These are some of the most frequently asked questions WitchUniversity.com gets about witchcraft, as well as some that are not so frequent but good and important. If you need voice, please click on the web address after “Link to this article” after each answer. The button for voice will be at the top left corner of the page. You can always return to the main list of questions from the main menu.

How do I become a witch?

You can call yourself whatever you like these days, but if you want to become an actual functioning witch, this will take some work. You may already be what some call a “natural witch”, meaning you possess traits and abilities that correspond with what some would call paranormal or psychic abilities. Probably the first step to becoming a witch, if this is your situation, is to accept that these abilities are natural for you.

Indeed, they are a gift from our Creator, but both we and the Creator are totally natural be-ings. Awareness that you were made just fine, and that there is nothing really bizarre, messed up, or wrong, or even better value-wise about you is what makes a witch distinct from someone just bumbling along. The conscious awareness that like any other ability, it needs to be respected and channeled into a productive pursuit or even occupation, is what marks a witch.

So then the next step is to start studying. You’ll be studying all your life. If you can find a mentor or teacher to give you some guidance, this is best. If not, read all that you can and practice on your own.

Once you start this in earnest, you are a witch, at least in most places English is spoken. Be aware that different cultures have different meanings for and implications that come with the term “witch”. There may be some translation issues even with another English speaker if the term “witch” means something other than a conscious utilization of both seen and unseen aspects of Nature to manifest one’s will, in their culture. In some cultures it means specifically someone who uses their spiritual power or abilities to harm people.

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What can I do for basic protection from malevolent or intrusive energy?

As I mentioned in the other answer about protection, sometimes that witchcraft going on around you is part of your protection. So there is such a thing as too much protection. However, I do understand that some nudges and triggers are intrusive and unwanted. This is what you need protection from: anything that is not for your benefit.

Whether it is mystical or psychological is irrelevant. So much of the information our minds filter through day in and day out is processed through our psyches whether we consented to it or not, and it is a good idea to protect one’s self from negative messages and triggers.

Every person can utilize protective signalling and boundary setting. Almost every culture or belief system has some kind of protective amulet. Wear yours. If you don’t know which belongs to yours, the standard Turkish anti evil eye will do. Symbols of global unity also work, as do symbols of pluralism and charity. Rainbows, doves, olive branches, spirals, and all sorts can indicate that you are not the right target for jealousy, possessiveness, or exploitative impulses.

Scent can also be protective. This is one of the reasons, aside of the mystical properties of the ingredients, that Florida water, 4711 cologne, barber’s cologne, some baby oils, and so many things with citrus, vetiver, and/or myrrh and frankincense are so widely used. Predatory types may not even consciously understand why, but smelling like a bad target messes them up.

So wear an amulet or symbol of some sort, and smell like aggressive healing.

On a personal note, this may be one of the reasons I could not stay in a bad relationship long despite my personal dysfunctions. People could not help but reveal their motives because I was suffocating their malevolence with a constant barrage of “this is the wrong person to f*** with”.

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Can I get free spellwork done for me?

You can find people offering free spellwork on any witchcraft forum, group, or board.

You won’t be charged money for them, but there will be a price.

If someone is offering spell casting services for “free”, it is to obligate you to them spiritually or to extort you.

If it is about a spiritual obligation, they will get one of their helpers to seemingly solve your problem, but then you will owe them. They will then use your energy for whatever they want. I’ve encountered a few people who got a “favor” done for them by someone they met online or who graciously answered their call for help in a witchcraft group, and are now basically enslaved.

In order to be freed, they ended up having to do offerings to the deities they should have gone to for help in the first place. Sometimes, especially when dealing with love work, some people are so busy trying to get a bargain or to take advantage, that they are cheap with their own ancestors. Yup…sometimes if they had just taken a moment to give some offerings to their ancestors once a month, their love life wouldn’t have been in shambles in the first place.

Some people offer “free” spells as a part of an identity theft or extortion scam. They take advantage of the need to give one’s full name and birthdate and photos, and use that to threaten people. They sometimes threaten to tell the “target” of the spell what the one who asked for the spell is up to.

At least if you pay someone for work, there is a paper trail or transaction record. So if they try to harm you, then you can take that information to the authorities. If it’s “free” you have no idea who you’re dealing with.

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Can witchcraft be done without candles or other ingredients?

There are plenty of spells that can be done without “candles and ingredients”. Are they going to be effective? Probably not.

