hi!! i know you said you were answering witchy asks so heres what ive got. im a really new witch, ive been interested in it for a few months now and have veeery slowly started trying to figure out what types of magic i can do / enjoy. i know research is the way to become more aware of magic and how to do it, but im never sure what good sources are or what are good articles to read for baby witches. if you have any, id be really thankful! thanks for considering even if you say no <3
Okay, so, instead of recommending you articles and stuff, I’m gonna talk a bit about critical thinking in magic, and using our discernment, because I don’t think it gets talked about a lot.
So the thing is, first off, there are a lot of sources out there, as we know. Some are awesome, some are hit and miss, and some are just…bad. But how can we tell them apart, and how can I know as a beginner what to avoid?
Well, the first thing you want to do is find your source of information. Pick an article. Read it all the way through. Now, how do you feel about what you read? Did it make sense, or were you left confused on a lot of points? Did it *seem* reasonable? Was there anything that didn’t sit right, or made you feel uncomfortable or unsure of yourself?
As magic users, we are taught our instincts are very important, and generally good to follow in regards to magic; I’d say the same can be said for researching magic as well. Of course, it’s not to be totally relied on every time, but it can definitely give you an idea of things you may want to stay away from if it doesn’t sit right with you. Not only is the information accuracy important, but whether you are comfortable utilizing it too! our boundaries in magic are just as important.
Paying attention to any sort of comments or reviews on sources is great too. There are some problematic sources out there, and we do talk about that sort of thing on Tumblr. There can still be useful things found in bad resources, however; you just need to know the problem areas to avoid so you can sift through it to find anything that may be useful to you.
- using the terms witchcraft / Wicca / pagan interchangeably
- religious exclusion (saying one religion is better than another)
- elitism (“real witches only do *this*” ; “you are only a real witch if you are *this*” ; etc.)
- cultural appropriation
- spirit animals
- animal totems
- Voodoo / voudou
- use of slurs
- g*psy is a big one
- claiming Wicca as an ancient religion / oldest religion
- outdated information (can be a problem to some)
This is just what I can think of right now, and is by no means a complete list. If you find something that you wonder if that’s really okay, or gives you a bad gut feeling, stay away from it, or try to look into it a bit more and see what you can find.
Some find that a lack of sources can be a problem, and that is definitely the case with published authors. Online, however, you are more than likely going to find personal experiences, and we can’t really source our own experiences and methods besides to ourselves. Not everyone references the posts they used for herb correspondences, or what method they used for their sigils. Generally you will want to know sources for more about the information of the practice (its history and usage over time, magic users in the past, etc.), because that area is really fuzzy and there’s lots of misinformation on that.
In regards to telling information accuracy - this can be a bit harder nowadays, since we know that magic is unique to each that practices it, and so you may even sometimes see conflicting information on the same topics! Definitely very confusing from the start. I think it is important to keep in mind different views and methods are possible as you research. However, I still recommend that you cross reference.
If you are reading through something, and you wish to check its accuracy, Google it. For example, if someone mentions the properties of rue, and you want to see if that’s really how it’s used commonly, search it up. (This isn’t just applicable to Google, but any other reference materials you may have, Google is just the easiest for accessibility.) Check a few other resources, see what they have to say on the topic. Do they line up for the most part? Where are the differences? Do you have any personal feelings on the topic yet?
Sometimes just experience is enough to tell whether something is legit or bogus. Say you find a spell, and it looks kinda meh, but you don’t really know for sure if it’s any good for you - give it a test run. Learning and discovering for yourself can be just as important and have as big an impact on your craft as anything else. This may have a higher level of risk to it than other methods of research, but sometimes we gotta…
I think that’s really what witchcraft is all about - because all the research in the world isn’t really helpful if you don’t do anything about it. Your experiences may vary based on what you read, and that’s fine, but you’ll never know how it may really work for you unless you try it out for yourself. And I mean, of course you should be doing it in a safe way, but hopefully you know the importance of performing your actions safely in magic and the benefits of protective methods.
Honestly, discernment is something that is experienced and learned that way - trial and error do really help a lot for each of us to find out if this particular thing is any good for us - and just because it may be legit for one person, doesn’t mean it is for you. That is why it’s great to do the research, but you also need to back it up with the physical actions of trying it out too.
Now, this is by not means extensive or complete, it’s just what I can think of at this time.
I’m gonna give you some resources as well, just to be sure.
- * [Critical Thinking and Pagan Books] *
- [How to Tell If a Magic Book is Full of It]
- [Problematic Magic Authors] - trigger warning for mention of various disturbing topics
- [Witchcraft Authors to Avoid]
- [Your Book on Witchcraft is Bullshit if…]
All of the posts I would recommend would be from Tumblr, since that is where my main arch of experience comes from. However, you can definitely Google your own articles and take a look-see through them, see what sounds feasible to you, if anything makes you feel weird, and cross reference it to a couple other references.
If you can do books, here are some that other have recommended.
- [Book Recommendations]
- [Book Recommendations]
- [Book Recommendations for Beginners]
- [Book Recommendations for Witchcraft Outside of Wicca]
- [Books and Resources (Paganism, Witchcraft and More)]
- [Books for Witches, Diviners and Spellcasters]
- [A Few Recommended Witchcraft Books]
- [Magical Book Recommendations]
- [Recommended Books - Updated]
- [Recommended Reading]
- [Suggested Reading List]
- [Witchcraft Book Recommendations]
- [Witchcraft Resources Galore]
I hope this helps you! If I can think of anything else to add in the future, I may do that, but off the top of my head, this is what I’ve got. I have a huge post on how to do witchy research in my drafts, but it is still gonna stay there for a bit, particularly because I have no time and energy for it right now, lol. But I hope this gives you some ideas! :D