Misconceptions about Witchcraft
What is Wicca?
Witchcraft - What it is and isn't
Different Types of Witches
Witchcraft in the Bible
A Christian Speaks of Wicca and Witchcraft
What is Wicca?
Contrary to popular belief, Wicca is not evil. Wiccans do not follow
the devil. Wiccans do not even believe in the devil. Wicca is a
nature oriented religion which centers around a single deity
(known as the All) which encompasses all things in the universe and
without. This All is divided into two equal halves much the same way
as the universe is divided into two halves. There is light and dark,
male and female, good and evil, etc. These are often evident in the
two deities called the Lord and the Lady. Each represents a perfect
and equal half and complement each other much like the yin and the
yang. The Lord is a father figure. He represents animals, the soul,
fathering, passion and the wild. He is symbolized by the color gold,
air, fire, and by the Sun. The Lady or Goddess represents the earth
mother, motherhood, nurturing, femininity, and that which we can
touch. She is symbolized by water, earth and the moon. Wiccans
believe in honoring their deities and in living in harmony with
nature and the universe. Witches sometimes practice in groups of up
to thirteen called covens. Covens are used to bring different people
of a faith together so that they may learn from each other's
experiences. Witches can also work alone. They are called
solitaries. Wiccans are generally considered witches because they
practice the art of magick. Not al witches, however, are Wiccans.
Wicca is a religion and witchcraft is simply the practice of the
magickal arts. Because Wiccans worship nature, their
holidays coincide with significant days of the year. All of the four
seasons are celebrated as well as four other holidays which fall
between each. All of the eight holidays are spaced at exactly the
same number of days apart and do not always fall on the same day
each year. Most of these holidays coincide with Christian holidays
such as Christmas (Yule) and Easter (Ostara). These holidays are
called the Sabbats or Sabbaths. Witches also may or may not
celebrate what are called Esbats. Esbats are specific lunar dates
that are of major importance. These are the new moons and the full
moons. There are 13 full moons during the year, each representing
one month. Thus, the pagan calendar has thirteen months and not
twelve. Most today represent these lost days in the thirteenth month
to leap year. These holidays are meant to celebrate the earth and
her cycles of nature. Wiccans follow one basic
fundamental rule: "harm none." The Wiccan Rede or "Law" states:
"Abide the Wiccan law ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust.
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: 'An' it harm none, do what ye
will.' And ever mind the rule of three: what ye send out comes back
to thee. Follow this with mind and heart, and merry meet and merry
part." The main goal of Wicca is to harm none. Wiccans base their
lives on self discipline and helping others. Most spells are done
for healing, love, friendship and to help others. You will not find
Wiccan spells for harming others or spells which are destructive in
Wicca is a recognized religion worldwide and is
protected by the United States Constitution. Contrary to popular
belief, Wicca is not an ancient religion. Some of the ideas and
rituals follow what is believed to have been practiced by the early
Nordic tribes, but the religion was founded in the early 1960's and
was at the time considered a "New Age Religion." Many unseasoned
Wiccans will often refer to their following as "The Olde Ways." This
is often the result of misinformation from other witches either on
the internet or in books who claim that they follow ancient
traditions. Some will even claim that their beliefs were handed down
from century to century and guarded against Christians and others
who might seek to waylay witches and traditional witchcraft.
Unfortunately, virtually no information has survived to this day and
we must rely on skepticism to learn how ancient peoples worshiped.
What it is and What it isn't
You've seen "The Craft" five times, you watch "Charmed"
every week, you have a black cat that you have most recently renamed
"Salem" or "Kittywitch" or something like that, and you
dress all in black. You can cast any spell from your three spellbooks and a huge
pentagram adorns your neck, your (very creepy looking) book of shadows, and
numerous other items in your cache of school supplies. People look at you when
you walk down the street, your friends think you are oh-so-cool and your craft
name, Moonlight FairyWillow WolfWings, is posted at the top of your web forum in
creepy red letters. You are a witch, right?
Wrong. Witchcraft is not a fashion statement. It is nothing
like what you see in the movies. It is not a fad. Hollywood has created so many
false ideas about witchcraft to draw people in. Teenagers are especially
susceptible to these ideas. In an attempt to be rebellious, teens will don the
look and the catch-phrases of the neo-goth community. They are drawn in by the
glamour of Hollywood and the promise of great power.
Teenagers encompass a group in society called "midriffs." (Anyone who has
studied sociology or journalism knows what I am talking about.) Midriffs are at
a point in life when they feel the need to grow up and look to others around them
to learn how to do it. They will copy what they see: fashions, hairstyles,
makeup, slang words and behavior in an attempt to fit in with their age group.
This rebellion can have negative effects because it makes young people blind.
