What is Witchcraft
Witchcraft - the belief in, or use of, certain kinds of supernatural or magical powers
Witch - is a practitioner of witchcraft (I would just like to note at this point that there are my own views which you may not agree with. Also note that as I am not Wiccan, as such I do not follow the Wiccan path or Rede. Wicca is just a single path amongst many in witchcraft. Not all Witches are Wiccan and not all follow the Rede. Also, please note that Wicca is a modern religion that has brought together many different paths to one, it is not ancient or traditional. My introduction to witchcraft is based the old tradition. There are many different forms of magic that covers all sides, Black, White and Gray. Even though the majority of Wiccans do not touch the darker side due to their rules or Rede (Harm ye no-one do as you will) it can not be denied.)
About Witches and Wicca - My View
Do you have to be a Wiccna to use witchcraft? One day, doing my regular research I came across a comment that worried me, it said... "Witchcraft is actually a practice and not a religion. The religion that the witches follow is called Wicca." Worse still I then found this on another site - "The Wiccan Rules (Rede) - The Wiccan Rede is the rule of conduct that all witches must follow while practicing witchcraft." My Response To Wicca Phrases Like These... These are such sad false stereotypes coming from those who have not done any real research or have any real or true understanding of witchcraft. This is for witches who follow the path of Wicca. Not all witches follow the Rede. A Witch may be a Wiccan but - and this is the important part - not all witches are Wiccan !
The religion comes from who you are not what you do. Witchcraft is not a religion, it is a craft, the actual practice of what a Witch does. A Witch is a Pagan who practices Witchcraft, a Wiccan is a Pagan who practices witchcraft. If Wicca is your chosen path then that is your rule, but do not put this "all" when it does not apply to all witches. If you are Wiccan then ensure you learn your craft, learn your heritage and learn the history of Wicca!. Do not force your path rules on everybody, it makes you sound too much like another religious sect! When you follow the pagan path there are no predefined options. Pagan is a widely used term as is Christianity or Muslim, but underneath the term there are many different paths. So lets come back to the original question, do you have to practice Wicca to be a Witch? No. You can be a Wiccan and follow the Rede etc if you so wish, but you do not have to.
There are many Pagan paths that use Witchcraft. The problem arising is that a lot more Wiccan Witch's are trying to state that Wicca is exactly what a Witch is and is the only path. Another misunderstanding I think is that many Wiccans state things like "I come from a long line of Wiccans" Hmm, it can not be that long a line as Wicca was "created" in the 1950's! People are drawn to the path of "Witch" but hardly any have done any real research of understanding the path they are on. I call it "blind faith". Its like the number of people who call themselves "Christian" but have never read the Bible. If you are Wiccan you should know not only your path but your history!
Witchcraft is something that we've all heard of that very few people understand. In these modern times it is always associated with fairytales and evil wicked witches but the truth of the matter is witchcraft is very misunderstood. Witchcraft has been around since the dawn of humanity. It is an ancient craft that works within nature, the sun and the moon. Modern witches use the energy of everything around us within their daily lives. A lot of modern medicines are based on ancient shamanic remedies. Modern science has its roots in ancient witchcraft and alchemy. Even now we look to the sun and moon to plan our days. A modern witch works with nature, the rivers the trees everything around the same as they did in ancient times.
People fear witchcraft because they do not understand it. When someone mentions witchcraft they think of all the fairy tales and the evil it is connected with because it is all they have known and grown up with. They imagine someone casting a spell over them to take control of their mind and remove their free will. Witchcraft is looking at the world through different eyes and embracing nature. Witchcraft is nothing like Harry Potter and the movies, flying around on broomsticks, bringing back the dead, and making people turn into frogs. Witchcraft is using what is inside you to manifest change for yourself and your surroundings. It is learning to trust yourself, hear what is around you, within you, and trusting in what you feel to change into what you could become. The magic of witchcraft is honesty, truth, and trust. It is putting something into action and believing it will manifest itself sometime in the future and that will bring about the change that is in itself the miraculous secret of what magic is. To use witchcraft you don't need anything but belief in yourself and the power within you.
You do not need a wand, a broomstick, or any other piece of equipment that is associated with witchcraft but these tools can be used by people as a focus to help to manifest the magic. They can be used as a direction, an aid to guide you through the spell work that you are attempting. The use of a wand can help with confidence in what you are attempting but in the end it is a tool to help focus the magic that you are summoning.
