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A Few Clarifications

What is witchcraft?

There is no universally accepted definition of witchcraft and the term means different things to different people in different places. In many places, superstition has caused people to view witchcraft primarily as a negative, malevolent force which is used by people – witches – in the spirit realm to bring about harm in the physical realm. They understand the term “witchcraft” as being the art of doing harm to others. However, there are some people, primarily in Europe and the United States, who call themselves ‘Witches’, many of whom follow a reconstructed neo-pagan religion, an example of which is called Wicca, although there are also self-identifying Witches who do not consider themselves to be theistic in terms of following any deities in their practice of their religion. Most Witches follow a system of ethics such as the Wiccan Rede or the Law of Three which sets forth the consequences of the Witches actions for the Witch using magic toward any end.

What is a witch?

Many people hold the understanding that a witch is an evil person who has the ability to bring about all manner of harm and uses this power almost exclusively to cause this harm. Most of the characteristics of the witch as understood by these people are the result of generations of misinformation, a powerful stereotype presented in fiction, and misunderstanding through lack of interaction with real practicing Witches. These include: psychic cannibalism, being able to fly and being able to take animal form in order to bring about harm. It is often believed that the soul of the suspected witch leaves the physical body during the night and enters into the spirit or “witchcraft” world. Here, along with other witches, they cause all manner of harm such as road accidents, spreading illness, eat human flesh, joblessness, inability to save money, impotence, infertility, mental health problems etc. These are superstitions fostered by ignorance and often fueled by religious zealotry or hostility, and have little or no basis in fact. Most Witches in fact practice herbology, divination and assist people and animals with health issues and healing using herbs and other materials found in nature, counselling and advice, and cause no harm to others.

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