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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Witchcraft: What is it?

This article was written by Scott Cunningham on May 22, 2002
posted under Witchcraft

Candles gleam. Incense smoke swirls. Robed figures, chanting in a long-dead language, whirl around a rustic wooden table. On it sit sacred images—a robust female wearing a crescent Moon on her forehead, a horned male holding a spear in his upraised hand.
All movement stops. A woman standing near the altar says:

In this sacred space and time we call now the Old Ones: The Goddess of the Moon, of seas and rivers;
The God of the rayed Sun, of valleys and forests: Draw near us during this Circle.This is Witchcraft.

Two thousand miles away, a 15-year-old girl affixes a green candle onto a Polaroid photo of a friend. In the darkened room she lights the candle. Her eyes closed, the girl visualizes her boyfriend’s broken arm surrounded by a purple light intended to quickly heal it.This, too, is Witchcraft.

These two examples sum up Witchcraft. It is a religion, known as Wicca. It is also the practice of folk magic.

The average person probably thinks that Witchcraft is "Satanism," orgies and drug-ingesting. They falsely believe Witches to practice a mish-mash of "devil worship," unsavory rituals, cruelty and human sacrifice.

There certainly are people who do such things—murderers, psychotics and those frustrated by the religion into which they were born. But these people aren’t Witches and they don’t practice Witchcraft.

The Truth About Witchcraft examines both folk magic and the modern Wiccan religion, subjects long shrouded in secrecy. The lies have been told. It’s time for the truth.

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