Witchcraft, learn all about the ancient history and secrets.
There are numerous styles of Witchcraft:
Alexandrian Witchcraft is named after its founder Alexander Sanders. Sanders is the self proclaimed “King of the Witches”. This witchcraft is the second largest to come out of England. It has great emphasis on cord magic and ceremonial magic. The worshipping is done in skyclad. The Alexandrian Witchcraft is strongest in Canada, but has gone into steady decline in the States and no longer has any association with its founder.
Gardnerian Witchcraft was named after Gerald B Gardner is the dominant tradition in the world today. It has been subject to a lot of criticism and reinterpretation. It centers on the worship of the Goddess and her consort, the Horned God. They are represented in the coven by the High Priestess and High Priest. Nature is honored as is the acceptance of all living things. The belief of reincarnation is emphasized. Also the wiccan Rede of harming no living thing is followed. Eight seasonal Pagan sabbaths are also observed. Initiation into the coven is given by the High Priestess or High Priest. You must enter the craft in “perfect love and perfect trust”. This means you must trust you fellow coveners. A man must be initiated into the coven by a woman, and a woman must be initiated into the coven by a man. The hierarchy in Gardnerian Witchcraft has three degrees of advancement. Tradition calls for advancement to be separated by a minimum of a year and one day. Only a third degree witch may become a high priestess or high priest. The high priestess is always the head of the coven. Rituals are performed within a magical circle. The original tradition of the Gardnerian witchcraft was to worship in the nude although most covens now worship robed. Another tradition is “scourging”. This is the light flogging of coveners with cords as a means of symbolic suffering……..
Faery tradition is an American witchcraft founded by Victor Anderson and Gwydion Pendderwen. Although in the beginning this craft was very small secretive it has now reached a wide audience. The faery tradition honors nature and reveres the dieties that personify the forces of nature, life, fertility, death and rebirth. There is no standard secret book of shadows in this craft. Some aspects of the craft still remain a secret but most aspects are now taught openly. The faery tradition provides for a passing of power upon initiation. Faery tradition Witchcraft also identifies different currents of energy within the universe. Two key teachings centre on the iron and pearl pentagrams. These are meditational tools to bring oneself into balance with the universe and to explore the self. The faery witchcraft tradition also permits eclectism. Rituals are offerings of beauty to the Gods.
Seax Witchcraft was founded in 1973 by Raymond Buckland and seems to have a slight saxon basis. Buckland had been dissatisfied with the corruption and ego trips he saw in some covens and developed seax wicca to answer those concerns. The coven is democratic in that its leader is chosen by election. There is no binding or ritual scourging. Covens decide for themselves whether to worship clothed or skyclad. The rituals are published in The Tree : Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft. The tradition is also open to anyone.
This style of witchcraft is styled around nature, herbs, healing and the earth mother.
Stregheria Italian Witchcraft
This style of witchcraft gained in popularity during the 1980s. It is claimed to have frown from the ancient Etruscan religion of Italian peasants.
Wicca is a variety of witchcraft that is founded on religious and magical concepts. Most of the adherents of wicca identify themselves as witches. Wicca is just only one variety of pagan Witchcraft, with specific beliefs and practices. Many Wiccans choose to call themselves Pagans. However, the umbrella term Paganism encompasses many faiths that have nothing to do with Wicca or witchcraft.
The term Contemporary Witchcraft refers to the various types of Witchcraft that are practised in the 21st century.
The term Hearth Witchcraft is a nature and domestic style of witchcraft. It has sometimes also been called, “Cottage Witchery”.
Hedge Witchcraft is usually practised by the solitary Witch. It may sometimes be referred to as “hedgecraft,”. It is similar to the shamanic art of crossing the boundary between this world and the Otherworld.
Early neopagan beliefs were that a witch was in fact a female or male shaman. In India in the Vedic Age, a witch was called a “yogin”. In modern Hindi, a witch is called Daayan or chudail. It is interesting to note that witchcraft is often mentioned in the Bible, both the old test Testament and the new Testament make regular mentions to witchcraft. In Africa, the term witch doctor has been misconstrued to mean “a healer who uses Witchcraft”, when the original meaning was one of “who diagnoses and cures sickness caused by a witch”.
