BY SIAN FERGUSON
2016 has been a particularly difficult year for many people, me included.
That said, the year has also given me many gifts. This year was the year I started identifying as a witch after one year of studying Wicca and witchcraft.
As a witch, I’m making a number of witch-centric resolutions to welcome in 2017. Hopefully they will inspire you to grow as a witch in 2017, and to approach the year with an optimistic and hopeful mindset.
1) Study at least one new book a month
I’ve been studying witchcraft for over a year now. Something I’ve learnt is that I have so much to learn: the topic of witchcraft is so broad that I could spend years studying it and there will still be more to study.
I want 2017 to be a year of knowledge. I want to read more wonderful books on witchcraft and related topics like Wicca, Paganism, astrology, crystals, spells, herbal magic and metaphysics.
2) Dedicate more time to visualization
Visualization is a central part of witchcraft: it’s an important part of spell-casting and, in certain circumstances, it can have a meditative and calming effect.
For me, it can be incredibly tricky because I’m easily distracted. I want to work on different methods for meditation and visualization to strengthen my spell-casting abilities.
3) Integrate more herbs into my life
Herbs are a potent, beautiful way to harness nature’s energy for specific purposes. We can use them in spells, ceremonies and in everyday life to channel certain kinds of energy.
Growing your own herbs – for magic, cooking or medical purposes – is an amazing way to engage with nature while making your own ingredients.
4) Try more new spells
It’s easy to get into a rut and do the same few spells over and over again, especially if they were effective. In my first few months of practicing, I did the same two spells repetitively – partially because I was scared to try something new.
In order to grow as a new witch, it’s imperative that we try out new spells when we’re comfortable enough to do so. We might find more effective spells and tap into our latent energies.
5) Use a calendar or diary to note solstices, full moons, and more
The beauty of a new year is in having a fresh start. A cycle is complete and we start a new one, hopefully with a renewed sense of wonder and fresh energy.
What better way to embrace the cycles of the earth than by noting it through a calendar or diary?
Keeping a witch-centric diary could also help you record your journey as a witch, your favorite spells, and the results of your magic.
6) Make my own oils
I want to try my hand at making my own oils.
When it comes to spell-casting, homemade oils can be significantly more potent than store-bought ones. And of course, they make beautiful gifts for witches and non-witches alike!
7) Spend time giving back to the earth
Witchcraft and Wicca are both closely connected to nature. Nature is what empowers us, so nurturing our environment is an important part of witchcraft.
I want to focus more energy on giving back to the environment, whether it’s by tending to my vegetable garden, choosing my purchases in a more eco-conscious way, or taking care of the animals that inhabit the earth.
8) Start a witchblr
The ‘witchblr’ hashtag on Tumblr has been an amazing resource for me over the past year. Creating your own witchblr is a great way to document your journey, share knowledge, and connect with the witch community.
9) Add more to my altar
My altar is a really central part of my witchcraft. It’s where I perform spells, keep important crystals, and practice visualization.
I want to add more to my altar by collecting things that are symbolically important to me, such as special heirlooms, letters, statues, shells and crystals.
10) Learn about reading tarot cards
While I want to learn more about a number of different witchy topics, I’ve always been drawn to tarot readings – yet I know nothing about them. I’m going to dedicate time to learning the basics of tarot readings.
11) Connect more with my witch community
Even solitary witches benefit from connecting with a witch community. You might not want to formally join a coven or practice spells with others, but it’s great to reach out to other witches through social media and exchange ideas, advice and support.
12) Channel your witch power into creating social change
Social justice is incredibly important to me. It also seems to be important to the witch community at large. This is a fantastic thing, because I believe that witchcraft speaks to values of inclusion, empowerment and equality.
In 2017, I want to use my power and knowledge as a witch to better the world around me. I want to use spells that uplift those who are disadvantaged by society. Protection spells for the marginalized. Weal spells for initiatives and organizations that are doing incredible work. Healing spells for those battling with physical and mental illnesses.
When your power comes from a place of belief and compassion, it becomes stronger than ever.
13) Nurture ourselves
Witchcraft can be deeply empowering.
Part of the reason why is because the magic comes from us. As spell-casters, we are entities that evoke change in the world around us.
In this sense, our bodies really are temples: they’re sacred spaces where magic, spirituality and power meet. Because of this, it makes sense for us to treat ourselves with love and care. Devotion to our craft should include devotion to ourselves.
What are your New Year’s resolutions? Do any of them connect to your practice as a witch?
Sian Ferguson is a full-time freelance writer based in South Africa. Her work has been featured on various sites, including Ravishly, MassRoots, Matador Network and more. She’s particularly interested in writing about queer issues, misogyny, healing after sexual trauma and rape culture. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Read her articles here.