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Witchcraft: Death and Resurrection

This article was written by Scott Cunningham on May 29, 2002
posted under Witchcraft

Soon the leaders of the new religion, determined to wield absolute control over all aspects of human life, sought to stamp out such crimes of heresy as foretelling the future, psychic healing, spiritualism, the creation of protective amulets and love-attracting charms, and everything else which failed to fit in with this religion’s creed.

Throughout the Western world, folk magic became a dim memory as scenes of religious mass-murders (performed in the name of "God") became commonplace.

Soon after, the era of scientific inquiry began. As the horrors of the Medieval and Renaissance "Witch" persecutions faded from the mind, humans began investigating the ways of nature. Magnetism, medicine, surgery, mathematics and astronomy were codified and moved from the realm of superstition and magic to science.

Building upon this knowledge, the Industrial Revolution began in the late 19th century. Humans had gained some control over the Earth and its energies, and machines soon replaced religion in overcoming folk magic.

In the 1900s, a series of local and world wars ripped apart much of what remained of the old ways of living for millions of Europeans and Americans. Folk magic, once the lifeblood of humans, had never seen darker days.

But it had not died out completely. Wherever machines and technology hadn’t yet invaded, folk magic continued to exist. Throughout the Far, Near and Middle East, in Africa, Polynesia and Australia, in Central and South America, in rural sections of North America such as the Ozarks, in Hawaii and even in parts of Europe, folk magic still lived.

During the 1960s, folk magic sprang back into life. The youth movement in the United States and Britain rebelled against rigid social codes and Christian-based ideals. Some young persons turned to Buddhism, Zen and other Eastern teachings. Others became entranced with what little they could learn of spells, charms, herb magic, tarot cards, amulets and talismans. Countless popular books and articles appeared, revealing this once-public knowledge to a new generation dissatisfied with its purely technological life.

Spellbooks and magical texts, written by researchers or practitioners of the old ways, were purchased by peoples whose ancestors had originated or preserved these vestiges of folk magic. Books such as Raymond Buckland’s Practical Candleburning Rituals and dozens of other works were hugely successful. A reawakening of folk magic had begun.

I've written a number of books for Llewellyn over the years—believe it or not, my upcoming release is number eight—but far and away the most popular one was my third, The Goddess Is in the Details. And I have to confess, it was my favorite too. (Shhh…don't tell the other books. They'll cry, and I'll have to give them each a... read this article
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