Claire has worked with crystals and many other aspects of paganism for over 14 years. She has also studied reiki up to master level.
Today information regarding witchcraft, paganism and many spiritual practices can be easily found via the internet, social media and books. In recent years it has become more and more common to find related books, tools and materials in even the most mainstream of shops, meaning that they are more accessible to people from all walks of life and budgets. Despite this and the increasing interest in these topics, sadly we still live in a world where not everyone is able to practice witchcraft or follow their chosen path in life openly.
For many reasons, people may need to keep their practice and beliefs secret and those in this situation are often referred to as closet or closeted witches. Although at first, this secrecy may seem dishonest or that the person is embarrassed about or not fully committed to their beliefs it is important to remember that for many practising in secret is the only way that they can do so safely. Hatred and persecution can come not only from the community but also from people’s friends and family. There are whole towns and areas where very conservative or highly religious beliefs are upheld strictly, making them difficult and even dangerous places for anyone practising alternative religious or spiritual practices. People may find themselves being made homeless or disowned by family, partners and friends by disclosing their love for the spiritual. This is a particularly worrying situation for younger witches who still live with and rely on their parents or other family as they have no means to make money or house themselves.
Practising as a closet witch can be very stressful, not only emotionally with the worry of being caught but because of practical considerations. If you cannot be open about what you believe in it can greatly limit your options for practice. If you have a strong need for secrecy you may need to decide whether having specific items such as tarot cards, pentagrams and unusual herbs is worth the risk of being discovered, further limiting your options. These difficulties can also lead to witches feeling as if they aren’t good enough or doing enough to be considered valid witches, further adding to their stresses. Witchcraft and following a spiritual path through life do not need to be elaborate, expensive or elaborate to be valid and successful. The real power is in your intent not whether you have a specifically coloured candle or vast collection of crystals. When money or being able to visit pagan shops or websites is impossible making your own tools is perfectly acceptable and often viewed as being more powerful than buying something mass-produced.
With some creativity and careful thinking, it is possible to find ways in which you can follow your path without risking detection. It is also sometimes possible to hide your true use of tools and other items within other interests. These may be things you are genuinely interested in or simply used as a cover to appease others questioning. For example, taking an interest in conservation and environmental projects and products is a great way to connect with nature, lessen your impact on the Earth and perhaps collect natural materials for other projects or spell work.
1. Crystals for the Closet Witch
Crystals and rocks, in general, can be one of the easier items to own without suspicion due to the rise in their popularity as decorative items. People who have no awareness of the healing properties of crystals buy them purely because they are pretty and there is no reason that you cannot do the same. An interest in geology can also be used to explain wanting to own crystals. If you feel that buying crystals specimens would create problems for you, there are still ways that you can bring crystals into your life and practice. Crystals can often be found in common everyday items such as jewellery and keyrings and maybe more discreet. This is especially true if you wish to carry your stones with you. Clear quartz is a good choice when your options are limited. It is also known as the master healing crystal and can be used in place of any other stone.
2. Candle Magic without Spell Candles
Candle magic is a common and straightforward form of magic that can be a good option for closeted witches. Although some spells use a number of herbs and oils in combination with candles, candle magic can also be as simple as saying (out loud or in your head) a few words or visualising while lighting a candle. Like crystals, candles are popular with many people and can be bought in a huge range of colours, styles and scents. Due to their mainstream popularity candles may be something you can buy without issue, though safety concerns may be raised about their use, especially for younger witches. Care must be taken to only burn candles in heatproof containers and on safe surfaces away from flammable items such as curtains and bedding.
While colours and scents can be chosen based on the magic you are doing these are not vital for success. You also do not need to buy special spell candles, also known as chime candles. Jarred candles are a good choice as they are commonly available and come with their own container ready for use. This can help cut down on worries about safety, especially if you may find yourself in a situation where you need to quickly extinguish the candle and/or conceal it. Tea light candles and even birthday cake candles are useful when time is short and are also fairly easy to find. They are also likely to be cheaper than other types of candles. If you cannot buy a selection of coloured candles or your insistence for a certain colour would cause problems, white candles can be used in place of any colour.
3. Making Magic Sachets from Old Clothes
If you want to work with magic sachets and mojo bags but have no access to fabric, these can be made using old clothes and basic sewing supplies. If your household does not already have sewing items you may be able to acquire them by saying they are needed for a school project, hobby or repairing worn items, perhaps to tie in with being more eco-friendly and sustainable. One worn-out shirt or pair of trousers can be turned into many simple bags to give you a supply until you have any item available. Two simple methods for making sachets are:
1. Cut a circle of fabric in your desired size. Using running stitch, stitch around the outside of the circle leaving a long tail of thread at either end. Place your items in the middle of the circle and pull the thread ends to draw the fabric up around them. Tie and cut off the excess thread if desired.
2. Cut a rectangle of fabric in your chosen size. Fold the rectangle in half and sew along the longest side and one short side. Fill your sachet and then sew up the open end.
4. Using Herbs and Spices as a Closet Witch
The easiest way to access herbs and spices as a closet witch is to make use of those that are commonly used in cooking. Most kitchens already have a selection of herbs and spices that are great for use in witchcraft such as cinnamon, rosemary, bay and basil. Only small amounts are needed so it is unlikely that anyone will notice them missing. If you have your own kitchen you may be able to add to your collection as you need but each plant has a range of correspondences so it is also very possible to work with what you have, even if your spice rack is small. Herbs and spices can be used in candle magic, sachets and mojo bags or as magic in themselves. One example of this is writing a wish on a bay leaf and then burning it.
