Contemporary witches and Wiccans view healing as one of their most important functions. They use a wide range of healing techniques, including magic; herbal and folk remedies; body work and energy work; Native American Indian and shamanic techniques (see Shamanism); and Western approaches to medicine and psychology. Some Witches are professional healers, trained in Eastern and/or Western medicine and psychology. Witches prefer holistic and natural healing methods that involve healing power of sound, breath, color, touch and movement.

Prior to the scientific age, healing commonly was the province of the village wise woman, Cunning Man, witch or Wizard. Such individuals often were born with the mysterious gift of healing by touch, and many were steeped in herbal lore that had been passed down though generations of their families. Still others said they received their healing ability from Fairies. Folk healers diagnosed both human and animal ailments. Some were renowned for determining whether or not haunting fairies or ghosts (see ghosts, Hauntings And Witchcraft) were responsible for illness, and then driving them away.

One common remedy for fairy-caused illness was the recitation of Christian prAyers followed by a measurement of the patient’s girdle to see if the fairy had departed the body (see Girdle Measuring). Other healers diagnosed the patient’s urine. Healers dispensed herbal remedies in the form of powders, potions and unguents. They prescribed charms, little prayers comprised of both pagan and Christian elements. They also cast spells. Some folkmagic remedies required procedures on the part of the patient, such as boiling an egg and …

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