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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.
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| Witch. In The Modern Day, A Witch Is A Female Or Male... ||Aug 18th. at 2:41:22 pm UTC|
|Adelandaya BirchGrove (DeKalb, Illinois US) ||Age: 27 - Email |
Witch. In the modern day, a Witch is a female or male follower of a nature based religion, often also called a Pagan religion. There are many different religions encompassed in that definition, but the commonalities are as follows:
1. Belief that harm done to others returns to the Witch, and often returns increased in volume.
2. Belief that good done to others returns to the Witch, and often returns increased in volume.
3. Some sort of belief about deities is usually included, but seeing that doctrine tends to mean less than the practice of the Pagan religions, an argument can be made that a Witch could be an atheist and still be a Witch as long as s/he practiced the religion.
4. Celebration of and recognition of the major seasonal changes, usually celebrated on the eight major holidays. Cycles of the planet are important to the practitioners of Witchcraft.
5. No belief in a Satan/evil figure in the Witch's pantheon. In fact, evil may well be seen simply as a human creation, and have nothing to do with the God/dess(es) at all.
Of course, seeing that this religion has no formal hierarchy, no "one true book" which defines what all Witches must believe, and much encouragement of "solitary" practice...it is certain that one may be able to find Witches who do not fit the mold, who make their own way. But this is just a generalized overview.
| The Word Witch In Dictionaries And Encyclopedias Are Wrong. However, I Am... ||Aug 18th. at 10:31:18 am UTC|
|Kathleen (Moonlight Morgan) (Windsor, Ontario CA) ||Age: 17 - Email |
The word witch in dictionaries and encyclopedias are wrong. However, I am not really worried about it. There are a lot of words in the dictionary that are wrong. No matter what dictionary you look at. Not only that, has anyone ever bothered to look at what they define Christian as. I have a Funk and Wagnalls dictionary at home. This is what it says
1.Professing or following the religion of Christ.....
2. A civilized, decent or respectable person.
According to the dictionary, unless we are Christian, we are not civilized or decent. The words Buddhist and Hindu are okay and even the word Pagan is not bad. So how come Witch/Witchcraft's definitions in Dictionaries and Encyclopedias are so far off?
Because of when they were made/published. During the time that Christianity was dominant. Now, if you are getting the idea that I am against Christianity, I am not.
I do not own and Encyclopedia but I read what Britannica had to say.
Well, I am off topic here, the question was what would my modern definition for the word Witch/Witchcraft be?
My answer is simple, I would not change it.
| If A Hard, Be-all And End-all Definition Were Needed, A True Definition... ||Aug 18th. at 10:07:24 am UTC|
|Autumn Silvermist (Manassas, Virginia US) ||Age: 20 - Email |
If a hard, be-all and end-all definition were needed, a true definition of witchcraft could take many pages! It is a gentle, peace-loving tradition of people who love nature and all life. Who have absolutely no intentions of harming others. Just as we all have different personalities, Witches worship in our own ways. We may subscribe to a particular tradition, but we make it ours with our own personal touches. That is the beauty of Witchcraft. We don't follow a strict, do-it-this-way-or-no-way doctrine. We do as we feel is right and pure. There are some who want to abuse the power, but they cannot truly call themselves Witches. Anyone who is out to harm others is anti-Witch. And I must say that as a Witch, I am deeply offended at the defintion offered by what I thought was a legitimate source of information. My eyes are open now.
| If I Were Writing The Definition - This Would Be A Draft! This... ||Aug 18th. at 3:51:33 am UTC|
|L Norton (Livonia, Michigan US) ||Age: 45 - Email |
If I were writing the definition - this would be a draft! This would have to be a multiple entry. First, it should indicate that a Witch/Witchcraft is a nature based religion, which recognizes multiple gods and goddesses, whose believers practice ritual magic.... (not totally complete but you get the idea).
The second entry would indicate that an alternative definition was introduced by the Malordus ...(can't remember the name - Latin), a fictional book that was written to give the Christian Church a weapon against those who refused to convert to Christianity. In this book, the definition of a witch being someone who cavorted with the Devil ... etc, etc, etc, was developed. This was verbally acknowledged as truthful only by women who were tortured until they agreed with the definition. Those who did not agree died.
It needs lots of work! Feel feel to fix this!
| Witchcraft/witch/wiccan- A Religion Of Balance-worship Of A Goddess And A... ||Aug 18th. at 12:58:10 am UTC|
|Bo'Wind Art Do'bhran (Nappanee, Indiana US) ||Age: 36 - Email |
WitchCraft/Witch/Wiccan- a religion of balance-worship of a Goddess and a God, a back to the basics of nature religion, one that embraces and respects the elements of nature, and all her creatures, a religion that took alot of hard knocks, but keeps coming back stronger and wiser, this religion does not boast or brag about being better then the other, it needs no words, just look in the eyes of a Wiccan/Witch, and you can see the compassion for their religion, it is one that is positive. WitchCraft does not worhip a devil, or believe in any such place as "hell", but, they do believe that you can make your own "hell" here on Earth, your own personal "devil". The religion WitchCraft or a Witch can be be summed up in one sentence "Love is the Law"
| A Person Of The Old Religion, A Person Male Or Female Who... ||Aug 17th. at 5:25:32 pm UTC|
|Phynix (Marietta, Georgia US) ||Age: 31 - Email |
A person of the old religion, A person male or female who practices rituals and spell work. One who is of the Earth
Witchcraft: Magick, spell work, working with spells,
| Yep, The Encyclopedia Entry Misses What Witches Really Are. By My Definition... ||Aug 17th. at 4:17:38 pm UTC|
|Ruis (Edinburgh, Scotland UK) ||Age: 27 |
Yep, the Encyclopedia entry misses what witches really are.
