Blog Posts,  Witch Talk

Go back to your witchy beginnings! || Revisiting the Basics of your Practice is GOOD for you! [Episode 127]

Sometimes you just have to start over, ya know? Go back to the basics of your practice and really figure out what you enjoy, what matters the most to you, and how you can further deepen your connection to your faith and witchcraft!

The last few years have seen tremendous growth in both my personal and witchy life. Both things and people have come and gone. Life has changed, my practice has changed, and I have changed. All of these changes have brought chaos and disconnection into my daily life, so I’ve been feeling the need to get back to basics, as they say, and really connect to my practice again from the beginning. This can be a fun and enlightening exercise in personal growth and self-awareness.

Audio Only

Hello and welcome back. Come sit for a spell and join me ‘Round The Cauldron for this sometimes rambly, sometimes educational podcast hosted by me, Megan, an everyday modern witch. Today’s podcast episode is keeping with the theme that I started rolling in my end of year review for 2022 which was to really get back into my practice and get back into the fundamentals and basics of what it means to me to practice Witchcraft, and what my path, my journey means to me.

So in this episode I’m gonna be talking about what exactly the fundamentals of Witchcraft are in my opinion, what it means to get back to the basics, why you might need to go back to basics, and how this really relates to my practice on a more personal level, because most of my topics generally come from something that I’m personally experiencing. And if you listened to my 2022 year in review, you would know that everything got like thrown in a blender and just mixed up and my life just kind of imploded there for a while. And I lost my footing with not just my practice, but a lot of other things in my life too. So that is what today’s episode is going to be about, and I really look forward to covering some of the basics of this and maybe digging a little deeper.

I have my notes and we’re ready to get started after an announcement. So if you listened to my last episode, I did say that I was thinking about opening up readings again, divination readings. I’m not doing tarot, I’m doing oracle, and I have slowly started the process of opening those readings back up. For now there’s only one listing in my shop and that is for a tipped oracle reading. So the way that works is you go and you leave a tip, so you adjust the quantity. It’s in dollar increments, and you leave a tip, I leave you a reading. There’s no limit on the cards I will pull. Like the amount of your tip does not equate to the quality of your reading, if that makes sense. Everybody gets the same quality. I will pull cards intuitively based on your question. So yeah, the link to my shop is in the description and in the show notes if you’d like to check that. 

Make sure you like, subscribe, share, follow do all of the things. If you’re listening on your favorite podcast app, if the app allows, I would be forever grateful if you could leave me a review. Those reviews really help my podcast get out to more people. If you’re listening or watching on YouTube, give me a thumbs up, hit the Subscribe button, share the video with your friends if you’d like, all of that fun stuff.

Okay now we can get into the topic. So yes, fundamentals, basics of practice. I have the dictionary definition of what something… What it means to be fundamental, and so the dictionary says that fundamental means serving as a basis supporting existence or determining essential structure or function. So when we talk about something being fundamental, it is usually the groundwork that other things are built upon. So like for my house, the foundation is fundamental to the structure of my home. The supporting walls, the load-bearing walls, are fundamental to the structure of my home, right? Water is fundamental to the structure and function of your physical body. So that’s what it means to be fundamental, and when we think about that in terms of Witchcraft or a magical practice, those are generally the things that you learn first if you went about this like through a teacher or a reputable source, right? We don’t just jump into slinging curses around. I hope not. Please don’t do that.

So yeah, the fundamentals are going to be generally the things that you learn first, and in most practices, they’re gonna be like the tenants, the core values of your practice, the practices that every other practice is built on, right? And it’s going to depend. Everyone… Everyone’s fundamentals are going to be different, or maybe different, I don’t know. I’ve never really talked about fundamentals with anybody else outside of like my general sphere of friends, right? A lot of our fundamentals are the same. A lot of our basics of practice are the same, or very similar.

