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Article by Georgina Grant Edit

The modern perception of witchcraft is that of black arts, evil, the conjuring up of demons and that sort of thing. Actually, the origins of Wicca are based in the worship of natural forces, the sun, moon and stars primarily, followed by the elements of nature, the seasons, the earth and the life it supports.

WICCA is the early pagan form of such worship and from it developed the knowledge of plants, herbs and spices that gave primitive remedies for treating illnesses and injuries. The ancients performed ceremonies in which they made sacrifices, pledges and personal commitments to these early gods in order to ensure the return of the harvest following the death of the year in winter. As wildlife and growth fulfilled its natural cycles of birth, death and reconstitution on seasonal cycles, it seems only fair that early mankind thought it was necessary to make such pacts. In fact the natural cycle of things continues, regardless of such ceremonies, but they do seem to be influenced by certain gifted shamans. The rituals led to spell casting which continues to this day both for good and evil purposes. BEWARE THE SPELL MAKER! As you sow, shall you reap! Or in modern terms, what goes around comes around.


Casting spells for personal gain, revenge or sheer malice is made workable only by dark or evil forces. Such forces will eventually channel their own purposes through an inexperienced user and anyone using their power in this way will without a doubt become victims of their own acts. The writer knows of at least two people who became mentally and physically ill and had to be professionally exorcised by Christian priests.

Witches are the most feared and respected practitioners of magic in the west, but in Africa and Asia, male witch doctors and shamans prevail. A great deal of their magic has been proved to be sheer trickery and it the belief of the onlookers which creates their power. Very often people who have been cursed using the services of such a person die of hysteria caused by extreme fear, or they show paralysis in certain limbs because they have been convinced by the hypnotic power of the spell caster and respond accordingly.

The word witch is derived from wych or wic which is the old name for a small settlement. Usually this is a family group living in a rural environment living off the land. The female head of the household, a mother, or usually a grandmother who has successfully raised healthy children to adulthood and they in turn give birth to healthy, intelligent children. That woman would be the wiccan and be accorded respect. Usually it would be her knowledge of plants, arable farming and rearing stock that made her a good provider. She would have developed rituals and ceremonies to of her own making and so followers would be attracted to her success, thus covens are formed. Many of the early rituals still survive today, such as planting corn dollies before ploughing for a new harvest., throwing water from fresh running streams upon ground to make it fertile, and calling down the moon. This involves making invocations to the moon goddess. She has many names in different religions. At full moon the witch calls upon her to mate with the earth and make it fertile. The earth goddess, most commonly called Demeter, from Greek mythology was also propitiated and many sacrifices were made to her to ensure good harvests. The custom of dancing round the maypole derives from the pagan ritual of dressing oak trees with garlands and dancing around it at Spring Equinox in a fertility ritual. Most rituals were driven by the need to procreate because peoples lives were short.. These early witches of good intent also attracted envy and human nature being what it is, evil, greedy and selfish people would adapt their magical practices for evil purposes. Later rituals were evolved to bring personal wealth and power and eventually human sacrifices replaced the giving of natural produce back to the soil. IE the more you wanted the more extreme the sacrifice. The drinking of human blood was believed to sustain youth and beauty and the quest of everlasting youth is steeped in this sort of selfish and disgusting indulgence. The practice of witchcraft or the black arts has, quite rightly, been outlawed in the country and most of the civilised world. You only need to look at places like West Africa and Haiti where local practice of Voodoo cults has devastated the population and led to genocide, political nepotism and extreme poverty amongst the general population.

If you do feel drawn to study and practice the craft you need to make choices, and to do that you ought to be aware of the forces you are dealing with. Before you start, research your subject. The very best source of the origins of witchcraft practiced nowadays with reference to Lucifer, the Devil and his acolytes can be sourced from the Old Testament of the holy bible James VI version. The best individual reference I have read on very early pagan rituals is The Golden Bough by James George Frazer a Scottish Colonel & historian. For more modern mythology references the Oxford History of the Ancient World tells of the Greco-Roman gods, many of whom are still called upon today.

Be very, very careful what you ask for you may get it!