Discovering an interest in witchcraft can be an exciting and enlightening journey that opens your mind to an illuminating world of possibilities. With that opened mind, however, comes a lot of unnecessary fluff — as well as the opportunity to make lots of mistakes. It’s easy to get sucked into believing all kinds of ridiculous things in the witchcraft community when you’re new, and it’s also easy to get trapped in various scams. When you’re a new witch, there are a lot of things you should know. The following list will attempt to address some of them.

Unless you’re an actual baby, you’re not a baby witch

It’s cute and trendy for witchcraft beginners to refer to themselves as “baby witches,” but it’s not that cute and it denotes a sort of lack of seriousness about the whole thing. It makes you seem like you’re roleplaying, which is a problem in the witchcraft community on its own. The allure of witchcraft attracts a lot of people who aren’t entirely serious about the craft, but they love the aesthetic and the superficial ideas they pick up on social media (rarely books). It also attracts people who have watched a few too many medieval fantasy themed movies and seem to live in their own fantasy worlds. If you’re a fully grown adult, you shouldn’t be calling yourself a baby anything, and should instead refer to yourself as the witch that you want to be.

You don’t have to believe in gods, goddesses or “the fae”

If you want to be a religious witch, that’s your prerogative — but you don’t have to be. You don’t have to believe in gods, goddesses, goblins, ghouls, unicorns, ghosts or anything else of legend. You especially don’t have to believe in “the fae.” You can believe in or lack belief in anything you want, regardless of what’s popular at the time. Your personal beliefs are an important part of your spiritual practice, and if something seems a little too ridiculous for you to believe in, then don’t believe in it. The same thing goes for religious dogma. If you don’t vibe well with Wicca, then don’t be a Wiccan. You’re entirely free to be a witch and practice witchcraft without putting a name to your beliefs, and you especially don’t have to commit to any religious programming along the way.

The Threefold Rule is bullsh*t and most people don’t know what Karma really is

When you’re new to witchcraft you’re going to encounter the term “threefold rule” or “threefold law” almost immediately — and you’re never going to stop encountering it. Religious witches love to use it as a threat of punishment for any type of spellwork that they deem immoral or “wrong.” Many new age witches also use the word Karma in the same manner — claiming that anything you do will come back to you. The simple fact of the matter is that the majority of people who preach about Karma and the “threefold rule” don’t even know what either of these concepts mean, and they’re using them wrong.

The threefold rule is a concept created by Gerald Gardner when he penned the fictional fantasy novel High Magic’s Aid. While most Wiccans seem to cite the “rule of three” as an important part of their spiritual practice, most of them still get it wrong when preaching it to other witches. Most religious witches would have you believe that the rule of three means that any spell you cast will come back to you threefold — meaning that anything bad you do will come back three times as bad. On the contrary, Gerald Gardner wrote that the rule of three applies to how a witch reacts to how he or she is treated. In other words, anything you do to a witch will come back to you threefold. As you can see, this is not the same as meaning you will be punished for casting a love spell or curse.

The same ignorance is shown through the use of Karma as a tool to sway witches from casting spells that are in moral grey areas (or not so. grey). Karma is often used interchangeably with the rule of three, and is similarly misrepresented. This article explains how Karma is not a moral justice system, as it is frequently misrepresented in the spiritual community.

Buy the things or make your own; It really doesn’t matter

Some witches will tell you that your natural environment provides you with every tool and ingredient you need for casting spells — and others will tell you that you need to purchase the most exotic, hard to find herbs to cast effectively. It’s important to know, as a new witch, that everyone is full of opinions — and none of them are one-size-fits-all. If you want to take from your natural environment to cast spells, that is your choice. If you want to buy some nice items off Etsy or Amazon, then by all means go for it. Being a witch is about finding your own personal power and making use of it — not listening to the opinions of others.

Tarot cards don’t have to be gifted to you

This is a worn out, boring myth that makes the rounds frequently. Don’t believe anyone that tells you it’s bad luck to purchase tarot cards. This is nonsensical woo talk that creates superstition where it’s not necessary. If someone gifts you a deck of cards, then that’s a gift worth cherishing — but you’re totally allowed to buy your own deck, and you’re not going to fall victim to bad luck for doing so.

Eye color, moles and other physical features don’t make you a witch or give you magical powers

Don’t fall for ridiculous myths that tell you that you’re a natural born witch because you have a certain eye color. Things like eye color, freckles, moles or other physical features are determined randomly through genetics — not by some spiritual luck of the draw. People online share these silly memes and bits of so-called “wisdom” all the time, and they’re just stupid. No, you’re not a powerful witch because you have grey eyes, and that mole on your chin doesn’t mean you’re blessed with the gift of spirit communication. But women were killed unjustly in history through false witchcraft accusations based off features like moles and freckles, and most of us know that was ridiculous.

Don’t limit yourself with unnecessary labels

Are you a green witch or a kitchen witch? Are you a storm witch or a bla bla witch? Who cares? A witch is a witch, and witches can be whatever we want to be. Practicing witchcraft shouldn’t be a limiting experience, but that is exactly what labels are. This topic circles back to the “baby witch” situation, in that it kind of makes you look like you’re cosplaying as a witch more than actually being one when you use silly monikers and labels to describe yourself. After you practice witchcraft seriously for a handful of years, you’ll experience working with all of the elements in a multitude of ways — and so you’ll eventually find it rather silly when someone limits their self to one dimensional labels. It comes across as childish, much like calling oneself a “baby witch.”

Nobody is a natural born witch

Nobody is born a witch, and nobody has powers passed down through generations of natural witches. This is a common trope used by people in the spiritual community to brag and get attention, and the vast majority of the time is a flat-out lie. There are, of course, living descendants of people who were falsely accused of witchcraft in history — but being a descendant of a “Salem Witch” doesn’t make you a witch. There are also very, very few people who come from parents or grandparents who are also practicing witches. However, having a parent who practices witchcraft doesn’t make someone a witch any more than having a parent in the military makes them a soldier. A person might have natural affinities or gifts, but practicing witchcraft is what makes someone a witch — and even with natural gifts, you need to practice a craft to excel at it. Nobody is born an expert at their craft or trade, even if there are fast learners and those who take to it “naturally.”

You don’t have to be a “good” person to be a witch

That’s it. You don’t have to be a “good” person to be a witch and practice witchcraft. In fact, you can be quite the opposite and practice witchcraft frighteningly well.