How To Stop Doing Magic By The Book & Start Feeling Your Craft

I have a confession to make:  Sometimes I feel like a witchcraft imposter.

On my blog, I come across as grounded, well read, well researched, and full of conviction about my beliefs. And believe me, I am all of those things, but that wasn’t always the case.

Not too many years ago, I gave up witchcraft entirely.

You read that right. I spent 3-4 years completely rejecting witchcraft.

A little background: I grew up with magic in my life. A lot of it. My mother did magic and energy healing, dreams and psychic premonitions were heeded, we had ghosts in the house all the time, and food and cooking were ritualized to a point of being near religious in its mysticism.

We were also Catholic. Very, very Catholic.

As you can imagine, Catholic Mysticism is a strange environment to grow up in. It’s not the status quo as far as Catholicism is concerned and it had a tendency to cause us to isolate from our religious community while banding together within the family very tightly.

This isolation from the outside world and non-stop family time was no problem when I was young. There were ghosts to play with, magic to learn, and my siblings to go on adventures with. As I grew up though, I was not so content to stay in this isolated little bubble. In fact, as a teenager, I was vehemently, loudly, and emphatically against it (cue stereotypical rebellion). I wanted nothing to do with this lifestyle so, at 17, I left the church and with it, I left my magic practice.

It wasn’t long before I felt the hole this decision left in my life. While I wasn’t vibing with my family’s religion I couldn’t shake the lifetime of experience that told me, without a shadow of a doubt, that magic, spirits, and psychic gifts were very real.

Long story short, I spent several years chewing through books on any and every form of spirituality that struck my fancy. Buddhism, Hinduism, other forms of Christianity, Judaism, Shinto, Taoism, I even looked at some of the weird fringe groups like Scientology (definitely NOT for me). I didn’t practice magic, I didn’t consider myself a witch, and I didn’t have any clue what I was looking for.

Eventually, I stumbled onto Paganism and suddenly felt a creeping sense of familiarity. On the surface, these religions had very few similarities with Catholicism but I immediately recognized magic. And as soon as I recognized it I realized I missed it.

As is my habit whenever I find a new interest, I threw myself wholeheartedly into research and learning. I devoured over a hundred books, found a circle to attend and began to find my witchy blogging community. My life was all magic all the time.

Two years into this learning binge I realized I’d hit a wall. Witchcraft had filled a huge hole in my life, it gave me a spiritual outlet, it was empowering and it aligned with my experiences and personal truths, but something felt off.

In hindsight, I know exactly what it was that felt so off. I was missing the fluidity and intuitive nature of the magic I had known as a child. That magic had been spontaneous, always at my fingertips, and required very little effort to call up. In this new framework though, my magic felt clunky and unnatural. I’d spent so much time learning through books and emulating what I’d read verbatim that I was doing magic but I wasn’t feeling magic. The magic I was practicing wasn’t mine, my entire practice was parroted from someone else and it was starting to taste stale.

I wanted to connect, I wanted to feel my magic and most importantly, I wanted it to be genuinely MINE.

I immediately refocused my study. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do to fix this problem but I knew that what I’d been doing just wasn’t cutting it anymore.

I tried a lot of things, I focused on magical theory, I started writing my own spells and most importantly, I started trying to build a real connection with the forces I was using in my craft. During this process, I found my way into elemental magic and something clicked.

Elemental magic gave me a framework for understanding magic in greater depth and gave me specific, identifiable aspects to focus on and connect with a broad range of magical forces. It was like a magic hack. Almost any common energy or spell could be categorized into an element allowing immediate deeper exploration and understanding.

It didn’t happen immediately but as I worked to connect more deeply with each element something amazing happened. My magic started to flow again. Instead of having to do everything “by the book” my magic was springing to life fully formed of its own accord. My intuition sharpened, my spells became quicker and more potent and I finally reached a level of proficiency that allowed me to tackle spirit work without any worry.

Even after I broke through my magical learning plateau, my connection to the elements continued to serve me. As I grew in my craft it allowed me to notice trends in my magic and life that helped me to adjust to support myself better. If I was doing nothing but water magic I would pay closer attention to my emotions, journaling more, talking to friends and being gentle with myself. If air based magic was dominating I would focus on my creative and intellectual work. Eventually, as I noticed trends over a long period of time, it allowed me to form a specialization and deepen my practice further through intentionally concentrating my work in a specific area.

Developing this connection was nothing short of game-changing.

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How To Stop Doing Magic By The Book And Start Feeling Your Craft // Witchcraft // Magic // The Traveling Witch

Updated on June 18, 2024 by Avery Hart


  1. Your story sounds so much like mine. I always felt there was something missing. I love the elemental magic. Thank you for sharing.

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