There are loads of books and websites out there that will expound on the rules of witchcraft, but there’s only one rule that really matters, and it informs your entire practice and the effectiveness of your workings.
Being a witch is a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and wisdom integrated with activity. It is a path that requires you to face yourself, to accept yourself for who and what you are, to face and lean into your emotions, and to see clearly your reality for what it is. This is the true foundation of effective magick.
Magick is not an escape from reality, it is a way to actively shape it.
In order to actively shape your reality you need to recognize fully where you stand at any given moment by seeing the truth in your relationships, the truth about your work, the truth about your living situation, the truth about your health, and so on. Denial is antithetical to effective and powerful witchcraft.
Not knowing yourself and not accepting your circumstances but trying to do magick is like trying to cook eggs on a block of ice. You’ll do spells for the wrong things that get you results you don’t really want or need, or no results at all in some cases. Refusing to see things for what they are makes you blind to the necessary changes that will make things better, and as a result your wheels will spin as you go no where fast.
There are actions you can take to remedy this, ones that I have found to be tried and true on the path of self-knowledge and effective magick, all of which will support your growth and self-understanding, thereby enhancing the power of your workings.
1.) Remain Loyal to Your Intuition
I can’t stress this one enough. We are conditioned to ignore our inner voice and that conditioning must be broken. We will know something is off or wrong about a person or situation while at the same time that person or others involved are actively denying what our intuition tells us. Listening to the other person over yourself always leads to regret when the truth comes out. You must learn to listen to yourself above others. Let your loyalty be to yourself, to your intuition, above others, including (and sometimes especially) romantic partners or others with whom you are very close. Your intuition will not forsake you, will not betray you. The same can’t be said for other human beings.
I’m a big fan of using truth spells or clarity spells in these kind of situations. I’m also a big fan of using divination too, which can sometimes be quicker than a spell depending on what you’re dealing with. Sometimes you don’t need divination, you just know, but you need it to come out. Truth and clarity spells for the win in that case.
2.) Objectivity and Truth Seeking
To see things for what they are, emotional attachments to the way you want things to be must be released. This is the key component of objectivity. Being objective is being free from personal bias, feelings, or judgment. There’s sort of an active curiosity involved here that replaces assumptions and allows for growth and an expanded worldview. This also allows for acceptance, because there is no need to affirm or deny one way or another. Taking this internal stance often leads to intense, truthful revelations. You’ll lose all kinds of unhealthy relationships and situations when you go this route, which will make space for relationships and situations that support your growth and wellbeing.
Meditation is literally the best practice you can use to develop an objective internal stance. I consider meditation to be foundational to magick as well, because it helps focus the mind and will and gives you the ability to see clearly.
3.) Total Acceptance
This is the toughest one for many. There’s no halfway here, though. This is where you stand and say “It is what it is” and look into the face of it (whatever you’re dealing with) with compassion, and without judgment, and deal with it. Apply this level of acceptance to all areas of your life.
If your house burned down but you sat in the ashes pretending it didn’t happen, nothing good is accomplished, and you’re exposing yourself to more difficulty and damage by doing so. You have to accept the reality before you can rebuild- this includes dealing with your own internal response to your experiences.
Do not skip the emotional work and go straight to acceptance. Skipping the emotional work is a false acceptance.
The emotional work (sitting with difficult emotions, allowing yourself to feel them without judgment, giving them space to run until they change- however long it takes, there is no time limit) is necessary and a crucial aspect of living witchcraft that must be embraced, not denied.
I don’t usually suggest magick for learning to lean into difficult emotions and feel them, just ample self care and a short leash on the thoughts that come with the emotions. Sometimes thoughts perpetuate difficult emotions, resulting in self-pity, victimhood mentality, giving up your own power, and other self-destructive states of being. Compassion for yourself and others is the bedrock of making it through to change.
The path of witchcraft isn’t an easy one, and it doesn’t allow for hiding or denial or clear spiritual lines or boxed in theologies. There’s nothing neat and tidy about it. It is challenging and ambiguous. When embraced and walked with knowledge and full trust in yourself, it is also incredibly rewarding.