While you do the work of performing spells and rituals, it's also important to do doing inner work of learning about yourself. Magick creates the opportunity for connecting with major forces, entities, and beings from Other Realms. Magickal practitioners need to approach these things from a grounded and solid place. The best way to develop strong, grounding skills is to do the interpersonal work, the shadow work, the inner work.
Shadow work has become something of a buzzphrase in recent years. The basic idea of shadow work is that we all have parts and pieces of ourselves that are hidden. They are hidden because they are painful, difficult, or challenging to our psyche. But when we can reveal these shadows, befriend them, honor them, and even integrate them, we become stronger. This helps us to be better magickal practitioners, as well as better humans.
Exploring our shadows or hidden pieces can be a challenge. These things are hidden for a reason, and we need to be ready to learn about them. This isn't something to take on with the desire to speed through it. It takes time and sometimes it requires help from health care professionals. But, ultimately, when you have a solid understanding of who you are, why you are, and your internal motivations, you will find your spiritual connections are stronger.
The Three Keys of Witchcraft are the stepping stones to a deeper magickal connection. In working through these keys and understanding how they connect to your life; you will learn about yourself and how to be a better witch. These keys are: knowing thyself, discernment, and bravery.
These are not keys that you will work through once and then move on having mastered that. The keys are ongoing work. They are the steps to help you continue to grow and deepen your magickal skills. It's like the magick of the labyrinth: you get closer and closer to the center of the maze, and each turn you take gives you a better understand of the path on which you are.
That is why the first key of Witchcraft is the spiritual pursuit of knowing thyself. It is important to understand what makes you tick, and why! It is important to know what sits at your core. It is important to have a solid understand of yourself and how you have become who you are. And this is a practice that is lifelong. We will never find the end of this exploration. It is the work of our life.
Practicing Witchcraft put you into relationship with larger forces, supernatural powers, and magick. These things have a way of forcing us to look at ourselves. If we aren't ready and if we aren't doing the personal work and exploration, we can cause ourselves harm or get lost in our spiritual pursuits.
Knowing and understanding yourself is the true practice of the Witch.
The best place to start with the key of knowing thyself is to look at your growing edges. Growing edges are the places where you don't feel particularly strong or skilled, but you have a desire to be stronger or more skilled. When you give yourself permission to gently push those edges, you will expand and learn more about yourself.
Another place to explore this first key of Witchcraft is to look at what triggers you. What are the things that put you into a flight, fight, or freeze mode? Where do you carry wounds from the past that still impact your current decision-making? Know that exploring these things can be painful, and it may best be explored with a medical or psychological professional. Remember that you will never fully know yourself. You continue to grow and change. Which means there will always be more for you to understand. This is the fun of being human!
How do you know what to do in a magickal working? How do you know what people to trust or what path to follow? We often don't know. We have to use our powers of intuition and discernment in order explore the world of being a magickal practitioner.
It is impossible to avoid mistakes. That's all a part of learning. In fact, making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn. However, when you tap into your discernment, it becomes easier to avoid mistakes. Strong discernment makes it easier for you to judge well.
This is important because no matter what information you might read about Witchcraft or spiritual pursuits in general, it won't take long for you to find contradictory information. It can start to feel like there isn't one "truth" or one way to do things. And that is the truth! There isn't one way to do things, so how do you know how to proceed when you don't have experience and your information is conflicting? You must be able to judge well.
The most important relationship that you will ever have in life is the relationship you have with yourself. Anything you do should be run through your personal filters. Everything you take on should be tested against your individual values and beliefs. If something doesn't feel like, don't do it. Use your discernment.
Witchcraft requires bravery. Just calling yourself a Witch is an act of bravery. Even today, in some parts of the world, saying that you're a Witch is dangerous. It is rebellious. Facing danger and being a rebel are brave things to do.
You can't call yourself a Witch and be afraid to practice Witchcraft. You have to actually practice Witchcraft to call yourself a Witch. If you are so afraid to make a mistake or own the power within you that you end up walking away from magick altogether that would be a waste of your power.
Bravery is feeling afraid and doing it anyway. You can be nervous, heck, you can even be scared, but if you want to master the three keys of Witchcraft, you have to do it anyway. Bravery is a choice. You can look fear in the face and choose to do something about it. Bravery is the action of the Witch.
Phoenix LeFae (Sebastopol, CA) is a professional reader, rootworker, teacher, and ritualist. She has been practicing witchcraft for almost thirty years, and her teachings are connected to the Reclaiming Tradition, Druidry, ...