I am sure there is Magic in everything.
-frances hodgson burnett
O N E
A Witch's Introduction to Na t u r a l Magick
Hello, Teen Witch. So, you've decided you want to learn about Witchcraft and natural magick? Perhaps you've searched the Internet and looked through a book or two on the topic of Witchcraft, and you're curious. I bet that you have lots of questions. What is magick, anyway? you may be thinking. Will a book really help me understand how magick works? More importantly, can I actually become a Witch all by myself?
The mere title of this book alone may be causing you some confusion and raising even more questions. Magick is natural? I thought magick was supernatural... you know, graveyard dirt, chanting mysterious charms by the dark of the moon, mystical bubbling potions that boil in glowing cauldrons, fighting off supernatural bad guys, that sort of thing.
Gee, how very mysterious and gothic. That sounds like an episode of Charmed to me. Forget all the silliness you have seen on television or read in a trashy book. Would you care for a little dose of reality instead?
I thought you might. Let me start out by answering a few of those questions and addressing those concerns right now. Magick is natural and it is very real. Who could doubt the reality of magick? Magick is as elementary as wishing upon a star, a baby's first laugh, and falling in love. There is magick in a snowstorm and enchantment to be found as you quietly watch the sun set on a balmy summer evening. For magick is in all things at all times.
Natural magick is both a way of life and an art. With natural magick, you don't use magick. You simply work with the natural energies of the Earth that are already swirling around you. Yes, that's right, the natural energies of the Earth. The physical world is made up of four basic, natural elements; these are earth, air, fire, and water. It is these four magickal elements that a Witch will tap into. Magickal energy can be found in everything in nature, such as plants, rocks, and crystals. There is enchantment to be discovered in the towering trees and colorful, scented flowers. There are also lessons to be learned from the waters of the lakes and the mighty rivers.
Guess what that means? That means we are going to be working outside quite often. Natural magick will require you to get up and go outdoors. Why, you may ask? Well, because outside is generally where nature is. If you are outdoors and you close your eyes in delight as you feel the breeze streaming through your hair and lifting your spirits, you can embrace firsthand the idea of air being a magickal element of change.
This experience is much more profound for you as a novice Witch than if you try to imagine that breeze indoors, cooped up in your room. Go outside and get your hands dirty! Feel the soil beneath your fingers. Plant some flowers in your yard or in a container. Water your new plant and take care of it. See what your plant friend has to teach you. Dangle your toes in a pond or lake on a hot summer's day. Run around outside and try to catch falling leaves before they hit the ground on a crisp fall afternoon. Experiencing nature in all her glory will help you learn to first sense and then to work with the magickal powers of nature.
Let's head outdoors for a moment. Look around you and answer these questions. What do you see and feel? Is the sun or the moon in the sky above you? Is it hot or cold, wet or dry outside? Do you live in the city, in the suburbs, or on a farm? Are you living in the desert, the mountains, or the plains? Do you live near the woods or by a river? Are you alongside a lake or perched at the seashore? What sorts of animals are native to your area? What kinds of birds show up at the backyard bird feeder?
How do the seasons inspire you where you live? Do you have bitter cold winters with snow or do you have mild winters and rain? A breeze could be blowing past you. What scents are carried along with it? What sounds do you hear? Wind chimes, or perhaps the sounds of the neighbor's dog barking? Do you hear birdsong? What kind of bird is it? Is it a cardinal or the squawk of a blue jay? Did you know that blue jays symbolize tenacity? To see blue jays flying around you is a sign to be a little more assertive and to stand your ground.
Natural magick is a process in which you tune into the rhythms, the tides, and the energies of the seasons, the elements, and nature. That's why I fired so many questions at you right off the bat-to make you more aware of your natural surroundings and how they can magickally affect your life. Get all your five-plus senses involved. Start paying closer attention to the signs of nature. You'll most likely be amazed at what they have to teach you.