They will follow from one fad to the next. Style is fleeting. Often, young
people will turn to witchcraft for its glamour and seduction. Nothing is more
alluring to the inexperienced than absolute power.
The first thing that you should know about witchcraft is that it is, first
and foremost, a religion. Magick is based entirely on religion and
the belief in the unknown. I don't care who you are or what kind of powers you
claim to have; unless you have faith in something, you cannot perform magick.
Secondly, magick is not a fashion statement. True witches are
easy to discern from the witch-wannabes. Witches do not wear all black. Witches
do not wear huge pentagrams or black lipstick. Witches know that the power of
magick is in its secrets. When you lay it threadbare before others it loses all
its power and all you have left is a costumed wannabe with nothing to show but
the ten pounds of crystal and pewter jewelry around their neck. True witches
have learned to cast off their desires to be accepted by the "in" crowd. Real
witches are at one with themselves and their surroundings and do not seek to fit
in with any clique or to dress in a certain style. True witches look just like
everyone else. You will not ever be able to tell a true witch in a crowd of
people unless they want you to know that they are there (and I can assure you
this will not be very often.)
Witchcraft is not what you see on television. No such thing
exists. Many movies, television programs, and books, even some pagan books, lure
people in with fake ideas of witchcraft. You will not learn to levitate. Fire
and lightning will not shoot from your fingertips. You will never be able to
bring down the wrath of the gods or walk on water. These things are fiction -
fairy tales. They do not happen. Witchcraft is not instantaneous. Magick takes
time to happen and even longer to learn. magick is not something that you can
learn in a week or a month or even a year. Witches never stop learning. There is
too much to learn for anyone to ever be perfect or know everything. Most people
come into the craft because it is a fad and quickly leave because it is too hard
or it takes too long. Not anyone can be a witch. To practice and learn the
craft, one must be patient, curious and honest with themselves.
If you are interested in being a true witch, there are
numerous talents that you will learn. Witchcraft requires a love of nature. If
the sight of nature and beauty inspire you or strike awe in you then the craft
might be right for you. You will learn how to heal others, speak to plants,
animals, trees and spirits, travel on the astral plane, learn to understand
yourself and others and divine your dreams and the future. You will learn to
better yourself and open your eyes and your mind to new possibilities.
Witchcraft is very difficult but if you are one of the few who have the talent,
strength and patience for it, it can unlock hidden talents you never knew you
had and free your imagination.
Types of Witches
Alexandrian - This
tradition was begun in the 1960s by Alex Sanders. Alex Sanders lived in
England. He used what are known to be slightly changed Gardnarian
traditions and calls himself the "King" of Witches. Covens involve both
men and women.
British Traditional -
This is, according to Silver RavenWolf a "mix of Celtic and Gardnarian
beliefs." Covens involve both men and women. One can study a course and
receive a degree in British Traditional Witchcraft.
Celtic Wicca - Celtic Wicca focuses
mainly on Celtic and Druidic gods and goddesses (along with a few other
Anglo-Saxon pantheon). The rituals are formed after Gardnerian traditions
with a stronger emphasis on nature. Celtic Wicca also puts much emphasis
on working with elementals and nature spirits such as fairies and gnomes.
Gods and Goddesses are usually called "The Ancient Ones."
Caledonii - This was once know as
the Hecatine Tradition. Traditional Scottish Witchcraft.
Ceremonial Witchcraft - This
tradition is very exacting in its ritual. All rituals are usually followed
by the book, to the letter and with much ceremony. Little emphasis is put
on nature. This tradition may incorporate some Egyptian magic.
Quabbalistic magic is often used in ceremonial witchcraft.
Dianic - Dianic can incorporate
nearly any magical traditions, but emphasis is placed on the Goddess only
with little or no mention of the God. Known as the "feminist" types of
Druidic - Neo-Druids are
polytheistic worshipers of Mother Earth. Very little is known today about
ancient Druidism and there are many gaps in the writings that have been
found. Modern Druids practice their religion in areas where nature has
been preserved - usually wooded areas. Druidic ritual often employs
sacrifices to the Mother Goddess. These sacrifices often include grain,
sometimes meat. These ritual sacrifices are often accompanied by a verse
not unlike the following: "Earth Mother,
giver of life we return to you a measure of the bounty you have provided
may you be enriched and your wild things be preserved."
Eclectic - An eclectic witch mixes
many different traditions together to suit their tastes and will not
follow any one particular tradition. Whatever seems to work best for them
is what is used, regardless of which magical practice it comes from. This
is one of the most popular types of witches found today.
Gardnerian - Gardnerian witchcraft
was begun in England and is Wiccan in nature. It was formed by Gerald
Gardner in the 1950s. Gerald Gardner was the first to publicize witchcraft
in an effort to preserve the "old ways."
