How To Start Practicing Jewish Witchcraft: A Beginner Guide
This title is misleading. There is no one singular guide to practicing what we call Jewish witchcraft. But that answer is so much less satisfying than reading a succinct, thousand-word blog that gives you an easy-to-do list...Like all things in Judaism, it's complicated.
I also want to preface this by reminding you all that this is my opinion, and as it is an opinion, you are more than welcome to disagree or have your own perspective here.
First, we arrive at the realization that witchcraft has no one definition and means different things to different people. Start by reading my post, "What is Witchcraft and Who are Witches?". This discusses how witch is a chosen label that some people may adopt in reaction to their practices, even though some people who do the exact same things may rebuke the label.
For a great deal of Jewish history, what we can call magic was simply unnamed. If it was given a title, it was called mysticism or tradition. There are still many who hate the titles of witch, witchcraft, or magic. And I don't blame them. It is steeped in history that we should all learn and know.
Practicing does not require you to choose the label of witch, use the terms magic or witchcraft. Many of us do not, but rather call ourselves sages, mystics, practitioners, or just Jewish. There is no requirement here. Some of us will use the labels online as a means of communication, but that is the extent of its usage. It is up to you.
For Jewish practitioners, our practice generally stems from historical rituals and practices, so it is about finding the blend of history, ritual, ceremony, and belief that works for you.
So, how does one begin?
By taking stock.
What do you seek to gain from this? What would make it different from "just Judaism"? What part of it calls to you? Do you like it only because of the name? Would you be here if it weren't for the title of witch/witchcraft? What do you think it can do for you?
What is the creative force of the universe? What fuels life? What is your belief in entities, spirits, angels, demons, etc? Do you feel that you want these things in your practice? Do you feel as if they are meant to be part of your practice? What is the Divine?
No person practices in the same way. No-one believes exactly the same things. There are no hard and fast rules that every person follows and so this journey is about creating your own practice in the safest, most productive way possible.
These are not simple questions for everyone, but I believe that they are of the utmost importance. Whether you believe in the creative force of the universe (usually called G-d), something else or nothing at all will color how you practice. Remember: opinions and beliefs can change over time.
What is your ancestry? What is your heritage? Where do you come from? What practices are found within your lineage? What ancestors could you call upon to give you strength? What figures appear in the mythology of your family and your history? What superstitious beliefs do you hold?
What trauma do you hold? What emotional injuries do you have that you have not yet begun to heal? What can you work on to move forward in your life? What belief systems do you hold?
Remember: it is not a race There is no rush, no force to move forward. Sit with these questions. Meditate, if you will, with them. If you've never meditated before, this can be a good time to learn. While clearing your mind can be difficult for beginners, focusing on these questions can lead you to answers which make your path into the practice more clear.
Give yourself time and sit with it. You don't have to sit cross-legged with your hands on your knees, I prefer to do my deepest introspection while laying down on my back, usually right before bed.
Let them ruminate and allow the discomfort of experiencing the questions. There are no wrong answers, per-say, but remember your answers. When you feel you have found your answers and feel that Jewish witchcraft resonates, you can move on to what I believe is the next step.
Once you've taken stock, I believe the next step is to learn. Judaism is an endless fountain of knowledge. You can find my book recommendations in my library here, but don't just read books about Jewish witchcraft, as fascinating as they are.
Study Jewish texts (yes, Torah and Talmud), read the texts of great Jewish thinkers, absorb knowledge from a myriad of Jewish sources and always, always question.
Research and learning is a life-long process. You will never be done learning, so forget that as the goal. The goal should be to constantly grow.
Like I said, there are no guide-books. Chances are, there will never be one. You will be responsible for choosing what rituals you incorporate into your practice, what prayers you say, what traditions you follow. All of these things will come down to your research. Whether you are someone who has studied Torah and Talmud extensively or are just beginning your journey to reconnection, this will look different for each and every one of you.
Most Jewish practitioners start with traditional Jewish rituals, prayers, and workings. Then use their knowledge of mysticism to expand their own craft and figure out what works for them.
Research, read, and absorb knowledge. From that knowledge, you mold your craft.
I wish you all the best of luck,
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a reflection of my opinions, not fact. Take it as such.