I'm super new here (few days) and to witchcraft (3 mos.). I did make an introduction post today. From it you can learn some personal information about me. And, information that can give you insight into my history with New Age, metaphysical and Native American studies and experiences. Also, you will find an explanation of my journey into witchcraft topics and my level of interest.
I need some experienced advice concerning research I've been doing the past 3 mos.
My concern is that I've found some inconsistencies in the online materials I've read. I understand that there are websites that are more authentic and reliable than others. But, I'm not sure which is which because I've only been researching for about 3 months. Im on my own and not had any direction from experienced practitioners, or anyone for that matter. So, on with my questions...
1. Can someone who knows, guide me to well-respected websites so I can see if I already have them bookmarked or so I can visit and bookmark them.
2. AND, the reverse, please let me know of the websites that are known to spread misinformation, have a bad reputation or known to be fraudulent. I want to make the best use of my research time and I don't want my mind cluttered with inaccurate information.
3. Because I live on a disability income and am 4 hours away (one-way) from the closest metaphysical shop that carries needed supplies, I'm forced to make purchases online. I have found several online stores, including Amazon and Etsy sites, but again, do not know which ones are reputable and offer the best/cheapest prices or specials/sales/ close-outs, etc. If anyone can recommend some good online shops that have a good reputation for selections, low costs, quality supplies, good customer service and efficient delivery, I'd appreciate having their info.
4. Finally, again, because of my limited income I cannot afford to buy the many beginner witchcraft and correspondence books that are commonly recommended on the many sites I've visited. I live in the Bible Belt and the public libraries do not carry witchcraft books or correspondence books. (Or many metaphysical books, for that matter.) I'd be an idiot to ask for witchcraft books through inter-library loan. I live in a very small, ultra-Christian town. So, I'm wondering if there is an online trading program, or something of the like, for witchcraft books or even supplies? Does anyone know if something like that exists?
I don't know how much I can offer to members here, if anything at all, as I'm so new to witchcraft history and topics. But, I do hope to learn from all of you and look forward to, hopefully, making friends. And, eventually being able to contribute helpful information to others and being able to engage in intelligent conversations about witchcraft topics.
And, thank you from the bottom of my heart, in advance, for any advice you can share. It will be very appreciated.
Re: Need Advice 4 Questions By: NordStar Moderator / Knowledgeable
Post # 2 Jun 02, 2016
Questions 1, 2, and 3: There are far too many sites for anyone to give a good list. We all have preferences.
Question 3: You do not need to spend much money on supplies. The lists of 'things to have' that people are so willing to throw around are a best suggestions of things you might want to get when you have a bit of money. Herbs can be purchased at your grocery store;candles, thread, ribbon, and other things can be found a your local retail store; other things can be made by things you pick up at hobby stores or yard sales. Think creatively!
For books, amazon often has sales. Look for books in pdf.
Thank you for responding. I sincerely appreciate it.
I know there is a huge selection of websites out there. I've bookmarked probably 30+ and been reading history, articles, correspondences, spells, etc. from all of them. I've compared information among them and I'm concerned about the inconsistencies. I didn't expect anyone to make a comprehensive list of sites, I should have clarified that, but if a few members could even give their favorite (1) site then I could have a few that I know are respected, at least.
I do understand what you mean about everyone having different interests or opinions, etc. and may not think suggestions given are good ones. I'm kinda coming from the position of 'beggars can't be choosers' since I'm so new to this subject. LOL
And, I have only shopped on Amazon a couple times and was not aware that they have sales. So, maybe I can catch some of the recommended beginner books for sale on there. Is there a way to check for sales without having to type every title in each day? Or, maybe a way of marking them and getting an email notification when they go on sale? I'll have to learn how to operate Anazon so I can keep an eye out.
I have been wondering if I could use herbs purchased from the herb/spices section of a grocery store. I wondered about them having been sprayed with fertilizers or being genetically modified and also contamination a from processing/packaging. I've been collecting some herbs from my mom's plants because I know they are safe. But, you are saying it is okay to use store bought herbs? That would be incredibly easier. Plus, I have a ton of herbs and spices in my kitchen cabinet.
Also, a problem I've encountered is finding silk ribbon. All the ribbon I've shopped for has been polyester. Many of the spells I've read that use ribbons, specify silk ribbons. I have no idea where to look for silk ribbons. I guess online.
