Witchcraft Mistakes Beginners Always Make

Are you just beginning your journey in the Craft?   When starting any new practice, mundane or magical, trial and error are to be expected. Below, I listed a few of the most common witchcraft mistakes.

 If you already made one or more of these mistakes, don’t be too hard on yourself.  I definitely made some of them myself!

Being overly concerned with the details of a spell.

Newbies tend to look at a pre-written spell and think they need to replicate it exactly in order to achieve desired results.

Modern spells are more like recipes than laboratory experiments.  A pinch of this, a pinch of that.  But when you post the picture on Instagram, no two look alike.

There’s nothing wrong with detail-oriented spell casting.  Focusing on details builds energy and helps to ground your intention in reality.

Many witches like to get very particular with things like candle color, compass direction, incantations and even the day/hour of the week to perform a ritual.

But it’s more important to incorporate elements that carry meaning for you.

Rather than trying to duplicate a spell exactly as it was written, try writing your own spell.

Not supporting spell work with mundane efforts.

Spell casting is about intent.  And I really believe it makes a difference.

To be honest, I don’t know how or why it works.  I just know it does.

But if you don’t carry your intent over into your mundane, real-world life, it’s unreasonable to expect “the Universe” to do all the work for you.

So if you cast a job spell, but never submit your resume to prospective employers, your intent is  . . . well, pretty half-ass.

Something may come along anyway.  But you obviously increase your odds drastically by doing your part.

Spending too much money on ritual supplies.

As a seller of handmade ritual supplies myself, I see nothing wrong with indulging in a little witchy retail therapy from time to time.

A freshly made candle or new statuary on the altar makes anyone smile.

But your Craft shouldn’t be about materialism or things.

You don’t really need anything at all.  But even if you like working with tools, you likely have everything you need already.

If you tend to overspend, check out:

20 Household Items Commonly Used In Witchcraft

Kitchen Scraps:   The Spell Ingredients You’re Throwing Away

9 Ritual Items Commonly Found at the Dollar Store

Getting scammed.

This is not really a “mistake,” because if it happens, it’s not your fault.  But I am including it on this list because it’s important to know, especially when you’re first starting out and don’t necessarily know what to expect.

The vast majority of pagans are good, well-intentioned people.

But just like any other religious or spiritual group (including Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and everyone else) not everyone is above taking advantage of the vulnerable.

Run far and fast from anyone who:

-Makes unwanted sexual advances in the context of spirituality.

-Guarantees results from a spell (especially love, money and fertility spells) in exchange for money.

-Claims to have supernatural “powers” or implausible abilities.

-Offers to “lift a curse” from your life in exchange for money.

-Pressures you to cut ties from family members or make drastic life changes.

-Claims to have “secret knowledge” that they only disclose in exchange for money.

-Exhibits jealousy or hostility when you seek advice or knowledge elsewhere.

There is absolutely no reason to fear these things any more than you would fear them in a church or synagogue.

While we certainly have no shortage of harmless eccentrics, you will find this is generally an extremely loving, supportive community.

Ethical pagans go to great pains to avoid even the appearance of dishonesty because of stereotypes applied to them by mainstream society.

It is, in fact, the lack of awareness and education about modern witchcraft that unfortunately draws predators and scam artists, who sees an opportunity to take advantage of that ignorance.

Imposing one-size-fits-all beliefs on others because you read . . . one book.

If you just finished your first non-fiction book on the subject of witchcraft, bear in mind, you stand at the beginning of a long journey.

There are many, many theories about why and how magic works.

Similarly, there are many theories about what constitutes ethical witchcraft.

Spare yourself some drama.  Don’t go lecturing people about the “left-hand path” or insist that the “3-fold-law” constitutes some kind of infallible doctrine.

Be open-minded.  Ask questions.  Take everything everyone says with a grain of salt—-and try not to take yourself too seriously, either.

Assuming that all witches are Wiccan.

Ouch, this just makes me cringe writing it.

The practice of witchcraft covers an astonishingly wide range of practices, from the voodoo of Louisiana to the Celtic rites of Northern Europe.

Wiccans make up only a tiny percentage of self-identified witches.

For goodness sake, please never use the terms as though they are interchangeable.

And while you’re at it, look over some of the other common misconceptions about witchcraft.

Being excessively anxious about coming out of the broom closet.

First of all, nothing says you need to come out of the broom closet at all.

Many people of all faiths believe that spirituality is a private matter.  If that’s you, I respect it.

