A Proper, Powerful Witch Is...

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , , ,

Hot on the heels of my last statement that I don't care one jot for what others call essential for being a "true witch," I will now give you my own thoughts.  Of course, I don't endeavor at all to separate genuine from imitation; rather, I care only about the well-adjusted, the progressive, the productive, and the potent.  Those are the witches I want to describe and that's the witch I endeavor to be.

Each of us will naturally have our own ideas as to what really should be included in this list.  I entreat you to bring out pen and paper right away and come up with your own.  Feel free to share it here or any other place you like.  Post it in your workspace, copy it into your BoS, discuss it with your coven mates, ask friends and family for a (gently) honest evaluation of yourself based on the guidelines you have set.  Work with my list or your own in whatever creative way feels best.  

There are many things that can make our two lists different.  The first, and possibly most important, is our experiences.  Not only are the years we each have been practicing affecting, but also the substance of those years.  What has been the focus of your magic since you began?  What about the focus of this past year?  I can't imagine how different your answer would be from my own, but that is a deciding factor of what is important to you.  Not only are we talking about the conscious choices you have made but also the surprises and problems that have arisen which you have had to work for at a moment's notice.  That has shaped who you are and what you see as necessary skill.

Also, we must take into consideration that we each have our own talents.  Armed with these as tools and weapons, we go into the world with our own distinct advantage.  Maybe you possess a mundane skill that I can only reach through spellwork; that skill might seem, for me, all the greater as a magical goal.

I have made this list as universal as possible, while still allowing for all the quirks mentioned above.  For ease of use, I've generally used the pronoun "she" and the term "witch."  Admittedly, I rarely do this except when talking about myself because that's the term I use.  Since, of course, this is my own list, I figured I'd go with what applies to me and the reader may change it as they deem necessary.  I would love to hear from you (here, on FB or Twitter, or elsewhere) with your thoughts, additions, or subtractions.   So now I present to you:

 A Proper, Powerful Witch Is...


Planning is one of those not-very-fun but very necessary tasks that seem to fall by the wayside with so many spellcasters.  Not only should a witch's spells be timed and plotted in advance, but the whole course of her endeavors should, as well.  What do you fear happening?  Protect yourself from it!  Work around it!  Reroute your path so that you may never come in its sight.

Preparation is also a major aspect of a practitioner's skill when you have a coven or lead your own rites.  It is too often assumed that major rites just happen, that everyone can just show up at the appointed time.  In truth, they are a tremendous amount of work.  And that's why they're so rare today.  Rituals that I've attended outside of my own coven have been clearly slapped together without forethought or care.  That is a major embarrassment for your guests and a disrespect to the forces you're attempting to summon.  Next time, plan ahead!


Your life is complicated--everyone's is.  All of us feel like we're busy, even if we're not.  So it can be a trial to keep order with all the things clamoring for our attention and time.  A proper occultist know this and plans for it.

There are certain things that must always come first, and that's a given.  A major project at school or work or sudden pleas from a friend will stop your world until they have been settled.  But on an ordinary day, there are basics that must be done and aspects of life which must be given your energy in order to be furthered.  Be sure you touch on all of them, every day, in any way you are able--Mind, Body, and Spirit in balance.

One who Knows What She Wants

You can't possibly attain your goals if you don't know what they are, so start out making real plans for your future.  Do something--anything!--every day to come closer to those goals.  Make them specific, clear, and feasible based on your skills and how far you're willing to push them.

I am a big list-maker.  I love lists for all sorts of reasons, but the best is that they give me a chance to stand back and see a pattern.  Make a list of what your goals have been so far.  What are you currently attempting to do or become?  What has been the aspiration of your practice for the past year?  The past 5 years?  How about 10?

Now where would you like to be in as much time?  Do you think the actions you've already taken are headed that direction?  Think this through for as long as you can.  These might be the most important questions you can ask yourself.  What have you been chasing, wanting, striving for?  What are seeking now?  How can you connect them?  How can you take one more step on the path to your goals today?


Creativity is never work.  Sure, it requires a lot of work, but the creative spark itself is free-
flowing and endless.  It is your well spring and you will never run dry.  With it you can quench the thirst of yourself and all around you as you use it to solve problems and end suffering.  You can use it to drown the evil or wash the innocent.  It can bring barren earth to life and rot the over-blown.  It's all yours.

We need to think about creativity this way and not in the sense of silly craft kits and cross stitch.  Engage your whole self in the act of creation as you work a spell and you will see it come alive.  Anything you do to make something out of nothing can be a creative act, a magical act.  Make your magical life especially, but also your mundane life, beautiful and expressive.  Give it everything you have and then give it a little more.  


Now this might sound like I'm just being no fun, but it is quite important that a proper witch is a person of a certain integrity.  I say "certain" because I'm not asking you to be a staunchly moral and upright person, only that you have your limits and adhere to them.  One of those limits should be about lying.

I have come into contact with many practitioners who didn't have this rule, so I suppose that's why it figures so prominently on my list of things by which I live.  A witch who tells lies about herself or lets others believe untrue things about herself today is only investing in tomorrow's crumbled persona.  Fellow practitioners need to know the real you.  If you pretend to be more powerful than you really are, you will be uncovered one day and humbled--or cursed--for it.  If you do that to clients, they will stop believing you, speak against you to others, whither your ego (and even your magical potency), and weaken the magical community of your area.

In my experiences, I knew a witch who was certain that she was everyone's goddess.  She had it in her mind that men wanted her and women wanted to be her.  It was a fallacy, of course, and one she clearly recognised, but she held onto it fiercely because her life was so damaged that she couldn't bear to look at reality.  Not only did this make those around her think less of her, it perpetuated a cycle of false gains in her life.  That's not where a witch should be.

