Many Questions, Please Help

Frequently asked questions about witchcraft, Wicca, magick, paganism, and the occult. Subjects include love spells, Ouija boards, curses, Law of Attraction, and what to do if you don't have the needed tools, ingredients, altar, etc.
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Many Questions, Please Help

Post by Falcon_Heart27 »

Hello everyone! I'm very new to all of this, and I have some questions. I've been reading through this forum (and other sites) for a few days now, but it seems like the more I read, the more questions I have. Stepping onto this path is like stepping into a foreign country...and although I've read many interesting (and helpful) things, I have yet to find something that explains the basics. So here are my questions; please try to provide clear answers for my newbie self. :)

1. I've read that it is best to set up an altar when spellcasting. What do I need to put on the altar? Are some items optional and some necessary?

2. I've also read about using the altar as a place of worship. I personally do not believe in the God and Goddess as beings, but rather personifications of the universe and the energy that all living things possess. Do I still need to worship, and/or have statues of the deities on my altar?

3. Many spells call for candles or another form of fire. As much as I would love to do this, my parents don't allow me to have burning candles in the house. (I'm a teenage witch who is still "in the broom closet", so to speak.) Is there a good alternative? I'd love to find one, seeing as many of the healing spells I wish to learn use candles.

4. What are the most popular alternatives for some supplies I may not be able to get? What are your personal favorites? Like I said earlier, I haven't told anyone about this yet, and I may not for some time. That being said, I can't very discreetly start buying candles, stones, herbs, books, and other things. (Not to mention that it would probably drain my budget.)

5. How do I keep my practices hidden? I feel a bit bad for keeping this from my family, but I think that if they knew, it would cause us both more harm than good. Half of my family is diehard Christian, and it would absolutely wreck them to know that their only granddaughter is practicing witchcraft. Since they think it is evil, it would probably be very hard on them emotionally and mentally. The other half of my family is atheist, and although they are all very accepting of all beliefs, I'm not sure if they could fully understand mine. (Even though I blend many atheist beliefs with this newly discovered witchy side of me. Naturalistic Paganism, I think it's called.) They would probably have no problem with it, but I feel like it would cause a lot of awkwardness and tension for a while.

6. Some spells say to consecrate or cleanse your tools. How do I do this?

7. before I worry about cleansing, I should probably ask-- what kind of tools do I need? Where can I find them? What are the most-needed tools? If any of them can be made by hand (with clay, cloth, etc.) I could probably handle that. I'm an artsy girl. ;)

8. I've seen a lot of people talking about their "spirit guides" and their "familiars". If I'm not mistaken, the spirit guide usually takes a form of an animal. A familiar is also an animal, but it's an actual physical being, right? How do I find my spirit guide, and how do I turn an animal into my familiar? (Yes, that last question sounds really ignorant and a bit manipulative, but I couldn't think of a better way to phrase it.)

9. What are some of the best beginner spells that you would recommend for me? What are some of the first spells that you learned? (Please forgive me if that's too personal. I'm new here, and I'm not sure what is considered "toeing the line".)

10. And you have any words of wisdom for me? Any little pieces of advice?

Thank you so much for any answers that any of you may give. I feel like this forum is a good place for me to start learning Magick. :D


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Re: Many Questions, Please Help

Post by Heartsong »

Whew, that is a lot of questions! :)

1.) An altar, most importantly, should be a reflection of you. While there are some items that are commonly placed on an altar, I don't think that any of them are objects that you absolutely must have or it can't be an altar. Here's an example of a fairly standard set up of a Wiccan altar:

Of course, not everyone lays out their altar in this way, and this is only an example of a Wiccan altar. Everyone tends to set up their altar depending on personal taste and beliefs.

2.) Having statues on the altar is again, I think, a matter of personal choice. I am dedicated to Odin, but I don't have an image or statue of him. Instead, I represent his presence in my life using a set of runes. For me, they are the most profound and personal representation that I could have. I also only use a candle representing the God and Goddess each, as shown in the diagram above. I use these candles as a way to both honor their energies and invite them to be present when I am crafting a spell or performing a rite. Even if you don't necessarily believe in the God/dess as beings, you can still have representations of them if it helps you better connect with the universe. That doesn't necessarily mean that you need to worship them, per se. What is more important than being "correct" in what you use on your altar, it's far more important, and powerful, to choose items that have a personal meaning to you.

3.) Lighting incense can be an alternative to using candles, in my experience. The glowing ember within the incense and the smoke is still symbolic of the fire element.

4.) The book review ection of the forum has several links to e-books and PDFs ( I highly recommend DPhoenix's library that she's compiled) that you can read on your computer without having to run the risk of having a physical copy of the text(s) in your home. As substitutions for herbs, incense can be an option, or if you are able, quietly purchase herbs that are common in cooking when you go grocery shopping, for example, to use in your spellwork (Cinnamon, bay leaves, oregano, nutmeg, etc.). Some may even grow locally that you could gather from nearby areas or parks.