So the fundamentals and the basics of practice are going to be twofold, right? You have the first one which is going to be the practices that every other practice is built upon, right? This is like the bottom thing that you have to learn first before moving on to other things. So if I were to give an example of this, I would say you have to learn how to count before you can add or subtract right you have to learn how to multiply before you can divide. Usually, at least that’s how my brain thinks about it. But then the second side of your fundamentals are going to be the things in your practice that you have to have, right? So they’re going to be different for everyone because what I have to have in my practice outside of the basics of the actual skill set is gonna be different than yours. 

For me, like the fundamentals of my practice were deity work. With everything that went on, that kind of just got put on the back burner and you know, I had to put a pause on that. But that is something that is fundamental to my particular practice and that’s part of the reason why I’m going back and sort of starting over. Now I’m not starting over from scratch with zero knowledge, obviously, but I am going back and revisiting the basics of my practice – the meditation, the mindfulness, the energy work, the grounding, and the connection to the world around me. Those are fundamental for my witchcraft.

I’m also revisiting the fundamentals of my paganism. I’m revisiting deity work. I’m revisiting my divination and my prayers, and some of those, some of that is intermingled with the fundamental skills that I have for my own witchcraft practice, right? So for me, deity work is difficult for me if I don’t have the mindfulness and meditation skills and energy work behind it. Because like how am I supposed to communicate with the gods if I can’t hear their response, if there is one? How am I going to trust myself and my intuition if I’m not mindful and I cannot be physically present in my body, right? So things kind of mix together and get jumbled up, but that’s how my practice is, and your practice might look different.

So as I said, the basics are generally the things that you learned first, and if you go back to a lot of Wicca 101 or Witchcraft 101 books, the basics start out very simple – mindfulness, meditation, education, learning about the different deities, especially within Wicca, different elemental systems – earth, air, fire, water, spirit. You know, these are a lot of the core beliefs that many witches hold on to.

And if you’re a new witch, if you are a new practitioner and you’re listening to this episode, that’s okay! I am sure there’s going to be something that I say here that will resonate with you or that might help you further on down the road. If you are an experienced witch and you’re listening to this, you might be like me. I had to really sit back and think about what the basics of my practice are, what my fundamental skills are that I require in my practice. Because I’ve been doing this for a while and it’s been a long time since I have gone back and sort of revisited what I know and what I learned. And so I had to sit with myself and really think about okay, what are the types of spells that I cast? What are the skills that I use on a regular basis, or that I would use on a regular basis if I had the time, right? What sort of skills are required for those? 

And then I just kind of worked my way backwards thinking okay, if I’m doing… If I’m doing a spell that requires absolutely nothing, what skill would I need? And that goes to energy work, learning how to manipulate the energy around you or work with the energy around you would be a fundamental to spell work, because even if you’re using different herbs and crystals and other ingredients, you’re still working with that energy and you still have to… manipulate sounds like a funky word for me to use, but you still have to work with the energy and be able to transfer your intention and your thoughts through yourself with the energy to help… to help it do what you want it to do, right? That was a weird explanation. Being able to feel the energy and work with the energy is a skill that I need to have.

And something that I always struggle with, that I’ve struggled with for a while usually due to my mental health, is connecting with my intuition. I have always struggled to listen to my intuition and to know the difference between intuition versus intrusive thought versus anxiety or depression or… I don’t know what else. So one of the fundamental skills to connect with your intuition is mindfulness, really being present in the body, in the space that you exist in, and being able to listen to your thoughts, listen to your body, feel the things. Okay is this thought me? Or is this feeling that I’m getting some sort of message? Or am I reading the energy of the room, or like what’s going on? 

That intuitive connection for me personally goes back to mindfulness. I cannot connect with my intuition when I’m stressed out. I cannot connect with my intuition when I’m severely depressed, and that’s because it’s really difficult for me to be mindful and be physically present when I’m in those circumstances. So that’s just another example of how a fundamental, how a fundamental skill is really important in my personal practice.

And there are a lot of reasons why you might need to reconnect with your practice and go back and visit the basics. Personally in the last several years, I have had so many different life changes happen that I really don’t feel like I have found a solid footing and the stability to continue with like an everyday practice, or to really embrace my path in my Witchcraft and my paganism. I mean, I know I’m not the only person that feels this way, especially because like covid just threw a wrench in everybody’s lives, like literally screwed up so much, and a lot of us are still dealing with that.

