Witches Of The Craft®
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The Witches’ Craft
Many people believe that witchcraft began concurrently with our human civilization. Witches and their craft were said to be the outcomes of the people’s fear of the unknown as well as its effect in making daily living either easy or difficult. Both men and women practiced witchcraft although old and seasoned women were the ones who primarily performed it.
Long ago, witches served as mediators between the people and the inexplicable super powers including angels and spirits. Each time that a witch resolved a mysterious problem, her performance was considered as magic. Magic was then discerned as a process, which cannot be explained easily through logical analysis. In order to resolve a mysterious problem, a witch prayed to the spirits or higher powers for guidance and help by carrying out rituals. The entire process was referred to as witchcraft.
Based on the research of many scholars, the existence of witchcraft and witches is said to date back to the Paleolithic period. Most cultures and societies around the world were said to practice witchcraft, which was then considered an earth-based religion. Since then, the practice of witchcraft evolved.
Today, the present form of witchcraft is rather different from its original form five thousand years earlier. Even the terms used for witchcraft have changed. Wicca is probably the oldest term used for witchcraft while other words came out including sorcery, witchery, occultism, wizardry, black magic, voodoo, bewitchment, and magick among others.
Witches in Ancient Times
During the ancient times, the central source of living was agriculture. Even before that, agricultural activities and outcomes depended on the seasons. Successively, the seasons were linked with the movements of the sun, moon, and Earth as ancient people believed in gods, goddesses, and spirits, which they also associated with the sun, moon, and Earth.
Traditional witches also believe in spirits and that they are equally a part of the universe. On the other hand, they think that the spirit world and the physical world are separate, although they are connected with each other. In addition, during the night of Samhain, the veil of separation between these two worlds becomes obtuse. Thus, they call upon the spirits for support and guidance.
The completion of harvest and the sowing of new seeds in the New Year mark the end of the agricultural year. For this reason, traditional witches and pagans regard Samhain as their New Year. A pentagram represents the basic elements including the earth, water, air, fire, and spirit.
Characteristics of a True Witch
In general, “witch” is a term that refers to a male or female. A witch can be both genders and it should be noted that a male witch is never, ever referred to as a warlock(warlock means oath breaker, betrayer, liar, someone who has broken the witches law and their name is never to be spoken again). A witch, on the other hand, is a deeply religious individual who is usually pure in heart and practices witchcraft through combining meditation and spiritual elements. In addition, a witch is a gifted individual who may seem to have supernatural abilities. A witch displays compassion and practices witchcraft without any hidden motives. More often than not, a witch works for others who are suffering and in pain, bringing them relief and comfort.
Generally, a witch is often misunderstood as an evil individual and maligned for bringing unfortunate circumstances to another person. However, in today’s society, witches along with their beliefs and practices have regained their lost ground and earned the respect of the society. The term witch is now being brought back to its old name, Wicca.
There are several characteristics of a true witch. By using the word “true” as in the case of a witch, it means that he/she believes in no greater power than his or herself. They do call on the Divine and the Deities for assistance in their magickal workings but still consider themselves all powerful. They do know about the three-fold law but are more than willing to suffer the consequences of their actions. For instance, a witch employs witchcraft for healing, especially of unexplained health problems. Normally, a witch uses her personal abilities or powers combined with energies from candles, herbs, stones, and other natural materials. A witch employs witchcraft to ameliorate mankind as well as the world. A witch does not hurt people and more importantly, she does not worship the devil.
A witch derives her strength primarily from nature including earth, water, air, and fire. She believes that water is able to purify; fire is able to cleanse and transport an individual into the spiritual world; and air enshrouds an individual and lifts them to the freedom of the skies and divine. A witch believes that the air unites with her spirit, allowing it to float in the sky freely. A witch reaches an uplifted state through perseverance and meditation. In some cases, a witch is born with special talents that allow her to achieve an uplifted state more easily than other individuals.
In reality, a witch is not a wicked being or an ugly hag as depicted in most books, movies, and other forms of media. She is just an ordinary looking person who can be your next-door neighbor. She can be a hardworking housewife who attends to the needs of her family and does daily chores.
A witch also has emotions although she can function at a larger level rather than personal. For instance, if she is sad, it can be caused by the world’s suffering and not just because of a personal matter. A witch can pick up on any cosmic disturbance that might be occurring, her emotions can also be determined by that factor.
A female witch is different from an ordinary woman in the sense that the former can connect with her goddess. This connection is intended for her soul to achieve a state of oneness.
A witch carries out her craft by utilizing a number of rituals alone or with a coven. More often than not, rituals are done in at an altar or she might be fortunate enough to have a room dedicated to her altar. Witchcraft rituals and spells involve intent. In order for a witch to properly and effective cast a spell she always has to have the intent to make the spell come to fruition. Without the intent and determination of the witch to see the ritual or spell through, no magick will occur. Any witch can cast a spell for you but she doesn’t have any personal stake in the spell. Her spellcasting would not be as effective as the individual wanting the spell cast. The witch will tell you it is always best that you cast your own spells.
