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Witchcraft: Past and Present

Updated on September 2, 2019
cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

Mrs. Fox, aka cmoneyspinner, former civil servant, now self-employed; engaged in multiple online endeavors, including freelance writing.

Witchcraft: The Past

- Witch Hunting Madness: Beginning With The Middle Ages

The Middle Ages is said to be the period from the fall of the Roman empire (476 A.D.) to the late 15th century. During the Middle Ages, it was believed that women who practiced witchcraft were in an unholy alliance with Lucifer or Satan, i.e. the Devil. Supposedly, a witch had been given supernatural powers by Satan and with this added advantage, these women or witches could perpetrate extraordinary acts upon mankind. These witches were skillful at sorcery and used magic powers derived from evil spirits to cast spells on others and take control of the free will of another human being. This belief accompanied by fear led (or allowed) people to accuse a woman suspected of being a witch of being guilty of vice (a habitual disposition to choose evil), or of being Lucifer's sexual pawn, or being responsible for plagues and diseases and murders, and likely, whatever else made for a convenient accusation, at the time.

Specifically, in 1484, some truly evil people who had power, collectively referred to in historical documents as "Church and State", authorized the persecution of whoever it was they decided needed to be eliminated, because it was a very useful tactic to employ, if you really wanted to control the free will of another human being. These unfortunate souls were called witches . Torture was used to extract their confessions and these confessions were presented to the general public as proof that the accusation brought against these precious souls was true and they were, in fact, witches.

Witches Assisted by Demons Prepare For the Sabbat
Witches Assisted by Demons Prepare For the Sabbat | Source

* Witch Hunt: A Biblical (dash Historical) View

Witchcraft was forbidden under the Law of Moses. (Read: Exodus 22:18) This Old Testament scripture regards witches, sorcerers, soothsayers, fortune-tellers (psychics), etc., is that it refers to people who were nothing more than deceivers with malicious intent - either meaning to defraud another person or do even worse than that - claiming that they had supernatural powers and some sort of direct connection to the gods or God, which they did not have. (That's my understanding.)

The Devil, in Jewish and Christian theologies, is a spirit of evil or an evil spirit or both. Converts to Christianity during the first century, openly and publicly renounced the practices of witchcraft, sorcery, etc. - referred to as "curious arts" - and confessed or acknowledged that their faith was the only power needed to overcome evil. (Read: Acts 19: 19)

In medieval times, the most significant ecclesiastical directive was a papal bull issued in1484 by Pope Innocent VII: Summis desiderantes affectibus (Latin: "Desiring with supreme ardor"), which officially sanctioned the persecution of unfortunate persons accused of being witches. Many many many people were tortured and put to death.

The Frenzy Crossed Continents

- From Europe to America. But the Madness Finally Ended

This witch-hunting madness carried on for quite some time. It crossed over Europe into America, where the masked coveting of other people's property, possessions, belongings, especially their land, in the name of God and country, was continued. (That's my take.)

Eventually, around the 17th century, the witch-hunting mania came to a climax in England, Scotland and America. Why? Well I have a thought. I think it was when they executed a couple of dogs that were accomplices of witches, supposedly - the frightened hysterical frenzied people of the town took hold of their senses and said: "WHOA! Oh come on! Just how dumb do you governors really think we are?!!"

No doubt the sight of those dead dogs is where the people drew the line. Cause really, how many people do you suppose had dogs? Dogs are man's best friend. They don't own property or nothing. They just protect their masters and expect a scratch behind the ear or for you to rub their belly, in return; and spare a few scraps of food from the master's table so they can keep up their strength.

Besides, everybody knew black cats were the accomplices!! DUH! :)

When they executed those two dogs, the folks rose up and cried:

"THAT IS IT!!! You are not going to kill our dogs and let black cats walk!!"

Witchcraft: The Present

- Witchcraft Is Still Practiced Today In Many Places

Although there are some places where people take witchcraft seriously, they don't burn and stone witches these days. In western cultures, witches are incorporated into Halloween festivities (fake witches, not real witches). Folks dress up in costumes that look like what witches probably should look like.

Usually they dress up like the ugly witches. Frank Oz cleared up the confusion once and for all - not ALL witches are ugly. Glinda, The Good Witch of the North, is proof!

[You will note in the video (below) that even Glinda asked if the dog was a witch.]

