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The words Wicca and witch

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Forums -> Other Paths -> The words Wicca and witch

The words Wicca and witch
By:
Post # 1
I'm including an article I found and it's link on the meaning of the words Wicca and Witch and how they are seen in various cultures.
http://usminc.org/meaning.html



The biggest hurdle in trying to have a rational discussion about Wicca is the definition of the word "Witch". Now, you know the idea of what a Witch is, don't you? A witch is an evil sorceress, an old crone, flies on a broomstick, and has sabbats with the Devil. The things associated traditionally with Witches along with pointed hats and noses are nudity, cannibalism, poison, and bad things in general.



Wiccans however believe this is all wrong. They think the negative image of the witch is purely a Christian invention, meant to slander their religion. They insist the word Wicca is derived from the middle English word "wicce", which they claim means "wise". It is true the word "Wizard" is derived from the word "wysard" which means "wise one". However, the word "wicce", from which Wiccans claim the word Witch is derived does not have any connotations about wisdom. The word actually means "to bend". "Wicce" is where we get the word "wicker", as in wicker furniture. This is because wicker is bent wood.

Wicce is also where we get the word "wicked". Why? Because wicked people are often described as being "bent". "Bent" is not used to describe witches because they use their powers to "bend reality" as some wiccan apologists claim, either. So, if we accept the idea that the word Witch comes from the old English word "wicce", this would mean Wiccans aren't wise, but wicked!

As some linguists have noted, the word witch may be a case of what linguists call "onomatopoeia", which is when a word is formed to sound like the thing it was really intended to mean. I won't write what some people think the word means. It obviously rhymes with "witch", and you can >ahem< probably figure it out. But again, this would be typical of what people throughout history thought of Witches. Even in Islamic countries, it is believed witches are people who reject Islam and engage in unholy practices.

It not only in the English language that people have a negative connotation of the word "witch". Every language of every culture has their equivalent to the word as well, and it never has anything to do with wisdom, midwifery, or herbalism (except in the making of poisons). Even in non-Christian cultures there is usually a counter sorcerer of some kind to combat the witch. In Vietnam, if someone feels they have been cursed by a witch, they will go to the Buddhist priest. In the Congo, witch finders are called nganga ngombo seek out witches.

Satanist Anton LaVey (who was not a Wiccan because Wiccans aren't Satanists, yes, I know) despised so-called "white light" witches and considered them "hypocrites sinning on the layaway plan". LaVey noted, "Anthropologists have shown that even in primitive societies, notably the Azande, the definition of the word witch carries malevolent connotations. Therefore, are we to assume the only "good" witches were English ones?" ( Anton LaVey, The Satanic Rituals, Page 13)
Here is a list of the meaning of "witch" in various languages (including superstitions associated with them), for those who doubt the word has anything but "malevolent connotations".

Nation or Ethnic Group Equivalent to English word "witch" Meaning
Albanian shtrige evil sorceress (has nothing to do with "wise" or "healer", etc. In fact none of the definitions in this list do).

African (West African) bilis evil sorcerer who ruins crops , etc.,

Afrikaans heks hexer, evil sorceress

Ashanti (African) Obayifo witch, evil sorcerer

Arabic hag; beldam; beldame; witch; crone

Burmese wu Evil sorceress who traffic with evil spirits in graveyards, seduce young boys, kill people, etc., Good Buddhists are thought to be immune to them. Under Burmese Kings, witchcraft was punishable by law.

Bulgarian magiosnitzi Sorcerers, usually old women, who did many evils through magic, such as ruin crops, harm livestock, desstroy friendships, etc. Note: There were no witch hunts in Bulgaria, so the nefarious conotation of this word cannot be blamed on it.

Chinese (Cantonese) wul
hag; shrew; evil sorceress

Dutch toverheks Hexer. An evil sorcerer

Estonian ntiamoor An evil sorcerer who ruins crops, etc.

Farsi (Iranian) pari An evil sorcerer

French sorciere An evil sorcerer

Greek magissa Evil sorcereess

German hexenmiester Literally, "Master of hexing". An evil sorcerer

Hebrew
kawshaf
Literally "He who whispers a spell". An evil sorcerer.
Indonesian penyihir perempuan Evil sorceress who practicers black magic, etc.,

Italian strega Evil sorceress believed to be capable of changing into birds and drinking the blood of infants at night. Has nothing to do with "Wicca", which wasn't invented until 1954.

Japanese kijo Witch, sorceress, and also demoness, ogress, she-devil. Greatly feared by Shintos.