5. Magical Gardening
If you have a garden or even a small patio or balcony it is likely that you will be able to find plants to grow in your space. Many useful plants can also be grown indoors and have the ability to help purify the air in your living spaces. Plants and gardening can be an easy and discreet way to spend time connecting with nature and caring for the Earth as well as for obtaining ingredients for spells and other magic. Many herbs can be grown at home easily from seed or from bought plants and there are many other flowers, shrubs and that can be utilised. Plants that are commonly regarded as weeds such as plantain, dandelion, clover and cleavers can also be useful ingredients and people may be glad of you removing them! Plant materials such as petals, leaves and flowers can be collected and dried for later use. Seeds can also be collected and used as ingredients or saved to grow the following year.
6. Alternatives to Tarot Cards
Tarot cards are a popular form of divination practice and there are decks available in a huge range of styles and themes. As well as divination they can be used for personal growth, inspiration and coaching. Unfortunately, tarot cards often stir up fear and negative thoughts in other people due to misrepresentation and lack of knowledge. If you cannot have a set of tarot cards oracle cards may be an option as they are less familiar and may appear purely inspirational. However, if you are unable to buy these there are still alternatives that may be open to you. If you own a smartphone there are several tarot apps that can be used for learning card meanings or carrying out readings. For a very discreet method of working with cards, you may wish to consider cartomancy. This is the practice of fortune-telling or divination using a standard deck of playing cards. Like learning to read tarot cards, this can take time but is less likely to draw any negative attention to you, particularly as there are many card games that can be played alone. Learning a few of these games and maybe a couple of multiplayer card games may be a good idea in helping to conceal your true need for the deck. Just in case anyone asks to play too! Some great information on using playing cards in place of a tarot deck can be found online including in this hub by Bev G – How to Read Tarot with Playing Cards.
7. Magical Cooking and Closet Witchcraft
Magical cooking can be an excellent way to hide your practice of witchcraft. It can also expand to cover other areas such as growing herbs and gardening. Stirring can be done sunwise (also called clockwise or deosil) to bring positive and uplifting energy to the food and stirring widdershins (anti-clockwise) is used to remove or ward against negative energy. Magical cooking and kitchen witchery often has a focus on healing as well as magic.
Each type of food has a range of correspondences meaning that you can create meals and beverages that suit any magical need you may have. Sigils and other symbols such as those for protection can be traced over food or if you wish, be physically drawn into them. One common way of doing this is to mark symbols into the bottom crust of a pie before filling. You can also chant or say blessings and spells over food as you cook or serve it. Herbal tea can be prepared or bought to suit a range of needs whether magical or healing. As they contain no actual tea and are instead created using various other plant materials the tea bags can also be torn open and the contents used in other ways. Herbal and fruit teas are relatively common now and can be bought in a great variety of flavours. These can be drunk for their healing and beneficial properties and are unlikely to raise any suspicions.
8. How to Find or Create a Discreet Pendulum
Pendulum reading is a common method of divination that is also sometimes used to communicate with spirits and provide insight. While there are many beautiful and ornate pendulums to buy these are generally very obvious and so not suitable for a closeted witch. If you wish to work with a pendulum there are many simple options that can be used and easily concealed. All that you need to get started using a pendulum is a length of cord or chain and something to weight the end. One suggestion would be too place a ring or good sized pendant of a chain and use this as a pendulum. When not being used it can be kept at home and appear to be nothing more than a piece of jewellery. Alternatively it can be worn and kept with you, which many people believe helps to create a bond between the pendulum and yourself, enhancing any work you do with it. Other simple ways to make a pendulum would be using a shell or stone tied to a length of string and if you wish this could be dismantled between uses. A lobster claw style clasp can also be used to attach a pendant or other item to a chain or cord necklace.
9. Keeping your Grimoire/Book of Shadows Hidden
There are many beautifully designed grimoires to buy or create but having a book that stands out can be impossible for a closeted witch. Alternatives include buying regular journals or notebooks and leaving the cover as is. As a precaution, you can also leave the first few pages blank so that the book appears empty at first glance. If you enjoy writing or drawing or keep a journal anyway, a book like this is less likely to arouse interest or suspicions. If you are a student another option would be to buy a book that will blend in with your school/college books and supplies. You could even add a bit of schoolwork to the first few pages to put of prying eyes. If you would prefer not to keep a physical book of shadows or grimoire there is also the option for a digital version stored on a computer, tablet or smartphone. This can be achieved in a variety of ways such as using notes, journal apps and blogs. You could also use a social media account purely for witch related information and keep it private and separate from your everyday account.
10. Celebrating Sabbats as a Closet Witch
It may feel as though you cannot celebrate without being found out by the people around you but fortunately there are many discreet ways to honour the wheel of the year. Many sabbats occur at or around the same time as other festivals and this can provide a cover for your celebrations. It is also true that many traditions such as decorating Christmas trees come from paganism, so it is often easier to take part in these. Investigate which traditions, foods and other aspects have pagan origins and bring these into your celebrations. Home cooking can also be a great way to celebrate the energy and magic of sabbats by creating seasonal meals and using ingredients that correspond with the sabbat in question.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Claire