As you begin to learn natural magick, you will work with the tides of the seasons and in harmony with the four elements. Natural magick is usually performed in a practical, quiet, and low-profile way, just as the young Witch performed her spell in the Introduction. The story in the Introduction was true, not a work of fiction. That was a prime example of a Teen Witch working with a belief in the Goddess, the magick of nature, and the love for her pet. She called on the natural powers of the ice storm and then focused on the element of fire, symbolized by the candle flame. She combined all of these components into a spell to bring about her desired result, the return of her kitten.
How well do I know this Teen Witch? Very well-the girl in the Introduction is my daughter.
How did my daughter learn magick? Well, she learned it from me. I am a Witch myself. As of this writing, I have been a practicing Witch for about seventeen years. How did I learn magick? Well, the truth is that I taught myself. I don't claim to be secretly trained by a long-dead family member. There are no long-lost magickal relatives hiding in my family tree, just Irish, Danish, and German ancestors. That's right, I read books and researched Witchcraft and the religion of Wicca all on my own. I talked to other Witches, memorized my basics, and made my own decisions about what variety of magick I liked. For me, that was herbalism (the use of herbs and plants in magick) and natural magick. I worked hard and practiced my butt off . . . just as you're going to do.
The Tradition of Witchcraft
Many teens, and adults for that matter, wonder where Witchcraft really comes from. Was all this fabulous occult information hiding somewhere in a secret magickal library over in England or somewhere? Who discovered it? How did it all begin? What are its origins? Well, probably the truest answer that I can give you is that Witchcraft is a tradition. Modern Witchcraft, or Wicca, is based on the older folk wisdom or tradition of innocent spells, herb and moon lore, divination techniques, and ways of natural healing. This ancient tradition was handed down orally throughout the years from mother to daughter and father to son. In the Middle Ages, very few people could read or write, let alone had access to books. So what we know of the older traditions of Witchcraft has been transformed into country charms, weather lore, legends, and folktales. The keepers of this legacy were the wisewomen and the cunning men. They were the midwives, healers, and the wise folk of their communities or villages.
"Wicca" is an Anglo-Saxon word that has several meanings, the first being from the root word wicce, which means "wise." (Get it . . . wisewomen.) To be a Wiccan is to be one of the Wise Ones. Some other folks will point out that the word also means "to shape or to bend," and either definition is correct. You bend reality with your magick and shape the future to your wishes. In modern times, the word "Wicca" is the name for the religion of the Witch.
Wicca also incorporates the mythologies and traditions of numerous other cultures as well. This includes a smattering of various old earth religions, such as the ancient Norse and Celtic mythologies and beliefs. Wiccans hold to the theory, as did many ancient cultures before us, that the land is sacred and that the Earth is a holy place. Wicca is a polytheistic religion, meaning we believe in the existence of more than one God. Our religion is based on the belief of a God and a Goddess.
These feminine and masculine energies are two parts of a whole, just as in nature. You can't have one without the other.
The God and the Goddess-Who Are They?
Okay, so who are this Goddess and God that I have been referring to? They are the basis of the religion of Wicca. Witchcraft, which is a part of Wicca, is a religious thing-so is life. Recently one of my teenage nephews approached me and nervously began to ask me questions about Witchcraft and God.
"Aunt Ellen, I have a friend who is interested in Wicca," he began.
"Now I know that you aren't evil or anything . . . but in my youth Bible class, they taught us that Witchcraft is wrong." He smiled nervously at me and waited to hear my reply.
"Why did they say that it's wrong?" I asked him.
He shuffled his feet and looked down at the ground. "Well, they keep warning us to stay away from it, like it's going to get us or something. You know, the whole devil thing."
"Witches don't believe in the devil. And we certainly don't work with him," I answered him firmly, and watched to see what his reaction would be.
His face lit up. "Really? You know, I thought that you said something to me before about a Goddess or God. You believe in God, right?"
"Yes, I do. Witches believe in a God and a Goddess. I think of them as two equal halves of the whole-a masculine and a feminine side of divinity."
"So how come you don't go to church with us?" he asked me.
"This is my church," I told him, gesturing beyond the backyard where we were standing. "For Witches, nature is sacred."
"Oh, you mean Witchcraft is all about nature?"