5.) My husband's family is unaware that I'm a witch, and mostly, it's just about being very conscious of how much I say around them. I choose to keep this part of my life from them mainly for the same reasons you've mentioned.
Selena Silverfox has a neat suggestion for witches that wanted to keep their practices quiet by using what's called a "shoebox altar". See altar photos section. If you're looking for simple spells that can be performed quietly and relatively quickly, I would suggest browsing through the BoS section of the forum.

6.) There are a variety of methods to cleanse and consecrate your tools. I posted this PDF that gives an excellent overview of several of them, and it gives clear, step by step instructions on how to perform them.

I also gave an example of one way to cleanse a room in this thread that might be helpful :) : ... 25481.html

7.) I'm not sure which tools you're referring to, but I'll try and explain both. For cleansing, often you need little more than yourself. Channeling your energy (or if you prefer to use divine energy), is in my opinion, the most important step. Incense, a sprig of herbs, water, salt...these are all tools that can be used, a few among many, depending on what you want to accomplish and how you desire to accomplish it. These are tools that can be found in almost any local store or farmer's market. Other tools that are used in spellwork, like a cauldron, a pentacle stone, or an incense burner, can be found online, with sites like or These are also tools that you can make yourself, if you have the material and the creative drive to do so .

8.) I've never really worked with a spirit guide or familiar, so I'm not sure I could speak about the hows, whys, and wherefors, haha. But, I would suggest looking here to get more information, since this is a question I frequently see explored. ... irits.html

9.) Cleansing and protective spells are often the ones that I recommend to witches just beginning on their path. These are beneficial spells, both to you and your environment, and are frequently designed to be some of the simplest to cast. The first spell I cast was a cleansing spell of sorts. I helped a friend of mine get rid of some negative dust bunnies hanging around her home. It enlightening experience, especially since I was so new to witchcraft and I really had no idea what I was doing. ;)

10.) Research, research, research! Asking questions is so important, not just for witches, but for everyone, and it's awesome that you've already started by asking so many! Don't take on more than you feel comfortable with, and don't feel confined to what someone says is the right way or to what you read. Think outside the box, how you can adapt what you see and hear into what feels right to you. Nothing is set in stone. Witchcraft is highly flexible (part of its beauty, I think), and leaves you plenty of room to blend and build as you see fit. :)

I hope that helps a bit!
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Re: Many Questions, Please Help

Post by Xiao Rong »

I'm not answering all of the questions, since I think Heartsong did a great job, but just to add to a few of her answers:

2. That's okay; you don't need to have statues of deities. You can, if you find some of them personally inspirational, but I think that altars can be pretty freeform.

4. You may find the following threads of interest:
What Should I Buy First?
Spells and Ingredients
They're about cheap substitutions for spell ingredients and altar tools.

I am also quite partial to the Atheist Witch's guide to Cheap and Subtle Substitutions for the Poor or Closeted witch.

5. Hurray for other Naturalistic Pagans! (I identify as one as well! I am a huge fan of Humanistic Paganism) I find it fairly easy to be pretty quiet about my path; if people ask, I say vague things like "Oh, I'm spiritual but not religious ... " or, "I'm humanist", or "I subscribe to an earth-based spirituality" ... Most of my spellwork is food, which is amazingly easy to keep hidden. Like Heartsong said, you can keep your altar in a shoebox - or, if your altar isn't festooned in pentacles, you can leave it in the open and most people will just think you like candles or crystals or whatever.

10. Echoing what Heartsong said, research is really important! Don't rely on any one source to be The Authority on Witchcraft. You also have to remember that witchcraft is a very experiential practice - it's important to also be balancing what you find and experience with what other people have written and said. Trust your instincts and have fun exploring!
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Re: Many Questions, Please Help

Post by Falcon_Heart27 »

Thank you so much!!! You have both been so helpful. :D

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Re: Many Questions, Please Help

Post by DPhoenix »

Hope you all don't mind if I sticky this. I think it's great info that new members who are new to the craft would find helpful. :)
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Re: Many Questions, Please Help

Post by SpiritTalker »

Oooold topic I know. Here's my two bits, keeping in mind that the original poster wanted to be discreet & penny-wise , which are good ideas at any time.

An altar is a tool to direct our thoughts and balance energy. Gear is used as symbols of the divine, the elements of earth, water, air and fire, & our intent. Worship is never mandatory. Substitute an LED candle🕯for live flame - since that’s an issue; it represents the fire element form of electricity & the visual symbolism is obvious. In magic the symbol is as real as the thing itself.

