Ask A Witch

These questions were sent into our friends at the Pagan Chronicle for their Oestara Edition and answered by employees here at Crone’s Hollow.

What are the top things you do as a practitioner that enhance your life?

I love this question. After all, isn’t witchcraft all about enhancing our lives?

The first thing I do is to create a sacred space where magical work can be done. It can be an altar room, the top of your dresser or even a portable altar. NOTE: Altar is spelled with 2 A’s. It is “altar”, meaning a flat surface used as the focus for a ritual. It is not “alter”, which means “to change” (probably appropriate, but not correct).

The second part is to consistently use this space as part of daily, or routine, practice. This will keep you in touch with different aspects of your spirituality including your relationships with deity and your own spirit/lifeforce. Use it for crafting potions, meditation, divination work, a place to work with your deities and magical partners and as a place to keep your sacred tools handy for use.

Third, find the parts of your Craft that sing to you. Not every Witch is meant to be an herbalist or an incense maker. Maybe your witchy talent is divination or spell candles. Spend time on those things that are meaningful, and which take you to deeper levels of magic and personal understanding. There are no rules. Don’t subscribe to dogma and don’t let anyone tell you what form your magic should take.

Finally – challenge yourself. Make changes. Find new parts of the Craft path that you have not explored and see if they work with what you’re doing. It does, incorporate it into your work and make yourself unique and multi-faceted. When in doubt, talk to other Witches…but remember those conversations are only touchstones, not directives!

Familiars:  Are all cats familiars?

A great question! And one that is often misunderstood. No, not all cats (or dogs or toads, etc.) are familiars. In many cases the belief that a beloved pet is a familiar is incorrect.

The word familiar means “close companion” and is used to describe a spirit, imp, entity or demon (daemon) that inhabits an animal’s body. This entity is generally called to service by the witch and doesn’t come “pre-installed” in the animal. A familiar serves or guards the person who cares for it. Like many forms of magic, the familiar is fed by the witch, usually in the form of love or energy. In the 16th century, it was believed that the familiar was given to the witch by the Devil himself. The familiar fed upon the witch by sucking blood or some other form of life force from her fingertips or a hidden nipple.

Familiars can be astral or physical companions and can be used to guard your family and home. They should be released when their work is done, or when the animal has died.

For more information on how to use magick, seals and sigils to direct and release your familiar, read Raven Grimassi’s book “The Witch’s Familiar: Spiritual Partnership for Successful Magic” available on or at your favorite local bookstore.

What is the meaning of the pentacle?

First, a definition:

Pentagram – five-pointed star

Pentacle – five-pointed star enclosed in a circle, denoting sacred space

The image of the pentacle is thousands of years old, appearing in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BCE. In medieval times Christians used the image on shields and other armor as a symbol of protection, kindness, loyalty and virtue (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight). Only recently has the pentacle, or pentagram, been associated with evil.

Mathematically, the pentacle is representative of the golden ratio/Fibonacci sequence making it an aesthetically pleasing design.

The pentacle has been used by many cultures and spiritualists throughout history. In the 16th century it was used by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim to symbolize Man as the perfected work of God. This was expounded upon by Eliphas Levi (tetragrammaton pentagram), and also used by the Freemasons, Muslims (Solomon’s Seal), Christians (the Five Wounds of Christ), and Satanists (the Head of Baphomet, the goat headed god.) It was the latter association which became synonymous with the occult and deemed evil by those who didn’t understand the history.

Modern Pagans, generally those who practice Wicca and Witchcraft, use the pentagram to symbolize the five elements of air, fire, water, earth, and spirit.

Today, the pentacle is recognized as a religious symbol in the U.S. military and can be added to grave markers on military graves. As personal jewelry, it can be worn with a single point up, denoting Spirit, or with two points up to show a second-degree initiation.

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