Where to Start

A lot of people want to know how to get started with magic, polytheism, and paganism. My suggestion is very simple: start with divination, scrying, or augury. From tarot to water bowls to patterns in the clouds, there are countless methods to connect with your own inner guidance. You can, of course, ignore me. You may already know what calls to you, but here are a few reasons why I think divination makes a great starting point.

You are about to begin a conversation with yourself and with the spiritual universe. No one can really answer most of the questions you have right now except for you. What calls to you and why is a question about your feelings. No one can tell you how you feel except you. A lot of factors about what paths to consider also come into the very personal territory of race, ethnicity, family history, and current context. Those are nuanced topics, and most people don’t want to talk to a bunch of internet randos regarding this. Divination, on the other hand, helps you figure out how you feel, and lets whatever forces that may be interested in you start to make themselves known. Nothing except practice will help you build confidence in your intuition. Only practice will help you separate wishful things and anxiety from real messages. So, practice!

Practice is messy. You will have fits and starts, because life does not stop just because you started looking for magic and spirituality. Also, habits are hard to build. Time and space are hard to come by. Where I have had success is in adding magic or worship to things I already do rather than trying to make new space. My altar is the place in my room that is most personal: my writing desk. I listen to podcasts while working because I do not always have time to read books. I replaced my social media feeds with an rss app (Feedly) that gives me updates from blogs that I like. I use a spiritual cleansing soap in the shower. It is very likely that you already have something you do on a regular basis that is magic, you just have to learn to see it for what it is.

Finding and trying divination methods encourages research. This will help you find out what sources are available and which ones you trust. It will help you start thinking about history and theory. You can also reach out to local practitioners and shops while looking for supplies. It will also help you decide if this is even work you want to do, because skillbuilding is work, and all branches of magic and paganism require skillbuilding.

Finding local practitioners depends a lot on where you are and how much access you have to transportation. Some places have good shops; some don’t. Some places have groups doing open ritual; Some don’t. Witchvox and Facebook are easy go-to’s. You may also want to check your local paper for event. Unitarian Universalist Churches and Friends’ Meeting Houses tend to draw pagans due to their accessibility for ritual. Non-chain bookstores that sell metaphysical books or tarot decks may also have information on local groups and events. Don’t be afraid to keep asking.

Divining helps build a workspace. Whether you carry your tools with you or leave them in one spot, you will begin to work, and that means learning when and how you work best. The time and place you work best will also help clue you in to what forces you should look toward. I write best in the early morning because I am a solar energy kind of witch. I work best at my writing desk because I am an art witch. Funny enough, Horus slid right into my practice like a falcon landing on a tree branch. Rosemary, one of my top three plant allies, is a solar plant. Before you reach out to the universe, reach in to yourself. Learn yourself.

You will learn all the basics, or at the very least you will have a magical operation that allows you to test all the basic skills as you learn them: setting a container, grounding, focus, non-chemical methods of altered states, etc. Two other skills divination helps you pick up are journaling and giving yourself permission to mess up. You are learning a whole bundle of skills. You will not get them right all the time.

So, there you have it. I think the best place for a new person to start is divination. If you really don’t know what form of divination to start with, tarot is everywhere and works just as good as anything else. You’ll have no shortage of people to talk to, and tarot isn’t picky about what faith or lack thereof you have. Christians, atheists, pagans, and all manner of folks make use of the cards. Good luck.

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