A true witch does not do anything to utilize witchcraft to damage a living or non-living thing. Given that a witch believes that retaliation can be a lot worse than her act. A true witch believes that whatever you do, regardless if it is good or bad, will come back to you threefold.
Although it can be difficult to determine if someone you know or someone who lives just next door is a witch, some witches wear a Pentacle or pentagram, which looks like a five-pointed star. A pentagram is a symbol that represents the five elements of nature. It does not represent the worship of anything but nature.
Based on tradition, there were more male witches than females in some societies. Today, however, females dominate Witchcraft but that is changing at a very rapid pace. Men are realizing witchcraft is not only for women but also for them as well. In the last decade the number of men that have joined and dedicated themselves to witchcraft has jumped by leaps and bounds.
Based on studies, modern witches began to emerge through Gerald Gardner, an English archaeologist with a broad background in the occult. He learned the secrets of the Malaysian magical knife while he lived in Southeast Asia. He then became a nudist and a Mason. When he returned to England in 1939, he became a member of the Corona Fellowship of Rosicrucians. He met Dorothy Clutterbuck, who introduced him to witchcraft.
Gardner wrote the book, “Witchcraft Today,” which implied that he did not come across a pre-existing coven. In addition, Gardner also wrote a paper that was published in Ripley’s Believe It or Not. He disclosed that he acquired his magical resources and some Western magical texts in Asia. In his paper, Gardner also disclosed that he created a new religion, which is primarily focused on the worship of the Mother Goddess.
From there, the focus of modern witchcraft is on the worship of the Mother Goddess as initiated by Gardner. His beliefs and writings were significantly influenced by Freemasonry, Theosophy, The Golden Dawn, ritual and sex magic, and other occult sources resulting in the emergence of modern-day witchcraft or Wicca.
Beliefs and Practices of Modern-day Witches
Modern-day witches have an extensive range of beliefs and practices. On the other hand, there are distinct principles, which came from Gardnerian Wicca although traditional witchcraft beliefs and practices are diverse. Some of the beliefs of modern-day witches include:
Developing natural gifts for occult magic or divination
The Goddess is the focus of worship
Everyone has a spiritual path to follow
Everyone is innately divine
Natural or divine forces are called forth in rituals
The earth and nature are sacred representations of the Goddess
Rituals are associated with the moon phases and the seasons
Intentions, visualization, mediation, invocation, burning candles, and chanting reinforce the religion’s core belief
More often than not, these beliefs and practices are combined with doctrines from other groups such as mystical traditions, ancient Egyptian spirituality, Native American spiritual practices, Celtic/ Norse paganism, Eastern Shamanism, and Greek and Roman goddess worship. Just like Wicca, these groups also have significant reverence in nature and peace. They likewise believe that human beings will always be at peace when they are in harmony with nature.
Modern-day witches also make use of divination methods and tools including astrology, tarot cards, the I Ching, candle magick, psychic readings, runes, and other mystical practices, which is assumed that these methods of divination are also encouraged by most witchcraft covens. The covens tend to keep their practices and rituals to themselves and you will rarely find a coven ready to divulge their secrets to you.
True witches also make use of other symbols including the Ankh, which is an Egyptian cross-like symbol associated with (the goddess) Isis worship; pentagram and pentacle, which is a five-pointed star used for spells, protection, and conjuring among others; crystals, which are believed to have spiritual and healing properties; and the crescent moon, which is considered as a symbol of the Goddess.
On the other hand, true witches do not believe in forgiveness since that they do not believe in sin. When there is no sin, there is no need for forgiveness. In the same way, witches do not believe in salvation given that there is nothing to be redeemed from.
When it comes to matters of the afterlife, different covens and witchcraft groups vary in their positions. In general, witches do not have a concept of heaven or hell. Most witches believe in endless reincarnation and the law of karma. These witches believe that reincarnation will occur incessantly until an individual is enlightened sufficiently to move on to another plane of existence.
The beliefs of true witches and Wiccans are in agreement with most humanist religions, which are common in many modern societies. Most witches and wiccans believe in the “harm none” practice in witchcraft. As the three-fold law states, “Do as ye will, as long as ye harm none.” A witch knows she is given her power and ability for the betterment of mankind and Mother Earth. A witch is is assist man in any way she can as long as it is for the good of all.
Witchcraft: A Beginner’s Guide To Wiccan Ways: Symbols, Witch Craft, Love Potions Magick, Spell, Rituals, Power, Wicca, Witchcraft, Simple, Belief, Secrets,
With revisions by Lady of the Abyss
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