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Posted: Nov. 17, 2002
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Question of the Week: 2 - 8/13/2000
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.
|| Reverse Sort
| 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.
| 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...."
| 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.
| Definition? That Defeats The Purpose, Doesn't It? I See A Witch As... ||Aug 14th. at 2:41:01 pm EDT|
|ShaylaB (Phoenix, Arizona US) ||Age: 34 - Email |
Definition? That defeats the purpose, doesn't it? I see a Witch as someone who defies the set parameters of life (including definitions) in order to seek truth in its eternal but ever-changing forms. If I were forced to write a definition for Witchcraft, it would read as thus:
Look out the window
Look into the sky
Look up to the stars
Sing with the moon.
Ask for no answers
And the answer shall come
The question is the giver
And the answer is free.
| I Would Define A Witch As Someone Who, Instead Of Following A... ||Aug 14th. at 2:33:26 pm EDT|
|Mike Johnson (North Canton, Ohio US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I would define a witch as someone who, instead of following a set path, thinks for themself and does what feels natural and right to them.
| Witchcraft Is Seen As Many Things By Many People, Even Witches Don't... ||Aug 14th. at 12:10:51 pm EDT|
|Etaine Cerridwen (Oakville, Ontario CA) ||Age: 20 - Email |
witchcraft is seen as many things by many people, even witches don't entirely agree on the definition of this.
for me, being a witch means taking responsibility for my actions, whether physically or magickally. it also means respect for other faiths, as i would expect respect for mine, as well as respect for personal choices.
witchcraft is a tool for me to celebrate my faith of Wicca. it gives me the knowledge and ability to commune with the gods and with nature.
| I Like Starhawk's Definition: One Who Can Deliberately Alter States Of Consciousness... ||Aug 14th. at 10:32:57 am EDT|
|Gina (Concord, California US) ||Age: 46 - Email |
I like Starhawk's definition: one who can deliberately alter states of consciousness
| Witchcraft: The Modern Use Of This Term Causes Much Confusion Thanks To... ||Aug 14th. at 8:39:26 am EDT|
|Trish Telesco (Western, New York US) ||Age: 40 - Email |
Witchcraft: The modern use of this term causes much confusion thanks to 2, 000 years of misrepresentation and the fact that magick, as a philosophy and a religious approach, has grown and changed with humankind and the earth. Presently Witchcraft is as much an ideal as it is a system of faith. It provides constructs and methods aimed at earth-healing, self evolvement, community reunification, and universal awareness (among other things).
The constructs and methods change depending on the "flavor" of witchcraft being practiced by an individual. Just as Christianity has many sub-sects, witches havemany paths that lead back to the One. None of these paths is better or more owerful than another - simply different ways that appeal to the diversity of human consciousness and experience.
Witchcraft typically involves meditation, prayer, spells, rituals, psychic methods (like divination), and employs a variety of tools like an athame, cup, brazier, and wand. While these tools are not "necessary" to being a witch, they provide a focus. Just as a plumber finds a wrench more effective than bare hands on a tough job, the witch uses tools to direct energy more effectively. As with the schools of witchcraft, the choice of tools is a personal one (or sometimes dictated by the cultural path one explores).
The witch can work alone or in groups. As a solitary, each witch becomes his or her own priest/priestess and guide. Within groups there is usually a hierarchal structure that provides coherancy and wise counsel. As with schools and tools, the choice here returns to the individual.
Stressing individual vision and self-responsibility is, perhaps, one of the most important factors setting modern witchcraft apart from other belief systems. The witch, by definition, bends and changes energy. By so doing, one remains a co-creator in present and future fates. In the most positive sense, a witch is a healer, a walker between the worlds, a seer, a minister, a warrior, and a sage. He or she is one who is trying to develop body, mind, and spirit into a greater whole for the greatest good.
| Merry Meet All, Haveing Just Past My Year And A Day I... ||Aug 14th. at 1:54:40 am EDT|
|Alantis (Earth, Nevada US) ||Age: 18 - Email |
Merry meet all,
Haveing just past my year and a day I would say that the definition should say or include this: A witch is any person who chooses to consiously take controll of there lives and destiny regardless of religious belief.
Why? because All gods are one god and All goddesses are one goddess. And perhaps there is a little bit of witch in everyone.
May peace rule on earth
| Hi, Twv! To Define Witchcraft Would Be From The Perspective Of One... ||Aug 13th. at 9:00:28 pm EDT|
|Tarostar (Toronto, Ontario CA) ||Age: 58 - Email |
Hi, TWV! To define Witchcraft would be from the perspective of one with over 30 years in the occult supplies trade.
Some claim it as a religion, but that imposes religious implications of doctrine and dogma, which Witchcraft contains only in the processes of working Magic and Spellcraft. Witchcraft is more of an occult tool and procedure.
Definition: Witchcraft is the practical application of traditional occult arts and psychic sciences. A Witch is an independent practitioner of Magic and dealer in occult supplies.
Independent is the key word. It releases the Witch from the constraints of a Priesthood and institutional control, as the Witch must be able to work Magic, good, bad or otherwise as each particular situation demands.
The Witch, as an archetype in the Western World's psychology is the poor man's psychiatrist, who must have a remedy in his/her bag of tricks for the purposes of that which makes the occult world go around.
He/she must be able to bring extra metaphysical power into people's lives in the area of love, luck, money, psychic insight and to rid persons of those things which plague them from the spiritual realm.
The Witch goes where normal "clergy" fear to tread.
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