5 Crucial Keys to Getting Started With Actual Magic

    1. Let go of “doing it right.”

    It’s a seductive notion: that if only we found the glorious, true, “right,” absolutely pure and authentic and ancient way to do divination, cast spells, meditate, keep an altar, etc., we’d unlock vast stores of power and shock ourselves by levitating right out of our Instagram-perfect circle of salt.

    I’m here to tell you, that’s utter, total, Grade-A bullshit.

    The route to actually unlocking your vast store of power is to first and foremost drop your obsession with rules and aesthetic niceties and the sanctity of ancient tradition and get really, really interested in doing it all wrong and having fun. 

    How wrong? Super-wrong. Earth-shakingly wrong. Completely half-assed and upside down and backwards.


    Because you can fuck up, learn from your mistakes, half-ass your way through hundreds of really fun experimental operations and a few years later wind up EXPONENTIALLY MORE CONFIDENT AND HAPPY in your magic than if you sat on your hands worrying about “not doing it right.”

    2. Start with what turns you on

    If you pick up one of the hundreds of beginners’ books on magic and Paganism, you are apt to find massively joy-killing suggestions like:

    “start by doing the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram twice a day every day for six months before you even think about casting a spell”

    “recite this goofy rhyming poem to the Great Goddess every morning”

    “purify your bad, bad self every night for a month by imagining yourself surrounded by a cocoon of glowing golden light”

    Now look, I’m not knocking these things.

    I happen to love the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, reciting goofy rhyming poems to the Great Goddess and imagining myself cozily wrapped in golden light.

    What I’m saying is this: magic is about thrills and chills, and human motivation is a very delicate thing.

    We need real oomph to get us out of our comfort zone.

    Once you get a big time taste for the sheer exuberant fun and weirdness of magic, you might decide that you really want to focus on a tedious project of installing glowing blue pentagrams in your aura or somesuch as a route to even greater fun.

    But if you get it in your head that there can be no fun had without first slogging through the really boring and corny bits, you are likely to just keep clicking BuzzFeed articles and watching Netflix.

    Here’s what turned me on when I first started: throwing big elaborate, totally illegal costume parties in public parks with weird midnight “theatrical” rituals at the climax of the night.

    This was me “pretending” to do magic more than thinking that I was actually doing magic.

    But you know what I noticed after awhile?

    Those “theatrical” magical rituals at the climax of my parties produced intense, very eerily synchronous results in my life and my community.

    Weeks or months later, events would happen in real life that had been ritually enacted.

    It gradually dawned on me: OH FUCK THIS SHIT IS REAL. I really can create massive changes in the unfolding pattern of my life through energizing specific symbols.

    So my primary suggestion for getting started in magic would be: do whatever you have to do to trick yourself into doing some far-out weird stuff that’s exciting and fun.

    Far-out weird stuff like:

    Go to a cemetery at night and read H.D.’s Helen in Egypt loudly (might as well recite some actually good poetry if you’re gonna recite poetry, you know?)

    Make a circle of candles on your bedroom floor, get naked, cover yourself in olive oil and masturbate while thinking about how you’re gonna fucking kill it at your PowerPoint work presentation tomorrow.

    Get your friends together and act-out a scene from Holy Mountain.

    Don’t tell yourself that you are oh-so-seriously “doing magic.” Tell yourself that you’re doing art, a performance, a joke, a lark.

    Rinse, repeat.

    3. Stop waiting for the “you’re a special and real witch!” fairy to descend

    Wouldn’t it be grand if you woke up in the middle of one otherwise uneventful Monday night sleep ….

    …. and found a giant glowing purple fairy standing at the foot of your bed, pronouncing the truth that you are the last in a line of dreadful sorceresses descended from Hekate herself….

    … and this means that you are a real, bonafide, genuine witch, unlike all those stupid pretender bitches on the internet!!

    This would be great because it would constitute big external authority removing all your self-doubt, and rocket you into a new dimension where you never again had to feel silly whilst getting naked and covering yourself in olive oil and masturbating about your PowerPoint presentation.

    And this would be terrible and useless because it would constitute an external authority removing all your self doubt.

    Why is that terrible and useless?  Because the only actual way to grow is to stop fucking looking for an external authority to remove all your self-doubt.

    4. Go with the planets

    If you’re like me, you’ve spent countless hours agonizing about whether or not it’s okay to do a tantalizing spell from a specific tradition that’s not your own ancestral tradition.

    This can especially suck, because maybe your own ancestors had their magical tradition stamped out thousands of years ago by Christianity or Islam, and so you’re left with no flippin’ clue about what exact magical practices you have an ancestral “right” to.

    Well, here’s something that simplified things for me: planetary magic.

    Why is planetary magic so great?

    Well, because they’re the fucking planets and they don’t belong to any one specific ancestral tradition, they belong to everyone!

    This opens up a wide field of exploration: Mercury magic, Venus magic, Mars magic, Jupiter magic, Saturn magic, Earth magic, Lunar Magic, Solar magic…

    … you get the idea.  And here’s another great thing about planetary magic: it works.

    I could say more but I also trust that you’re a human who can use Google, so go have a field day.

    Also, I specifically teach planetary magic in my course INFLUENCE, which opens about twice a year – you can learn about when it opens by joining the WITCH email list through the forms on this site.

    5. Get crystal clear about what you want

    Not what you “should” want.  Not what it’s “good” to want. But what do you actually want?

    Magic runs on sheer electric desire.

    It doesn’t run on niceness or self-righteousness.

    So if you do nothing else particularly witchy in a given day, just try this: ask yourself “what do I really, really, really want?” and journal about the answer.

    Let that lead you forward.


    If this essay resonates with you, I suggest you join the WITCH email list by entering your email in the forms on this site so we can stay in touch.


    • Dr. Carolyn Elliott is the founder of WITCH magazine & is known for her uncanny and uncomfortable ability to trick really smart, high-achieving magical people into doing the things that they actually want to do. She’s the teacher of life-altering online courses, including INFLUENCE, FORCE OF NATURE, MONEY, and EARTH. Carolyn is the author of the cult-favorite creativity book, Awaken Your GeniusAwaken Your Genius: A Seven-Step Guide to Uncovering Your Creativity and Manifesting Your Dreams... ... and the upcoming Existential Kink: A handbook of life-altering magic. She runs a multi-6-figure online business specializing in helping people achieve dramatic positive change in their lives through shadow integration practices and applied occult philosophy.


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