"Yes," I explained. "It is about seeing the divine in everything. Being a Witch means that you work hard to be a good, moral, and ethical person. I know that the God and the Goddess are watching over me, and they help me out when I ask them to."
"Okay, I get it." He thought about that for a moment, plainly relieved. He looked at me, slung his arm around my shoulder, and gave me a hug. "So, who is this God and Goddess of yours? Tell me about them."
To many ancient cultures, the Goddess was a symbol of the oceans, the earth, and the moon. The Goddess was directly responsible for not only the fertility of the land, but the animals and the people as well. The God was her other half and consort. He was often represented as the sun that brightened the sky and brought life to the land. We have known the God and Goddess by many different names for centuries.
Here are just a few you are probably familiar with.
To the ancient Greeks, they were known as Helios the sun god and Selene the moon goddess. The Romans called the god of the sun Apollo, and his twin sister was Diana, the goddess of the moon. To the indigenous people of America, they are Earth Mother and Sky Father.
See what I mean about that nature theme? The truth is that you can call them by any name you wish. Go with whatever you're most comfortable with: God and Goddess, Lord and Lady, Earth Mother and Sky Father, or Goddess of the moon and God of the sun.
It is important to know that we do not worship the moon and the sun; they are merely natural symbols or representations of the Goddess and the God. We see them as kind and loving deities, similar to a mother and a father. They watch over us, advise us, and help us through the tough times. They also expect the best out of us personally, like real parents.
The easiest way to get to know the God and Goddess is through meditation. Meditation isn't difficult to learn. Basically you find a quiet, safe spot in nature or at home, and settle in and get comfy. Ideally, this should be someplace where you will not be disturbed for a short time. Relax, take a few deep, cleansing breaths, and clear your mind. Now imagine yourself somewhere in nature. When I prepare to meditate, I like to imagine myself walking into a secret garden. Try this and see how it works for you.
Visualize or imagine yourself standing at the base of ten stone steps. As you begin to climb up, step by step, count silently backwards from ten to one. When you count back to the number one, you have reached the top of the steps. Now, see before you an ivy-covered garden gate.
Open the gate and imagine you are entering a secret garden. Once you are in the secret garden, let your imagination go and your subconscious can take over. At this point of the meditation you could ask to meet the God and Goddess; let your mind drift and use your imagination. See where this leads you and what they have to say. When you feel that you're ready to end the meditation, go back to the garden entrance, step out and close the gate behind you. Now count down those ten garden steps as you descend them, starting at the top with number one. When you reach step number ten, take a deep breath, blow it out, and open your eyes. Take a moment and jot down your impressions. What did you see and hear? What did you learn?
How did that make you feel?
Another type of meditation used by Witches is called "pathworking." Pathworking is a guided meditation and this is sort of like going on an imaginary trip. With a guided meditation, you follow a story line that leads you through a lesson. This story teaches you a magickal lesson or introduces you to a nature spirit or even a deity. There are several guided meditations in this book. Some of these will direct you through the lesson from beginning to end, while others allow you to follow your own mind's imaginary path.
Whether you use meditation or simply sit on the grass and pray, take the time to introduce yourself to the Lord and Lady; they are waiting for you. The God and Goddess are real and they are a fundamental part of Witchcraft and magick. And if you call on them, they will hear you.
How Do I Get Started?
If you want to be a Witch and practice natural magick, you are probably going to have to learn your craft the hard way, just like I did- through study, experimentation, trial and error, and on your own. But you know what? Your solitary training can be every bit as effective and true as those who claim a formal type of training. And don't you ever let anyone tell you differently.
How do you start your own training, you may wonder? There may be so many questions buzzing around inside of your head that it makes it hard to know exactly where to begin. So, let's kick this off with something simple: a little healing exercise for you to try your hand at, and an introduction into natural magick.
A healing spell for yourself might involve taking an early morning barefoot stroll in the backyard (pick a nice day for this), a little meditating, and then sitting on the dewy grass to watch the sunrise. Surprised?
Don't be. Natural magick works in harmony with the laws of nature.
