Witch, Witches, Witchcraft, Beliefs, Facts, Symbols, History: What is Witchcraft?

Witches and Witchcraft

In witchcraft, as commonly understood, there is involved the idea of a diabolical pact or at least an appeal to the intervention of the spirits of evil to compass calamity or impotence upon enemies, rivals, and fancied oppressors.

What is Witchcraft?

Infused with mystery, fear, unbelievable and grim facts and records, Witchcraft History can be traced back to centuries. A witch is someone who practices witchcraft. The name can be used for either male or female practitioners.

The belief in witchcraft and its practice seem to have existed among all primitive peoples. Both in ancient Egypt and in Babylonia it played a conspicuous part, as existing records plainly show. It will be sufficient to quote a short section from the recently recovered Code of Hammurabi (about 2000 B.C.). It is there prescribed,

"If a man has laid a charge of witchcraft and has not justified it, he upon whom the witchcraft is laid shall go to the holy river; he shall plunge into the holy river and if the holy river overcome him, he who accused him shall take to himself his house."

There are numerous references in the bible to witchcraft and sorceries, including 1 Samuel 15:23; 2 Kings 9:22; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Micah 5:12; Nahum 3:4; Galatians 5:20.

The "witch of En-dor" (1 Sam. 28) was a necromancer, i.e., one who holds converse with the dead or demon spirits. It is the more common opinion of the holy fathers, and interpreters, that the soul of Samuel appeared indeed: and not, as some have imagined, an evil spirit in his shape. Not that the power of her magic could bring him thither, but that God was pleased for the punishment of Saul, that Samuel himself should denounce unto him the evils that were falling upon him. See Ecclesiasticus 46:23.

The damsel with "a spirit of divination" (Acts 16:16) was possessed by an evil spirit, or, as the words are literally rendered, "having a spirit, a pithon." A pythonical spirit is a spirit pretending to divination, to tell secrets, and things to come. See 2 Kings 20:8; Isaias 8:19. The reference is to the heathen god Apollo, who was regarded as the god of prophecy.

Witch and Witchcraft Definition

Witchcraft is a loose group of beliefs, practices, or rituals that can be variously adopted by almost anyone of any faith. Witchcraft isn't strictly a religion although it is generally practiced by people with religious beliefs. Witchcraft does not have any staple beliefs but instead consists of many different beliefs drawn from many different places. The practice of natural medicine, folk medicine, spiritual healing, divination, and shamanism can also be applied under the umbrella term of witchcraft. More modern practices such as the practice of alternative medicine as well as New Age healing techniques (such as Crystal healing, herbalism, Reiki, and aromatherapy) can also technically fall under the witchcraft umbrella. Some practices (such as certain herbal remedies) go far back into human history although it is virtually impossible to distinguish exactly the lineage of many of the practices considered witchcraft.

The Difference Between Wicca and Witchcraft

Wicca can technically be considered a witchcraft tradition, however because Wicca is more codified and has more defined traditions and practices as well as a large adherent population, Wicca is generally considered its own belief system.

The difference between Wicca and Witchcraft can be summarized simply: Wicca is a religion whereas Witchcraft is a practice. That begs the questions of what is a religion and what is a practice.

A religion is a spiritual belief system, such as Christianity, Islam, or Wicca. It is a series of beliefs, based around observance to or worship of deities and/or spirits. A practice is something that is done, such as prayer, meditation, or magic. Simply put, magic is a practice and Paganism is a religion. Wicca is a subset of Paganism, and magic/spell casting is the main goal of Witchcraft.

Magic and Witchcraft

It is not easy to draw a clear distinction between magic and witchcraft. Both are concerned with the producing of effects beyond the natural powers of man by agencies other than the Divine. But in witchcraft, as commonly understood, there is involved the idea of a diabolical pact or at least an appeal to the intervention of the spirits of evil. In such cases this supernatural aid is usually invoked either to compass the death of some obnoxious person, or to awaken the passion of love in those who are the objects of desire, or to call up the dead, or to bring calamity or impotence upon enemies, rivals, and fancied oppressors. This is not an exhaustive enumeration, but these represent some of the principal purposes that witchcraft has been made to serve at nearly all periods of the world's history.