Hereditary Witch - A hereditary
witch is a witch who is born into a witch family and brought up learning
about witchcraft. Many witches claim to be hereditary witches when in
fact, they are not. You must be brought up in a family of witches to be a
Kitchen Witch - A kitchen witch is
one who practices magic having to deal with the home and practical life.
Kitchen witches use many spells involving cooking, herbs, and creating
magic through crafts. A kitchen witch is very much like a hedge witch.
Pictish - Pictish witchcraft is
nature-based with little emphasis on religion, Gods, or Goddesses. It is
much like Celtic witchcraft, only the traditions are Scottish. Pictish
witches perform solitary and rarely, if ever work in groups or covens.
Pow-Wow - Here is a term I rarely
hear when referring to witchcraft. This tradition is based on old German
magic. Today, it is considered a system of faith healing and can be
applied to most any religion.
Seax-Wicca - This tradition was
begun in 1973 by Raymond Buckland. Buckland and works on Saxon principles
of religion and magic.
Shaman - It is arguable as to
whether shamanism is or is not witchcraft. I include this here because
shamanism is a form of Paganism. Shamanism puts no emphasis on religion or
on pantheon. Shamans work completely with nature: rocks, trees, animals,
rivers, etc. Shamans know the Earth and their bodies and minds well and
train many long years to become adept at astral travel and healing.
Solitary - Solitary witches can be
practitioners of nearly any magical system. A solitary works alone and
does not join a group or coven. Often, solitaries choose to mix different
systems, much like an eclectic witch. Solitaries can also form their own
religious beliefs as they are not bound by the rules of a coven.
Strega - This type of witchcraft is
said to have been started by a woman named Aradia in Italy in 1353. Aradia
is known in some traditions as the "Goddess of Witches."
Teutonic - A Nordic tradition of
witchcraft that includes beliefs and practices from many cultures
including Swedish, Dutch, and Icelandic.
Wicca - Probably the most popular
form of witchcraft. Wicca is highly religious in nature and has a good
balance between religion/ceremonial magic and nature. Wiccans believe in
a God and Goddess who are equal in all things, although some may lean more
toward the Dianic form of Wicca, worshipping only the Goddess or lowering
the God to an "assistant" status. Wiccans commonly form covens and rarely
by Amber Skyfire
The pentacle is the most misused and misunderstood symbol of
witchcraft. Usually seen as a five-pointed star surrounded by a circle, it has
been mistaken for a symbol of evil, devil worship, and at times even the star of
David. A star without the circle is called a pentagram. Before it was used by
witches, the pentacle was a Christian symbol. It was used by the Catholic church
to symbolize the five wounds of Christ. This star can be found in an around
ancient churches dating up to the Gothic period of architecture. The
five-pointed mark graced religious paintings of Christ, arches, doorways, and
artifacts. Sir Gawain from Arthurian legends carried a shield with a large
pentagram emblazoned on the front. This symbol has long been used for protection
and as a symbol of faith. It can be found in the stem of a water lily when cut
in half and also within the apple when cut sideways. Humans have five fingers,
and it also represents the five extremities of the human body: head, hands and
feet. Over the course of history, the pentacle was lost as a religious
symbol as the cross took on more and more meaning. Today, it is misunderstood as
a symbol of evil. Devil worship has taken the symbol of the pentagram and turned
it upside down, symbolizing the defeat of Christ. It is often seen inverted with
the face of a goat superimposed over it where the two upper points form the
horns, the side points form the ears and the lower point forms the face. This
symbol is called the baphomet and is used in Devil worship and by the Knight's
Templar as the denial of Christ.
Suzanne Egbert States: "The meaning of the pentacle as worn by
Pagans is rooted in the beliefs of the Greek Pythagoreans, for whom the
pentagram embodied perfect balance and wisdom; inserting the star in the circle
adds the symbol of eternity and unity."
Today, Wiccans and witches use the symbol of the pentacle as a
religious symbol as well. The five points represent the five elements: earth,
air, fire, water, and spirit. Some Wiccans use the pentacle to represent the
mother figure and the inverted pentacle to represent the father figure. Others
are wary of how others view their religion and many witches have given up the
use of the inverted pentacle. This symbol, like the Christians of old, is used
by witches as a symbol of protection. It is worn on chains and rings to protect
their wearer and is inscribed on or over windows and doorways to prevent evil or
harm from entering the home or sacred space. The pentacle is a solid object and
is also used to symbolize the earth on altars.