In Witchcraft the Triple Goddess represents the 3 aspects of the Mother Goddess in one, maiden, mother and crone. The Triple Goddess symbol most probably originated from the Classical Greek lunar symbolism representing the three aspects of the moon, waxing, full and waning moon. )O(
The word Hedge Witch, comes from the Saxon word for witch “haegtessa” (hedge-rider). These days a Hedge witch is a solitary witch who is focused on helping others or healing the land.
Craft Name: It is the custom in WITCHCRAFT to adopt a new name upon initiation. This reflects ones new identity as a witch. You may only disclose your craft name to other members of the coven. Certain covens have strict rules about disclosing craft names to outsiders. The main reason for secrecy around craft names is is because of the power of names in witchcraft. It is believed that knowing the craft name of a witch gives a magical power over that person. Many spells involve writing a persons name upon a piece of paper or object. Craft names tend to be individualistic in nature and may reflect heritage or aspirations. You select a craft name through meditation, study or divination. Some are given craft names by the high priestess. Witches may also change their craft name as they advance in the levels.
A Witch Ladder is a string of forty beads or a cord with generally forty knots. The number of knots and nature of charms varies with the intended effect (or “spell”). The knots or beads enable the witch to do repetitive chants without having to keep count. The Ladder helps the witch to focus will and energy on the desired goal. Sometimes feathers, bones, and other trinkets are braided into the string as symbols for a desired spell effect. An earlier version of a witch’s ladder consisted of a rope or cord of three, nine, or thirteen knots. The witch’s ladder can be created a section at a time or all at once. Either way, special chants are spoken during the creation process to empower the talisman to do its creator’s bidding.
Not all people who practice witchcraft consider themselves Wiccan or Neopagan.
The word Witch derives directly from Old English, but the origins of the term witch are highly disputed in Witchcraft. But the term witch has always been applied to both men and women. Many people outside of the craft or often the beginner make the mistake of calling a male witch a warlock, wizard or sorcerer. A wizard is a practitioner of magic that is often found folklore or fantasy fiction. One such famous wizard was Prospero in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. The term warlock is a witch who is considered a liar, thief, or may have been expelled for reasons such as revealing secrets.
A belief among some practitioners that one can turn oneself into a wolf. In fact it is this belief were the term Werewolf comes from. The term Lycanthropy comes from the Greek “lukos” meaning a wolf and the “anthropos” meaning a man. It may also apply to the ability to change into other animals also. Many Shamans also believe they are capable of transforming themselves into animals.
In Ancient British Witchcraft certain people were given the power to talk with horses. To do this special spells and magical charms were used. The people who became horse whisperers also had to be born on certain dates.
A very old superstition that goes back centuries. It was used by many people to break a spell. Only the person who is the victim of the spell may use this method. Simply lick a charm in an up and down motion. Then lick it in an across back and forth motion. Then lick it in an up and down motion again. If you can taste a salty taste on your tongue then you have succesfuly removed the spell.
An ancient magical symbol worm by some witches. It represented the witches name and birthdate. It had strong magical powers and in ways was similar to an amulet or talisman. Glyths were also worn to ward off evil and sickness.
Similar to a curse. It can be placed on people or property. The word hex comes from the German “Herxse” which means wizard. Special talisman and amulets are available to ward off a hex.
Were common during witchcraft in the middle ages. The Familiar accompanied the witch and in some cases was the source of the witches power. The bond was formed by placing a drop of blood from the witch in the animals food. The Witch sometimes consulted the Familiar when seeking omens. Dogs, cats, hares, chickens and rats were often used for a Familiar.
In witchcraft the Esbat is a meeting of members of a coven on the night of each full moon. In a year there are thirteen Esbats. In tradition the Esbat will last from midnight until the cock will crow.
In Neopaganism, modern day practices identified by their practitioners as “witchcraft” have arisen in the twentieth century. These may be broadly subsumed under the heading of Neopaganism. However, as forms of Neopaganism can be quite different and have very different origins, these representations can vary considerably despite the shared name.
