Witchcraft is said to be the use of magic through magical or supernatural powers and the person who possesses these powers and uses them is said to be a witch. Witchcraft has many historical and mythological associations with the male witch been known as a sorcerer, wizard or warlock. However, those who practice pagan witchcraft are thought to be classed as witches regardless of sex.
Practices which are classed as witchcraft
Throughout time, any practice which is thought to harm others by intent is said to be a form of witchcraft, some of the more common types of witchcraft are
Wishing harm on another's person or property
This is perhaps the most well known of all witchcraft and usually involves the use of a curse or hex performed with the sole purpose of bringing harm to the intended victim or that persons property. Spells can also be used to change a persons will and make them do something they otherwise wouldn't, an example of this would be to make someone fall in love with you and this type of witchcraft is said to be white magic.
Perhaps one of the most well known aspects of witchcraft is the witches ability to cast spells, we all visualise the witch stirring the bubbling cauldron whispering an incantation over the spell. However concocting spells in cauldrons is not the only way witches cast spells, spells can be cast through a variety of means. Some of the more popular methods involve the use of candles burning, chanting and reciting incantations, physical rituals and the preparation of herbal remedies.
Awakening the dead
Awakening or conjuring the spirits of the dead is a practice of witchcraft known as necromancy, the "witch of endor" is said to have routinely practiced this form of witchcraft for divination and prophecy, and it is also a form that the witch doctors of Jamaica performed in their voodoo ceremonies.
Witchcraft in the past
The practice of witchcraft using the methods described above was widespread in the past and was foremost in ancient Egypt and Babylonia as documentation has shown. During the Vedic, age witches were then called yoginis and the form of witchcraft was abhichara, witchcraft in this era was mainly aimed at Aryan people and took on the form of magical incantations.
The Hebrew bible constantly makes reference to witchcraft and condemns the practices as does also the New Testament in the bible, other popular forms of witchcraft which have been documented is African witchcraft and neopagan witchcraft.
The African form of witchcraft we all know is the witch doctor, the witch doctor traditionally practiced medicine as ways of healing people and also putting a curse or hex on unfortunate victims.
During the 20th century a lot of interest was taken into neopagan witchcraft with the most famous documentation being that of Margaret Murray in 1921 when she documented the theory of a pan European witch cult.
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