Halloween might be over, but Witches are coming back and are here to stay. Here are the biggest misconceptions about witches today
Halloween might be over, but Witches are coming back and are here to stay. Here are the biggest misconceptions about witches today.
When people think of witches, they probably think of Halloween, Hocus-Pocus, the Witcher, and of course, evil women burning at the stake for turning a man into a frog.
This is certainly the interpretation that movies and even many religious institutions will have you believe. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Modern witches who practice Wicca, are a legitimate religious movement that is influenced by various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern peoples. Wicca, also known as Contemporary paganism or neopaganism, is a polytheistic religion where the practitioners can believe in many deities.
It was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and was introduced in 1954 by Gerald Gardner.
Over the years, Wicca has grown and evolved. There really isn’t just one way to practice it.
Contemporary Pagan religious movements are diverse and do not share a single set of beliefs, practices, or texts.
Due to its decentralized nature, if you ask ten different Wicca practitioners to describe their beliefs, you will find ten different answers. I believe that this is because, in the end, Wicca is essentially a very personal practice of spiritual beliefs. People with either Christianity or Satanism beliefs can be found practicing Wicca. People who don’t worship any religious deities can identify as Wiccan as well. There is no Wiccan bible and there is no Wiccan main centralized governing body.
Wiccans will walk their own paths, (which is what I find so appealing because you can truly focus on the area of spirituality that vibrates with you). Some form their own groups, others practice as solitary witches such as myself. In the end, everyone is united with common and universal practices.
While this is truly a belief system that unites people from all sorts of backgrounds, if there are cultures that have been gaslighted, this is certainly one of them. As early as the fourth century, Paganism was originally a term that the early Christians used to imply inferiority and degradation to those who practiced it. Women have been tortured and burned alive, accused of practicing witchcraft.
Even now, as a modern Wicca practitioner, I could not bother to come out to family members outside of my husband, children, and close friends. The concept would be straight up ridiculed. A person converting to Hinduism, or Buddhism will always be taken seriously because those are considered as “real” religions. In my experience, Wicca is not viewed as a legitimate religious or spiritual belief to many people today. It is fantasy, ghosts, ghouls, and Harry Potter “invention”. But despite the ignorance, many people are curious enough to explore it and the movement is growing.
I myself have been a solitary Wicca practitioner for over 20 years and I consider my knowledge and practices of Wicca as very personal. While I do not want to discuss the core belief systems or ways to worship in this article (as it is not my place) I do want to kick out the myths and lies that are told about this beautiful movement and set of spiritual beliefs.
Do Witches worship the devil?
Boom! There’s that thing we always see and hear in movies, the thing that is spoken so often by mainstream priests, and the commonly shared view.
I think that I would be safe to say that Witches mainly do not believe in a devil. I do say “mainly” because Wicca has no deity worship boundaries therefore a person could pray to any deitiy they want. Witches believe and understand that we, as humans, are a balance of dark and light. Anyone who thinks that they themselves are perfect beings, and try to convince you they have no urges, no addictions, no secret thoughts no one else can know…. Are lying to you and to themselves. This is how depression can start for many people. Repression of the self is the true devil to me.
Enslaving a beast will only make it fight harder.
Wicca teaches you to embrace your own dark side, as long as there is no harm to other people in the process.
For example, Let’s say you have a feeling of jealousy every time that you see a particular person… Maybe they have a cool job and you never had the same opportunities as they did growing up. Maybe they have a wonderful family, and you, on the other hand, were raised by a narcissist. They have money because of an inheritance while you struggle to even get your kids to go to the dentist…. Or maybe it’s all those things combined. You could choose to worship a God that will send you to Hell unless you beg for forgiveness for those feelings…
The other choice is to recognize that what we feel is jealousy and embrace the fact that this feeling comes from somewhere. This feeling is here because an aspect of our life is not fulfilled. Meditating upon this feeling, talking about it, and understanding it, will help us figure out what it is that is missing in our lives, giving us a chance to heal ourselves, fill the void or get help. Repressing the feeling of jealousy will only cause harm and eventual mental harm. We are not robots, we are beings that feel. Light and dark, yin and yang, the feminine, and masculine, are all spiritually opposing forces that when off-balance can really do some harm.
A person who is always obsessing about doing everything perfectly will get mentally exhausted very quickly. Those who can’t accept mistakes, accept imperfection will have much trouble with their relationships because nobody is perfect. Nobody.
A particular religion might tell you that those feelings are whispered by the devil, but what if you listen to those feelings and figure out what they are telling you about yourself? It is about self-acceptance and inner understanding of your inner balance. Making peace with your dark side will bring you inner peace.
Are Wicca and Satanism the same things?
A Wicca practitioner could very well choose to explore Satanism, but Satanism is not Wicca. While Wicca is a religion where many deities can be worshiped, it really is a personal preference. Any deity can be prayed to, meditated upon, or worshipped. It really depends on your personal needs.
