After looking through the forums I couldn't find anything on the subject, so here we go! Traditional Witchcraft, also known as Old Ways Craft, Cunning Craft, the Crooked Path, and many other names is witchcraft practiced today as it was hundreds of years ago. Through family traditions, confessions given during the witchcraft trials, and firsthand accounts from those who sought the help of the witches themselves, we are able to observe a practice that has been done for centuries. In places such as Cornwall, England where the practices never truly died out, we are able to observe a plethora of old world witchcraft traditions. Their culture, folklore, an ultimately belief systems have been preserved and continue to thrive.
Traditional Witchcraft is predominantly seen as a practice rather than a religion. Yes, that does mean there ARE Christian Witches. Within this practice, there is a strong belief in animism, or the idea that everything natural in this world is inhabited by a spirit. There is also a heavy reliance upon the Earth itself. Traditional Witches don't neseccarily have to try to be in tune with nature. By the way we practice out craft, we already are. We revere nature for all that it is. Yes, nature is beautiful, kind, and loving. It is also cruel, harsh, and unforgiving. We will not hesitate to use parts of an animal in a spell, just as we won't hesitate to use herbs or flowers. Traditional Witches generally place a large emphasis on the idea of balance, and the principles of light and dark. In the Traditional Craft, we follow no moral code other than our own. We don't believe for a second in the "Threefold Law" as set forth by Gerald Gardner. We take full responsibility for our actions, as they are done with immense amounts of thought.
In the Traditional Craft, there is a heavy use of magic. It is often joked that Wiccans spend most of their time preparing for magic, while Traditional Witches spend most of our time doing magic. We firmly believe that the Earth is already sacred. To "cleanse" a space would be redundant in our minds. This leads us to another key point. Traditional Witches do not need to "Cast Circles" before performing magic. For special occasions, or for VERY important works of magic, we will do what's known as "Laying a Compass." This is not however, the same as casting a circle. While Wiccans use circles to create sacred space for their work, Traditonal Witches use the Compass Round to bring themselves closer to the spirit world. Traditional Witches have also made quite a point of working with all manner of spirits, the most commonly heard of being the familiar spirit. This would naturally come from the animistic view of the world.
Another large difference in Traditional Craft is the celebrations. In most Traditional settings, the Full Moons are of the most importance. These are nights when the spirit world is alive, power flows freely, and all things are "awake" if you will. These are our Sabbats. We do have festivals we celebrate during, but they are not as important to us as the Full Moons. In regards to our festivals, the number celebrated differs not only from tradition to tradition, but from person to person! Each witch will do things their own way. I personally observe the equinoxes, solstices, and a few other minor holidays here and there.
This article is by NO means a "be-all-end-all" to Traditional Witchcraft. There are hundreds of different traditions whose beliefs and practices are VERY different from those listed here. Are there any Traditional Witches on this site? If so, be sure to leave a comment describing what you can of your practices!