Dawn Healing Ritual
As the first rays of the sun brighten up the eastern sky, place your hands on the ground. Feel the dew and the grass beneath your fingers.
Then close your eyes and imagine the stabilizing influence of the earth and the cleansing properties of the water are giving you strength and helping to wash away any sadness or illness that you carry. Open your eyes and tip up your head to watch the sunrise. Feel the breeze stir your hair and the strength of the sun begin to wash over you. Make a quiet request to the Lord and Lady. Ask for their help in starting a new day with energy and health and to put old, hurtful feelings behind you. Settle in and feel the peace and possibilities of a new day and of new beginnings slide over you. Take a deep breath in, hold it for a few seconds, and now blow it out.
There, your first ritual. Simple, quiet, and easy. What? You were expecting thunder and lightning as the wind whipped around your celestial robes? I sure hope you aren't standing under any big trees.
That's a great way to get your butt fried by lightning. Do you want the truth about magick, or fiction? The truth, then. True magick and Witchcraft are not all about the Hollywood power image. Wicca is a legally recognized religion here in the United States. Real Witches do not, as a matter of course, battle demons and supernatural bad guys. That's just TV make-believe. We actually do not believe in demons or worship them in any way.
The truth is that once you tune yourself in to the natural world, and begin to recognize the subtle energy of nature, magickal energy can be found all around you. For teens who are interested in the Craft, natural magick is a respectable way to start your studies. So let's warm up the single most important tool that is ever used in Witchcraft. Can you guess what that tool might be? That very important tool is your mind.
The Most Powerful Tool in Magick
Before we begin to perform any other magick, we must first understand what natural magick truly is. Magick is the art and science of effecting positive change in your life. You may attain this change by your will or desire to make these personal improvements and by working in harmony with nature. The only way you can really change your life is to change yourself. So, then, with natural magick, you will work on becoming an improved and healthier person, as well as a strong, kind, and wise Witch. If you are looking to change your life for the better, natural magick could be a good place for you to begin.
Natural magick is gentle and calm. You don't control or force others or the elements. Magick happens when you combine the natural energies from the four elements, empower them with your love, and then send them out with the knowledge that positive change will happen. A fine example is what my daughter accomplished with her "come home kitten" spell in the Introduction.
Now, flip back a page and take another look at the dawn healing ritual. It was easy, elegant, and basic. However, don't underestimate it because it is uncomplicated. There were no tools or props involved. Natural magick does not require the use of elaborate ritual tools and accessories. If you think that you would enjoy having a set of magickal tools, that's certainly a fun thing to own, but it's not necessary for natural magick.
You do not require a fancy ritual robe or cape. You do not need to spend a lot of cash to practice magick. Save your money for the important things, like car insurance, your savings account, new clothes, and that nifty stereo system that you have been eyeballing for a while. The accessories you will need, however, are amazingly simple. You will need a generous and loving heart, an open and flexible mind, and the willingness to study and to learn.
Only you, divinity, your imagination, and a call to the elements were required for our dawn healing ritual. By using your powers of visualization, you were calling on the four elements and tapping into their strengths. There was earth for stability, water for cleansing, and air to refresh and revitalize you. The element of fire was represented by the sun's rays to energize you and to get you moving! You have called on the God and Goddess and made a request for health. That has all the elements of a serious magickal working, all in about a quarter of an hour's time. Not too shabby.
The Basics of Magick
Magick begins with you, with your personal power or the force of your own personality. You know what personal power is. It's the physical energy that comes from your body when you feel happy and healthy. Your energy is high when you're cheering your team at a football game, kissing your boyfriend/girlfriend, or laughing and hanging out with your buddies. (Yes, I realize those three things may all happen at the same time. I'm making a point-work with me here.) If you're at school, at work, or listening to a friend, you are probably in the medium range of personal power. If you are spending time watching TV or a movie, then you are somewhere in the medium-tolow area of personal power. By that I mean you are relaxed and at ease. Your personal energy is low when you're tired, down in the dumps, or not feeling well. Following me so far?