A Christian Speaks of
Wicca and Witchcraft
by James Clement Taylor
I am a Christian and not a Wiccan. A Christian is one who has been
baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and who
has made a personal, free-will decision to commit himself and all
his or her life to our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Both
of these things are true of me. I am a member of St. Mary's Eastern
Orthodox Church, Calhan, Colorado. In this paper, I am not speaking
as agent for any church, but I am, entirely on my own
responsibility, speaking the truth in love, as we Christians are
supposed to do.
A Situation of Strife and Shame:
There are many Christians today who believe that anyone who is not a Christian
is doomed to an eternity of suffering in hell. Any decent person, believing
this, would be compelled to try to save as many people from this fate as
possible. But is this belief correct? Jesus Christ, having noted the faith and
righteousness of a Roman centurion, a Pagan, proclaimed:
"Assuredly I say to you, I have not found such great
faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and
west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But
the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be
weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:10-12)
If we accept these words as true, and surely we should, then it is clear that
heaven will contain many who are not Christians, and hell will contain many who
are! Clearly, throughout the Gospels, Jesus Christ sets forth the criteria for
entrance into the kingdom of heaven, and those criteria include love, kindness,
forgiveness, and a refusal to judge others:
(Editor's Note: This
passage has been completely taken out of context. If you
would like to read the helpful letter I received on this subject, please click
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your
heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their
trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
"For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and
with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you."
"But go and learn what this means: `I desire mercy
and not sacrifice.'" (Matthew 9:13)
"Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is
merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not
be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:36-38)
Is it not clear? Anyone who fails in these things, will calling himself a
Christian save him? Anyone who obeys God in these things, will being unbaptized
condemn him? Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to
Me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of
My Father in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)
Yet it is not by good works that we earn our way into heaven, because there is
no way we can earn the free gift of God's mercy and grace, which alone can save
us. But it is clear that it is not by faith, in the sense of sharing the
Christian faith, that we are saved, either. The faith which saves us is not
faith in the goodness of our works, nor faith that we have the right theology
and/or belong to the right church. Rather, it is faith in God, and in His mercy:
"So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who
runs, but of God who has mercy." (Romans 9:16)
But the Wiccans, you will say, do not have faith in God. Yet by their own
theology, they certainly do. Those who call them Satan-worshippers are entirely
wrong. They do not worship Satan, or even believe that Satan exists. Instead,
they worship a Goddess and a God whom they understand as manifestations of a
higher and unknown Deity.
Now if you are a Christian, this will sound familiar to you, and it should. In
the Bible we find the following:
"Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and
said, `Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for
as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even
found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, The One
whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you" (Acts
The Wiccans worship the Unknown God, as manifested to them in the form of a
Goddess and a God. Therefore, our Bible tells us they worship the same God we
do; and if they do not know this, we should know it!
For those of us who are unable to simply stand on God's Word, and must prove to
themselves the truth of what it proclaims the holy Apostle John has given us the
method for doing this. You have only to attend any public Wiccan ceremony, and
test the spirits which are there, to see "whether they are of God" (1
John 4:1). You will find that, while the power manifested there may be less than
what you have experienced as a Christian, that power is clearly the power of
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, these people of Wicca have been terribly
slandered by us. They have lost jobs, and homes, and places of business because
we have assured others that they worship Satan, which they do not. We have
persecuted them, and God will hold us accountable for this, you may be sure, for
He has said, "Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you
did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." (Matthew
Let us, from this point onward, repent of our misdeeds
and declare that henceforth we shall obey Christ our God, and not judge
others or condemn them, so that He will not have to judge and condemn us
for our sins.
In the Bible
Robin Edgar Writes:
"In the Biblical book of Genesis, Joseph dreams that the sun and the moon and
eleven stars bow down to him and, when he reports this unusual dream to his
father, Jacob immediately recognizes that the sun and moon represent him and his
wife respectively while the eleven stars represent their children. The sun is
clearly personified as being of the male sex in the 19th Psalm and furthermore
is, at the very least in a metaphorical sense, likened to a bridegroom. The sun
could hardly be a bridegroom without having a bride and it should be clearly
understood that the original composer of the 19th Psalm would most likely have
perceived a female moon to be the consort of the sun. There is a very real
possibility that this Psalm, along with several others, was a Hebrew adaptation
of a 'pagan' Mesopotamian prayer to the sun-god. Surely it is only logical that
if the sun is likened to a bridegroom in the Bible his bride can only be the
moon. It is a fact that the people of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia worshipped
the sun and the moon as male and female deities and the Hebrew people, who were
in constant, albeit often quite unwilling, contact with these civilizations,
were not only familiar with these 'pagan' religious concepts but even adopted
them to the great dismay of the prophets as the Bible clearly records."
Read Robin Edgar's essay here:
Witchcraft in the Bible