Consecrate the table by 1st wiping it with DIY blessed 4-element aerosol*; then magnetize with energy 🙌🏽. Tools -if any- then are immersed in the element they represent & their intended use is stated. Candles can just be wiped down to remove shop handling vibes.
* aerosol - add a pinch of 🧂=🪨, 1/2 tsp citrus juice=💨, a pinch of cinnamon=🔥, to 2 oz bottle of 💦.

A discreet altar will not look "Witchy" or use flashy paraphernalia but would substitute household items that attract no attention. A nice cup can substitute as a chalice. Project with your finger 👆🏽 or use a laser pointer to make the eye-hand-power connection.

Rites can be done by using silent gestures. Ground & center by tracing an X on forehead, heart &' groin. Use see-hear-speak no evil hand gestures 🙈🙉🙊 to purify yourself & sweep 🧹to clear a 🔄 circular area. Spritz the DIY 4-Element Aaerosol mist instead of lighting incense. Pull power on the breath to your belly to load-aim-&-shoot 👉🏼 & cast circle. The Moon's influence is there even when it's cloudy or day-time so ritual can be done day or night, indoors or outdoors. Lay offerings right on the ground.

My own preferences: I find herbs at grocery stores & use plants from my back yard. I like pumpkin spice for psychism, fog-busting coffee, white clover, rose petals & mint. The pharmacy carries sweet-oil used for anointing spells to hold a psychic charge ⚡️. My cast iron cauldron is multi-tasking cook-out gear from sporting goods. The straight sides let me bake bread or water-gaze with it & it holds fire. I found a maple branch for my wand & find unique stones in nature & at garden supply & local witch shops. A tea lite candle in a clear glass bowl represents Divine Illumination better than any statue.

Animal guides and familiars: Concepts of animal spirit guides come from the reconstructed paths of indigenous, shamanistic cultures. The concept of familiar spirits was recorded in witchcraft trial records from the mid-1300-1800s. They were either the Fae working on the witch's behalf or ancestral deceased spirits. Meditation, dream-journeys & a cast circle ritual of invitation can be used to meet your guides. Beloved pets are always curious about what we’re doing in my experience. I would not place the magical burden on a pet.

Basic spells: These spells - candle, bottle, sigil, stone - use elements of Fire, Water, Air & Earth respectively. They’re discreet & adaptable to any need. To magnetize & set an intention: pull power on the breath to belly - load, aim, push - through the 🙌🏽.

All purpose incantation - Earth, Water, Air, Fire; work Ye now as I desire; X I now acquire by Earth, Water, Air, Fire.

Candle: Use a candle with the desired burn time. White is all-purpose or use your own color symbolism.
. Dress & Charge the candle: dab on oil & roll the candle between your palms & charge it 👏🏽 as you say your incantation. Stand the candle in it’s holder.
. The spell: Light the candle and sit quietly while gazing on the flame for a minute, knowing the task is done. Give thanks. Let the candle burn completely (it’s ok to snuff a flame and relight if needed). Discard stubs in the trash.🚮
. LED candles - Anoint & charge a sigil instead of the LED🕯. Dab the paper with oil & charge the paper with intent 👏🏽; place it under the LED candle; set the timer & when it times out the spell is done. Shred & discard the paper to free the power. Reuse the LED candle again & again.

The witches bottle is a protection spell in which a small bottle or jar is filled with bent pins to deflect harmful intent, rusty nails to protect from psychic interference, a strand of protectee's hair as a tag lock, bits of tin foil confetti as mirrors to scatter ill-wishing, salt to protect & pepper to banish harm. Top it off with vinegar. Cap it or seal a cork stopper with wax. Set intention with your incantation. Then bury or hide the bottle near your most used entrance. Retrieving & dismantling the bottle cancels the spell.

Sigil - Write the goal 📝 in a few words. Cross out vowels - a,e,i,o,u - and any duplicate consonants. Rearrange the remaining letters and embellish to make an artsy glyph. Draw a circle around it & ✂️cut it out. Dab with oil and 👏🏽. Sigils can also be drawn on anything you want to enchant.

A Stone 🪨 Stroking spell is used to relieve stress and induce light trance. Sit & sway side-to-side while stroking a water-smoothed stone. For a health Spell, chant: Stone to stone, bone to bone, flesh to flesh, vein to vein, (name) is whole again. You could be seated on a swing or rocking chair, or just swaying your body to induce light trance. When you fade out mentally you can stop. Rinse stones in flowing water to reset the stone before another use.

Any little pieces of advice?
. Leave an offering whenever taking something from Nature for magical use.
. Keep the altar elementally balanced when working spells for best results.
. Make your own tools (or decorate them) to strengthen magnetism.
. Don't cast when you're sick or angry because what we send out does return.
. Never burn poisonous plants as even the smoke can harm.
. Do as you will but harm none. And so it is done.


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