Witchcraft is often referred to as “The Old Religion” and “Craft of the Wise.” Witchcraft has been present since the beginning of humanity in many forms. It was never a defined, organized religion, particularly not a universal one, but it was everywhere, as it is now. Those who practice Witchcraft are called Witches, no matter what their sex. A very common misconception is that a warlock is a male Witch. This could not be further from the truth. Warlock means “Oath breaker” and can be applied to either sex. Basically it is someone who betrays the trust of a coven. Witches are not evil-doers, rather, they are the most moral, most aware and sensitive people you will ever come across. They realize that every action has a reaction in every reality. Witches abide by a code of “Harm none, do as thou will.” This rule can be interpreted in many ways, but in short, it means do as you wish, and be sure not intentionally harm any innocent.
Witches tend to be pantheists, that is they recognize the divine in all things. Most Witches in some fashion worship the Goddess and her consort, the Horned God. The Horned God is a deity of fertility and festivity, often represented by a man with deer antlers or a satyr-like being, as artefacts of Pan and Cernunnos depict. One can easily see now where the Christian concept of the devil originated. It is always wise to remember that the gods of the old religions become the devils of the new in many western cultures. So never have Witches worshipped “the devil” as Christianity portrays. We actually find the idea of personifying evil rather stupid, for if you give something a name, you give it power. Witches, likewise, don’t believe in Hell. We cannot believe in an “all-loving” god that would send its own children to damnation, simply because they did not worship him in a certain form. Instead, Witches believe in a transient-like afterlife, sometimes called the Summer-lands, as well as reincarnation. Most Witches practice magick or spell-craft, following along the lines of “harm none.” Magick cannot be defined as “black” or “white,” because of the complexity of the results. For more about magick, go to Magick, Symbols and Spell-craft.
What is the Modern Tradition of Witchcraft?
Usually people’s first reaction to ModTrad is “Isn’t that an oxymoron?.. How can something be modern and traditional?” Well, the key to it is that we examine the traditions and folklore of the past, and decipher a way to interpret them in a contemporary format that relates better to humanity’s needs today. Modtrad incorporates a system of careful research, reflection and ingenuity. Although most of us fantasize about living out in the middle of nowhere, being self-sufficient, close to the earth, the reality is that most of us lead urban-based lives. When one examines the eight sabats on the wheel of year, one discovers that they are planting/harvest/farming based. How does this relate to us now, living in the concrete jungle, lacking fields and livestock? How do we keep the meaning and intention in something that seems outdated? How does this reflect through all the aspects of the Craft, such as spell craft and our view of the Goddess? This is the challenge of Modern Traditional Witchcraft.