Your personal power shimmers around you all of the time. This power can be perceived as your aura. The aura is a combination of the human spirit and your physical energy that emanates from your body. This energy field can be sensed and seen as a shimmer of heat, or even as a halo of colored light around the entire body.
The aura can be seen and even photographed with special film. This energy surrounds every living thing in nature, such as plants, animals, and people. Your personal power and your aura fluctuate throughout the day, depending on your mood and activity level. In other words, your aura changes as you do.
The differences of your energy can be distinguished by the depth of your auric field. When you're really pumping out the energy, then your aura is huge. (You know how some charismatic folks just seem to glow?) When you are in an everyday range of power, then the aura is smaller, a foot or two above your skin. When you are tired or ill, the aura sucks in close to your body. All of that energy is focused internally and it hugs you tight.
As for individual magickal power, it comes in all different varieties. If you are an outgoing, vivacious person, your particular magickal energy will be a strong blast of high-powered energy (a big, bright, sparkling aura). If you are quiet and serious, then your magick will be a steady stream of energy, unwavering and solid (an average aura-colorful and strong). If you are shy and timid, your energy will show itself to be a gentle flow of power (a close aura-softer colors, just more condensed).
So, is any one type of aura or power preferable to the other?
No, not really.
Every Witch's energy signature or aura is different and unique, as is every person. There will be times when the most outgoing, high-voltage person is quiet. Their energy doesn't run full blast all of the time. If this person is working magick for healing, they would be more careful and subdued. If you are shy, for instance, and you work magick to make yourself stronger and more outspoken, then you would deliberately raise your energy and your aura as high as you could to bring about the changes that you wanted. (Think of it as a lightbulb that you can adjust the brightness on.) There will be times when you'll want to turn the light up on bright, and times when the softer light will do. So, how do you raise that personal energy? You raise it with concentrated focus and a positive objective in mind.
Focus and Intent
Natural magick is all about focus and your intent. Magick seeks to create loving, positive change. This is accomplished by your emotions and by magickal acts of compassion and kindness. This change is generated with your personal energies and with the energies of the natural world around you. In magick, we purposely raise and then release this personal energy so that it can zip off to create the changes that we need. You can achieve a strong ability to focus by visualizing and by practicing.
Here is a magickal exercise for you. We are going to practice raising, and then releasing, your personal power.
Step Number One: Raising and Releasing Personal Power
Stand up, with your feet a little ways apart. You should stand in a position that feels comfortable to you, but do not close the energy off by crossing your arms or legs. Leave your arms at rest by your sides. Now, imagine your personal power-or picture your aura, if you prefer- growing bright around you. Close your eyes, if it will help. Imagine a little glimmer of bright golden energy running along your skin, only an inch or two high at first. When you can picture this shimmer of light, move on.
Okay, now I want you to make that energy expand and grow larger. Imagine that it surges and grows out into a full, shining halo of bright light around your whole body. (As you imagine this, you may feel a tingle, your face may grow warm, or you can even experience a rush. Don't be surprised if you find yourself holding your hands up, or your arms out to your sides.) Hold that expanded energy in place for a moment.
Visualize what you want to do with this energy. Let's say you want to be confident at that after-school job interview tomorrow. Then picture yourself calmly and confidently handling the interview and being offered the desired job. Hold that image in your mind for a moment. Now, I want you to deliberately release the halo of light. Push it out with a smile, gently and firmly away from you. Imagine that the halo of light is swirling away from you. Your personal energy now spins happily out on a breeze and off into the world to go and do its assigned job. Thank the element of air for its assistance. A simple "Thank you, element of air" will do nicely.
Take a deep breath, and hold it for a second or two. Now slowly release your breath and crouch down and place your hands on the ground or the floor. Imagine you are drawing a calming, stabilizing, and strengthening energy from the Earth. (This calming technique is called "grounding and centering.") Stay there for a moment or two. When you feel that you are finished, stand up, brush off your hands, and congratulate yourself at raising and then releasing positive magickal energy for the first time.
The raising and releasing of energy is a pivotal part of spellwork and magick. All magick requires a strong, positive intention and a concentrated focus on the desired outcome. When you combine that focus with the natural rhythms of nature and the ability to direct your personal power toward a specific goal, you will create magick.
