When embracing the desire to become a witch, there are a whole host of websites to point you towards how to commune with spirits, how to set up a shrine to a god, or how to begin to practice. Sometimes new practitioners become discouraged when these sites are behind paywalls or require a membership they can’t quite afford at that time.
There’s no shame in asking for financial support to take on students, and no shame in paying for the experience of another, but those with little or no money also should not feel that they are being kept back from their birthright of witchcraft. There are, in fact, a whole host of online resources for modern witches, and we endeavor to present some of the best here.
You may notice that many of these sources are not explicitly “witchy”. This is because while there are many wonderful witchcraft books available (not a few of which you can pick up from your local library), too often, we ignore anything that isn’t directly marketed to us. This is a shame, as it often means that we miss out on anything not couched in “woo”, when most of a witch’s traditional practice came from things we regard as “mundane” today, such as the study of herbal remedies and first aid.
We hope that you find this list of free resources to be useful in forming your own practice. Did we miss anything that you consider essential?
If you want to begin your practice in a “traditional” manner by making use of grimoires and established practices, you don’t need to hunt down a local coven or spend your paycheck on a tattered tome. We’re fortunate enough to be living in the age of Sacred Texts Online, a wonderful collection of a diverse array of holy books, grimoires, and folktales for you to begin studying.
I have a rather poor grasp of time, and in my neighborhood there are so many trees that unless I’m actively looking for the moon, like as not I’ll miss seeing it. Thankfully, there are more than a few websites that will tell you the exact phase of the moon in your location. This is especially useful if you’re choosing to work ceremonial magic, trying to plant according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, or just feel like howling up to the majesty and might of the moon.
For many of our ancestors, the local witch was the person they turned to when children needed birthing, bones were broken, or fevers raged. You can start honoring this ancient tradition by learning a few basic first aid techniques. While you may not be the person your neighbors actively seek out when in distress, knowing how to help an injured person in an emergency situation may save a life or two (and will certainly aid first responders).
Whether you feel called towards an herbal practice or not, it’s probably not a bad idea to learn a few simple remedies (especially with access to health care being as tenuous and expensive as it is in the U.S.A.). Not only can you turn to these if you’re in a pinch regarding simple medicines to help you with menstrual cramps or headaches, but they can sometimes save you quite a bit of money. Plus, these remedies are so easy on the body there’s very little risk of doing yourself harm, which allows you to practice things such as proper medicine storage, diagnosis, and dosages (though of course, proper medical aid is always preferable when available). You can purchase the herbs needed from a reputable buyer, or you can decide to grow and harvest the herbs yourself.
If you decide to cut out the middleman and grow your own herbs, you’ll save yourself quite a lot of time and money by putting in the research to find the best growing conditions for each herb. I can’t tell you the number of poor plants I killed simply by not being mindful about the growing conditions each required, so I would often put two herbs requiring vastly different care together just for my own ease! Not only will mindful practice ensure you get the best herbs possible (not to mention the freshest!), growing your own herbs will teach you quite a lot about timing, patience, and caring for other living things.
While many witches want to immediately begin forming relationships with spirits, often this translates to candle-lit rituals in front of bathroom mirrors or ghost hunting in local cemeteries. These are fine practices, but if you’re not keen on wandering about in the dark or potentially spooking yourself, consider starting by forming a relationship with your local land spirits. The easiest way to go about this is by showing respect and care for the land. Research the local native plants, work to pick up little, and plant sources of food for wildlife. Show your love for the land and its creatures, and the spirits can’t help but take notice and reach out to you.
It is a fine and noble thing to care for the land, but never let your vision become so narrow that you do not also think to look to the stars. For centuries, countless civilizations have looked to the heavens to help them plan harvests, decipher their place in creation, and unravel aspects of their personalities. If you are called to learn astrology and wish to know more about the subtle influences they have on us (or the grander influence of closer astrological bodies such as the sun and moon), this site will set you on the path.
Lastly, I would encourage you to look to the YouTube channels of your favorite online Pagans. Not only is this a great way to immerse yourself in community from the comfort of your home, but many Discords are full of people eager to share the resources they’ve come across or knowledge gleaned from their personal practices. While some of these Discords may only be available to Patreon subscribers, many more are open to those who simply want to form connections around a shared appreciation for the practices of a YouTuber.
[Written by Ashley Nicole Hunter.]