The calling forth of a spirit using spells. In order to contain the power of the spirit a triangle is used. The Witch places a talisman in the centre of the triangle then summons the spirit. The Witch then moves outside of the triangle. It is important never to enter the triangle after the spirit comes forth. Without these symbolic restraints it is believed the witch may lose control over the manifestations.
This is a word that will have the same spelling when read forwards or backwards. Sometimes these words may be found in magic squares. Many of these words are used in spells. The Tamar are known to use such words in their language.
The term Wica first appears in the writings of Gerald Gardner (Witchcraft Today, 1954, and The Meaning of ‘Witchcraft, 1959). Gardner uses the word as a mass noun referring to the adherents of his tradition of witchcraft (‘the Wica’), rather than the religion itself. Gardner referred to the religion as witchcraft, but never Wica. The word seems to be based on the Old English word wicca, which meant “sorcerer, wizard”. Old English wicca and its feminine wicce are the predecessors of the modern English witch.
In witchcraft this is the ritual act of moving around a circle in a counter clockwise direction(Southern hemisphere). The witch first stands and faces the circle, then moves to the right. This will help to produce positive magic. If the witch moves to the left this is called Widdershins and produces negative magic. However, in the northern hemisphere, deosil means clockwise and widdershins means counter-clockwise.
A spell of Scottish origin. It had a number of uses including it could stop a Dog from barking. The spell could also open any lock and was used by young men in courting a woman.
Witchcraft has become a popular subject in many movies of today. Some examples are The Blair Witch Project, Practical Magic, The Craft, Hocus Pocus, and Harry Potter.
A witch doctor often refers to an exotic healer that believes that maladies are caused by magic and are therefore best cured by it, as opposed to science or developed medicine. The term does not, as is popularly believed, mean a doctor who uses witchcraft to cure.
Spell casting is one of the powers of witchcraft. It can take many years of dedication to be able to cast a spell. Spell casting in Witchcraft may involve a number of things including words spoken, ritual, herbs, verse, tools or a combination of these or others. Sometimes tarot cards or runes are used in spell casting by a witch. Spell casting takes time and practise so be patient before you start to see the results. Learn about the spells of witchcraft.
Witchcraft Trials and Persecution:
From around 1400 to 1700 Europe it became very dangerous to be accused of Witchcraft. A shocking series of torture methods were devised to elicit confessions of Witchcraft against the accused. These methods were so brutal, people were only to happy to confess to anything including witchcraft, in order to stop the brutality. Methods of torture used to elicit admissions of witchcraft included, leg vices, whipping stocks with iron spikes, thumbscrews, scalding lime baths, racks, and the strap. It was always presumed the victim was guilty of witchcraft. Most victims were executed. Burning at the stake was the standard punishment for witchcraft.
Over the years a large number of complex and draconian laws were passed against Witchcraft in various countries. In England, Wales and Scotland a number of Witchcraft Acts have passed over the years that provided heavy penalties. Religious persecution often resulted in the introduction of serious penalties for witchcraft.
Henry VIII’s Act of 1541 (33 Hen. VIII c. 8) was the first to define witchcraft as a crime.
Witchcraft Act 1562
During the early reign of Queen Elizabeth I the Act Against Conjurations, Enchantments and Witchcrafts (5 Eliz. I c. 16) was passed into law
Scottish Witchcraft Act 1563
The Scottish Witchcraft Act 1563 made the practice of witchcraft and consulting with witches an offence.
Witchcraft Act 1604
In 1604 the Elizabethan Act was further broadened. The Act’s new full title was An Act against Conjuration, Witchcraft and dealing with evil and wicked spirits, (2 Ja. I c. 12).
Witchcraft Act 1735
The Witchcraft Act of 1735 (9 Geo. 2 c. 5) showed a change of attitudes and made Witchcraft only a minor offence. These days most Act`s of legislation against Witchcraft have long since been removed and in most countries people are free to practise witchcraft.