Updated: Jul 31, 2022
The last few years have seen a boom in witchcraft turning it into a mainstream practice. I love this and welcome all my new sisters and brothers, but it also means that there are a lot of potential dangers to be aware of. The world of magick has its fair share of charlatans and predators.
Here I will give you a brief rundown of some red flags to look out for in any spiritual teacher or leader or person selling you spells or information to help you stay safe and have a positive experience.
Red flags in practitioners claiming to be experts and offering guidance:
- They claim to be the only one who can help or has the knowledge you need or congratulates you on picking them.
- They tell you that if you don’t stick to their teachings you will never figure it out.
- They claim to have a one size fits all solution. They claim that they cracked the code in their own life and that it should apply to your life exactly the same way.
- Gate keeping. They make you feel like you aren't good enough, experienced enough, smart enough an so on to figure it out by yourself and discourage you from trying. (Please note, there is a reasonable amount of protecting secrets in the tradition of witchcraft and especially closed practices. There is a virtue of Be Silent. Nobody owes you an explanation, but if someone is asking you to trust them with your energy, money, karma or mind you are entitled to some answers to make you feel comfortable. If they are not willing to provide it, move along to someone else.)
- They try to offer paint-by-numbers spells without explanation. They are not customizing spells or ingredients to your specific needs. They are not asking you for input when choosing the right spell or format.
- They do all the work for you with no involvement from you and no explanation of the symbols used. Or if you are paying them for spell work, they send you a video of something that looks really impressive and dramatic but you have no idea what it is and they don't offer explanations.
- They belittle you or other practitioners or faiths or paths.
- They do not ask questions or try to broaden their understanding and they are not open to criticism or willing to shift their perspective when presented with new information. People who are truly secure and mature in their practice know that there is always more to learn.
- They try to pressure you into something you are not comfortable with or ready for. They have prescribed rituals or other things that make you feel uncomfortable and ESPECIALLY if they make you feel wrong for feeling uncomfortable or expressing your discomfort.
- They deny, criticize or dismiss your experience or they employ any other gaslighting tactics. Nobody should ever take away your ability to make informed decisions out of your own free will.
- They ask you to relinquish your free will, possessions or personal moral code.
- They are super vague about what you can actually expect for your money if doing spell work. They are not upfront about what will be expected of you later on if joining a coven or being initiated into a path.
- They make it easier to get in than to get out.
- They try to break you down psychologically at a pace you did not set or that you are not sure you are ready for.
- They ask you to give them huge percentages of your money or to give up all your possessions, time or anything else that traps you under their influence.
- Something just doesn't feel right.
I don't personally have any specific issue with people charging for spell work. I am extremely selective about doing spells for others and it's extremely rare that I will agree to it. However, when I do, I definitely charge for my time, materials and knowledge. This is a skilled craft that took me decades to learn and it is something that I think requires a bit of raw talent that not everyone is capable of. I wouldn't expect an engineer to design a bridge for free and I wouldn't expect a magician to perform a spell for free either.
That being said, the best approach is to try it for yourself. Start simple. Burn some intentions, it can be extremely powerful if you believe it will work. The simplest and easiest spells are the most effective when starting out. As you learn more you will progress in your craft and you will change how you cast spells. Just like exercise, you have to start slow and you have to start somewhere but those basic exercises other athletes might find easy have the greatest impact on changing your muscles to the point where they can progress to more difficult and complex exercises. Hiring a magickal worker should be like hiring a personal trainer. They can't do the work for you and if you aren't involved and learning you won't be able to keep up the progress.
Consult multiple sources and learn from many teachers before settling on one. Even if your are learning about a specific path or closed practice try to speak to multiple people who have been practicing it or are initiated. It’s also a good idea to seek out anyone who may have been ex-communicated and to hear and consider their story before committing.
Define your mundane morals before exploring magick. Your magickal morals will be very similar to your mundane ones and this can act as an anchor to who you want to be.
Knowledge is the best weapon you have. Arm yourself to the teeth.