Witchcraft practitioners often use mediation or sometimes even yoga to prepare themselves for casting magic. It is also a wonderful way to release stress. Divination is also widely used before casting any spell, preparation is very important in any magic work so it is good for any witch to learn the art and find one method f divination that suits them.
It is good practice to know and fully understand before hand exactly what you are doing, no magic should ever, ever be done in haste! Most people have heard of black magic and white magic with the gray area in between but in true witchcraft there is no true good and evil. The main difference between black and white witchcraft is the intention. If you wish to cause harm it is classed as black magic, good is classed as white and this then gives the gray area in the middle. But where is the line between black and white, who decides what is black, what is white and what is gray? What is classed as good to one may be neutral to another the same as what one person thinks as harm, another could think of as right. At the end of the day the magic you perform is based on your own life, understanding, reasoning and thought. You manifest your own magic into witchcraft, and for the magic to work you must trust and believe in what you are doing. As long as you understand what you do, what you cast, and trust in what you are doing is right and the reasons that you do this is true to you, who is to say it is black, white or gray.
Traditional Witchcraft Often we find that there is not much understanding in the public consciousness about what witchcraft actually is. The witchcraft label has historically been applied to any influence on another person's mind, body or property against his or her will (or sometimes in order to undermine the social or religious order). One of the most commonly attributed characteristics of a witch is the ability to cast a spell, which is basically the means employed to accomplish some magical action. One of the most well known of witchcraft practices deals with the influence one may possess that causes another to act against his or her will. Historically, the act was viewed as an attempt to challenge the social and religious rules established during the time period. While some deemed witchcraft as an art filled with magic, others found it to be a malicious religion or cult that was punishable by death.. The basis of witchcraft is nature and it goes hand in hand with nature rather than against it. It has nothing to do with black magic. No doubt it involves magic but it is the kind of magic that is generously available in the world.
Witchcraft is nothing like what you see in the movies; a witch will not fly about on brooms nor do they assume another form or put life back into the dead. Witchcraft is simply a tool that helps to release the power within you. This power is something we all have, and it's up to us where we want to take it. Just like any tool can be used for good or ill, so can witchcraft. Unfortunately, this is one reason why witchcraft has gotten such a bad rap over the years. Too many people using it to fulfill their desires for lust, greed, and power. But did you know that witchcraft can be used to increase your self-confidence and strengthen your relationships?. . The main difference between white witchcraft and black witchcraft is the intention behind them. If you use witchcraft to bring harm and misfortune to others, or to exert your will over others, it is considered black witchcraft. If you instead use it to bring joy, happiness, health, wealth, and love into your life, and into the lives of others, it is considered white witchcraft. There is also a grey area of magic, when lines between the two become blurred. This is why before any magic spell, ritual or invocation is begun you are thoroughly prepared and focused.
Myths about Witchcraft
*Witches worship the Devil/Satan/Lucifer" - Many Christians believe Pagans are Satan worshippers. As Satan is a part of the Christian and Muslim religions, and pagans are neither Christian nor Muslim, Satan does not have a place in Pagan structure at all. In fact most pagans believe more in the laws of karma. "What goes around comes around."
*Witches always dress in black" - Another myth that has no fact in reality. I am a Goth and a Witch, I do dress in black, a lot! I like the color black, but I also dress in bright shocking pink, blue, red, yellow and even white!
*All witches are Wiccan" - Witchcraft and Wicca are two entirely separate things. Witchcraft is a craft or skill, just as cooking is a craft or skill. It can be learned and practiced by anyone who can follow instructions and focus on what they're doing. Wicca is a religion, constructed in the 1950's by a man named Gerald Gardner. Some Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccans.
*Witches use broomsticks" - Well I use a broom for cleaning up! If witches really used broomsticks for actually flying, wouldn't there be some reports of a witch UFO somewhere?
*Witchcraft is a cult" - A cult is defined as a group of people blindly following a leader and in Witchcraft, there is no "leader". Witchcraft is as it implies, it is a "craft". In fact Witches are Free Thinkers so there is no way we can be called a Cult.
*The Pentagram is the sign of the Devil"- In Judaism it is the Seal of Solomon, In Taoism it is the symbol for the five elements wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Even in medieval times Christians wore pentagrams thinking it would protect them from demons. The Devil is a Christian idea and as Pagans we do not believe in that concept so we do not believe in the Devil.