Please tell me what comes to your mind when you hear the word "witch" or "witchcraft". I would like your honest thoughts and opinions. Are you scared of witches? Do you believe "witches" are not real or are they real? Are they misunderstood or are they indeed devil worshippers? Please be respectful of everyone else's answers. This is for my own research.
A number of things come to mind, such as Subaru's with bumper stickers of wanna-be witches. I also think of white-lighter's who know nothing about spiritual protection. On the other hand, the word "craft" comes to mind, i.e.; a metaphysical/"spiritual" method of obtaining a desired outcome in one's life or another's, preferably without harm to another, lest the thing come back to bite you. I believe that a true witch must be grounded. She must leave arrogance and ego behind, or she will fail, having already fooled herself and thus having opened herself up to darkness.
As an aside, in any metaphysical endeabvor, light and darkness spill out together, which is why methods for protection are important. In short, I do not find the word "witch" scary. But, my understanding is that the use of any methodology to influence one's life or another's can lead to trouble if one doesn't know what they're doing. That being said, I am not a witch---at least not to my knowledge. Lol.
Whilst historically people have been persecuted as "witches" for using old charms and formulas to help or hinder their local community, I would define the term "witch" as anyone who practices witchcraft. Whilst this incorporates certain natural sciences and pseudosciences, essentially a large part of this is working to manipulate the workings of a particular situation using supernatural means to achieve one particular result.
"Witch" to me would be a generic term; there are many different people that fall under this label such as cunning man or woman, peller, shaman, seer, volva, etc. Each culture and area has their own version, and in times before modern medicine was available, many people would head to see their local "witch" for a cure for an ailment.
With anything, it can be used for good or bad - it's the intent behind things that does the harm. Pagan witches don't believe in the devil so I wouldn't say that they commune with him. In England, the idea of sabbats with satan is something that took off just after the reformation during the Tudor period, in propaganda that was spread after Elizabeth I was paranoid that witches were out to get her!
And yes, witches are certainly real. We still have practising witches in Britain. This includes hereditary witches, not just the more recent Wiccans.
Hi there, the word 'witches' and what it means depends on context. For me, witchcraft in the 21st century is a form of 'Paganism' - An appreciation of the natural world, one's place within it and the shifting of the seasons.
Witchcraft in this form was popularized in the mid 20th century, and the most popular form that is studied is called 'Wicca'.
When I was growing up in the UK, Wicca was a popular choice for disenfranchised young people, looking for an alternative to organized religion (I was one of them.) and in my circle of friends, probably a third of them would self-identify as pagans / wiccans / witches (There's not much distinction!)
The main principles of this belief system are:
- Honor nature and the earth
- Do no harm
- The law of threefold return (Anything good or bad that you do will come back to you three times stronger)
- The balance of masculine and feminine (Although the feminine is considered more important)
- Honoring the passing of the seasons and special pagan sacred days (Sabbats)
- For some, worship of particular gods or goddesses, for others, a more general spiritual understanding of the earth and oneself
Every wiccan that I knew was gentle, kind, considerate and trying to take responsibility for their lives. Were they sometimes confused and consumed by their own emotions? Certainly. But at no point was I ever 'scared' of them.
As to whether witches are 'devil worshipers', Wicca has nothing to do with the Judaeo-Christian religion and does not acknowledge the existence of a perpetually evil tempter figure (such as satan). That is a judgement that is often made (incorrectly IMHO) by people who persecute and want to label those who believe in different things to them.
I hope this is helpful, here are some more resources you can study:
Modern Wicca: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicca
Witchcraft - A neutral essay: http://www.religioustolerance.org/witchcra.htm
Wicca and satanism: http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_sata.htm
Kitty writes very informative hubs on this subject, she's looking for a general perception of the word 'witch'. As a pagan, I am biased and immediately think of someone in tune with the seasons, nature, etc who is on a spiritual journey and mindful of the ancestors, past lives and the pantheon of Old Gods and Goddesses. Before I became a Pagan, I would have answered this question by describing my Aunt, who had an amazing way with animals, was extremely knowledgeable about herbs and celebrated the changes of the seasons with gifts that she had made herself. She also never came out in a photograph and when you talked about her, the television would switch off. Technology has advanced since then so I doubt if she were alive, she could be attributed to malfunctioning TV's. However, when she died suddenly and her son was going through her belongings, he found a wedding gift addressed to me, which was quite strange because I wasn't even engaged. He gave it to me a year later, when after a whirlwind courtship, I surprised everyone by getting married. So when I hear the word 'witch', I think of a lovely person, in tune with Mother Earth, with a sixth sense for those she cares about.
Hi, Paul. Thank you for the resources, but yes I was looking for a little more of a generalization and am researching more of what people think about witches and not what they actually are. I've been practicing for fifteen years now, and let me tell you if you tell a witch that isn't Wiccan that they are basically the same thing, she/he might get rather upset. LOL. Same thing with pagans..."pagan" is a very generalized umbrella term these days and can be applied to many spiritual paths. So to say a "witch" and a "pagan" aren't very different is not correct. Please don't take this personally, I'm just sharing my experience with you. You are quite knowledgeable and seem to be very open on the subject, so I applaud you!
To me, and Kitty you know me lol, a witch is someone who practices witchcraft. Typically not a Wiccan as is commonly thought in the neopagan movement.
Witchcraft is the practice of using magic to influence the universe in a certain way, whether that be to bring money and abundance or punish someone who has hurt a family member. In my mind a witch is not afraid to use his or her craft in a less than favorable manner if it is necessary, which I realize is subjective.