A spell requires:

  • focused intent/will
  • sources of energy
  • divine grace (how ever one defines divine)
  • a means of delivery, transfer, or anchor to the physical realm

to be effective. Even when one reaches a level that they don’t need the same things a novice needs to cast a spell, these things are still required.

What it usually takes to reach a level of being able to reliably manifest projection of one’s will is years of study, observance, and experience becoming aligned with one or more natural forces. So there are no shortcuts.

The ingredients used in spells are not mere tools of focus. Well, they may be devalued to that level by some people who have confidence issues around non monotheist beliefs or who believe that witchcraft is a hobby, not an art or a science, but for most experienced, practicing witches who have ever had to use it for survival, ingredients are extremely important. Each stone, plant, or other substance, has its unique, innate energy, and each does something different when will or intent is applied to it. This is why it is important to be careful when one needs to use any substitutions.

When you know what various ingredients do, you understand how they are important in spellcraft. Without them you could be missing a necessary source of energy and/or means of delivery for manifestation.

When people say that one has reached a level of skill, awareness, or alignment that they don’t need ingredients, what they mean is that they have reached a level that they are okay with themselves being the ingredient. It means they have accumulated enough energy or reached an age that they don’t mind some of their life force being drained to do the job, or they have accumulated enough merit with the deities they work with and/or set up their life in a way that the drain would be temporary or drawn from other sources already established.

For example, if someone has over the years built enough shrines, sustained enough life that glorifies some of the forces they work with, and perhaps along the way made a few fetishes or generators to store and channel certain energy, they may go out and do feats that appear to be without “ingredients”, but there were plenty over the years.

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How do I learn real magic?

If you want to learn to do real magic, the best place to start is within your ancestral mysticism. This may mean finding the mystics who operate in your current belief system or going back to your pre-Christian or pre-Islamic roots if your people were converted to a level that brainwashed away any mysticism that would empower the people above the authorities.

It is not a good idea to go looking for magic from foreign sources until you are well trained and stabilized in the practices born from your home culture because nobody in the spirit realm has as much interest in your wellbeing as your own ancestors. Jumping into foreign practices requires either working on behalf of someone else’s ancestors or bypassing all of that to forces of Nature interpreted through a lense of perspective that you may not relate to very well.

This bypassing the ancestors is why many “witches” and “Pagans” today don’t actually function as they should. Some get trapped in energy funnels in which their leaders teach them just enough to open up but then don’t teach them anything that would empower them or bolster their strength and defenses.

Some others make a monotheistic flavored religion out of what should be a more balanced polytheism and then start doing the same kind of cultural imperialism and judgement through privilege that many monotheist authoritarians do.

Some simply just don’t connect to deity and get bored and disenchanted because they don’t see how the vague Goddess they read about in a book at all connects to the nurturing of their actual mother or grandmother. Because many of them are co-opting other people’s cultures and lineages they can’t relate to, someone like Auset is a mere archetype and not an honored ancestor. They don’t understand why the legends around her are as they are because they did not grow up in a culture in which such things would make at least symbolic sense.

So start with your own people. Learn what the wise people in your culture know. Then branch out from there if needed.

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How can I protect myself from witchcraft?

Some people are so worried about protecting themselves from witchcraft that they don’t consider how often they may have been protected by witchcraft.

There are people praying for many other people’s wellbeing every day in temples of varying religions around the world. Aside of that, there are the witches, the people who don’t always trust the authorities of organized religions to do the job, or at least not fully, who bestow blessings on their relatives and friends, and back those up with offerings, real devotion, and merit.

There are so many witches and kinds of witches in the world that even though we are statistically rare, we are very well spread out, and very concerned about the wellbeing of those around us. So the chances are, whoever you are, wherever you are, if someone loves you, someone has probably done some witchcraft to keep you alive, especially during your fragile infancy.

Witchcraft may have also been involved in your conception or birth. You may owe your very existence to someone killing a chicken for a fertility deity in a forest clearing. You don’t know.

So instead of protecting yourself from witchcraft, how about asking some witches for some advice about protection from malevolent energy, ill will and such. Witches may provide you with information or take it on themselves to add you to their altar for mention during their observances of protector deities.

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What is a bog witch?

A bog witch is simply a witch whose practices originated or whose main practices center around bogs. A bog is similar in some ways to a swamp. These are areas that are very wet and much of that wetness is saturated with tannins and runoff from the vegetation that is around.

Aside of the unique herbalism and medicine that develops from surviving in such places, they tend to be specialists in seeing what most people would miss in such an environment. There is a lot of fairy lore coming from the various bogs in what is now the U.K.

