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   Home arrow Content arrow Articles arrow Faq about Wicca, Paganism and Witchcraft   
Faq about Wicca, Paganism and Witchcraft   E-mail 
Written by Atheneris  
Tuesday, 07 September 2004
Page 2 of 15

What is witchcraft?

Up to this day, Wicca and witchcraft were concepts that seemed to have the same meaning; however now there are big differences between them and it’s not correct to use them to imply the same definition...
Witchcraft is not a belief system, but a combination of practices. It has been practiced in every culture, community and geography. Thus, theologically, it’s not a religion but a method of practice, way of life. A witch can be Christian, Muslim (Those religions have forbidden such practices) or an Atheist. Witches do not accept the ethic rules in Wicca, Wiccan Rede and Threefold Law. (A Wiccan might consider her/himself as a Witch; however the opposite is not possible all the time.) 

The base of the practice in witchcraft is directing and focusing the energy by will power. Thus, it may not belong to a belief. Although the word “witch” may seem to represent only females, it’s a word used to describe both sexes. (See; what is a “warlock”? for the name incorrectly used for male witches.)
The “hereditary” part of witchcraft refers to the practices of the witch who has taken over them from her/his family tradition that continued through generations. Especially in 60’s and after the abolishment of “Witchcraft Act” in England, there were many practitioners who claimed to practice hereditary witchcraft, however it’s trustworthiness is suspicious. Today, witchcraft is not a hereditary quality, but a concept that the individual improves depending on his/her ability.


“Burning times”; is the name that today’s witches and wiccans gave to the period of persecution by the Inquisition in order to commemorate all the victims who were burned, hanged or been killed by torture. Although the exact number is debated the official death toll is  about 250.000 people. It isn’t known how many of the victims were witches as they were claimed to be. The confessions of witchcraft are not trustworthy, as the declarations were made under torture. Although the majority of the victims were women, the victims could be men, children, and even animals. The reasons of the accusations were generally diseases such as plague, the battle of the church against the practices it named as “Heretic”, and usually something as simple as a villager’s denouncement of his neighbor whom he disputed with. Because of that reason, there was no alive person left in some villages. Midwives and women who could practice herbal healing methods were also accused. However, earlier, the church had accepted that witches could heal and control the nature events. It is very difficult to reach sound judgments about this period without evaluating it political, economic and socio-cultural aspects; there were many dynamics and many of the factors were the result of interactions of these dynamics. Today we still witness the murder of persons who are ‘accused’ of witchcraft in certain areas of India and Africa. In fact this persecution, which has been identified with a certain period in history can be said to be continuing in our day with societal changes and inhibitions.

In Anatolia witchcraft has followed a totally dissimilar path. The dictionary translation of the word witch is “cadı” which in local legend identifies entities which, like ghouls, pursue the living and harm them. A corresponding word in Anatolian society can be “ebe-midwife” which denotes healers whop were respected and sought for their help. 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 November 2004 )

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