Scene from: The Wizard of Oz | Dorothy's Encounter With Glenda

Is There a Manual on ... How To Become a Witch?

There are people who still practice witchcraft and celebrate the witch's sabbath, etc.; but they don't exactly advertise. So how does one get in?

A manual or a handbook is probably a good place for starters. There are published handbooks that contain everything the aspiring witch would need to know, if you're curious about the principles, rituals and beliefs of modern witchcraft.

You might also do research on being a demon. Just for exploration.

Have You Decided?

So would you like to be a witch?

See results

© 2013 Treathyl FOX


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    • profile image

      Abagail Sharples 

      3 years ago

      I love reading about witchcraft and the past is extremely interesting I found this an outstanding article and hope you continue on this topic.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      That is fine. I totally understand. You have a life. For the most part, I do not. I am disabled and cannot have a social life. I kept a doctor's appointment today. Got my three-month painshots put into my spine and now I am worn out.

      So do not apologize for not responding at once.

      I am guilty of that too.

      Take it easy.

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile imageAUTHOR

      Treathyl FOX 

      6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @kenneth avery - Yes indeed sir. I will keep in touch. :)

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      @ comoneyspinner1tf,

      You did do a good job in presenting this topic in a sensitive manner and not offensive to anyone.

      I enjoy your writing. Keep up the fine work and stay in touch with me.

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile imageAUTHOR

      Treathyl FOX 

      6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @kenneth avery – Truly appreciate the wonderful compliments and encouragement. You know – witches and witchcraft - to this day is still a very sensitive and touchy subject. I bent over backwards to be gentle with my approach because real people are literally dying in various parts of the world over this: men, women and children. It's no laughing matter at all. I did want to present facts in a non-offensive manner and allow readers to judge for themselves. Based on your remarks it appears that I succeeded. So … Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! :)

      P.S. Sorry for not responding sooner. It say you commented 9 days ago, but I just saw this today. (O.o)

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      6 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      I really love this hub. And here are the reasons why:

      1. This is an excellent piece of writing. Honestly, it is amazing.

      2, I loved the way you worded this hub.

      3. Graphics, superb.

      4. This hub was helpful, informative and very interesting.

      5. Voted Up and all of the choices.

      6. I loved your topic of this hub.

      You are certainly a gifted writer. Please keep up the fine work.


      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile imageAUTHOR

      Treathyl FOX 

      6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @Dreamhowl - This is kind of one of my favorite HUBs. The topic was interesting and it was fun pulling it together. Also, when I was a civil servant, I used to refer to one of my bosses as Glinda, the good witch. She was very kind to me. Thanks for the vote and thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment! Really appreciate it. :)

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Peri 

      6 years ago from United States

      This was really thorough! I loved reading about (and watching documentaries about) the Salem witch trials and have always had an interest in witches. However, I prefer witches like Kiki from Kiki's Delivery Service (a movie) - totally harmless, and actually really valuable to towns without resident witches. Voted up!

    • joedolphin88 profile image


      6 years ago from north miami FL

      Witchcraft is an extremely interesting topic. Whether its having fun with the idea, enjoying the concept, or being a die hard cultist, witchcraft has always had a wide following. It can be scary funny and quirky. It's really something with a lot of history and remains very relevant to this day.

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile imageAUTHOR

      Treathyl FOX 

      6 years ago from Austin, Texas

      @Tolovaj - The whole world has a dark past. It saddens me to also have to accept that it has a dark present as well. Many would like to put certain events in history behind and close the books, but others repeat similar horrors all around the world ... slavery, witch hunts, slaughter in the name of the religion, the whole spectrum of evil.

      Thank you for your comments. Would you please respond back by leaving the link to your article series? I'm assuming it's online. I would like to read them and in case other visitors come here they might want to know the results of your research also.

    • Tolovaj profile image


      6 years ago

      I have written a series of articles about witches few months ago and I was shocked how profitable business was built around trials. Despite the fact we have to import some of the most horrifying torture devices (we were too small for making serious profits), our country (Slovenia) had one of highest percents of sentenced witches. But if you check some data about killed people in trials, you will soon notice they are exaggerated for at least factor 10 (rather 100), because millions which are still reported in some encyclopedias all rely on one influential but wrong math equation.

      Anyway, for witches or everybody else, life can be pretty hard experience...


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