And if you have a job in politics or public service, or live in a country that punishes practitioners of witchcraft with severe legal penalties, the unfortunate truth is that it may not be worth it to “go public.”

But 99% of the time, the social consequences of “coming out” as a witch are not nearly as serious as you think they are.

I’ve been a very public pagan for many years now.  I have conservative friends, I have liberal friends.  I have Muslim, Jewish, and deeply Christian friends.  We travel a lot, and have friends from nearly every inhabited continent on Earth.

My kid even goes to a Catholic school.

Guess what?  No one gives a s&*! that I’m a witch.

Some of them think it’s quirky or interesting.  Sometimes, they ask me questions that make me laugh.

But no one has ever cut off ties with me or fired me or kicked me out of a living space.

I’m not saying this never happens..

It’s probably not a good a idea to disclose your practice to a new landlord before signing a lease.

Discrimination in the court system is also a problem.  (Family law attorneys love to point out that mom is a witch in custody cases)

And job loss is a real risk for people in politics or monotheistic religious orders.

But that stuff is far less common than you probably think.

Ignoring social responsibilities or neglecting the Earth.

Although witchcraft takes many forms, a respect for the Earth remains a nearly universal value.

Magic is a give-and-take relationship with the world around you.

If all you do is take, you’re bound to run into some trouble.

Balance your requests by making a conscious effort to help others and heal the Earth.

Donate to charity, accept volunteer opportunities and live in awareness of your impact.

Not sure where to begin?  Check out Natural Living for Pagans:  10 Ways to Live Closer to the Earth.

Not exploring the culture or tradition of a particular magical tradition.

If  you try using a spell from a culture or tradition that you know nothing at all about, it has no context or meaning.

Newbies tend to want to jump straight to the magic without taking the time to learn anything about where it comes from.

Trying to replicate a spell from an ancient Egyptian text when you don’t even understand the incantation is nothing but a bad parlor trick in poor taste.

Do your research.  Spend time with people who know the tradition you’re interested in forwards and backwards.  If possible, visit a temple or find a coven that specializes in whatever aspect of magic you want to explore.

The joy is in the journey.



  1. I love this!! I have always felt these things and done my thing in the spirit you wriye about here. It’s lively and refreshing and very ‘real world’ bravo!! ?

      1. I need to be guided am really interested in learning the act of spells for personal use.can I just repeat what is written and believe it will work?or is there more to it b4 the words can manifest

  2. Thank you,I’m excited to begin my new journey.it’s as if it’s been there for me all along…its a new feeling and I’m going to embrace it carefully.I’m grateful to you and the high priestess for having a guide to get started with its scary on your own ., I know I’m not alone in the sisterhood.happy solstice and a great new year to you.be safe..

    1. Is your name Mary w/a brother named Marty? Apologies if not. Your eyes look just like hers. Love the article BTW.

  3. Ok, this may be a strange question/statement…. I have always been drawn to this… I feel a pull towards this lifestyle but it has been “drilled” into me that this is all devil warship nothing good comes out of this…but something tell me no it’s not. Now is the really strange thing I’m dealing with, I’m 49 and I feel I’m to old to start this or believe/practice this… I don’t I’m confused about everything..you would think at this age I would have thing figured out…

    1. I’m not going to tell you that no one has ever used witchcraft with bad intentions.

      But I think you probably know from your own spiritual experience that all traditions (including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, ect) have also been used with malice.

      Your intentions are everything, no matter what your spiritual practice.

      Think of it this way. Two people own a pair of scissors. One of them uses the scissors to make beautiful headscarves for cancer survivors. The other one uses her scissors to bludgeon her husband to death. The pair of scissors is not, on its own, an instrument of evil. It becomes that if you use it this way.

      Christianity is no different. It becomes an instrument of evil when it is used, for example, to exploit children sexually. But it is not, in and of itself, evil. Hundreds of thousands of missionaries have spread a message of peace and goodwill in the name of Christ.

      As for your age, I think that is totally irrelevant. Thinking through the conditioning of your youth sometimes takes decades. A lot of people never get there.

      Good luck, and enjoy your journey!