And then other things happened on top of it. Like I moved in 2020. I moved across the country, more than 2,000 miles. I moved from Oregon to Florida, and for my listeners that don’t live in the United States, that’s a really long way. Like if I were to drive from where I lived then to where I live now straight through, no stops, it would take me more than 48 hours, okay? That’s how far away it is. I moved from a place that had four distinct seasons to a place whose seasons are really weird.

It’s the middle of January right now. It’s supposed to be almost 80 degrees today, 80 degrees Fahrenheit. We are almost to Imbolg as I’m recording this. I know when it comes out it will be Imbolg, which is generally seen as the heralding of spring. Like spring is coming and we’re on the uphill swing. We’re coming out of winter, but I can look outside and some of the leaves in my neighborhood are still changing colors and are turning orange and yellow. Like things are so backwards here sometimes.

I moved from a place where I could harvest my own Juniper, my own herb that… or tree I guess… my own plant ally that I could use for cleansing to a place where I can’t do that anymore. And I had really grown a connection to the land when I lived in Oregon. I mean, I don’t know if you’re… if you listening to this remember the pictures that I shared on Instagram back when I lived in Oregon where we used to live, like the top of a hill, overlooking like fields of hemp and hay, and mountains in a distance, and we would go into the forest up there at the Cascade Mountains. And just having that connection to the land around me then was super important and it was something that I really felt deeply and strongly about.

Whereas moving in the middle of a pandemic to an entirely different climate with different people, different Spirits, different energy, and a completely different feeling really, really threw me off. And I mean I’m still like almost three years later… holy shit, I’ve been in Florida for almost three years… but anyway, like all this time later I’m still trying to figure things out. And I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I moved here and just expected to pick up where I left off, expected to pick up just like I was in Oregon. But I can’t do that here. Everything is so different. The energy is different, my life is different, I mean my practice is different. What I have access to is different. Everything is different. And I feel like if I don’t take this time to reconnect with the basics of my practice and the fundamentals and the skills that I need, I’m always going to feel disconnected and lost.

And like other things can benefit from you reconnecting to your basics. So like if you work a really weird schedule or you’re really struggling with your work life balance, or balance in general, going back to the basic skills of your practice can help you develop a routine. And in my life, routine and ritual even outside of Witchcraft is really important. If I don’t have structure, or at least some sort of schedule for the day or a to-do list of sorts, my whole day is off and I can find myself just completely lost doing random things or scrolling through social media or whatever because I don’t have guidance. I don’t really have a path to follow, we can say. So going back to the basics can help you find that balance again.

Outside of everything being all weird in life and like moving to a new place or feeling disconnected or any other reason that you might need to reconnect to your basics, you may find it beneficial to do this if you’re struggling with your spell work, if you are struggling to either make time for your spells that you planned on casting or if you’re struggling with the spell work in general and things just aren’t working. This is like spell work troubleshooting! Let’s go through the process of the spell, how I felt during the spell, what happened after the spell, and the skills that I used during the work, figure out what the fundamentals are, check in with myself with those fundamentals and see how practiced I am with them, and go from there. Because you might find that maybe you’re doing the spell but you’re just going through the motions. You’re just putting everything together, saying the words and putting it out there.

In my practice that won’t work because I have to put the energy behind it and I have to be really focused and pay attention to what I’m doing. If I’m just in the moment putting things together but I’m not physically present both in body and mind, nothing is going to happen. And that’s where it goes back to mindfulness and meditation as a fundamental skill.

Or maybe you’re stagnating. Maybe you’ve been practicing for a while and you just sort of feel stuck. You’re here, you’re existing, you’re doing all of the things that you think you’re supposed to be doing. Things seem to be working but you don’t feel it anymore, you don’t really have the connection or you’re not growing. And those are some pretty crappy things to feel. And from my perspective, going back and revisiting where you started and following through in that same path can help you move forward because it’s a lot about the learning process. Going back, starting from scratch, picking the things that are important to your practice, and relearning them essentially. And in that process of relearning, there might be some things that you have to unlearn! Or you might see things with a new perspective and be like oh yeah, there’s this thing that I can do with this! And it’ll take you down a whole new path with probably a million rabbit holes to dive into with research and exploration and practices. But you won’t find that growth, in my opinion, if you don’t remember where it came from, if you don’t remember where you started, and remembering where you start is a good place to start! Start from the beginning, you know? 

