I know this article may stir the cauldron and cause some arguments, but I feel the need to write it. Please respect my opinions and beliefs as well as those of anyone who decides to provide a comment. Of course nasty, ignorant and unnecessary or abusive comments will not be tolerated and will result in being deleted or I may just decide to turn you into a toad ;)
Witches have long been accused of all kinds of horrendous deeds from worshipping and having sexual relationships with Satan, to killing and eating babies and casting spells on people to make them do insane things they wouldn’t normally have done.
Unfortunately, this is still the assumption of many people in todays’ modern world. Hollywood is largely to blame as depictions of green skinned, pointy nosed women wearing black hats and riding broomsticks are the main images conjured when muggles think of a witch.
Wicked Witch from "The Wizard of Oz"
Of course none of these things are true! For starters, most witches don’t even believe in the Devil as he is, after all, a creation of Christianity & other mainstream religions. Witches do believe in light and dark and the need for balance between the two. You can’t have day without night can you?!? Religion also plays a large part (possibly the largest) in peoples’ misunderstanding of what a witch is and does, by claiming that witches are conspiring with the Devil and are evil people who mean to harm others.
The hanging of Bridget Bishop during the
Salem Witch Trials
Of course there are some “bad” witches, but there are “bad” people in all cultures, traditions, faiths and religions as well – perhaps many more than there are bad witches. (I believe so)
So what is a witch? Quite simply witches are everyday people who use ritual and magic to connect, heal and create a better life for themselves and their loved ones. Witches generally care deeply for the Environment and work with nature to help heal the Earth; witches are caring people who wish to do no harm to others. One may argue that anyone who delves into Tarot, psychic or divination workings, mediumship and even energy healing such as Reiki means you are a witch. This could be quite an acceptable assumption when you think about it.
Witchcraft itself is not a religion, witches can be of any faith there are even Christian witches (I’m not entirely sure exactly how that works, but there are many self-proclaimed Christian Witches!) To be a witch simply means using rituals and spells to create a better environment and to heal.
Many modern-day witches are of Wiccan faith. Wicca is a recognized religion which honours the horned God and the Goddess in her three phases of Maiden, Mother & Crone. The Wheel of the Year turns through the Seasons and Sabbats and Esbats are celebrated to honour the God and Goddess on these 8 days of power.
When in church, does the priest not burn incense for ritual and prayer? Does he not allow his God to speak through him to deliver a message to his followers? How is this any different to a Witch burning herbs as incense for rituals and spell work or speaking to his or her Deity for guidance? Just because witches don’t believe in the same God as most faiths do, does not make them evil now does it?
If our faiths and rituals are so evil, then why did the church claim them as their own, change a few things around and have them accepted as “normal” Don’t believe me? Where do you think Christmas began? How about Halloween or Easter? Perhaps you should take a look into the history of Yule, Samhain and Ostara! (and many others)
In mainstream religion one must generally be a male, sacrifice himself and his daily life to his God and follow the rules set out from those before him. In Witchcraft anyone is free to perform rituals and cast spells, anyone is free to speak directly with their Deities and you are free to choose and follow the path that feels right for you and your own spiritual journey.
How does that make witchcraft evil? Because witches don’t comply with the “rules” of religion? Because we are not all about greed and power? Or because we are simply misunderstood and misrepresented?
The burning of Sage and other cleansing herbs to clear negative energy – a tradition throughout history in many different cultures. Using crystals to heal, having your cards read to tell the future – all tools of witchcraft that many people are now using and doing yet no one blinks an eye so long as you go to church on Sunday.
There are many different types of witches, the path of witchcraft is open to all and you can take from it what you connect to and follow what you believe is right for you. Witches don’t judge others for being different, they embrace it and respect it and I should know as I am an eclectic grey witch after all!
Eclectic Witch – A witch who takes bits from different beliefs that fit into his/her own path, for example; working with Deities of different cultures such as Ancient Egyptian and also Greek. Eclectic witches do not “conform” to one path as they create their own based on what feels right for them on their own journey.
Grey Witch – A witch who honours both dark and light, accepts both and will consider using “dark magic” if required such as a banishing spell or returning negative energy to the sender. Grey witches are practitioners of magic which creates a balancing effect. Also a neutral witch.