Is the pentacle the sign of the devil?
The pentacle is the symbol of the five-pointed star with a circle around it. This symbol has been used by many religions throughout history and today, both neopagans and Satanists use it as a symbol of their faith. Even though different belief systems use this symbol, it does not represent the same meaning.
Witches consider the pentagram as a symbol associated with earth, and each point represents an element: earth air fire and water. The fifth point that points upward represents spirit. It is a sign of protection that wards off negative energy.
Is Casting a spell just like in the Harry Potter movies?
Although I have been in situations where I wished I could do that, This is not how it works. The simplest way that I can explain it, is that a spell is closer to a powerful prayer with the use of strong visualization tools to aid us in attracting the energy of the things we desire or need in our life. Other religions do it all the time as well, it’s just not taboo because people are used to it. For example, if you go to a catholic church, you may find a station where you kneel down, perform the cross symbol on your self and then light a candle to pray. If you go to a Taoist temple, you will light an incense stick, bow down three times before you position it in the giant incense cauldron, and pray. It is all very similar to Wicca.
Witches work with the four elements, earth, air, fire, and water, and each element diffuses different energy.
For example, water is the element that represents emotions and feelings, fire represents energy itself, earth is used to represent material things, and air intellectual things. Witches’ items are often associated with the elements. For example, a wand will be used in a ritual as a representation of either air or fire element. A cauldron or chalice might be used to represent the element of water, a coin or salt may be used to represent the earth.
Witches may use the athame, which is a dagger that is used in rituals to direct energy towards a specific object or spell (energy redirect).
They may also learn to use divination tools such as tarot cards or runes to aid them in their spiritual and better-being search. This is how we strengthen our spiritual connection between our world and the spirit world. There are many tools methods and items associated with witches that are used with spiritual intent. Brewing fingers and bat wings aren’t really it though…
Although, if it’s your thing, as long as there is no harm done then “do what ye will”.
Do Witches perform strange dark mysterious rituals?
I have never been to a religious organization that didn’t have some sort of ritual. Rituals are part of the spiritual experience. In Wicca, the main rituals celebrated are the solstices and equinoxes (although there are other events to celebrate as well, such as Samhain, one of my favorite ones.)
When a witch does a ritual, she will cast a protective spiritual circle around her in order to protect herself from any negative energies that could be directed at her. Even though it sounds exciting, there won’t be any fireworks and the wolves will not suddenly start howling. On an interesting side note, cats always seem to get very interested in energy work. This is spiritual work and it all happens on a spiritual level.
A witch will use the representations of earth, air fire, and water I mentioned above to cast a protective circle. Candles and incense will be lit, just as they are in churches around the world. . Many religions have different rituals that they perform during the service. People do not expect Jesus to actually physically appear at the church on Sundays, but they certainly feel his energy when the ritual is performed. This is the same thing. If you take a look at all the traditions, rituals performed by religions around the world, then there really is no strangeness to a Wicca practitioner to have her own.
Are Witches evil?
I think and hope that so far, I made it clear that witches are not malevolent supernatural humans. Wicca is a belief system where the feminine is sacred. There is no fear of knowledgeable women. I believe that there is a quiet movement for women to get their power back. The concept of a woman being evil is directly related to some men being afraid of women. We live on a planet that is controlled by the patriarchy and many men might be relentless in giving way to equal rights.
During the Salem witch trials, the women that were burned at the stake were midwives, independent thinkers, knowledgeable women, herbologists, who knew of plants and herbs to ease pain, help sleep, cure stomach aches. Some women spoke their minds or did not agree with the religious practices of the time. This was easily taken and turned around by the men in power at the time. It cannot be denied that this was a powerplay, and many women suffered at the hands of the men who were the executioners. It is easy to gaslight a person and call them evil, have the entire world believe that they are evil, when in fact, those where women with basic knowledge.
So what are the main Wiccan beliefs?
The masculine and feminine energies are meant to be balanced.
There is no higher or lower energy, it is all equal. The feminine is represented by the Goddess of the moon, who is often portrayed as the triple goddess, representing the three cycles of life and wisdom: The maiden, the mother, and the crone.
The male energies are represented by the God Cernunnos, the God of earth, and animals who is often depicted as half men half stag.
Witches follow moon cycles very closely.
The phases of the moon affect our energy and they also affect the types of spells that one might want to do. When the moon is waxing it’s the time to ask for things, when the moon is waning it is time to get rid of things.
Magic is simply redirecting and harnessing energy. There is nothing supernatural about it.
There is a spirit world out there and an afterlife. Spiritual experiences are taken seriously.
Nature is sacred. There are spirits and deities present in nature.
Respect for all beliefs is universally understood among all witches
And finally, the most important rule, the rule of three
“Do as you will, but harm no one.” what you put out into the world, will come back to you three times. Therefore be mindful of where you put your energy. It’s your karma.
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