And I want to talk about personally why going back to the basics is important to me. Here lately I have had no connection. Well okay, that’s not entirely true. I have had some connection. I’ve had good intentions, okay? And it normally happens at the beginning of the week where I’m like okay, there’s a new moon, there is a full moon, there is the Thursdays where I work my prosperity altar. They’re, you know, I got all of these things that I want to do. Monday comes around, I start off strong! But then life happens and it’s difficult for me to balance everything and come up with a good schedule that I can stick to. Like I’m a person that loves structure and I love a good schedule and a to-do list, but my god do I have so much trouble actually sticking to it.

I know that says a lot about me, but anyway. Yeah, so with everything that has happened in the last three years at least, I have been all over the place personally. Like in my head, physically, with my practice, I have been very discombobulated. I like that word… and going back to the basics and the fundamentals of my practice is how I am trying to combat that scattered feeling, because my practice is really important to me. My beliefs and my Witchcraft and my gods are important to me. This is a foundation of who I am as a person. 

My practice and my path are part of who I am, and it really sucks when you feel like you’ve lost a part of who you are in the chaos of life. And if you know me personally and we have had personal conversations, you know… so I mean, all of these changes have caused shifts within myself, and just huge energy shifts in the dynamic of my house and the dynamic of my own life. So going back and revisiting these things is essential for me to really feel happy and present in my life right now. And my fiance, he’s great. He’s like, you know, do what you got to do. We can do this. Like do the schedule and you know, here’s a journal and get your oracle cards and like do what you got to do, which is great. He’s fantastic, he’s so supportive, and I love him so much. We don’t need to go there.

But like I…it’s crazy to me to go back and see the videos and the podcasts that I created a year ago and be like ah! Why do I still feel this way? Why do I still feel disconnected from the sabbats? Why do I still feel disconnected from my practice? And this is why! Well this is part of the reason why. My foundation, my fundamentals of practice are just there, kind of? But I haven’t revisited them in a while and I feel like that’s really stagnated my growth, and it’s really left me feeling kind of hollow in some aspects of my life.

One thing that I started doing, and if you’ve been following me on Instagram and watching my stories you know that I’ve been posting my progress, is I’ve been using an app called Insight Timer. Now this is not a sponsored segment, this is not an advertisement. This is an app that a friend of mine recommended for me to use for meditation because mindfulness and meditation are something that I really struggle with. I have a very active monkey brain and it will just go go go all day long. Like seriously, I wake up in the morning and immediately it’s going, whether it’s random thoughts or I already have a song stuck in my head. Like the monkey brain is real, okay? But anyway, Insight Timer has these little like challenges and courses. So since I’m starting back from the beginning, I decided to start with their learn to meditate in seven days challenge. Like I already know how to meditate, but like get that thought out of your head when you’re approaching something from the beginning again. You may already know how to do it, but the practice is still worth it.

Anyway, at this point I’m on day five, I think. I’ve got two days left and I am so proud of myself because I have been doing this consistently every day. In the morning I wake up, I make my coffee, I grab my oracle cards and my journal, I do that, and then I meditate. And seriously, to stick with this for five days so far is insane to me because that is the hardest part.

So that leads me into my tips for reconnecting with the basics and going back to your foundational skills or your fundamental skills. Start small. Start one at a time. Pick one thing that you want to practice. This could be the most important thing, it could be the easiest thing for you to manage right now. Whatever it is, start small and pick one. That’s why I chose meditation. Meditation is an easy thing for me to accomplish in the morning before everybody else wakes up. I’m generally awake before half the house, sometimes I’m awake before the entire house. But I have always been that person that wants to meditate in the morning, who wants to start my day off right. And in working in conjunction with my therapist who’s like, that’s a great idea, meditation for 10 minutes using a guided meditation was something small that I felt like I could manage. And you know what? I am doing a damn good job, if I do say so myself, because five days? Perfect! 