By my definition...In the medieval period in Europe, many women and men who practiced herbal medicine, midwifery and sympathetic magic were identified as witches during the hysteria and panic caused by political and economic upheaval and plague. Some so-called witches were individuals who bought the mythos created by mouthpieces of the Church, and practiced a text-book form of witchcraft according to such classics as The Hammer of the Witches. Time, The Church and anecdotal evidence have clouded the issue of real witchcraft as practiced in Europe in the historical period.
The modern Witch is a person who respects nature, believes in the immanent god/dess, practices sympathetic magic and lives by a simple rule of conduct called The Wiccan Rede.
| I Would Like To Consider Myself A "new" Witch....studying, Working, Ritualizing... ||Aug 17th. at 2:53:31 pm UTC|
|Colleen Hawkins (Long Beach, California US) ||Age: 26 - Email |
I would like to consider myself a "new" witch....studying, working, ritualizing everyday for myself and others. I have enjoyed many of the descriptions already posted by fellow witches and with many of them I completely agree. Although my description is too flowery to be truly considered as an appropriate book definition, it is my true feelings and thoughts on witches, witchcraft and magick. We are beautiful, kind, sympathetic, nature loving people. Many of our intentions are to hurt no one and promote goodness in the world and spirituality within ourselves. I have experienced many established religions and Wicca/Witchraft/Being a Witch is the aboslute most beautiful and loving one of all. There is no pressure from higher authorities to live a certain way, no condemnation, and no disdain, discrimination or hate for other religions or people. It is truly beautiful beyond compare. Enjoy your gifts and regardless of how any group of people that don't understand us or the Craft today ...including some limited view dictionary authors..know we all have each other and OUR knowledge about what WE do is good enough to help educate ourselves and others. :)
| First, I Have To Say, That The Britannica Definition Of Witchcraft Has... ||Aug 17th. at 2:07:58 am UTC|
|Leim *wolf* Silverbranch (minot, North Dakota US) ||Age: 26 - Email |
first, i have to say, that the britannica definition of witchcraft has just come to my attention. this appauled me to no great end. i can certainly see where there are different ideas of what a witch is in many different cultures, but to not include what many of us ARE is a travesty. my definition would have to include all of the historical accounts of what we know the various cultures have and do consider/ed a witch to be. to do otherwise would be depriving the world of information which could be valuable. what i would certainly have to include is that witchcraft of today is commonly a nature-based, life-affirming religion which teaches harm to none.
oh, and i appreciate having such a foram as this to post my opinion. i am one who sent britannica an email as soon as i was aware of the difinition that they have. :)
love, light, n blessings;
| I Don't Really Have A Definition, But An Observation. We So Often... ||Aug 16th. at 8:18:29 pm UTC|
|Lenore (St. Louis, Missouri US) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I don't really have a definition, but an observation. We so often here references to "Sabrina the Teenaged Witch", "Charmed" and "Buffy" as mass media images of Witchcraft. However, "Dharma and Greg" seems to depict a much more realistic image of modern day Witches. I don't watch the show often, but whenever I do I am always surprised and pleased by Dharma and especially her mother. Her mother to me is a typical modern day American Witch. Someone who could define this person who follows nature with wit and wisdom, is of pure heart and of service to her fellow man may just have the perfect definition.
| Reading Over Other's Comments, I Notice That Few Mention What I Perceive... ||Aug 16th. at 5:44:36 pm UTC|
|Lillith 3Feathers (Kent, Ohio US) ||Age: 49 - Email |
Reading over other's comments, I notice that few mention what I perceive to be the common denominators among witches/wiccans. Since I do not consider myself a witch (although I have been called that by others), perhaps I am not qualified to give a defination, but I feel called to write a comment. The witches I have known, and the books about witchcraft I've read, seem to have a few things in common irregardless of tradition or background. Yes, there is a belief in the witch's rede and the threefold law. But there is also the belief in a cycle of the God and Goddess. Thus, there is the belief in the Goddess creating and giving birth, and the God growing and dying and being reborn. What do others think: is a belief in the cycle of the God necessary to wicca or witchcraft?
| The Tech. Definition I Give To My Family Is: An Earth Based... ||Aug 16th. at 4:46:27 pm UTC|
|Patricia L Combahee (Summerville, South Carolina US) ||Age: 26 - Email |
The tech. definition I give to my family is: An earth based religion usualy involving two or more "Gods/Goddesses".Most often relating to duality and balance with the feminine being the more prominent deity.
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