I’m on a couple of social media sites for Wicca, and I read comments on articles that I like. And one thing I have noticed from people who are new to Wicca is a great deal of fear.
“What happens if I don’t close the circle properly? Will I set demons free and cause bad things to happen? Will the circle still be there, even though I took away all objects of elements? I’m a tad worried (completely terrified) because I didn’t close the circle properly; I started at East again instead of West.” (A comment from this article.)
I’ve read more posts/comments then I can count about people being convinced that their bad luck means they’ve been cursed or hexed. I’ve read people terrified that if they don’t respond right to a particular deity they feel is calling them that they will summon demons. And if I had a nickle for everyone who was convinced that they had some sort of negative energy/spirit in their circle or their home I’d be rich.
This is sad, because this is not what Wicca is about. This beautiful religion should not be a cause for fear. I wonder if this mindset arises because so many of us have came from Christianity, where fear is built into the very structure of the religion: “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, fear of hell, fear of sinning, fear of Satan, etc. I’m going to address some fears that seem to come up consistently and hopefully this can provide some reassurance to those who fear that if they do Wicca “wrong” the whole world is going to come crashing down.
Curses and hexes:
Many people are convinced they’ve been cursed or hexed. This is, 99% of the time, an unnecessary fear. This is the case for a number of reasons. The main one being that we all have runs of bad luck. In Wicca, we look to the mundane before we look to the supernatural. Don’t be quick to assume that just because you had a bunch of bad things happen after you had a nasty breakup that your ex is cursing you.
The second one is that most people don’t have the skill to actually do a curse or a hex. To work that level of negative magick and to maintain it over a period of time would require an extremely skilled practitioner of magick. Chances are your neighbor or your sister is not that person. Usually when someone tells you they’ve cursed you, it’s a form of bullying. They’re trying to intimidate you. And the best way to deal with it is not to give their attempt at a curse or a hex any power.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, there is a scene where they are learning how to confront a monster who will transform itself into your greatest fear. The counter the teacher gives the students for dealing with it is to find a way to make it ridiculous, to make it something you can laugh at. In my opinion, this is the absolute best way to deal with attempted curses/hexes. If you believe you have the power to protect yourself, that the God and the Goddess are looking out for you, and that someone else’s attempt to take your power from you isn’t going to work, you have just given yourself very powerful protection against any attempts at negativity towards you, let alone negative magick. Find a way to laugh at it, to make it ridiculous. Bullies hate being laughed at.
If you are in that 1%, it is best, if at all possible, to consult with an experienced Wiccan, of which I am not. I do not have any experience with curses or hexes and how to remove them. In the meantime, I would suggest finding some protection spells and doing some research on how to remove curses and hexes. And just a reminder for those who have forgotten- someone who performs negative magick is not a Wiccan, regardless of what they call themselves. A major part of Wicca is a positive morality that includes harming none.
Finding your patron deity:
Many, on entering Wicca, hear people talk about having a patron deity, or more then one patron deity, and they are convinced it is absolutely necessary to practice Wicca. They may feel drawn towards a particular god or goddess, but they worry that maybe that god/dess isn’t calling them and they’ll offend them if they try to work with them. Those who feel drawn/feel that a “dark” god/dess is calling them worry that they’re attracting negative energy or will end up summoning demons. And if they don’t feel called by or drawn to any particular god or goddess, they worry that they’re doing Wicca wrong or even that they’re being rejected.
I think it’s important to say that it is not at all necessary to have a patron deity. In fact in the very beginning, it may be better to just work with the God and the Goddess. Moving from either secularism or monotheism to even duotheism is a big step. Some people always work with the God and the Goddess, feeling no need to have a patron. Or they work with various gods and goddesses throughout their practice, not committing to any one. Depending on your view of who the God and the Goddess are, this can vary widely.
But for those who desire a patron deity, there are ways to figure out who your patron is. Do image searches on gods and goddesses you are interested in. Read their mythologies. Do a guided meditation (there are tons on YouTube) to get you in touch with your patron. It is my experience that they call, yes, but they expect you to do some of the legwork. However, you don’t have to worry about doing this “wrong”. The God and Goddess love us. They are not seeking to strike us down if we make a mistake. They understand that we are learning and growing in our spiritual walk. If you have a patron deity, and you hear about leaving offerings to them and you aren’t doing it, don’t start to panic, thinking that your patron is going to be really angry with you because you didn’t know to do it. That’s not how they work. That is a fear based mindset that carries over from the idea that if you do or believe the wrong thing you’re in danger of hell. This is not to say the God and Goddess are fluffy and never get tough with us, because they most certainly do! But tough love is still love.
