The Spiral Dance connects everything around us. Life and Death, as a continuous stream on earth and in the sky: The Moon monthly dies and is reborn; the Sun whose light brings summer’s warmth and whose waning brings the chill of the winter.
These words come from The Spiral Dance, a poetic, yet very practical book for Witches published in 1979.
I’m sharing this book as my entry on the 📖 Weekly Witchy CHALLENGE- Books, Tomes, and Tales.
Let’s explore the basic training of the Beginner Witch according to Starhawk, its author. The Beginner Witch must develop four basic abilities:
The purpose of these basic training for witches is to open up the consciousness that belongs to the right hemisphere of the brain responsible for our orientation in space, artistic endeavors, crafts, body image, and everything creative.
Witch Plan for Beginners: 5 Exercises
Relaxation is important because any form of tension blocks energy. Remember that Witchcraft is about empowerment, and when Power tries to move through a tense body, it’s like an electric current trying to force its way through a line of resistors. Most of the juice is lost along the way.
"In order to know how relaxation feels, we must first experience tension”.
We are going to tense all the muscles of the body, one by one, and keep them tense until we relax our entire bodies with one breath. Don’t clench the muscles so they cramp, just tense them lightly.
Start with your toes. Tense the toes in your right foot… and your left foot. Tense your right foot… and your left foot. Your right ankle… and your left ankle…
Continue throughout the whole body, part by part.
Now tense your scalp. Your whole body is tense. Feel the tension in every part. Now take a deep breath, pause, exhale! And relax…
You are completely and totally relaxed. Your body is light; it feels like water, like it is melting into the earth.
But before moving on, we should ground and center ourselves. This is again one of the basic techniques of magical work. Grounding means to establish an energy connection with the earth.
An easy way to do it is to imagine that you are a tree:
Bring awareness to your feet and notice them in contact with the ground. Now imagine strong roots extending from the bottoms of your feet and reaching deep into the earth. Your roots grow and spread anchoring you solidly to the ground.
Breathe in and with each exhale, push any excess energy downward toward your feet and out through your roots into the earth. Breathe from your belly and feel energy flowing up from the earth.
Now you’re ready for any kind of work, such as candle gazing for concentration.
Concentration is the ability to focus on an image, thought, or task.
Many people today practice forms of Eastern meditation or yoga, which are excellent for developing concentration. The following exercise with a candle will help improve your inner focus.
- In a quiet, darkened room, light a candle.
- Gaze quietly at the flame. Breathe deeply, and let yourself feel warmed by the light of the candle. Let its peaceful radiance fill you completely.
- Do not let the flame split into a double image: keep your eyes focused. As thoughts surface in your mind, experience them as if they came from outside.
- Remain for at least five to ten minutes, then relax.
Just like a muscle, your focus will grow stronger with exercise.
Visualization is the ability to see, hear, feel, touch, and taste with the inner senses. Our physical eyes do not see; they transmit impulses to the brain. It is the brain that sees, and it can see inner images as clearly as those in the outside world. In dreams, all five senses are vivid.
With practice, most people can develop the ability to use the inner senses vividly while awake. Some people naturally see images; others may hear or feel impressions. A few people find it difficult or impossible to visualize, but most find the facility will improve with exercise.
Use this exercise to get started: Easy Visualization Exercise
Projection is the ability to send out energy. It comes quite naturally to most people, once they are aware of its “feel.” Here’s an exercise:
- Light a candle in a dim, quiet room.
- Ground and center.
- Gaze at the candle, and visualize a diamond in the center of your forehead, between and just above your eyebrows. The diamond reflects the light of the candle, and the candle reflects the light of the diamond.
- Feel the reverberation, this bounce of energy.
- Hold for at least five to ten minutes, then relax.
Daily Witch Exercises for Beginners
This book is amazing and it has dozens of useful exercises for beginner seekers:
As a basic, daily discipline, Starhawk recommends three things:
1. Regular Exercise
The first is regular physical exercise. Too much mental and spiritual work that is not balanced by physical exercise can drain you.
Yoga is sometimes good, but it is usually taught more as a spiritual thing than a physical thing. So, for our purposes, jogging, swimming, bicycling, tennis, or roller-skating are better. Something active and enjoyable that gets us out into the elements.
2. Daily Relaxation, Meditation, or Energy Work
“The second thing I recommend for students is daily relaxation practice and a daily meditation, visualization, or concentration exercise.“
You can use the exercises working above, or find guides for Energy Work Techniques.
Also browse the Witches Homework pages to find tea blessings, circle casting exercises, calling the quarters, and lots of other short spells and rituals.
The third practice that Starhawk suggests is the keeping of a magical diary. She calls it a Book of Shadows. But in my opinion a BoS is more of a recipe collection, which does not necessarily have to be written by you. Your BoS can include recipes that you found in books, received from friends, inherited, or found online.
A personal magical journal is your Book of Mirrors, which is not meant to be shared. Learn more about keeping a development journal in the online course that I am currently working on: Book of Mirrors
─────────────────── ✦ • • ───────────────────
I hope you use these exercises as part of your daily Witch routine. These are the same foundations I use in my personal practice and as a starting point when writing my own spells.