Witchcraft is also NOT a religion, it is a way of life. It may be associated with a spirituality of some kind, such as Wicca, but it is not necessary. Witchcraft is a path to be explored individually. Once the witch has found a suitable path, they may find a coven of witches with a similar path, but everyone's path is different, making witchcraft (or any religious or spiritual path for that matter) inherently individualized.
There is a huge difference among pagans, witches and wiccans. All witches and wiccans are pagans, but not all pagans are witches or wiccans. Paganism is the umbrella term, witch and wiccan are divisions of that term. Those who are not actually pagan have a tendency to lump all of us together, just as we tend to lump all Christians together, but that is certainly not the case. IE: Druids are also pagans as are shamans, but they are not witches or wiccans.
And I strongly believe there is no such thing as a "Christian" witch. To me, Christianity and witchcraft are mutually exclusive. "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" after all. But that is simply my opinion, and if someone else follows such a path than to each his own. Live and let live, do as ye will but harm none...unless you need to and accept the karmic debt for it.
Personally, I was born Catholic, but became Wiccan at 21, decided it wasn't for me and have since practiced witchcraft for the past 15 years. And I've found it to be an exquisite experience.
Hey, lady! Haven't seen ya on here for awhile. I agree with much of what you say. Although I do believe people can mix Christianity and witchcraft...if you research further into that passage "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" the word "witch" was actually something else originally! Shocker, right? You mean someone changed it to fit their needs at the time? Of course they did! Council of Nicaea. Anywho, loved hearing your thoughts and opinions, as always.
There are men and women that practice witchcrafts. I forget what the call themselves. Yes I do believe they exist and to those who practice it is sort of a religion for them.
Witch. Both Paul M and Daughter of Maat have given realistic definitions, but there is the third one as well.
"Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble."
This witch, immortalized by Shakespeare, is what I think of. An ugly woman with a long hooked nose (always with a wart on it), flying around on a broom and with a black cat. Living in a gingerbread house and eating children. Putting spells on neighbors and destroying crops. Always stirring a giant cauldron with lots of nasty ingredients.
This witch, created by the church, is naught but a fun (thought dark) story to be brought out on Halloween and is nothing to be afraid of at all. Used once as an excuse to burn people and spread fear it is believed by very few today.
I think of the TV series "Charmed" ...
(Homer Simpson voice) Mmmmm.... Rose McGowan... (gurgle gurgle)
I feel that there are witches in reality, but they are often misunderstood and misconstrued as being evil, which is simply untrue. I've been interested in witchcraft and paganism for awhile now, and have discovered that there is a huge moral difference between witchcraft and sorcery.
Witchcraft can be broken down into "witch" being an Anglo-Saxon term for "wise person" and craft, as the mastering and practice of the healing arts, which is very much connected to the human soul. Though witchcraft is a more general term for what any witch may be practicing, it is believed that there is a connection with Egyptian magick and the Goddess Isis. Following a virtuous path is an integral part of the tradition, which prefers healing with herbs and plants, giving solid advice and wisdom to others, and using thorough planning and problem-solving resolutions, in turn, making life more manageable, and leaving more room to concentrate on love, positive changes, happiness and contentment. Their non-violent way of life can be better expressed in their creed, which goes: "Do as ye wilt, harm none." Under their standards, wisdom, health, protection, and inalienable rights are of utmost importance, in order to succeed in life, and keep the peace, hope, and love alive.
Sorcery, on the other hand, follows a more Mithraic path, much like the "jump before you think" types - following erratic non-reasoning rather than absolute resolution to life's problems. Their magick typically can yield itself to resulting in deaths, disease, suffering and destruction, without any consideration for life or the living - even throwing their own under the bus, if needed, to gain power, money and other material gains. I'm not saying that's all they concentrate on in life, but when it comes down to it, doing anything and risking it all does seem to result in a more destructive, violent tendency than not - than knowing what you're getting into and planning for success without casualties or harm done to anyone involved.
In the long run, it does pay to know the difference between the two terms witchcraft and sorcery, and to completely identify the fiction versus facts when it comes to witches and other magical portrayals in movies, TV, and books.
For some research purposes, you can find many witches open to your questions on Tumblr and WitchVox forums. Other leads are on About.com-PaganWiccan and American Folkloric Witchcraft for authenticity.
I also recommend reading books by Scott Cunningham, Raven Grimassi, and Raven Silverwolf to get a feel for what witchcraft is really all about, although you might get a better idea of what a real witchcraft/paganism community is like if you read Llewellyn's Magical Almanac 2015 (or previous editions) - with tidbits of information, everyday recipes and D.I.Y. crafts, and inspired spiritual pieces from various authors and cultural backgrounds.
The Almanac has given me major insight on my own roots, because with an outsider's point of view, I've come to find that there are a lot of facts in various religious doctrines (even my Catholic roots, Judaism and Buddhism, to name a few) and sacred texts that when finding the connection through reasoning - much like my own version of the Da Vinci Code. It starts to make a lot of sense on why people still believe in magick, and why so many are out of touch with their own psyche (Latin for "soul"), and why I feel there is still much to learn from witchcraft and the occult (Latin for "secret") and its connection with how Jesus did his miracles.
If anything, I feel as though you may have a definite psychic connection, and may very well be an empath - someone who can understand and connect with people on a purely spiritual level - even with those disembodied or "ghosts". In such a case, it would be wise to consult those who encounter them regularly, such as Chip Coffey, Kim Russo, or Lorraine Warren, to better prepare you to protect yourself and others from unwanted, harmful spirits and find the confidence and courage in helping those from beyond the grave.
I am a practicing Druid who performs witchcraft. As with any other 'religion' or belief system, the intent is what colors the action and the outcome. That said, I do not believe witches or withcraft are evil arts. I believe the individual heart is where the root of evil blossoms and takes hold.
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