Ask A Witch: Q&A with Angelica Starling of River Styx Tarot

How would you define witchcraft?


My personal definition is that witchcraft is the practice of shaping and mold reality based upon what outcomes you want. It’s the belief that anything can happen, and you can make anything happen using your mind, tools, and the energies that are around you and that support you. 


How did you get into witchcraft? Did you grow up with it or find it through others?


I grew up around women in my family who were always doing witchcraft, though they didn’t use that name for it. If I had a headache as a child, my grandmother would take a bowl of water and olive oil, anoint my head with it and then throw the mixture out the window “to throw the headache out the window”. When I began learning more about witchcraft and paganism in my teenage years, I realized that spells were simply the practices the women of my family were doing for generations, and I already knew that it worked. Witchcraft is both an ancestral practice and a personal practice. 


Can anyone become a witch?


Yes and no. Witchcraft like anything else is a skill, but if you are a skeptic or you do not respect it, you’ll have a heard time learning or getting your spells to work. The forces that power spells have no tolerance for fake practitioners. If you are drawn to it, want to learn more, and want to see what witchcraft has to teach you, then you’re a great candidate for learning. I do believe that some people are genetically predisposed to witchcraft, so if you have a family history of witchcraft then even better! 


Are all witches Wiccan?


No. Wicca is a religion that was created in the 1950’s by a man named Gerald Gardner. He pulled from Old World Pagan traditions and other New Age spirituality movements to create Wicca, which is a Pagan religion that has a strict code of ethics and is a largely coven-based system. Wiccans do practice witchcraft, as part of their liturgies and rituals, but not all witches are Wiccan. In fact, I would say that MOST witches are not Wiccan. You can be a Satanic Witch, a Pagan Witch, an Atheist witch, a Christian Witch, an Orthodox Witch, a Hoodoo and Rootwork Practitioner, and so many more different types of non-Wiccan witches. The list just goes on. I do not identify as Wiccan personally. 


Are all witches psychics?


No. If witchcraft is a skill that people can learn if their open to it, psychic ability is something that you must have some ability for before you begin developing it. This can manifest in prophetic or strong dreams, predictions, communicating with spirits or just “knowing” when spirits are around, and getting psychic “downloads” which is information that enters your mind though you know you’re not the one who thought of it. A lot of this manifests in childhood, and then is conditioned out of the person. 


Psychic ability is becoming more common these days, so don’t think of being psychic as this super elite skill. There are so many psychic people who don’t realize it and don’t develop it, so if you have an inkling that you may have a natural talent for it, I urge you to start researching how to develop that ability. 


Some witches are psychic, but not all. And you do not need to be a witch in order to have psychic ability. The reason that psychics and witches have a correlation is because often witchcraft can help enhance psychic ability, or people who start developing their skills will start learning about witchcraft or divination as a way to harness that energy. 


Do witches worship gods/goddesses?


Some but not all witches. Witches again have no set religion, but the religion that corresponds to the worship of Gods and Goddesses is Paganism. Wiccans, Hindus, Heathens, and so many more religions are under the Pagan umbrella. I identify as pagan and do worship personified deity. I personally don’t ascribe to a specific religion within paganism, mostly because I’ve worked with Gods from different parts of the world and different pantheons, so I identify usually as just “Pagan”. So witches that also identify as Pagan, no matter the specific pagan religion, would be the types of witches that worship Gods and Goddesses. And yes, these are the Gods that you read about in your mythology books. To the Western world today, these are just myths, but to Pagans these are religious stories.


Are there “rules” to witchcraft?


Yes and no. There are certain rules in the sense that Witchcraft is a system and you need to understand how that system works and doesn’t work. From there are really no rules to witchcraft. However, if you’re a part of a religious tradition that uses witchcraft, there are usually rules to how you can use it, when it will work, how the outcomes will play out, and so on. For example Wiccans have a rule that you can only practice “White magick” or “Right-hand Witchcraft” and this is because they believe in another rule called the Rule of three, which is a Karmic rule that states that whatever you send out into the world you’ll get back threefold. Thus, it wouldn’t be in your best interest to hex people if you knew you’d get three times the number of hexes in return. Other traditions will have other rules. We must remember that witchcraft is a powerful thing and its never a bad idea to have boundaries surrounding what you will and will not practice. It’s a good idea to set boundaries for yourself while you’re learning especially and for things like love magick for example. Its never a good idea for an inexperienced witch to practice love magick. It always ends badly. 


