Witchcraft is an ancient practice of Earth reverence under the Paganism umbrella. Witches work with the natural cycles of the planet, herbs, spells, rituals and rites and honour the earth deities in the form of the Goddess and God.
Dispelling myths (if you’ll pardon the pun)
Ask someone what they think a witch looks like and the good old Halloween visualisation of a cackling old hag, riding a broomstick wearing a black cloak and a pointy hat. I’m not sure anyone ever dressed like that, if they had in ancient times they would have been ‘dunked’ or thrown from a cliff. In modern times, there are estimated to be over 15,000 witches in the UK alone (or those that wrote witch on their consensus forms) who come from all walks of life.
Often thought of in the negative sense of witches casting spells on others and turning people into toads, true witchcraft is nothing of the sort. One of the major rules of witchcraft is that 'ye harm none' and many witches believe in the three fold rule – anything that is done in sorcery will be repaid three times on the practitioner. That's not to sad bad or black witches don't exist – there are those that don't follow the white path, just the same as in any walk of life. True witches have nothing but love in their hearts for all of Mother Nature's creations.
Witches work with nature and the spirits of nature. They honour the Goddess and God which can take the form of any deity but the Goddess is most important in rituals and worship. Common Goddess incarnations are Isis, Diana, Epona, Athena and Minerva. The Horned God often balances her.
The Goddess and her form is a key part in the Witchcraft 'religion'. Sometimes referred to in one Godess such as Hecate (Greek), Brighid (Ireland), Kali (India) or Morrigan (Wales) but they are often split into different entities that show the ever revolving cycle of life/death/rebirth.
As a young woman or maiden, the goddess is carefree, she is innocent, youthful, excitable and represents enchantment and the female principle. Common Maiden Goddesses include Anatha, Brigid, Ninniane, Kore, Persephone, Gerd, Caer, Rhiannon, Parvati, Chalchihuitlicue and Blodeuwedd. Associated colours: White or pink. Associated animals: Owl, deer or wild animals Season: Spring Festival: Ostara
Moon Association: Waxing Moon
The Maiden is invoked at new beginnings.
The Mother is about stability, fertility, power and stability. She is the birth giving matron, the protector and sustainer. Common Mother Goddesses include: Aa, Ambika, Anahita, Asherah, Babd, Ceres, Coatlicue, Danu, Demeter, Freya, Gaia, Hathor, Ishtar, Isis, Lakshmi, Luonnotar, Nintu, Pachamama, Sheng-Mu. Associated colour: Red Associated animals: Cat, Dove and Dolphin Season: Summer/Autumn Festival: Beltane Moon Association: Full Moon
The Mother is invoked when we need to be maternal or need guidance. She is also invoked when protection is required and when we wish to develop spiritually and psychically.
The Crone is the third part of the triple goddess, she is about wisdom, compassion, experience and death (as well as reincarnation). The Crone is always followed by the Maiden in all cycles. The seasons end and begin, the moon goes full to wane to new. Crone goddesses include: Annis, Baba Yaga, Cailleach, Greine, Hel, Maman, Nephthys, Brigitte, Oya, Sedna, Skuld, Takotsi, Tiamat, Tlazolteotl, Toci. Associated colour: Black, dark blue or dark purple. Associated animals: Owl, Wolf, Crow and Raven Season: Winter Festival: Samhain Moon Association: Waning Moon
The Crone is called on when we need help in ending something, whether it be as aspect of our life or otherwise. The Crone brings strong protection from non-human influences and aids us in talking to guides.
Wicca is a Neo-pagan movement that was popularised by retired British Civil Servant, Gerald Gardner. He claimed to be an initiate of Wicca, which was rooted in the original Witchcraft. Wicca has become so popular with all ages (especially teenagers) that it became a recognised religion in many countries. Wicca is seen as a 'branch' or denomination of Witchcraft – A Wiccan is a witch but one who follows witchcraft isn't necessarily following the Wiccan path.
The following articles in this section include:
* Types of Witch
* Covens vs Solitary Practice
* Spell Casting
* The Four Elements
* Moon Magik
* The Witches Alter
* The Book of Shadows
* Recommended Reading