I call it witchcraft on a shoestring, and I, and my coven Blue Moon Circle, have been following this path for years without sacrificing any of the aspects of our practice that are truly important to us.

Witchcraft on a Shoestring Basics

To adapt your current practice (or start a new one), you need to start with a few basics:

Use This, Not ThatóInexpensive Substitutions for Expensive Items

Ten Ways to Deepen Your Practice for Little or No Money
There are plenty of witchy activities you can do that cost nothing, or next to nothing. Here is a list of ten, just to give you the idea:

  1. Grow your own magickal herbs and flowers. Even apartment-dwellers usually have a sunny windowsill they can devote to a few herbs. And growing the plants yourself means that you are putting your energy and intent into the magick you will eventually do with them from the very first moment you plant the seeds.
  2. Go for a walk and pay attention to nature. If you live in the country, or have a park nearby, it is easy to take a mindful stroll and watch for the animals and birds we share the planet with. Even in a city, you can usually find a green spot, or go to a botanical garden. Breathe the air and notice what you smell. Listen to the sounds, and just connect back to the earth. If you can, sit for a while with your body in contact with the earth or a tree, and feel its strength supporting you.
  3. Stand out under the night sky and look at the stars. Feel how small you are, and yet how vital a part of the universe.
  4. Stand out under the night sky and look at the moon. What phase is it in? Is there any way in which that phase corresponds to where things are in your life? If the moon is full, be sure to soak up the light and love of the goddess while youíre out there.
  5. Teach someone something about The Craft. Passing on knowledge in one of the most important aspects of being a Pagan. Share what you know with another Witch who is just starting out, or gently educate a non-Pagan about what it really means to be a Witch.
  6. Sit by a body of water and listen to the soothing sounds it makes. Think about how all the water on the planet is connected, from the smallest drop of rain to the biggest ocean, and so are we.
  7. Plant a tree. You can usually get bare-root trees for very little money at your local Cooperative Extension, or from the Arbor Foundation. If you donít have property on which you can plant a tree, see if a local park will let you plant one there, or help a friend to plant it on their land. Or donate to the Arbor Foundation and they will plant one for you, if you canít do it yourself.
  8. Drum. The drum has been used by Pagans for as long as we have history to look back on, so drumming is a connection with all those who went before. It can help you achieve a meditative state, or you can just use it to send out a message of joy into the universe.
  9. Help someone who needs it. I firmly believe that the goddess (or deity in whichever form you find it) wants us to look out for each other. When you help another without expecting anything in return, you are doing Her work.
  10. Give someone a kiss or a hug and tell them you love them unconditionally. Perfect love and perfect trust are at the core of a Witchcraft practice, yet who among us can say we truly get or give enough love?

Why You Should Spend SOME Money
Witchcraft on a shoestring isnít about spending NO money ever on your magickal practice. It is about being careful how, when, and why you do buy things. And there are a few reasons to occasionally open your wallet and pull out a little of your hard earned cash.

For one thing, it is important for us to support the rest of the Pagan community, and that includes those who own Pagan stores, bookstores, or hand-craft items with a magickal bent. After all, if we donít buy things from these folks now and again, they wonít still be there when we need the items for our practice we canít get anywhere else.

For another, I believe it behooves us to buy books on Pagan topics, for much the same reason. Yes, I am a bit prejudiced, since I write some of those books, but letís face itóI was buying books on magick long before I ever wrote one, and Iíll undoubtedly still be buying them long after I write my last magickal tome.

As I said earlier, learning and acquiring knowledge are among my greatest priorities. And if we donít buy books, the publishers wonít publish more, the authors wonít write more, and then how will the next generation of Witches learn? Few of us are lucky enough to have a Witch who lives nearby and who is willing to share his or her knowledge, so books are the path that many of us walk to get from there to here.

That doesnít mean you have to buy every book you ever want to read, of course. Sometimes you can find one at the library, or swap with a friend, or even find a Pagan book at a yard sale, if you are very fortunate. As with everything else, youíll want to consider how much youíll use any particular book (I have quite a few Witchcraft reference books I refer to over and over), and how much you need the knowledge contained within its pages.

Witchcraft on a shoestring, at its core, is all about making choices and setting priorities. And always keep in mind that as long as your heart belongs to the goddess and the god, you already have gifts that no amount of money could buy.

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