- Religion and Philosophy
The Definition of Witchcraft: An Internalized View
I’ve been a practitioner of the craft and a neo-pagan for over six years now and I still struggle with the concept of what witchcraft is exactly. What is this highly intuitive force, this thing felt rather than seen? It’s a common topic in the 101 books, but still remains pertinent long after the introductory books of Cunningham have been committed to memory.
This is because they say that to ask ten people about the definition of witchcraft, you will get 20 answers, which is true. The definition of magic seen the most is that it is the act of bringing about change in accordance with will, coined by the famous occultist Aleister Crowley. I think this is limited, however, because does that mean that willing yourself to find a job is magic? You are lining up change (getting that job) with will (your desire to find employment). But I think witchcraft is far more.
Witchcraft involves tools usually, but sometimes it can come from spell work on the astral or mental plane. So magic can spring forth from your own mind and spirit. Witchcraft usually involves ritualized actions, but it can occasionally come from just the will. For instance, if I was visualize something with enough force, it might happen. I believe that is a way to summon energy.
Witchcraft usually involves working with energies within and outside ourselves: spirits, gods, your own spiritual energy, universal energy given off by everything, elementals and, by some, just a manipulation of the unconscious through spell work. One thing is for sure, little is known about witchcraft on a concrete level, except that it works for those that believe in it.
But upon reflection, what witchcraft means to me is the understanding that everything in the universe has energy to it. Then I will access that energy to experience life it to the fullest, be it through ritual, meditation or visualization. I don’t practice witchcraft to bring about mundane change, like bringing wealth or love. I have my own desire, will and concrete actions for that, which will assist me more than an incantation any day. I make change happen in that my life is more full, more balanced and I see more beauty in everyday life.