Always Using Magic

As you may have noticed, I don't follow the attitude that magic should be one's last line of defense.  Our predecessors would have thought that idea laughable.  If you wish to keep your skills honed, you must use them often.  A proper witch casts spells all the time.  Little ones to get an edge on everyday events, large ones to turn the tides to her favor, and--when things go quiet for her--spells to assist those around her.  By this, a practitioner becomes a part of magic, not just a spectator or even a participant.

A Respecter and Promoter of the Works of Others

The other practitioners you meet are your people.  There is no need for jealousy, judgement, or scorn.  Whether there are one-hundred other casters in your town or two, you are together in this.  Be kind, listen, share a bit of what you know, pass along their good name.  People will remember this.  If you're always trying to best someone or spread hurtful rumors, they'll remember that, too.

I'm noticing how true this is in the community of comic book artists.  As you may know, I am the illustrator for a new comic book series and I've been working my way into the brother/sisterhood of fellow creators.  Every time I talk with an artist, they're always interested in my work--as I am in theirs--and offer helpful advice, tips, and leads on books, conventions, and sources for research to help me on my way.

I've never had one put me down because my style is different from theirs, or because I'm not a classically trained artist.  No one has ever sniffed at my request for advice and said I wasn't of a high enough rank to hear it.  Instead, they totally get it--we're a unity and we can either bring each other up together or we can all scramble around in the dark, too proud to ask for or offer help.  I could only wish that the magical community would follow their lead.

A Visionary

It is well within the scope of an occultist to see the pattern of time and to predict its continuing weave into the future.  Such a person then can use this as a guide to do what needs doing, make corrections appropriately, and not hesitate to do either.  The beauty of being a visionary is that you don't have to hesitate; you know and that knowledge is your strength.

Has a Rich Non-Magical Life, Too

In the midst of all of this, it can seem as though I'm expecting a practitioner to be nothing but.  However, magic should be a part of a well-made life, not its only feature.  It's important to maintain a space between witchcraft being your whole identity and it being merely a weekend hobby.

Cultivate the other interests in your life.  Spend time with non-magical folk.  Listen to music, read books, join groups, and hold discourse on things that have nothing to do with witchcraft.  This will keep you grounded.


This will have a different meaning for different people.  For myself, I enjoy having a relationship with the Gods and listening to their wisdom.  For others, spirituality might be more structured, have more definite terms, require more of their time.  Or it might mean less of all of this; it's up to the individual.

Connecting your magic with spirituality can be helpful in that you will be able to gain special insights, receiving omens and assistance from a source which doesn't rely on corporeal things.  Tending to your spiritual relationships every day can be helpful to maintain a line of communication with a greater intelligence, be it Gods, territorial spirits, or beloved dead.  All of this is your soul life and can be of benefit to your work.

Skilled in Her Craft

When a spell is well cast, it becomes a dance, a work of art.  Components are retrieved, measured, blended in secret rhythms; a match is struck, flame bursts into being;  herbs come alive on the coals; smoke winds through the air full of flickering shadow; words weave like threads through the process, stitching and pulling tight your intentions.  

If this doesn't describe your work, maybe you need to take a closer look at your methods.  The greater amount of knowledge you have, the more you're able to use it with finesse.  The better you understand the performance, the smoother it becomes.


This is definitely something that is a must for me but probably not essential in the eyes of others.  To me, organization goes hand in hand with other aspects of honor and reliability such as honesty and promptness.  To keep your belongings in order is to keep your thoughts in order.  To maintain a purposeful schedule is to do as much with your ambitions.

Record-keeping is important, especially in the beginning when there is so much information coming at you.  After a while, however, the main things you'll want to record are the major life events and inspirations as well as the more important spells you cast.  For myself, if I were to record every little work of magic I perform, I'd have run through several volumes just talking about the charms I recite and the sigils I draw for the small stuff in life like protection during long periods of travel or keeping visitors from my house on my day off. 

Also helpful is that workspace is clean and easy to use.  You should be able to sit down at your desk/altar/whathaveyou and get to work right away.  You should know where all your herbs and stones can be found.  If you can't do that, I highly suggest planning a cleaning day to get your things in order.  It will have a positive impact on your outlook but also on your magic itself.  Distractions of any kind act as speed bumps, slowing you down and making you extra aware of your surroundings.  You don't want that.

So there's my list.  What's yours?  If you've decided to form your own requirements, remember take time to also think about where they come from, why they matter, what each of them would look like in real practice.  As you have seen, I know where some of my list originated but other parts just seem important because it's the way I look at witchcraft in general.  Your view might be much different, and I welcome it.

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About Me

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My name is Quill and I've been practicing witchcraft for the past 17 years. 10 of those years I've been reading tarot and teaching.  I own a shop on Etsy called Quill's Occult Supply (check it out at QuillsOccultSupply.Etsy.com) full of handmade ritual and decorative items, spell components, and wild picked herbs.

I love to work with my hands.  Magic is a tool to shape our lives, and I'm using magic to shape tools to shape magic.  Cosmic! 

I use a lot of my favorite things in my shop: herbs, candles, wood, fabric, paint, clay.  And I get to carve, burn, grind, mold, think, dream ... I'm in the perfect business!

I've written 3 manuscripts for publication (2 non-fiction and 1 fiction) and am an avid NaNo-er!  I and my husband run a local coven called Orbis Prosapia, and our children are growing up surrounded by magic, mythology, fairy tales, Earth worship, art, open discussion, music, and humor. 

In addition to working on Ex Penna about my experiences as a professional witch, I also write for Scenes from the Circle about being a coven leader. 

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