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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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How Do You Define Witch/WitchCraft?
If you were writing the definition (in an encyclopedia) for the word "Witch/Witchcraft" (in the modern sense) what would it say?
| Reponses: There are 42 responses posted to this question.
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| In Terms Of Defining The Word "witch" To The Reader Of An... ||Aug 14th. at 4:54:10 pm EDT|
|Rainbow Zend (Pecos, Texas US) ||Age: 35 |
In terms of defining the word "witch" to the reader of an encyclopedia or dictionary, I would word it something like this:
Witch -wich-noun- 1. A person, male or female, from one of many earth-centered Pagan or Neo-Pagan religions who practices or professes to practice magic through the use of ritual ceremony. 2. A person who practices divination through the use of mediums such as Tarot cards, runes, various scrying methods or psychic ability. 3. A person who uses herbal or other alternative methods of healing and considers themself to be a witch. 4. (Historical) A person has been put on trial and tested or punished by usually lethal methods for their use or suspected use of witchcraft. 5. (Slang) An ugly, usually old or eccentric woman, a hag. (O.E)wicce Witchcraft - wich-kraft-noun- 1. The use of methods such as established rituals, spells and divination to foretell or affect the outcome of events.
In an encyclopedia, I would also explain something of the belief systems of pre-Christian Britannia and continental Europe to give the reader the historical origin of the belief systems that make up the current Pagan belief systems. Specifically, I would give a little description of the major Celtic and Gods and Goddesses and explain the major Pagan celebrations so that they could see the origins of the modern Christian celebrations. I would also refer the readers to the "Paganism" and "Shamanism" sections, because Shamanism has similarities to the ancient Celtic belief system and because it is usually considered part of the realm of modern Paganism.
| From My Perspective, A Witch Is A Practitioner Of Witchcraft, No Matter... ||Aug 14th. at 6:22:36 pm EDT|
|Athena Sunwolf (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 21 - Email |
From my perspective, a witch is a practitioner of witchcraft, no matter the religion. This means not only that Wiccans are not the only people who can be called witches, but also that people of nonpagan religions may also choose to practice witchcraft. For that is what it is--a practice. It is a practice based upon using specific types of rituals and spells in individual amounts to bring change through will focused in what is commonly called magick. Witchcraft generally draws its energies from the witch as well as the natural environment surrounding the witch. What makes a witch, too, is how magickal energies are focused. Many witches find their best foci in the folklore and traditions of Celtic-area Europe are most popular, and the Italian Stregha is also gaining members. Other cultures such as Egyptian and Japanese also find places in witchcraft; still, it tends to be mostly European-based. Most witches use such tools as athames, chalices, etc., though these are not 100% universal. A witch may do elaborate rituals calling on the forces and deities of Nature or simple spells, often handwritten, in the privacy of their own home. Sometimes witchcraft blurs into the realms of other magickal systems such as shamanism, druidism and ceremonial magick, all of which have given their own flavours to witchcraft as it is most commonly seen today.
This does not mean that every with is a shaman, a Druid and a mage as well as a witch. Each magickal system has its own unique actions and rituals. Many witches would never dare follow any of Crowley's works (though there definitely are plenty of exceptions) and spellcraft generally isn't viewed as a part of any other magickal focus. Druidry tends to be more masculine focused than most forms of witchcraft today, and shamanism generally tends to be less formalized and more instinctual (relatively) when compared to common witchcraft practices. However, of all these witchcraft seems to be the most compatible with the other forms of magick, as it is common to hear "I am a shamanic witch, " or "I am a witch with Druidic tendencies, " but not so common to hear "I am a shaman who also works with ceremonial magick." (This is not to say that this never happens, but the witch/other magick hybrid seems to be most popular.)
Nor does having psychic sensitivity or other abilities make one a witch. Sitting on a chair and seeing an aura does not make one a witch; nor does watching "The Craft" and dressing like Marilyn Manson. Witchcraft requires study, practice and acquired skill; it does not "just happen." There are those for whom working magick through witchcraft is easier, though this simply means that other people may have to work harder--it does *not* mean they can't be a witch, too! If witchcraft really were all that easy, the degrees and other forms of "graduation" used by witches' covens, Wiccan and otherwise, would not be necessary. Nor would the resources available to solitaries urge them to do further reading and personal study.
Witchcraft is neither black nor white. Some older traditions do use colour to denote different areas of witchcraft, such as Green for herbal witchcraft, bornw for animal-based witchcraft, etc. Witchcraft can, however, be used for both helpful and harmful purposes, despite what some people would believe. It is a tool, and just like any other tool can have numerous uses--it is up to the wielder to decide what uses those will be. Not all witches follow the Threefold Law and the Rede, either--those are unique to the Wiccan religion though other witches may use various forms of those ideals. A witch does not have to necessarily believe in the Wiccan idea of Deity as personified by the Goddess and God. A witch can be polytheistic, pantheistic, atheistic, monotheistic, humanistic or agnostic.
Of course, there is always the saying, "Ask ten witches what witchcraft is and you'll get (minimum) 25 different answers...."
| Witch.- A Magician Adept In The Sciences Of Nature And In Certain... ||Aug 14th. at 9:20:03 pm EDT|
|Mesmerius (Cuernavaca, Mexico) ||Age: 43 - Email |
Witch.- A magician adept in the Sciences of Nature and in certain ancient bodies of knowledge, devoted to spread the concepts of love, tolerance and compassion, as opposed to the wide- spread hatred, intolerance and selfishness that plague the modern world.