In the traditional belief, not only of the dark ages, but of post-Reformation times, the witches or wizards addicted to such practices entered into a compact with Satan, adjured Christ and the Sacraments, observed "the witches' sabbath" — performing infernal rites which often took the shape of a parody of the Mass or the offices of the Church — paid Divine honour to the Prince of Darkness, and in return received from him preternatural powers, such as those of riding through the air on a broomstick, assuming different shapes at will, and tormenting their chosen victims, while an imp or "familiar spirit" was placed at their disposal, able and willing to perform any service that might be needed to further their nefarious purposes.

In the Holy Scripture references to witchcraft are frequent, and the strong condemnations of such practices which we read there do not seem to be based so much upon the supposition of fraud as upon the "abomination" of the magic in itself. (See Deuteronomy 18:11-12; Exodus 22:18, "wizards thou shalt not suffer to live" — A.V. "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live".) The whole narrative of Saul's visit to the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28) implies the reality of the witch's evocation of the shade of Samuel; and from Leviticus 20:27: "A man or woman in whom there is a pythonical or divining spirit, dying let them die: they shall stone them: Their blood be upon them", we should naturally infer that the divining spirit was not a mere imposture. The prohibitions of sorcery in the New Testament leave the same impression (Galatians 5:20, compared with Apocalypse 21:8; 22:15; and Acts 8:9; 13:6). Supposing that the belief in witchcraft were an idle superstition, it would be strange that the suggestion should nowhere be made that the evil of these practices only lay in the pretending to the possession of powers which did not really exist.

Is Witchcraft Evil?

Most witchcraft practitioners will vehemently deny that Satan is part of their pantheon, citing major doctrinal differences between themselves and Satanists. Witchcraft is basically a religion that is about minding your own business and living peaceably with your neighbors and environment.

However, witchcraft spells are idolism—Romans 1:25 says, "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things, rather than the Creator…" Who wants to settle for second best? In Isaiah 40, God paints a picture of how much greater the Creator is than His creation. If you are worshipping anything besides the Creator, you are not only spinning your wheels, you are guilty of idolatry.

Witchcraft spells bring false hope. Hebrews 9:27 says, "…Man is destined to die once, after that, to face judgment." God says we get one chance at life, and that is it. Matthew 16:26 says, "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?" There are no do-overs. If we don't accept God's gift of Jesus in our lifetime and worship and serve the created, He judges us as unwilling to be in His presence, and we are sent to hell.

Witchcraft spells bring disillusionment. Mark 7:8 says, "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." God is God, and we are not. We have a decision to make. Are we going to take God at His word and adopt His worldview, or are we not? Knowing God takes a lot of discipline. Witchcraft is a religion that takes a pack of lies, ties it in a romantic, mysticism ribbon, and searches out a well-intentioned, but lazy and gullible mark to sell its hollow doctrines.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 says, "Let no one be found among you who… practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells…Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD..." Wicca or witchcraft is a mortal sin, and God hates it. Why? Because it is an attempt to cut off our dependence on God and get answers apart from Him. It is a serving of demons and devils and not the worship of the true God or the true Deity. Psalms 95:5 says, "For all the gods of the Gentiles are devils…" 1 Corinthians 10:20 says, "But the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God. And I would not that you should be made partakers with devils."

Sin and devil worship isn't just a heinous, socially disagreeable action. Sin and idolatry is our decision to disagree with God on any topic—to rebel against Him. Sin and idolatry is saying, "God, I want to live my life my way; I want to have my own gods and goddesses."

Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death…" This isn't bodily death, this is spiritual death: eternal separation from God and all the blessings that His presence brings. This is the definition of hell: the absence of God's presence. That is what our sin and rebellion gains for us.

Thankfully, Romans 6:23 doesn't end there. It goes on to say, "…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." God knew that we would all rebel in one way or another, and He provided a way for us to avoid that separation—through faith in Jesus Christ. Wicca and witchcraft is nothing more than another lie from Satan, the enemy of our souls, who "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

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