I've been buying items here and there, that I know I will need when I get to the point of feeling confident in attempting a spell. I figure by the time I get to that point I can have a good size stock pile of supplies built up. Or, I'm hoping anyway. I did some shopping at my local dollar store and Goodwill store and got 2 things from Wal-Mart. Then, I do have some materials that I've bought in the past that can be incorporated into spells. But, I'll take all the advice on finding cheap supplies that I can get.
Re: Need Advice 4 Questions By: prsona / Knowledgeable
Post # 5 Jun 02, 2016
Some money-saving advice, SpiritDreamer:
Dollar Tree! Seriously! I cannot recall one which does not have white and off-white taper candles and plain white "seven day" style candles (I say 'style' because they are made from faster-burning wax, in part due to being aerated so there are literally bubbles in the wax to make it take up more space). Their sxented candles are in differing colors. And don't neglect their herbs! If you want a safe enough cauldron, they started carrying an all-metal oil burner. It will hold a small flame off whatever surface. I've also never had issue with any of their oil burners for their intended purpose. But I encourage you to look around jn one. Be creative! Spring time and late-year holidays are great times to seek statues from angels and Viefin Maey figures vague enough to be any fwminie figure to some very interesting things. They carry a large black bowl excellent for scrying!
Big Lots is another good place to poke around. Keep an eye on tea light prices if you're looking for those.
Craft stores will frequently put entire lines of products on deep discounts.
To answer another question: yes, kitchen herbs are just fine!
As for beginner books, some are available to the public domain as pdf files, and can be freely downloaded. The first edition of Modern Magick is a very good example. There are also some ... less than legal repositories of scanned books, so if you are concerned with the repurcussions, just be mindful.
I looked for candles at Goodwill yesterday but didn't find any. They usually do have them though. I didn't think to look for the other things. I probably should make a list of commonly used items and use that to search for things.
I'm a long ways off from practicing witchcraft. I've just started researching and have a crap ton of stuff to learn first. Im guessing it will definitely take the rest of this year and probably a lot of bext year before I would be confident enough to attempt a spell.
I did check out my local Dollar Tree and got some taper candles, tea light candles and a few votive candles. I didn't get the scented candles because I'm no sure if the scent would match the intent of any spells I do in the future. Plus, I don't have the correspondences memorized so I wasn't able to reason it out. I also got some decorative glass containers and bottles with stopper and lids. Some were clear glass and others were colored glass. I bought 2 nicely patterned notebooks to keep notes in.
Unfortunately our Big Lots closed several years ago and the closest to me is a 1 1/2 hr. one-way drive. Same with craft stores like Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Ben Franklin's and Tuesday Morning. The closest thing to a craft store near me is Wal-Mart's craft section. Being able to use store bought herbs takes a lot of worry away.
I will look for the things you mentioned next week when I'm out for a doc appt.
Re: Need Advice 4 Questions By: Weatherwax / Knowledgeable
Post # 9 Jun 03, 2016
Okay, for once, we get an honest and decent set of questions that are outside the norm (kind of), thank you.
Witchcraft is a very broad subject, where we get practices such as Traditional Witchcraft and Modern Contempory Witchcraft as well as sub groups of it such as Sea Witchery, Hedge Witchery, 'Storm Witchery' (One I've seen turn up other places than here, which focus on using the energy in Storms rather than creating them) and many more.
There are heaps of books under the main two I listed above, general rule of thumb I few Witches I've heard say is this.
'If it focuses on the Burning Times, not good'
'If it says Wicca is a 3000 year old Religion, not good'
'If it focuses on the fact a Witch HAS to be a Woman, not good'
'If it mentions that Witchcraft is a Religion, not good'
And vice versa, the list goes on and some points I've heard on that particular list - I don't agree with.
As for 'Decent' Websites, places like Sacred Texts are great because it is full with digital versions of various books - Amazon is great to try because every now and again they release a Free E-Book - one a short while back was the History of Witchcraft in Britain - or something like that, good read.
As for places to avoid - Silver Ravenwolfs Website is a big one - and anything similar
Books to Avoid
Anything by Silver Ravenwolf
Anything by Raven Grimasi
Anything by DJ Conway
Note, just because a book or author is popular, doesn't mean they are any good - just means they have good marketing and their information is easy to digest.