My next challenge is probably going to be to meditate every single day in February. We’ll see how that goes. I have to build this practice back up and like that’s why it’s important to do one thing at a time because if you try to add in four or five things all at once, your chances for getting overwhelmed with everything skyrocket. Your chances of forgetting something skyrocket. And your chances of half-assing everything because you just want to get it over with, huge, right? Especially if you’re like me and your to-do list is already 10 miles long. Starting small, starting simple, this is the easiest way to go in my opinion.

And if you can’t start with something small, start with what’s most important to you. Again, meditation right now is the most important thing to me because it’s connecting me back into my body, my mind, my heart, and my intuition. It is bringing that mindfulness back to me which is one of the core skills that I need to have for my practice. So if you don’t choose something simple, choose something important.

My next tip is to don’t be so hard on yourself if you struggle. It’s okay, especially if you have… if you haven’t touched these basic skills in such a long time. Struggle is normal. It’s all right .you’re relearning something or you’re practicing something that you haven’t practiced in a while. Struggle is normal, but in that same vein, push through it when you start to think to yourself, I already know how to do this. I’m just gonna skip it. Don’t do it. Don’t skip it. Don’t be that person. You’re just… words! You’re not gonna grow if you skip the practice. It’s how you get better.

So when you catch yourself starting to think this is stupid, like I already know how to do this, I’m just gonna move on to the next thing, remind yourself why you’re doing this. What’s your reason? Are you doing it just because you thought it might be fun? Are you doing it because you’re disconnected or your spells aren’t working? Or life has happened? You know, there are so many different reasons why you would be revisiting the fundamentals of your practice. Don’t forget your reason. If you have to write it down, journal about it, make sure that you know why you’re doing it so that you don’t just dismiss your practices and you don’t just blow it off, because you already know how to do it. You’re revisiting it for a reason.

Now that being said, if you have to take a break for whatever reason, like that’s okay too obviously. This isn’t going to be something that you’re required to do, for one, and it’s not going to be something that you will be able to do all the time. I mean, life happens and we have to learn how to go with the flow of life as well as the flow of our practice. And as you’re going back through and you’re revisiting these basics, try not to rely on the information that you started with because in my opinion, one of the reasons that we go back to the basics is to relearn things but also to grow and try new perspectives and try different techniques. If you’re constantly going back to the same learning material over and over again, you’re learning the same things and the same techniques, and it doesn’t really allow for more growth, more expansion, right? 

Like if you think of meditation, for the longest time, I thought meditation was just like I had to sit here, close my eyes, breathe deeply, and shut off my mind. But that’s not true. And over the course of my practice, I have learned many different meditation techniques, and each one helps me with something different. And some of them I just can’t do it all. But learning new techniques gives you more perspective and can also help you expand your practice and grow in different ways. And don’t just lean on books or videos or podcasts. Talk to other practitioners. Search out material that you wouldn’t use before. So like if you were a book learner, look at videos or podcasts. If you only watch videos, find a book. If you struggle to read, see if you can find an audiobook. Your library is your best friend.

Speaking of books, there’s a link in the description and in the show notes for you to get two free months of Scribd, or scribed, or however you want to say it. If you struggle to find books, yes that is an affiliate link and I just wanted to plug it here because it fits, but you know, no obligation of course, if you don’t want it, and that’s fine. But yeah, get out there, try new perspectives, talk to new people, and enjoy the process of your practice.

Okay last thing before we wrap up this episode. I have some recommendations for books and a couple other things that might help you give you a new perspective or give you some different exercises to try. The first recommendation is a book called Psychic Witch by Mat Auryn. While I don’t necessarily agree with all of Mat’s beliefs and a lot of his theology doesn’t really resonate with me, I recommend this book solely on the basis that the exercises in this book are really good, in my opinion. And they go from one to I don’t know, there’s more than 50 exercises in here. But if you’ve never done any sort of psychic exercises or exercises to connect you to the world around you, to ground you and center yourself, and all of that stuff, this is a really good book to start with. Oh, and I will leave links to all of these books in the description below and in the show notes for podcast listeners, so don’t worry about that. Yeah, Psychic Witch has great exercises, and if you get this book just to do the exercises, I think that’s okay.