Some say you can’t choose a patron, that they choose you, and that is true to some extent. However, not everyone’s experience is going to be something so remarkable that it leaves no room for doubt. Again, I believe they expect us to do some of the legwork. You feeling drawn to them is usually a sign. So don’t worry that you’re going to offend them by thinking that they might be your patron.
Also, sometimes we have different patrons at different points in our life. When I practiced three years ago, my patrons were the Morrigan and Hecate. I had just gone through several extremely earth-shattering personal events and I was having to completely rebuild my life. They really got me through it and I am extremely grateful for the energy and the wisdom that they gave me. When I came back to Wicca this time I assumed that of course I would be working with them again. But there was absolutely no draw towards them, and there were no signs that I was supposed to be working with them. However, though meditation and study, and through what I felt a draw towards, my patrons this time are Isis and Thoth. I am in a drastically different place in my life, and what I need is different.
Wicca does not believe in Satan. An all-evil, quasi-deity is a Abrahamic religion attribute, and not a Wiccan one. We acknowledge that life, and that our gods, have light and shadow sides. We do not see the shadow as evil, but as a necessary counterpoint of the light, and that life is a circle. Life leads to death, but death leads to rebirth. That is why we celebrate the cycles of nature. So it stands to reason that if we do not believe in Satan, we do not believe in his underlings, aka demons.
I am aware there are traditional witches and ceremonial magicians and demonologists who would disagree with this. But the fact remains that it is part of their belief system, not Wicca. We do not believe in negative spirits or demons lurking around. We DO believe in negative energy, which is why we cleanse and purify a space before performing a ritual, or cleanse and consecrate a new tool. But there is a vast difference between negative energy or a misuse of magick and demons.
Sometimes Wiccans give cautions about working with certain gods, phases of the moon, or spells. This is not because they are so dangerous, but because they are so powerful- intense might be a better word, actually. It’s like shadow work- working with these things can release a lot of emotion, so if you aren’t ready for that, maybe it’s not time. For an example, if you are not looking for tough love, maybe you should re-think working with the Morrigan, who is known for tough love. That doesn’t mean there is a lack of maturity, it just means that is not the energy you need in your life at that time. You don’t have to “prove yourself” by doing something you don’t feel up to or that you don’t feel ready for at this point.
Spells are sometimes given cautions because it is easy to cross the line into performing negative magick. Love spells are an excellent example of this. Doing a spell to open yourself up to love, or increase your self-love, is a positive way to work love magick. Anything that attempts to keep someone interested in you, draw their attention to you, etc., is manipulating someone else’s will and falls under negative magick. It can also have unintended consequences. So Wiccans tend to caution against love spells. Many new witches want to work them, but motivations can often be so mixed.
If you cast a circle counter clockwise instead of clockwise, you are not going to summon demons. If you light a candle and pray to a Goddess for protection who is actually known for fertility, you are not going to greatly offend them and summon some sort of negative spirit as retribution. These may seem silly but these are legitimate concerns I have read. And if you feel negative energy when you are doing magick or in a circle, look to the mundane before the supernatural. Do you have any residual guilt about practicing witchcraft? Do you feel extremely strongly about what you are doing in a negative way for whatever reason? Maybe what you are sensing is not negative energy, but your own shadow self. Again, many of us come from backgrounds where this is one of the worst sins you can commit. That can be hard to shake, even if you intellectually don’t believe it, even if you emotionally and spiritually are thrilled to have found Wicca and love the idea of practicing witchcraft.
I hope I have reassured some people a little bit. Wicca is not a religion based on fear. If you find yourself facing fear about your practice of Wicca, that is a sign something is wrong. Either you are misunderstanding Wiccan beliefs, or you are not used to looking at your experiences in the light of a religion that is not based on fear, or something else. And again, Wicca believes in the shadows. But we do not believe in a spiritual world of evil, and you do not need to be afraid of it when practicing Wicca.
Do you have any fears about practicing Wicca that have not been addressed in this? Leave them in the comments and if I at all can answer them, I will do my best.