Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

May/June 2016 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

Witchcraft: By Charm and Spell

This article was written by Scott Cunningham on May 10, 2002
posted under Witchcraft

Folk magic was born in an age of wonder. Tens of thousands of years ago, nature was a mysterious force. Points of light swung far overhead in the sky. Invisible forces ruffled matted hair and kicked up dust storms. Water fell from above. Powerful forces, inconceivable to humans, sent flashes of light from the skies, blasting trees into raging infernos. Women miraculously bore young. All that moved eventually died. Blood was sacred. Food was sacred. Water, the Earth, plants, animals, the wind and all that existed was infused with power.

Magic—as well as religion and science—sprang from the actions of the first humans who tried to understand, contact and gain some control over such forces. Ritual developed as a means of uniting with the source of this universal energy. Gestures, rhythm, symbols, music, dance and the spoken word were used in ritual to shift the awareness to these higher powers.

Folk magic slowly developed from these beginnings. Every group, every tribe and civilization had its own forms of ritual. Folk magic differed from structured religion and state magic—this was the realm of personal magic, performed for personal reasons. A woman dressed a wound with a plantain leaf that she had gathered with her left hand to increase its healing properties. The fisherman rubbed his bone hooks with flowers to attract fish. Love-sick youths gathered heart-shaped stones and presented these to the objects of their desire.

These simple rituals continued to be used for many thousands of years, particularly in isolated areas. Then, a new organized religion, sprung up in the Near East after the death of a Jewish prophet, flexed its growing political muscles, sweeping across Europe. As country after country "converted," many of the old ways of folk magic were forgotten. Others were altered to outwardly conform to the new religion. That magic that could not be made to at least vaguely conform to the new religion was practiced in secret. The days were over when the old European charms and spells were a part of everyday life.

Today's world offers us many opportunities to create and live in stress; even though it has been many thousands of years since we have had to fear attack from wild animals, modern man has his fight-or-flight system turned on most days, and with no idea how to turn it off. Work, relationships, schedules, kids, media, and much more assist in... read this article
The Eight Phases of the Moon
Becoming a Werewolf: Ancient Shamanic Dog Magic
The Journey of Self-Discovery
Color Your Tarot
11 Magical Ways That Angels Send You Guidance

Most recent posts:
Letting Go of Fear
Christine Jette’s wonderful book, Tarot for the Healing Heart, teaches how to use tarot for issues of health and healing on all levels. For so...

How Much Should You Meditate?
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Doron Hanoch, author of the new Yoga Lifestyle. How much should you meditate? All the time!...

Llewellyn's 2016 Tarot Catalog Is Here!
We are proud to bring our readers our sixth annual tarot catalog! Discover the newest in tarot offerings from Llewellyn, Lo Scarabeo, and Blue Angel,...




Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar
84th Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $18.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Spell-A-Day Almanac
Holidays & Lore, Spells, Rituals & Meditations

By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
Alchemy 1977 Gothic 2017 Calendar Alchemy 1977 Gothic 2017 Calendar
The Midnight Rose

By: Alchemy 1977
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN