Witches and Witchcraft

Kingwell By Kingwell, 30th Oct 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2madxn0h/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>Holidays & Celebrations

Some thoughts on witches and witchcraft both traditional and modern.

Oppression of Witches

Legends of witches have been largely misconstrued and colored by the oppression of those thought to have such powers by the Christian churches - especially during the Middle Ages. Unspeakable tortures were inflicted on people thought to be using sorcery, as this challenged their interpretation of the Christian bible. It was said that these “witches” practiced the ancient religions of gods and goddesses, and had learned the “trickery” of shape shifting into other animals, particularly cats. Christians, especially in parts of colonial America, fell under a mass hysteria of irrational fear of witchcraft perpetuated by the church. Anyone thought to be a witch was captured, given a mockery of a trial, and executed.

Moder Day Witches

What do real witches do for Halloween today? Well, they don’t ride out on broomsticks for starters. Far from scaring the living daylights out of people or casting ghoulish spells on neighbors, they actually prefer a pretty quiet time at Halloween. For traditional witches, Halloween is celebrated as a festival called Samhain. Although, like others, they sometimes dress up like traditional witches for a laugh and give out homemade goodies to the trick or treaters, this time of year is actually their New Year. Samhain is a Celtic fire festival, which has become one of the main Sabbats celebrated by witches and other pagans. Because it marked the end of summer and beginning of winter (the Celts only marked two seasons), it was celebrated as the Celtic New Year, and many witches today still recognize the tradition.

When The Veil is Thinnest.

Samhain is the time between summer and winter when the veil between worlds is thought to be at its thinnest (the other time being Beltane, when winter turns to summer). It is a time of thankfulness, for all the blessings that have been bestowed upon the family and home in the past year, and of course, for the recent harvest. With the veil between worlds so thin, now is the time to see or communicate with spirits – ghosts, souls of the dead and other enchanted beings. Divination is a key activity of witches at this time, as is the dressing of an altar to honor the dead and the ancestors. They like to sit quietly as a family and remember those they have lost during the past year, say a prayer or blessing for relatives who have passed over, and spend some time honoring and connecting with them. Connecting with family history is something that is very important to many pagans, druids in particular. To know where one has come from helps her/him to understand who they are, and paves the way for the incredible adventure of researching their family tree. The deities associated with Samhain are mainly those connected with death, the Underworld, darkness and rebirth. However, this does not mean that these gods and goddesses are evil or to be feared. In paganism, death is part of the natural cycle of life and leads to the birth of something new. Death symbolizes change, new beginnings and the ending of patterns, relationships and other things in life that no longer serve them.

Tags

Altar, Ancestors, Black Cats, Blessings, Broomsticks, Christian Church, Divination, Family Tree, Ghosts, Halloween, Kingwell, New Year, Samhain, Sorcery, Spirits, Thanksgiving, Underworld

Meet the author

author avatar Kingwell
I am 75 years old and retired.I like writing short stories, poetry as well other articles of interest.

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
30th Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks for mentioning Samhain, it was not an evil holiday at all.

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author avatar Kingwell
30th Oct 2014 (#)

Very true and thanks for your comment. To know the truth is to be rid of fear.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
31st Oct 2014 (#)

Kingwell, thank you for sharing this article. I've definitely learned a few things while reading about witches. I had never heard of Samhain before and I must say I love learning new things.

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author avatar Kingwell
31st Oct 2014 (#)

Thanks Nancy and I too have learned much from researching for my Halloween posts. Things are not always as they appear. Blessings.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
3rd Nov 2014 (#)

All beliefs have basis and as long as they do not harm the rest why not allow them to coexist? Interesting information, thanks Kingwell - siva

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author avatar Kingwell
3rd Nov 2014 (#)

Thanks my friend. Blessing.,

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
5th Nov 2014 (#)

Halloween we used to call it a gringo holiday! The legends of witches was during the heydays of the holy inquisition! Just fiction being about the brooms only ideas

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author avatar Kingwell
5th Nov 2014 (#)

Thank you for commenting Fern. Blessings.

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