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Magical Beliefs: Witchcraft Definition and Practices


Witchcraft is considered one of the old pagan practices aimed to use natural and magical powers. Persons practice in the magic tradition in a small group of at least three or more persons. The witchcraft practices include all types of pagan, magical, and Satanic groups that reject the Catholic and Christian traditions and seek to renew earlier faiths. Usually, those persons who call themselves persons tend to agree that a witchcraft is based on the belief in the goddess, or Mother Earth spirit, though a woman may also honor other deities, such as the male spouse, nature gods, and ancient gods and evil spirits (Farrar and Parrar 61).

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Witchcraft defined

People who practice witchcraft differ greatly in their practices and understandings of witchcraft itself/. Many persons practice their own ritual traditions as individuals–some, by personal option; others, because they do not belong to a certain group. Many people are grouped in small, family-like units loyal to the regular practice of ritual and worship under the guidance of a high priestess and sometimes a high priest. Some witchcraft people are independent; others with similar traditions may join together as an Order or a large, community-like group. Because of negative community attitudes towards witchcraft and fears that the “burning times” may return, the modern witchcraft is mainly dissident. Most witchcraft members do not tell friends and other people that they are involved, and many use unique nicknames within the movement to conceal their community identities (Farrar and Parrar 66). To maintain confidentiality further, almost all witchcraft communities avoid advertising and the media, they do not actively employ, and they permit guests to attend only open celebrations such as sabbats, by invitation only. While this secrecy has helped the witchcraft survive, it also causes it to establish fairly small and fragmented community. The segregation fuels the movement’s generally bad press since the lack of right information supports the widespread misunderstanding that people are involved with evil or devil worship rather than with revitalizing the old goddess-centered beliefs (Buckland 43).

Practices of witches

The main practices of witches involve alleged practices aimed to influence another person’s mind. The idea is to influence the body and mind of another person against his/her desire. Spell casting is another popular practice aimed to change the destiny of a person or protect him from negative influence of other witches. Another popular practice is conjuring the dead. Witches believe that dead spirit can help to foreshadow the destiny of a person and save him from evil (Coyle 10). The people believe this spirit has many manifestations in nature, such as the earth or moon, and in the deities of ancient cultures, such as Isis in Egypt, Diana in Rome, and Artemis in Greece. These practices represent different aspects of the religion, ranging from the young woman to the mother to the hag. Persons believe they can invoke the power forms these manifestations represent through rite or magical work, since they believe thought forms produce spiritual and material results. They also suppose god forms are manifested and can be invoked. People who practiced witchcraft believe there are many other spirits and beings–nature deities, elementals, devils, “daemons” or evil spirits, spiritual masters, and spirits of the dead–that can be used for various religious purposes, such as supporting in a ritual, healing, or magical working so important for witchcraft rituality (Farrar 88).

Ceremony methods

People who believe in magical powers use assorted external ceremony methods, which parallel the internal thought techniques for communicating with their guides. These believers struggle to perfect their craft and overcome any contact problems. Though, since communication ceremonies differ (external, active, invoking versus internal, receptive, responding), the issues and approaches of dealing with them differ, too.(Coyle 87). Whereas a woman works on clarifying confused communication, other people work on perfecting their rituals and the supernatural abilities to call on the spirits more effectively. Their refusal of negativity also leads people to shun black magic because they believe these evil forces are dangerous and can come back to harm the person herself if she/he does not perform the magic correctly. Also, as do most modern people, many watches feel black magic violates Craft law, which supports magic and should never be used for damage or harm caused to another person (Buckland 39).

Personality of witches

In general, witchcraft can be seen as the approach to the spiritual world. Whereas the witches look within to contact his personal guides for help in obtaining achievement, the Witch looks without and uses magic and ceremony to ask unfriendly deities to intervene to help him achieve his split ends, which often involve relationships and the group (reflecting the witches’ interpersonal orientation) (Coyle 101). Using ceremony and calling on unfriendly guides show the witches emphasis. Whereas having personal guides in witchcraft reaffirms the individual, calling on evil spirits common to the group provides a shared surround of reference that helps unite the persons in ceremony and unique magical practices (Buckland 98).


In sum, witchcraft is considered a pagan and magical belief in supernatural abilities of the spirits and impersonal things. Many witches oppose the modern society and frequently see themselves as a victim, of personal powerless. The identity of witches comes through their identification with the witchcraft and looks to the magical powers to protect them. Thus, witches take a passive role in divining what will happen, or calls on forces outside themselves for help in effecting a goal, in producing change. Practices and ritual of witchcraft go back to ancient times, but the majority of them are changed and transformed in accordance with modern needs and demands of the society. The core of witchcraft is action which links a person to spirits and makes this person feels guided through the life since she shares these rituals with others.

Works Cited

Buckland, R. Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft (Llewellyn’s Practical Magick). Llewellyn Publications; 2 edition, 2002.

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Coyle, T.T. Evolutionary Witchcraft. Tarcher, 2005.

Farrar, J, Parrar, S. A Persons’ Bible: The Complete Persons Handbook. Phoenix Publishing; New edition, 1996.

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