Want to know where to start as a witch? Maybe you are working in witchcraft or a folk religion and you don’t know why your magic isn’t working. Take this quiz! and if you want to be linked to other articles once you’ve found out your base element, check them out:
I’m teaching a class on basic witchcraft, and I like to start with honing your innate skills. I’ve created this basic chart of elemental categories in order to figure out what you gravitate to first. Sort of like a “sorting hat.”
I’ve included the chart below:
Highlight all of the items that strongly resonate with you. All of them! Even if your judgement says that something is/are negative.
At that point, I assign basic spells in each category but encourage you to start with the category that resonates with you first. In theory, this should be your base element. In order to strengthen yourself magically, you should start in your base element to get the connection you have to nature stronger. As you connect, you’ll find that other elements become easier, but you’re probably going to want to go back to your base element/s.
As someone who works in witchcraft, you should have a comprehensive knowledge of and ability in every area, even if you don’t necessarily excel.
You may notice that defense and protection aren’t really on here. The reason why is this: if you are protecting your home, it should incorporate all of the elements to ensure attack will be prevented.
Here is my disclaimer: I am aware that in many northern European faiths, elements are broken down into Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Spirit. Great! I don’t use Earth because everything is our Earth. The air is part of Earth and water and fire and our spirit always connects us to the energy of which our ‘aina gives us. But I think you understand what I mean in the area above. Also, you’ll see that Earth is basically separated in two areas. One of which is stabilizing and one of which is growing. I do strongly believe that they are different areas of interest and intent, as I believe so does our environment. You’ll probably also notice that time is an element in and of itself. We only are a part of our reality because we experience, recall, and recite it. Without the concept of time and how it affects us, we are not.
I’m also aware that some simplify it down further: below, here, above. I think for beginners, this concept over simplifies because this structure naturally combines many elements in the craft. If a new student fails at one area within a spell, they may wrongly determine that they are unable or that the spell itself doesn’t work. It’s probably one of two things: 1) the ingredients are incorrect or weak, or 2) the practitioner is not connected to one of the aspects of our world. The Below/Here/Above is a fantastic simplification for craft workers who are more able or more naturally connected, and for those who are more acquainted or (dare I say) advanced.
Either way, I find that knowing who you are and your natural strengths, then nurturing those first, will incur stronger results and a stronger faith.
Finally, this may clarify pantheon, patron saints/deities, and a belief structure. This is what is lovely about Benedicaria, if I may? Instead of being boxed into worship of the Norse pantheon, or the Cult of Diana, this allows for you to really connect to a deity worship that matches your connection from your heart to your environment. From your mana to your ‘aina. From you soul to the land.
It’s witchcraft. It’s religion. It’s dogma & deities. It’s culture. It’s a collection from your heritage and your environment.
Let’s start with what you will read on wikipedia:
“Benedicaria, which means “Way of Blessing,” is a relatively new term for a number of loosely related family-based folk traditions found throughout Italy, most notably in southern Italy and Sicily. Though referred to by some as “Folk Magic” or even as “Witchcraft,” the various Benedicaria Traditions are concerned almost exclusively with healing, cleansing, spirituality, and religious devotion.”
Yeah. Ok. That’s pretty close! And the reason this is the definition was simply survival. Catholicism was the main religion throughout Europe for quite some time, and in order not to be killed for following the old faith, a combination of the faiths emerged.
When people ask me to describe my faith or name it, I’ve always had a hard time answering the question because it isn’t as simple as a straight forward dogma. It’s “the things we do and have always done.” Now that I am out and about in the pagan community, the witchcraft community, and the community of the occult and spiritualism, I just didn’t find that any of their definitions and boundaries fit. I don’t like the word spiritualism or mysticism because they bring about a vagueness of not wanting to commit from your soul to who you are and what you believe. They’re like that boy-toy you had that just wouldn’t commit to you and yet you kept him around because he made you feel good about yourself. I don’t like the blanket term pagan because of the connotation it brings with it. It also just sounds like I believe in mythology (which we all do to an extent, right?). I’m not just a Stregha because I don’t follow all their holidays, rights, and systems. My grandmother was from Sicily, and we just didn’t name it. We didn’t talk about it. She was Catholic, yes, but what I learned wasn’t Catholic. My mother believed in the Earth and what it gives you. But my spiritual awakening came when I went into my African roots and let them rush over me like a violent river whose damn had held back the fresh water and the murk from thousands of generations. What do we call this?
Benedicaria. It’s a folk religion (specific doctrines and practices that are not recognized by formalized religion… I always tell people, like the Native Americans), that is comprised of cultures that influence/d the practitioner.
Now, I have dedicated myself as a cultural teacher, which means that I teach the performing arts, so to pass down experiences and to remind us of our humanity and how to treat one another. I teach the faith. I teach responsible use of witchcraft. I also heal and curse and talk to the dead. I also banish what should not be there and invite what could. My job as a spiritual teacher is not to judge the world around me, but to help it to continue.