Step Number Two: Positive Intentions
Remember, positive intentions are an absolute must when you work natural magick. There is no place here for anger, jealousy, or hatred. If there is one absolute rule that Witches live by, it would be this one: "Harm none." Witches believe in causing no deliberate harm to others, and in karma. Basically, karma is the philosophy that what you do and how you do it will influence your life and people's lives around you. Bottom line, kids, karma is cause and effect. As in, what we send out with a spell, we will get right back. If you are kind to someone, then a kindness shall be repaid to you in turn. Therefore, it makes absolutely no sense to try and harm someone or to manipulate them with magick, because it will turn around and bite you right back. With magick, karma is very real-and a lot more in your face.
I don't care what you saw on TV or in the movies, or whatever nonsense your friend whispered to you about the horrors of "evil spells" while you were in the library and they saw you looking for books on magick . . .
Once again, Witches believe in a God and a Goddess. Real Witches do not work evil or associate with it. They instead work to help and to heal. The truth is often less tantalizing than fiction, but the truth is that Witches are good, loving, and moral people. If the mind is the most powerful tool in magick, then your heart-if not as equally important-would have to be a close second. Magick is love. And if you think about it, to be loved is a magickal thing.
Now that I've gotten you to thinking, let's move on to the subject of day-to-day magickal life. You may be wondering what is expected of you if you become a Witch. Wait, I want to answer that one right now. You are expected to be the best person that you can possibly be. So, how does a "real" Witch live their life, anyway? I bet you'll be surprised by my answer. Are Witches really different from ordinary people? Can I spot one just by looking at them? The answer is both yes and no.
Are Witches Really Weird, Or Do They Just Dress That Way?
Contrary to popular belief, there is no Witch dress code. Witches come in all genders, ages, races, shapes, and sizes. But normally, you cannot spot a real Witch in a crowd unless they want you to. The nice middleaged lady wearing blue jeans and working in her herb gardens is much more likely to be a Witch than the guy you saw at the mall with the dyed black hair, multiple piercings, black fingernails, and all-black clothes. Witches and other magick users strive to blend in and work in harmony with the world around them, not to draw attention to themselves. Real Witches are normal people, just like you and (gasp!) your parents.
Ye Gods, no! you might think to yourself. Witches can't be normal, can they? We are. Witches come from all walks of life and social backgrounds. We are blue-collar workers and office workers. We have jobs at the grocery store and at the mall. Witches can be moms and dads. We are in the stands cheering our kids on as they play sports or as they participate in school plays or band concerts, just like all the other parents. Witches are students, teachers, editors, waiters, factory workers, shop owners, dog groomers, electricians, and insurance salesmen. We can be lawyers, mechanics, paramedics, police officers, artists, bartenders, writers, horticulturists, nurses, and doctors. The list could go on and on. I have personally met or known Witches from all of the jobs described above. You never know, you may have already met several Witches and have not even been aware of it.
The reality is that Witches go to work or school, raise our children and love our families. We work to protect the environment and to keep our neighborhoods safe. Witches deal with all of the same problems that everyday or mundane people deal with: crabby bosses, bills, car repairs, nosy neighbors, school shopping, and hauling our sick children to the doctor.
The difference is we will help and protect ourselves and our families with magick, if we feel the need arise. We ask the God and the Goddess to assist us as we work to improve our lives and the lives of our loved ones with happiness, health, and prosperity in a positive, life-affirming way.
The Road to Discovery
Well, I've given you an overview of Witchcraft and natural magick. We talked about the tradition of Witchcraft and some of its principles and beliefs. You have tried your hand at a healing ritual, and then you practiced meditating and the raising and releasing of personal power. You are just beginning this journey, and you have much more to learn. Are you ready to look at the natural world around you with new eyes? There are some amazing things out there waiting for you to discover them.
Remember, as you work your way through the rest of these chapters, your mind and your heart are absolutely the most potent tools that you have available to you. If you believe in yourself and are willing to work for it, just about anything is possible for you.