If you’re interested in witchcraft, as a beginner, you might be overwhelmed by all the information available online. There are thousands of blogs, websites, forums and guides on the topic — and under a variety of paths. Becoming a witch is like being reborn into a huge, confusing world of information and philosophy — but it’s an enjoyable experience to the person who is truly determined to sticking to their own spiritual path. While you’re loading up on study materials and bookmarking blogs, you might want to have a look at this list of witchcraft tips for beginners.

Dive right in

Don’t even bother testing the waters. Just dive into as much research as you can handle. Witchcraft has been a practice for hundreds of years, so you have a lot of reading to do if you want to be in-the-know. Read books about divination, about different witchcraft-based religions and about the origins of magical thought. Watch documentaries on Youtube about witchcraft, astrology, meditation and manifestation. Treat your brain like a thirsty sponge, and absorb as much content as you can. There really is no such thing as too much information when it comes to this topic.

Apply what’s useful, abandon what’s not

If you have no use for sex magic, don’t bother with it. If you have no use for ancestral magic, don’t waste your time on it. Walking your own witchcraft path involves practicing your own craft. If you have no need for certain types of magic, focus your time on learning about the types that you do intend on using. Of course, you should always learn the basics, as pointed out in the first section.

Don’t get caught up with labels

Nobody is a hedge witch. Nobody is a sea witch. Nobody is a storm witch. These are all silly made-up labels. They may make the wearers feel unique, but at the end of the day we’re not living in a fantasy movie directed by Guillermo Del Toro. Instead of spending time worrying about “what kind of witch” you are, just work on your craft and just be a witch. Labels complicate things, and our ancestors surely didn’t spend their time worrying about them. Furthermore, let’s say you decide to call yourself a storm witch — does that mean you can’t cast spells that aren’t weather-related? Does it mean you can’t work with other elements or concepts? Labels are as restrictive, so just abandon them and follow your heart.

Meditate, mediate, meditate

With all the researching and learning involved with being a witch, it’s easy to lose sight of other important things we must do. Meditation is one of those things that tend to sit on the back burner, and it also happens to be just as important as researching! You should ideally meditate daily, but once a week is also acceptable. Meditation keeps you grounded and keeps your mind clear. It helps you practice visualization, which is necessary in casting spells and manifesting. It also keeps your emotions and mentality in check, which is an added bonus since life can be stressful sometimes. A lot of people forget how important meditation is, so if you can make yourself remember to do it every week, consistently, you’ll be doing a great job.

Be yourself, no matter what

Witchcraft comes with personal philosophies, which will vary from person to person. Unfortunately, some individuals and groups may try to guide you away from your own core ideas. Religious groups, so-called “covens’ and general know-it-all types can be found in huge numbers in pagan and witchcraft communities, and with the existence of these types the concept of “group think” takes center stage. It’s very easy to fall into the habit of abandoning your own ideas for the acceptance of people who only appear to be “like you.” Don’t sacrifice your own morals, ideas and philosophies for some superficial social interaction. Your true tribe will respect who you are and not expect you to compromise. This is important advice that I personally wish I would have gotten when I was a young, beginner witch.

Keep an open mind, but stay realistic

When you open yourself to practicing witchcraft, you definitely become more sensitive to other witches who may be around you. Similarly, you become more attuned with your surroundings in general. You may feel like you’re experiencing new things as a witch, or you may feel like you’re running into little signs and omens during your daily life. While it’s key to keep an open mind and allow yourself to experience these feelings and events, it’s incredibly important to stay realistic and logical. Not every feather or bird you see outside is going to be an omen of luck or misfortune, and not every person you encounter wearing a crystal necklace is a witch like you. Unfortunately, a lot of beginner witches fall into the habit of “finding signs” in everything and everyone — much like religious fanatics of others groups tend to do. Keep a rational mind while enjoying your apparently heightened senses.

Cast spells!

Don’t just spend every single moment of your life reading about spells. Cast some! The only way you can really fine-tune your practice as a witch is to cast spells and practice witchcraft. If you’re a total newbie, start out small (obviously) and apply yourself to what you’re researching.