You may want to check out this blog by a practicing bog witch for more specifics.

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How old is witchraft itself?

Nobody knows for certain, even allowing for both the technical and authoritarian definitions of witchcraft. Technically, it is using wisdom embracing both known and unknown or observable and unobservable aspects of Nature to manifest one’s will. Humans have been doing that for at least the past 20,000 years or so, but no one knows who was the first specialist or when this skill was specialized exactly.

The oldest gravesite of someone who was likely a spiritual mediator or “shamaness” was found in Israel. The site is dated to about 12,000 years ago. The earliest archaeological evidence of religion is from 70,000 years ago in Botswana.

If one takes the authoritarian view, that witchcraft is any spiritual practices that are not a part of the established local religion, then whoever decided to give offerings to maybe the Great Clam when the Great Snake was all the rage, would have been the first witch. So witchcraft may be around 70,000 years old.

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Is witchcraft a religion?

No, it is a type of activity that is usually supplemental to, outside of, or transgressing against someone’s religion. On the one hand, “witch” and “witchcraft” are arbitrary labels that were given usually by people in an organized religion, to those who had different ways, on the other, it has relatively recently been reclaimed at least in some places.

In some belief systems, witches and witchcraft are a part of the established belief system, such as it is for the Yoruba. They are still shrouded in mystery though, and the ability to bridge the spirit and physical realm is considered a dangerous one. So witches are encouraged to use this ability for the benefit of their fellow adherents.

Wicca is a belief system that is built around the practice of western European, particularly UK area witchcraft. Wiccans do call themselves witches by virtue of adherence to their system whether or not they actively practice witchcraft aside of holidays.

Other witches though, can come from any belief system. There are even Christian, Muslim, and Jewish witches. Rather than being transgressive as they are often accused of being, usually by hypocrites, they are often more sincere in their religious practices than their peers. They must keep certain taboos and purifications and protections with earnest dedication because they are engaged in active spiritual practice. Hypocrisy or insincerity could be extremely dangerous for them.

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Is being a witch hereditary?

As mentioned in another answer, it is kind of complicated.

Many of the traits associated with effective witchcraft are hereditary. Some even correspond to other “marks” or in-born traits, even some that some people would class as defects. In my (the Dean’s) hometown’s local lore, bad eyesight was a sign that someone likely had the “second sight”, or super-deductive reasoning talent.

Sometimes though, differences are classed as signs of hereditary witch signs or marks because of ableism in a culture or perhaps a way to counter ableism by reminding people that everyone who is given a chance and has a benevolent nature can contribute something to a society. The problem of course is that much like racism, even “positive” ableism can be oppressive or dismissive of the individual. A person being forced or even just pressured too much into a role or occupation despite their desires and other capabilities is bad.

So yes, there are families for whom witchcraft or some type of spiritual service is kind of the family business. Yes there are people who are born with abilities out of the ordinary, and raised to use their talents effectively, but this doesn’t really make them more or less witches than anyone else with the same talent who put in the same work. Heredity is not what makes a good witch. Having supportive family sure does help a lot though.

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Are witches born that way?

Kind of. It’s complicated.

People who end up being witches are usually born with some set of traits that aren’t superhuman, but aren’t quite average either. There are signs that someone has talents that could make them effective witches, but this does not necessarily mean the person will become a witch. They may instead apply the same traits to being a good secular type of chef, doctor, nurse, chemist, or other scientist or service professional. Many witches in history have been beer makers and barbers. There is a lot of overlap and “pipelining” back and forth in various occupations.

Generally though, no one is born an actual witch, but many cultures have legends and beliefs that all feminine people have the ability to be witches. This includes people who are assigned male at birth due to biological appearance, but are or become very good at tapping into their feminine side. Everyone has one. Some guys are better than others at accessing the part of themselves that does not rely on force or become blinded by current situation. Some would argue that certain mental abilities should not be classed as feminine or masculine, and I agree. So please understand that when I say this here, I mean classically thought of as feminine or masculine, not absolutely this or that.


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Do witches have psychic powers?

Every living creature has mental abilities that some would view as amazing or miraculous, but generally witches don’t have any powers that could be classed as “superhuman”.  We optimize our natural abilities and learn things like ceremony, herbalism, and other useful skills to help with this.

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What is witchcraft?

There are many definitions, depending who you ask. WitchUniversity.com’s definition is using one’s knowledge of both the seen and unseen/spiritual forces and aspects of Nature to solve problems, change situations, thrive, and help others to thrive.

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