    2. I don’t know if this is to late But… first of all in the religion there is no devil simply because the religion is older than that. Christianity has adapted a lot of things such as Yule being Christmas, most of the sabbats follow that.
      Secondly being 49 should never be a excuse to not start a new adventure. Witch means wise women and being 49 you should have a great deal of knowledge. In witchcraft you are always learning.
      May life lead you on your journey, blessed be

  4. I am 72 now, and a great grandmother. As a little girl, I stayed with an aunt in the school summer holidays in the beautiful little place I was born. She was a teacher, and had many books, one of which she had won as a Sunday School prize when she was a small child herself. I was allowed fifteen minutes each evening after I’d gone to bed to read it. It’s called The Merry Piper, or The Magical Trip of the Sugar Bowl Ship, by Harold Gaze. I became totally absorbed into its enchanted world – the book is absolutely magical. I still have it, and whenever I feel low I read it again, and look at the beautiful, delicate pictures which were painted by the author himself. I felt the magic of something I couldn’t explain during those long, sunny days; I would spend hours looking under leaves in the garden for ladybirds – and I felt a deep connection to the earth, as if I was a part of it somehow. I was aware of magic even then, although I couldn’t have explained the feeling, or put it into words. I loved reading your article, it made a lot of sense to me, and as I have been Pagan for a while now, I found it informative and helpful. I know I’ll never learn everything there is to know and I don’t believe anyone could, but I’m enjoying the journey – the learning is a big part of the path.

  5. I am 54..I have been drawn by magicial. My boyfriend call me friendly witch. Because in my home is very comparing to witch collective. It’s like dark side. I have a lot of candles. I already been witch for so long. I have not try something to learn magical ways. It’s time to learn new path how to be witch with the feeling magicial. I never have a friend not a close one. I do not trust anyone nowadays. I am always myself. I wish any animal on earth come to me without fear. Because I love animals. I have cat and dog. Cat is my most favorite creature. Tell me what u see what I do not see? Thank u for the moment to read.

  6. Hello,
    I am new/ beginner to witchcraft and I have read some books and articles from the web I have also casted a spell or two. Thank you for this article I appreciate all the information you’ve provided. As I feel that one thing I’m guilty of is being overly concerned with details of spells.

      1. I agree with alot of these comments. Its funny when someone does address your jewelry and you tell them you’re a witch. Usually the first comment that co.es out of their mouth is ” witches are myths”. I just start laughing. Really!!!!! People today are still believing in the fiction stories about wiccans or witches or warlocks. They think we dont exist. One day my granddaughter came to me and asked,” grandma, are all witches green?” I just had to laugh. She s 8 but she has been told by other family members that tberes bo such things as ghosts, spirits and witches.

  7. I have to say that I found this very enlightening & informative. I think myself like most have truly benefited from your point of view? I’m looking forward to spell casting in a very different light now,thank you. Gentle Squeezes, Melo

  8. I knew it …thank u for the confirmation im aware that im a witch and just like u i justread and understand and everything comes naturally…thanx for the enlightment i just accepted my witch part when i turned 40 it really calls me..

  9. Hi, I too feel drawn to witchy things & magic. Nature & earth elements. I’ve read books. I’ve done Breathing techniques. visualization & meditation. I had a hard time being focused and giving these practices my time and patience! Working it into my daily life is a challenge.

  10. Is this really true…I was told witchcraft is like a seed to be sow. I want to get it done, but done know how.

  11. THANK YOU!! this is what i try to tell anyone who comes to me with questions. i identify as pagan and dont use strict rituals, i use alot of what i find in nature and what it means to me…. your so right on!! thanks, tannon

  12. Very informative, but being a pagan or Witch: ‘means craft of the wise.’ How do you become a practitioner of the craft? Through learning and yes making mistakes, growing with your environment,knowing thyself as we say. The most important thing is never stop learning. What is your book of shadows for? It is to record what works for you! We can read somebody’s else’s view on the 8 or 20 things you must know about being a witch or starting witchcraft. It may resonate with you or not. The point being, find out what works for you, by learning and even making mistakes…

  13. Well done! I like that you make the point that the path of our magical journey is ours, it’s okay to create spells n rituals for ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with reading and learning another’s spell, use them as guidelines. I love that you make a point about coming out of the broom closet, I for one dont make point of telling people who n wht I am. All to often it creates negative energy. Yet if you come to my home you can see by the way I incorporate my witchyness into my surroundinding who ths old soul really is. I’ll be looking for more of your written words I’m sure to enjoy them. Blessed Be

  14. Thank you so very much, this is a great read! I have recently began my journey and always fear I’m doing something wrong. I can’t tell you how good this article made me feel. Definitely going to be keeping up with you religiously – some times I just get overwhelmed and don’t even know what the “correct” place to start is. I would do appreciate any suggestions on literature to help me progress.

    Again thank you and sending you positively and gratitude.


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