If you've looked at this site at all, you've seen the wonderful things that happen when you begin following a Wiccan path. I've been asked to discuss the not-so-nice things that can happen. I'm not trying to scare anyone off, just give you enough information so you can make an informed decision.
They exist, in the invisible world that parallels our own, living creatures. Unlike creatures from our world, they lack physical form, and feed on energy instead of matter. They are as varied as the animal life on our world. They range in size (power) from the equivalent of insects and rodents to the equivalent of magically trained humans, and beyond to the Great Old Ones. My land is inhabited by one of these: it gives the psychic impression of a mountain with legs. It is not unfriendly, but an elephant is not unfriendly toward ants either. I stay out of our woods when it is about. I mentioned that these creatures feed on energy. Most are content to graze on the random energy fields that leak from humans and other creatures in our world. Others, however, are a little more sinister. These, the ones you have to worry about, I call the Shadows.
Shadows come in three basic varieties. First are the little ones that feed off the energy in negative emotions. If you are emitting strong negativity, they will be drawn to you like flies to rotten meat. If you aren't magically protected, they will happily latch onto your energy field (aura) and snack on it. They are usually not much more troublesome than leeches or mosquitoes; however, a thousand leeches could weaken a person severely.
Next come the more dangerous variety, more like rats or vultures than mosquitoes. These are attracted both by negative emotions and the energy of magical workings. They are stronger, and can push past weak or flawed defenses to get to you. And they are much harder to peel loose once they have their teeth into you.
Last are the intelligent variety. Their favorite meal is human life energy, the 'heart-fire' that burns in each of us. They are relatively rare even in their own realm, but they exist. The terms 'Imp', 'Evil Spirit', and 'Demon' are fairly accurate. They are very strong. The more intelligent ones are capable of working their own Magic to breach your defenses. The most intelligent variety, being as lazy as humans, prefer to talk you into dropping your defenses and linking your energy field to theirs. "Open yourself to me, and I will grant you power beyond your wildest dreams." Yeah, right. They also are capable, if someone is helpful enough to open a doorway for them, of entering our world. Once here, if they can get past all your defenses, unless you are very strong at warding, they can enter your body and feast at will even asserting a degree of control over you. Yes, this is exactly like the old stories of Demonic possession.
There exist in this world evil creatures. They are highly intelligent, capable of working magic, and extremely devious. They are capable of not only psychic magical attacks, but physical ones as well. As a species, they tend to be amoral, murderous animals. I call them 'humans'. Humans are also capable of 'feeding' off the energies of other humans - Herne (owner of this website) calls them "Psychic Vampires". They do this to gain more magical power, to control others, or to replace the energies they are losing by dealing with the Shadows. Some humans can even do this while traveling astrally. So that Evil Spirit that tried to get into your last circle may not have been from the other side; it could have been your next-door neighbor.
Magic is an art form. Despite the best efforts of Ritual Magicians and Technopagans, it remains as unpredictable and powerful as the weather unless you are highly skilled and focused. Scientists studying weather prediction in the 1970's discovered something amazing. Weather, they found, is so unstable as to be impossible to predict more than a day or two in advance. In fact, computer models suggested something they called the Butterfly Theory. It seems that the air disturbed by a butterfly taking off from a cactus in Mexico, if it happened at the right time and place, could in theory cause devastating storms and tornadoes in the U.S. Midwest. Magic is very similar. Each action we take, magical or mundane, has consequences that spread out from it like the ripples in a pond.
They spread out, touching everything and reflect back to converge on the source. Be very sure, then, before you work magic, exactly what the consequences may be. Ask yourself, "If this spell backfires on me, and affects me instead of the intended target, can I live with the result?" Thus, I tend to use magic "only in direst need, and then must the cause be just" (author unknown).
Some Wiccans counsel about how rain on your fields could cause drought elsewhere. This might be true, if you are trying with your own personal power to 'squeeze' the rain clouds as they pass over. But asking the Lady and Lord for the blessing of rain for everybody's crops is a different thing entirely. Selfish magic has negative consequences: Loving, giving magic, only positive ones. For Selfishness is the true root of all evil. "I want it! Destroy the world, let Chaos take the universe, as long as I get what I want!" Be careful of what you ask, you just may get it...
So, you've studied hard, learned all about Wiccan magic, and now you find you can really do things. All the power of the Elements is yours to command. Love, money, power, respect - all these are yours. You are special. You are powerful. You are a God! Now, you must convince others to worship you, to lend you their energy so that your power can grow. But that's okay, because you are a loving God, and you want only what's best for your worshipers. And you know what's best for them, for you know all, and see all. For you alone are God of this world you have created.
Can't happen? Do the names Jim Jones, Sun Myung Moon, or David Koresh ring a bell? It is important to remember that the gift of magical power is just that, a gift from the Lady and Lord. It must never be abused. And glorifying yourself because of something lent to you is like showing up at your class reunion in a borrowed suit and a rented Jaguar. This reason and this reason alone is why you will not find the Council of this site posting or trading spells and rituals. We don't hand out loaded guns here.
For more on this subject, see Psychic Protection and Cleansing under Herne's Ramblings section.