Understanding The “W” Word

In truth, the word “witchcraft” can describe a wide variety of beliefs, customs and practices found in cultures around the world, and in every duration of history because the dawn of humankind. Anthropologists and other academics have actually utilized it as a catch-all term for spiritual belief systems that exist outside of the world’s dominant religious beliefs and include a belief in phenomena that are disregarded by mainstream Western culture. These belief systems utilize resources from the natural world and the spirit world in the healing arts, and often approach life from an animistic viewpoint, taking the view that whatever on Earth, including inanimate objects, lives.

Naturally, a couple of centuries earlier, the words “witch” and “witchcraft” had only ominous significance. This was due to the Christian Church’s desire for complete control over the European continent. Anyone who professed beliefs or taken part in practices that were outside the boundaries of Church doctrine was stated to be working with “the devil” and could be carried out as a “witch.” The revival of the “W” word by Gardner and others was a way of recovering the spiritual liberties that the Church had taken away for so long. Nowadays, many people in the Craft capitalize Witch and Witchcraft in order to identify their practices from the scholastic terms and from the propaganda of the past.

WITCHCRAFT: A BIG UMBRELLA
Those who recognize with the wider world of Witchcraft usually agree that Wicca is one form of the Craft, which is in turn a form of modern Paganism. In other words, “Witchcraft” is an umbrella term, under which Wicca sits together with many other types of Witchcraft. Some might have beliefs and practices that look like or overlap with elements of Wicca, while others are totally distinct from it.

For instance, the Feri Tradition, an American kind of the Craft developed in the 1930s and 40s by Victor and Cora Anderson, has its roots in conventional Vodou and Hoodoo along with esoteric philosophies from both Western and Eastern cultures. Stregheria is an Italian-American kind of Witchcraft, descended from centuries-old customs of Italian immigrants, which didn’t become understood outside of these neighborhoods up until the later 20th century. A more current custom has actually happened known as Sabbatic Craft, which makes use of both ceremonial magic and traditional English folk magic, among other influences.

In addition to these more widely recognized customs of Witchcraft, many kinds exist among the diverse variety of individuals who practice what we may call “diverse” Craft. These can consist of folk customs from particular regions, such as Ireland and England, that managed to endure the Church’s attempted obliteration of all pre-Christian practices. There are some individuals who declare to have actually acquired Craft practices from older family members, which had actually been passed down through the generations since long prior to the advancement of Wicca and other 20th-century types of Witchcraft. These genetic customs do not tend to end up in books or on sites associated with the Craft, as they are family-specific and usually kept quiet.

WHERE WICCA AND WITCHCRAFT MEET
Other categories that are not Wiccan in and of themselves, however, whose specialists may also consider themselves Wiccan, include Hedgewitchery, Green Witchery, and Cooking area Witchery. All of these kinds make use of customs that predate or fall outside of the preliminary development of Wicca, however, they are not equally unique with Wicca. In fact, we are already seeing the emergence of “hybrid” forms of these paths, such as “Green Wicca” and “Cooking area Wicca.”

Many individuals have actually kept in mind, whether with interest or discouragement, that the growth of Wicca into so many different types and traditions is making it more difficult and harder to pin down just what Wicca even is. The same could be stated of the entire world of Witchcraft, a way of living that defies particular boundaries or meanings.

This absence of rigidness is probably part of the draw for individuals seeking a genuine spiritual course that enables them the flexibility to be who they are. It’s likewise why people who don’t identify as Wiccans can still discover and gain from Wiccan resources, and why Wiccans can take advantage of learning more about the larger world of Witchcraft. Certainly, no matter where under the huge umbrella you occur to sit, you can constantly discover more by getting more familiarized with those around you.

Scratch & Win

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