What? Witchcraft?

Wart-plastered twisted hook-nosed old women leaning over a cauldron holding a boiling sickly green liquid, a scratchy old broom leaning in the corner next to a vicious rickety old cat.

Thank you, Hollywood and commercialism.

As modern witchcraft was developing, in the 1940s and 50s, there was the less-than-inspired effort to “reclaim” the words “witch” and “witchcraft” in a mistaken belief that they had previously been associated with wise women. According to Ronald Hutton (see Triumph of the Moon), that was never the case. Instead, “witch” always had negative associations, and there were other words for healing men and women. As with all new religions, there is an effort to legitimize oneself. By claiming an unchanged tradition going back thousands of years, new traditions such as Gardnerian Wicca or Alexandrian Wicca could argue their credibility.

More on authenticity later.

Many authors have written about what modern witchcraft is and is not. Elen Hawke and Phyllis Currot are especially worth reading. One description I have heard is that a witch directly engages with the energies in the world, which is not necessary for being earth religious. What that engagement means, what are the different approaches, the ethics involved, etc. are all topics I shall be taking up on this blog.

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