Modern Magic by Donal Michael Kraig
Mastering Witchcraft by Paul Huson
I do have a larger recommended list, but those are situated towards British Traditional Witchcraft, which is not everyones cup of tea.
When it comes to Witchcraft, you can make anything work, here are a few examples of 'substitutes' or replacements I've come to use over the year.
Athame - Scissors, Butter Knives, Letter Openers
Wands - Sticks, Twigs, Paint Brushes
BoS or Grimoire - Blank Note Books, Ring Binders, Scraps of Paper, Computer
Chalice or Libation Cup - Wine Glass, Beer Stein or Glass, Plastic Cup, Tea Cup
Living in a Christian Town is not all bad if you wish to practice Witchcraft, people think it is the worst but if you keep it hidden and safe you can practice whilst everyone believes you are still preaching the good word of God.
In my studies, a lot of 'Witches' (I'm using the term loosely here) were Christian/one of the branches of the Christian Faith - Catholic, Protestant, Angelican etc and the use of Psalms were common in the lives of these Practitioners.
Practices like Hoodoo ( Don't confuse it with Voodoo, two different things )which is hugely similar to Witchcraft (Though, they are not the same, just Hoodoo uses a lot of European Folk Magic mixed with supersititons, beliefs and ideas carried over to America by the Enslaved peoples of Africa, Carribean etc) - if you look in that Direction, you'll find the Website Lucky Mojo very helpful, though, incredibly pricey - but decent information.
There is not much else I can say - you could try and speak to other practitioners online, make friends with them and share what knowledge you have (Maybe even trade books etc) There is a large gathering over on Tumblr - though, becareful of that place - while there is a lot of decent blogs, there is also a lot of problems, drama and over drawn issues.
Youtube is a big hub for practitioners, some really decent and excellent practitioners post there and you can watch their videos easily while doing something else, look out for things they recommend - but also remember the recomendations and warnings you hear from others (Such as my point on Silver Ravenwolf)
A few decent Youtubers I've found are
EmberHoneyRaven - The Big Fat Witch
Keep your eyes peeled while you look for information, you never know where you can find it, and books aren't your onlly teachers - experience and oral tradition are still accepted - just books help to back up those two (I personally learnt more through experience and orally/online taught from other practitioners, then had all of it confirmed by the books I purchased)
Witchcraft can go how you want it - but remember.
Not everything you'll learn is Witchcraft, and not everything is Witchcraft - some cultures find it offensive to call what they do Witchcraft.
This is the type of information I'm looking for. I know experienced practitioners have valuable knowledge about the questions I need answered.
Thank you for giving me the info on the websites. I want to weed out the ones I've bookmarked that will not be beneficial and/or offer misinformation. There are so many websites and a newbie like me could easily be led astray, especially without guidance from a knowledgeable person.
And, thank you for mention a couple books to look into and providing some sources for finding these books. I have run across lists of books for beginners that I have copied down. But, I'm not sure which ones are worthwhile and which ones are full of garbage. I didn't know anything about the sites to get pdf files of book, previously until I started getting comments here. I wasn't sure how to find/search for them either. And, a couple of you have mentioned Amazon sales which I didn't know about previously. I'm so glad I posted. I knew there would be someone or more that could guide me in the right direction.
I'm very serious about my interest in and studies about witchcraft. It ties many esoteric interests together for me and I'm thrilled to discover this. I explain it better in my profile/bio.
All the info you have provide is useful for me and much appreciated. I know it takes a lot of time and forethought to type out the information you shared. It means a lot to me that you did that. I hope one day I will be knowledgeable enough to help someone on here in the same way.
Living in the area I do is difficult because I've always had other ideas, more spiritually based than religiously based. Although I have attended many church services with family over the years. I do believe in a higher power or the Divine, whatever anyone wants to call the energy force. I've known it since a very young age with no promoting from outside influences. I had nobody to discuss my views with though until I was an adult and experienced a couple months stint in Atlanta where there is a nice Esoteric? Metaphysical? New Age? community. Then, I lived in Annapolis for 4 years and there were many people with those interests but I never got the sense that there was a community there. Kinda every man for himself, which is unfortunate.