Korean (manyeo) evil sorcerer

Latin (Pre-Christian Rome) veneficus An evil sorcerer. In Pre-Christian Pagan Rome, witches were taken outside the city to be killed.

Navajo naagloshii witch or wizard, literally "skin walker". Believed to be able to shape-shift into animals with animals skins. Evil sorcerers who kill people and are greatly feared.

Mandarin (Chinese) mo mo witch, wizard, evil sorcerer, also means literally "demon power" or witchcraft

Portugese Bruxa Evil sorceress, one who hexes, kills live stock, traffics with ghosts and demons, etc.,

Punjabi Jadoogarni Evil sorceress. In India, witch burnings among the Hindus (Pagans) were performed in ancient times and still take place today! See The Genocide of Hindu Women on the Matriarchy Myth link under Wicca on the menu to the left.

Romanian striga
witch, vampire

Russian ved'ma Evil sorceress, who ruins crops, kills live stock, curses and hexes, etc., Note: Russia had no witch hunts and didn't execute witches, so the nafarious meaning of the word cannot be blamed on such things.

Swahili (African) mchawi (s), wachawi (p) A "witchdoctor", sorcerer, practioner of balck magic. Body parts of albinos used in rituals.

Thai maimot evil sorceress, hag,

Turkish Jadis evil sorceress who can affect people's will, property, health, etc.,

Urdu/Hindi (Pakistani) Jadoogarni (same as Punjabi) evil sorceress, hag, witch

Vietnamese phu thuy An evil sorcereress (Buddhists seek out monks at a temple for help if they think they've been cursed by a phu thuy. They obviously didn't learn this behavior from Christians!)

Realizing this, some Wiccans have started to distance themselves from the word "witch". But of course by doing this, they're undoing their history, because Gerald Gardner's premise was that Wiccans were witches, and that witches were survivors of a fictitious underground British Pagan cult dating back to the Stone age. Still, it's probably better to abandon the word witch, the so-called "Burning Times" myth, the idea Wicca is an "Old Religion", and just accept Wicca is a new religion. Every religion has to have a starting point...Wicca's was 1954 A.D.


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Re: The words Wicca and witch
By:
Post # 2
Being pedantic, magissa would probably be a Latinised version of the Persian magos or magi , and I haven't seen it used as a term for those who practiced magic in Ancient Greece.

Greek terms for sorcerers are (Male/Female) epodoi/epaoidoi (incantations, chanting, kind of like a Greek form of Galdr), goetes/goetides (calling up spirits) and pharmakeis/pharmakides (those who knew the properties of plants). There was possibly a distinction between the practices originally, but by around the 5th and 4th centuries BCE these terms were used to describe anyone who practiced any kind of magic.

On a side note, necromancy ( nekuomanteia ) was considered to be a specialised form of divination and wasn't really associated magic, thus missing out the more shady associations with sorcery.
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Re: The words Wicca and witch
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 3
Well, Hoodoo Boy, you seem to have read a lot; and learnt nothing!
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Re: The words Wicca and witch
By: Moderator / Adept
Post # 4
Wicca was not started in 1954. More like 1924! And it is based on much older traditions and beliefs. Gardner chose the word Wicca purely as a title, trying to get old the beliefs recognised by the British Government as a religion. Gardner was English; and so "coined" the title from the Old English "wiccacreft", male worker.
(Wiccecreft, female worker.)
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Re: The words Wicca and witch
By:
Post # 5
Still wicca goes no father back then the 20th century and is in fact not the old religion!
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Re: The words Wicca and witch
By:
Post # 6
and to call oneself a witch is in fact to link themselves to a word that has not one good connotation,also the Old English word ?Wicca? means to bend, not wise one unlike what gardner claimed!
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Re: The words Wicca and witch
By: / Novice
Post # 7
That's wicker, not Wicca.
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Re: The words Wicca and witch
By: / Novice
Post # 8
You might find this interesting:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Wicca
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Re: The words Wicca and witch
By:
Post # 9
That's if you believe in the New Forest coven and Gardner's
initiation, I personally do not and if you read the wikipedia article you may see why.

I can see most elements of Wicca which are public in the Western Mystery Tradition. Gardner flitted from one magical group to another, whilst I challenge Cecil Williamson on some things, his account of the creation of Wicca is most enlightening.
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Re: The words Wicca and witch
By: / Beginner
Post # 10
Wow! You know your stuff about witch's and wiccans don't you?
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