Witchcraft, as most commonly understood in both historical and present-day communities, is the use of alleged supernatural powers of magic. A witch (from Old English wicce f. / wicca m.) is a practitioner of witchcraft.
witchcraft, traditionally, the exercise or invocation of alleged supernatural powers to control people or events, practices typically involving sorcery or magic. Although defined differently in disparate historical and cultural contexts, witchcraft has often been seen, especially in the West, as the work of crones who meet secretly at night, indulg...
The modern English word witchcraft has three principal connotations: the practice of magic or sorcery worldwide; the beliefs associated with the Western witch hunts of the 14th to the 18th century; and varieties of the modern movement called Wicca, frequently mispronounced “wikka.”
The terms witchcraft and witch derive from Old English wiccecraeft: from wicca (masculine) or wicce (feminine), pronounced “witchah” and “witchuh,” respectively, denoting someone who practices sorcery; and from craeft meaning “craft” or “skill.” Roughly equivalent words in other European languages—such as sorcellerie (French), Hexerei (German), stregoneria (Italian), and brujería (Spanish)—have different connotations, and none precisely translates another. The difficulty is even greater with the relevant words in African, Asian, and other languages. The problem of defining witchcraft is made more difficult because the concepts underlying these words also change according to time and place, sometimes radically. Moreover, different cultures do not share a coherent pattern of witchcraft beliefs, which often blend other concepts such as magic, sorcery, religion, folklore, theology, technology, and diabolism. Some societies regard a witch as a person with inherent supernatural powers, but in the West witchcraft has been more commonly believed to be an ordinary person’s free choice to learn and practice magic with the help of the supernatural. (The terms West and Western in this article refer to European societies themselves and to post-Columbian societies influenced by European concepts.) The answer to the old question “Are there such things as witches?” therefore depends upon individual belief and upon definition, and no single definition exists. One thing is certain: the emphasis on the witch in art, literature, theatre, and film has little relation to external reality.
False ideas about witchcraft and the witch hunts persist today. First, the witch hunts did not occur in the Middle Ages but in what historians call the “early modern” period (the late 14th to the early 18th century), the era of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution. There was neither a witch-cult nor any cult, either organized or disorganized, of a “Horned God” or of any “Goddess”; Western “witches” were not members of an ancient pagan religion; and they were not healers or midwives. Moreover, not all persons accused of witchcraft were women, let alone old women; indeed, there were “witches” of all ages and sexes. Witches were not a persecuted minority, because witches did not exist: the people hurt or killed in the hunts were not witches but victims forced by their persecutors into a category that in reality included no one. The witch hunts did not prosecute, let alone execute, millions; they were not a conspiracy by males, priests, judges, doctors, or inquisitors against members of an old religion or any other real group. “Black masses” are almost entirely a fantasy of modern writers. “Witch doctors,” whose job it was to release people from evil spells, seldom existed in the West, largely because even helpful magic was attributed to demons.
A sorcerer, magician, or “witch” attempts to influence the surrounding world through occult (i.e., hidden, as opposed to open and observable) means. In Western society until the 14th century, “witchcraft” had more in common with sorcery in other cultures—such as those of India or Africa—than it did with the witchcraft of the witch hunts. Before the...
Witchcraft – album degli Stormwitch del 2004; Witchcraft – singolo dei Pendulum del 2010; Altro. Witchcraft – nome in codice dato dallo spionaggio alla fonte di informazione Merlin, nel romanzo di John le Carré La talpa; WitchCraft – un gioco di ruolo horror; Witchcraft – un clipper costruito nel 1850 a Salem
15 ott 2022 · Witchcraft is a nebulous term and is hard to distinctly define as it is open to interpretation depending on the practitioner or scholar. As a practice, witchcraft dates back as early as the...
- Olivia Munson
- SEO, Trending Reporter
t. e. Wiccan jewelry, showing a pentacle necklace, a pentacle ring, and a torc. A pentacle is used by many adherents of Wicca. The pentacle is generally placed on a Wiccan altar to honour the elements and directions. Wicca ( English: / ˈwɪkə / ), also known as The Craft , is a modern neo-pagan, syncretic, nature-based religion.
European witchcraft is a multifaceted historical and cultural phenomenon that unfolded over centuries, leaving a mark on the continent's social, religious, and legal landscapes. The roots of European witchcraft trace back to classical antiquity when concepts of magic and the supernatural were interwoven into societal beliefs.