The next book recommendation that I have is Intuitive Witchcraft by Astrea Taylor. I believe we read this book for my book club on Patreon when I still had Patreon. Now it’s like my own membership thing, but this book, it covers some of the more basic aspects of witchcraft from Astrea’s perspective, but it also has really good information. Excuse me, really good information to help you connect back to your own intuition and to help you learn how to tell the difference between intuition and external things.

The next book recommendation that I have is The Witch’s Path…? The Witch’s Path? Yeah, The Witch’s Path by Thorn Mooney. And this is a book that is geared more towards experienced witches, but even new witches will have good information to… that was a weird way to say this. Even new witches will find useful information in this book. Every chapter has at least four different exercises in it based on whatever that chapter was about, and these exercises range from practical exercises to journal exercises to magical exercises, and it’s one that I really recommend.

The last few recommendations that I have, the first one is Insight Timer. It’s a free app full of like hundreds of thousands of guided meditations. They do have a Pro Plan. I don’t know what the Pro Plan entails, but Insight Timer is what I’m doing the learn to meditate in seven days challenge on. And so far, I really recommend it and it comes highly recommended to me by other people so I feel comfortable recommending it to others.

And the last one that I have here is actually a guided meditation that I have done that members of my membership have free access to. It’s a guided meditation for connecting with the Land Spirits in your area. So if you join me as a member and become a cauldron collector, you have access to that as part of your membership and you can download it. If you don’t want to do that, you want to wait, or you don’t want it at all, that’s totally fine. That meditation is going to be included in my up and coming guided meditation audiobook coming out sometime this year in 2023. I haven’t… it’s not fully finished yet but it is almost there.

So yeah, that is all of my recommendations, all of my rambly personal stories filled with tips and tricks and experiences or whatever. Thank you so much for listening, watching if you’re here on YouTube. Again like, it’s okay to have to reconnect to your basics. I have been a practicing witch for more than 10 years at this point, and connecting with the basics is something that I think everyone needs to do at one point in their practice or another. At sometimes multiple points, and that’s totally okay.

So if you’d like to join me as a cauldron collector and join my membership program, feel free. The link for that is in the description and in the show notes. This takes the place of my Patreon if you know what Patreon is. If you join me as a member you get access to most of my content before everybody else, there’s a members only forum and community, personal interactions… oh so many other things that I’m spacing on right now. I cannot remember them all, but yeah, the link for that is in the show notes and in the description. It has all the information you need.

If you don’t want to join me as a member but you’re still looking for community connection, I have a Discord server. Free to join, free to use, link in the description and in the show notes.

And before we sign off on this episode, we will do what we always do and I will get out my oracle cards. I will give them a shuffle and I will pull a card for February. So I have my Spirits and Shadows Oracle deck here and let’s see what we need to hear for February. Let me go ahead and shuffle it three times. One… oh two, a card fell out. Let’s see what that card says. The Tomb. The Tomb. Oh, I don’t like this card… let me set those down.

The Tomb. So this card depicts a skeleton in sort of like a dark looking place. It looks like the skeleton is holding a spear. Do you feel trapped? I feel trapped, and I mean maybe this is a good card for this topic. I feel very stagnated, like I have to try to climb out of where I am. So I guess for February, we can think about how the world around us is affecting our mental health, how it’s affecting our practice. This card also calls on us to do some self-reflection and be more self-aware, because sometimes when we feel trapped it’s our own fault. And I know that can be kind of difficult to hear, but how are you feeling trapped? How are you feeling stuck? I think stuck might be a better word, and that’s the card for February.

And with that I will talk to you next time, bye!

💕 Things Mentioned 💕

Insight Timer:
Psychic Witch by Mat Auryn*:
Intuitive Witchcraft by Astrea Taylor*:
The Witch’s Path by Thorn Mooney*:

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