Witchcraft.- The techniques, ideologies and spells that can help a witch disseminate his / her mission of love.
| Farrar And Bone Sum It Up Beautifully, And Truthfully. It's All Writen... ||Aug 14th. at 10:43:03 pm EDT|
|Friend (Phoenix, Arizona US) ||Age: 16 |
Farrar and Bone sum it up beautifully, and truthfully.
It's all writen here. http://gofree.indigo.ie/~wicca/
| A Witch Is A Person, Either Male Or Female, Who Has The... ||Aug 15th. at 12:57:22 am EDT|
|Wayne Andrews (Siler City, North Carolina US) ||Age: 48 |
A Witch is a person, either male or female, who has the ability to channel energy to cause an effect to happen. While there is the occasional rogue Witch, most use their abilities for good. This is because of their belief in Karma, and the Law Of Three Fold Return.
Karma basically says, "What goes around comes around".
Law of Three Fold Return states that whatever you send out (intentions or energy), will return to you three times (at least, if not more).
Witches also seek to be in harmony with Nature and the Universe.
Thus, saying Witches or Witchcraft is evil goes contrary to the Wiccian Rede and basic beliefs of Witches, Wiccans or Pagans.
| A Witch Is Definitely A Practitioner Or Witchcraft. Witchraft Is Magical Arts... ||Aug 15th. at 2:41:06 am EDT|
|Shadowwit (Subang Jaya, Malaysia) ||Age: 18 - Email |
A witch is definitely a practitioner or witchcraft. Witchraft is magical arts, though not thoroughly considered by many as a science, it is still widely believed by many people due to its mystical powers.
Witchcraft is neutral, it is neither white or black, a witch however can turn witchcraft for the betterment or the worse, yet, it is always reminded that the karmic laws exist. When a witch says she practice white witchcraft, means she usually does healing, love spells and lot's of goody stuff, but black witchcraft is another way round.
Though, many from other faiths suggest that there is no such thing as a good witch, they are often proven wrong with great modern day wtiches such as Doreen Valiente, Charles Leland and many more.
A witch can simply mean anything, even a Satanist or a demonist can become a witch, though their practical magic might be evil. Yet, a Wiccan, a Pagan or people from any other religion can too become a witch, for witchcraft is universal.
Here in Malaysia, I'm coordinating a witchcraft group. We're not a Wicca group but a witchcraft group which discusses all aspect of magic. The good thing is, we're so multi-religious, that we have a pagan(me), a Muslim, a Buddhist, and even an agnostic weaving each other's great truth within this beautiful circle.
We hold chats at night and though our views are different, we are very very tolerant. Such as our Muslim friend who still believes in judgement after death, we do let let such views deter our fellowship because we know the truth is always somewhere in the middle, compromising all paths.
I think being a modern witch is challenging. I don't take much effort telling people what witchcraft really is about, because they'll still be striking you with suspicion. I leave them, by telling all witches have woodland orgies and sacrifice dead babies... but that was how, people doubted my words and eventually joined our circle, of love.
| Witch-i Believe A Witch Is A Person, Male Or Female, Who Has... ||Aug 15th. at 3:53:21 am EDT|
|Rae (Auburn, Washington US) ||Age: 15 - Email |
Witch-I believe a Witch is a person, male or female, who has felt the powers of Mother Earth and through a set of rituals (elaborate or not) manipulate the energies around him/her and send that energy into the universe to create/form/help a positive event, feeling, or cause.
Witchcraft-the craft of doing what I just said above... there are lots of things you can get in to, circles, pantheons, tools, but the bare bones of it is focused energy and the ability to do this.
| Witch"..variation On Wic Or Wicca, Meaning "wise". One Who Recognizes And... ||Aug 15th. at 7:40:37 am EDT|
|Elizabeth Brewster (Springfield, Virginia US) ||Age: 31 - Email |
"Witch"..variation on Wic or Wicca, meaning "wise". One who recognizes and uses the energy in the universe to change their circumstances or circumstances of those around them for the benefit of all and the harming of none.
| Witch/wiccan :male Or Female Who Is Open To The Natural Energies... ||Aug 15th. at 10:04:16 am EDT|
|Jade (Neath - Port talbot, England UK) ||Age: 18 - Email |
Witch/Wiccan :Male or female who is open to the natural energies of the world around them and who may or may not use these energies for good or bad. One who believes they have some degree of control over energies and can change their own or others surcumatances by influencing them.
| A Spiritual Person, A Person Who Works With Magick.(who Would Define... ||Aug 15th. at 10:51:08 am EDT|
|Self (ST Petersburg, Florida US) ||Age: 32 |
A Spiritual Person, A Person who works with magick.(Who would define themselves as such)
| As I Do Not Describe Myself As A Wiccan Or Witch, I... ||Aug 15th. at 2:02:06 pm EDT|
|Thomas D. Van Hook - aka "Elf" (Lewisville, Texas US) ||Age: 34 - Email |
As I do not describe myself as a Wiccan or Witch, I feel that I would be highly unqualified, as a Neo-Pagan, to describe a group of individuals based on my opinion of what their beliefs and understandings are.
| My Definition Of The Word "witch"? It Would Be Something Like This... ||Aug 15th. at 2:20:23 pm EDT|
|Richard Gant (Highland Heights, Kentucky US) ||Age: 27 - Email |
My definition of the word "witch"? It would be something like this:
1. (Traditional) An individual who utilizes magic in order to harm others; a practitioner of the black arts.
2. (Modern) A member of a nature-worshipping pagan faith; a practitioner of Wicca (see Wicca).
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