What is the best type of tarot deck for beginners?


I always recommend the Rider Waite Smith deck for beginners or people of any level. It’s the deck that most other tarot decks are based off in both imagery and meaning and it was crucial to me in my journey of learning the tarot. 


What is the best way to store tarot cards?


You can store them however feels right! I keep all my decks in a drawer and usually try to keep them safe in boxes or little fabric bags that I can slide them into. You can keep them with a self-cleansing crystal, like selenite or citrine if you want them to keep a clean energetic vibration when you aren’t using them. 


How to you choose cards when doing tarot readings?


Whatever card comes up in the reading is the card that needed to come up. I use this philosophy always when I read for myself and others, so I often switch up the ways I draw cards because I know that whatever comes out, however it comes out, its there for a reason. Usually, when I read for myself, I’ll shuffle my deck until I get a “jumper”, which is a card that literally flies out of the deck. For clients I usually shuffle the deck, maybe get a few jumpers, and then cut the deck and read the cards on top of the pile I choose. Other times I fan then out and pick from them. My only “rule” when reading for others is that I do not let them touch the cards. This is because them touching the cards will affect the way the cards read in the sense that the cards will put out messages that they think the client will understand, but me as a reader will feel stumped. I figured this out after a while of letting my clients touch the cards, and I realized the cards were trying to appeal to my clients and not me. I’d be doing a reading and my client would point to the cards and understand the messages, like “Oh this is my boyfriend, and that’s my mom, and this is the cross-country move I’m going on.” Meanwhile, I’d be staring at them trying to understand what was going on. So, I always choose the cards for the clients and so on. 


How do you pick out what crystals you want?


Whatever you feel drawn to! If you like the shape, the size, the color, the texture, or even the name, regardless of its properties, its meant for you in some way. 


How do you use crystals?


You can use crystals in many ways. Crystals have a natural high-vibration, so if you keep them around, you can tap into their vibrational energy and feel more uplifted, etc. I keep them on my altar, I use them in spells, spell jars, and mojos, and I even use them internally for feminine healing and sex magick (that’s a whole different Q + A).


Are there any crystals you personally keep on you, and why?


I usually carry a protective crystal or many, like smoky quartz, black onyx, obsidian, and especially black tourmaline. Sometimes I’ll carry fluorite or amethyst to class to aid in concentration and creativity, and I’ll bring moonstone to yoga or a witchcraft workshop to heighten my intuition and activate my crown chakra and my third eye. I do a manifestation ritual with citrine and often carry it around as well as its self-charging so I never have to worry about it taking on too much energy. 


Where is the best place to keep crystals if you don’t want to wear them everyday?


I recommend wearing them as jewelry, but you can also have them by your bedside, on your desk, around your home or bedroom. 


What are the best ways to learn about witchcraft?


When I first started, I watched a lot of Youtube videos on the topics I was interested in and I still find that a really great way to learn. However, we have to remember that witchcraft is powerful and its so important that you’re getting the right information. I urge you to watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts, read articles, read books, and gather a lot of information before you practice and see what information tends to be suggested across the board. It’s the job of the witch to be well informed, so try to get as educated as you can before you do any serious spell work. Never get any spell information off of Instagram because there are some ill-informed and purposefully spiteful witches on Instagram spreading misinformation for fun. I’ve seen countless spells on Instagram called things like: “How to Spice up your Love Life” and the spell listed is actually a breakup spell, and I know that the author of it is just attempting to do harm by spreading misinformation. 


An amazing way to learn is by taking a class, so if you have any witchcraft classes in your city definitely take one, but also research the teacher of the class first to make sure they are coming from a background or a magical practice you’re interested in. I’ve been to countless classes over the years and they are all so different because of the different teacher’s philosophies of witchcraft. 


Angelica Starling is a witch and professional tarot reader. You can view her tarot and oracle card reading options at River Styx Tarot. If you are interested in a reading, use her discount code "troika" at checkout for 15% off an emailed reading!

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