In this day and age, you would think witchcraft, witches, magic spells and books of shadows would be gathering dust with the magical broom in the closet. But the opposite is true. More and more women-- and men too-- are studying and practicing this beautiful pagan way of life, also called the Craft of Mysteries. Personally it's one of my favorite topics, and I still long to see a real witch on her flying besom, with conical hat and all:-)
You can also define the Craft as the practical application of magic and energy in the form of spell-casting for solutions to problems. It is also for healing through both the power of intention and herbal concoctions.
What is the lure of Witchcraft?
You got it. It is deliciously mysterious and magical. Think also of supernatural powers.
On a more serious note, this way of life is a very symbolic practice of spirituality through honoring nature. It attracts nature-loving people who are looking for more creativity and meaning in their life.
The Craft offers an eco-friendly means of reconnecting with Mother Earth, who is said to be constantly trying to reconnect with us.
Being a lenient, nature-based way of life, the Way of the Witch allows you to explore a spirituality more creatively and with greater focus.
This is probably because it lacks the mundane duties, rules and regulations and bland formality of a typical parish or church. Since covens are small, non-hierarchical groups that meet for special ceremonies and rituals only, they are easier to manage. Beyond that, a witch is usually free to become a solitary practitioner.
As mentioned earlier, a witch usually practices the craft alone. Everyone would love to have his/her own way don't you think?
Besides, they say that one does not choose to be a wicce (wise-woman) or wicca (male witch), and that this spiritual path chooses the individual. Many wise-women are not part of a coven. This is understandable, because the ultimate spiritual journey is meant for the solitary traveler and seeker.
The rituals, celebrations and symbolisms of the Craft are undoubtedly among the most festive, impactful and elaborate in the world of spirituality.
The serious study of witchcraft promises personal power and easy access to supernatural truths.
A Brief "Herstory" of Witchcraft
In ancient times, the craft has been practiced predominantly by woman as priestess, prophetess and sorceress. Long before Christianity, many cults, schools and temples were dedicated to honoring Artemis, Athena, Diana, Aphrodite and other deities that represent the gentler feminine power.
BCE (before the Common Era) - The most prominent symbol for the Craft, the pentagram, was uncovered as carvings in the Middle east, Israel and Europe. Although scientists do not know how they were used during that time, symbolisms such as the pentagram can only point to the existence of an ancient mystic religion or spirituality.
ca 400-200 BCE - Hecate was described by historians as the sorceress goddess of witchcraft. Hecate was also the most frequently invoked goddess in curse tablets and magic-related literature from this period such as the Papyri Graecae Magicae.
ca 100 BCE - Greece and Egypt were highly involved in spirituality. These two regions were home to mystery cults that embraced rituals and methods akin to shamanism. It was at this time that shamanism was thought to influence certain aspects of the old religion.
30 BCE - Carvings and ancient documents describe the ritual of drawing down the Moon, a distinct ceremony practiced to date by most if not all true-blue witches.
50-100 CE (Common Era or After Christ's Death) - Roman historians such as Lucan and Homer made mention of witches of long ago as belonging to a chthonic community that worshiped Proserpina, Hecate and Diana.
1300 CE - Stregheria was an ancient mystic tribe in Italy. The strega or witch honored the Moon and was allegedly capable of harnessing nature to produce magic.
The strega also went by the principles of polarities (sun and moon, man and woman, form and energy, etc). She worshiped the God from October to February, and the Goddess from March to September. Stregheria also conducted lunar rites and were true to their Greek ancestress witch's talents for prophecy and celestial wisdom.
ca 1800-1900 CE - What would become the beginnings of modern witchcraft flourished in Europe, particularly in Italy. Many witches in the region were also Masons.
Present time - The Craft is alive and well, although relatively low-profile and unassuming, throughout the world.
The Craft is really a fascinating way of life, one that honors nature in a most creative and magical way. I hope you found this page enlightening enough to apply one or two aspects of the Craft in your everyday life :-)
Would you like to read more about Witches and what they're like? Click here. You might also be interested in Wicca and ancient witchcraft traditions.
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