Witch Craft Essay, Research Paper
The Illusions of Modern Day Wicca
Witches – Most of us assume we will never meet a real one.
Starting from the very first years of childhood we are assured over and
again that there are no such things.
But why are we so quick to dismiss the existence and powerful practise
Is it really because of the many misconceptions towards Wiccan
believers that drives us to think you would only cross paths with a witch
in a fairytale?
Take a look at some of the falsities of white witchcraft in modern
day times. Of course the initial image most of us picture when witches are
mentioned is that little old lady with the pointy black hat, the cauldron, the
broomstick, and the black cat.
Often, she has bats for friends and lives in a plagued, haunted house.
She is famous for riding through the air on her broomstick and for
casting spells, especially the kind that turn you into a toad, a turtle or a tea-
pot. Every October, her picture appears in advertisements and store windows,
as rubber masks, and in books of cute stories that are about as frightening as
Goldilocks . This Halloween witch gets many more giggles than shivers
these days and yet there is so much more to witches than many may realize.
The History of Witchcraft
Today most people laughingly dismiss witchcraft as a superstition of
the ignorant. But in seventeenth-century Europe and America, witches,
(defined by the English judge Lord Coke) as persons who had conference
with the Devil to consult with him or to do some act, were taken very
seriously. Witches were women – the male equivalent was *warlock and as
a result of their dealings with the Devil were commonly
believed to be able to preform supernatural acts.
During early Colonial days in America all but very few men believed
in the actual existence of demons and witches and harboured many supersti-
tions that had been handed down from the ages.
The penalty for being proved a witch was death and in a few years of
Oliver Cromwell s rule in England, many unfortunates accused of witchcraft
perished on the gallows – 60 being hanged in a single year in Suffolk, a county which
notorious witch-hunter Matthew Hopkins declared to be overrun with
Superstition soon crossed the Atlantic with the Pilgrim Fathers,
and at a time when it was disappearing in England it started to flourish
alarmingly in the state of Massachusetts- which in 1692 was the most
celebrated witch hunt and witch trials in history.
*The preferred term used by Wiccan people is witch for both male & female.
Witches in Fiction
From the stories of Hansel and Gretel to the classic film of
The Wizard of Oz to the play, Shakespeare s Macbeth – all of these
fictions have the same antagonists, and they are all unrealistic and wicked witches.
Maybe that is why everyone is so positive it would be impossible to ever
meet an authentic witch. These movies, stories and plays are so far-fetched
that the very definition of a witch is altered to symbolize:
A villainous hag that snatches away youngsters to devour or to turn into toads
and many other witch familiars.
The definition above is a possible version of many people s perceptions
So many books, and films have contributed to the false interpretations
that many Wiccans have to face daily. Below are some of the misleading types of
entertainment, that is influencing surrounding judgement about innocent and harmless
Remember the very famous movie The Witches ?
This 1990 film features Anjelica Huston as a menacing and inhuman
leader of evil forces, witches. They loathed children and had planned
to get rid of all of them by turning them to rats.
How about the story that is known by all children everywhere,
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ?
In this tale the vain and wicked witch-queen asks her magic mirror,
Who is the fairest of them all? When the reply is Snow White the queen
decides to exterminate her young rival with a poisoned apple.
Hunt the Witch
After the fall of the Roman Empire, Christianity became, in time, the
dominant religion of Europe. Yet much of the ancient world s pagan traditions,
including witchcraft, lingered on and thrived among ordinary people.
Convinced that such leftover beliefs were inspired by the Devil, and determined to
stamp them out, the Christian Church launched a merciless and brutal attack on
every hint of witchcraft and wizardry throughout Europe. This persecution lasted
from the 15th to the 18th century. Hundreds of thousands of helpless suspects
suffered torture and execution, often on false charges and faked evidence.
Even now when groups are hounded by a powerful authority, we call it a
Conceivably the basis why, to abundant people, witches do not exist is that many
witches have had to fade into hiding because even today, they would be ostracised and
would not be handled with the same respect that many other religions would receive
Numerous torture techniques used in the centuries of witch accusation
and persecution were absolutely treacherous and cold-hearted.
In one incident in Salem, Massachusetts 1692, a man with the name, Giles Cory,
was falsely accused of practicing witchcraft. As usual he was being subjected to
many hours of pain and torture when he bravely refused to confess to the fraudulent
allegations towards him.
Every time he declined to satisfy and suit his accuser s statement, he would be pressed
down by many, massively heavy weights that were placed directly on his chest.
The pain did not tear one shred of dignity from his soul. He endured every bit
of bone-crushing torment purely because he had a very impressive degree of self-
respect. Unfortunately Giles Cory eventually perished from being demolished to death,
under the custody of Salem s brutal authority.
After many hours of torture, the authorization will ask some leading
questions which, if the prisoner had given-up, would answer only yes or no.
As any modern lawyer, police officer, or journalist will tell you, that is a very poor
way to learn the truth from anyone. It is such a bad way, in fact, that the use of this
type of leading question, as it is called, is forbidden in our court system.
That is because a witness can be easily influenced to say, not what they actually saw
or heard, but what the lawyer suggests they might have seen. Thus, a lawyer may ask
Did you see anyone at the scene of the crime? but not, Did you see a blond man in a
black leather jacket at the scene of the crime? .
A Hidden Religion
Wicca Many do not accurately perceive what this word signifies or even
heard this peculiar term before.
To start off, Wicca is a very powerful and sacred religion.
Many people all over the world practice various forms of Wicca and are in no way
involved in evil or black magic.
All Wiccans are serious about their ancient religion and value Wicca
just like Christians value Christianity, Muslims value Islam, and Jews value Judaism.
Wicca has many holidays, such as Beltaine, May 1st , which is celebrated by dancing
around a tree or pole trimmed with flowers and ribbons, and the celebration Samain,
November 1st , begins on October 31st and that, of course, is Halloween. The name
means the eve of the feast of All Hallows, a time when pious Christians honoured the
worthy dead, but when imps, sprites, spooks and goblins were believed to be freed from
the underworld to work mischief on the living.
If this religion is so similar to all other well-known religions, then why is not
one that people acknowledge when they hear the word, Wicca?
Though many people practice Wicca, they are not recognized as witches because
for one reason, they are not ready to face the preconceptions that connects witches with
evil. This misconception with evil and witchcraft was the main reason moral witches
pronounced their modern practice to be called, Wicca. Wicca is an old English word
wise. Also the reason why Wicca is not known as a religion is probably because people
do not know that witches can be anyone. Witches do not act any different from any other
normal person, if not more environmentally aware.
In fact, modern day Wiccans care and respect animals and other living creatures
much more than many of the rest of us do.
So, instead of people deeming witches as monsters, it appears we should learn multiple
lessons from this honourable way of life.
Witchcraft Around the World
There are many different forms of witchcraft from many different
countries and cultures today. Though some types of magic is evil, most of the
witchcraft today are on a basis of good over evil.
Africa: As Africa is a large and vast continent of varied cultures and peoples,
so Africa witch doctors come in many guises, all have their own ways of casting spells,
reading the future, healing, and so on. But their societies can also have some things in
common. Art, for example, is central to most African cultures, whether it is visual
arts of stylized carvings and masks or the ceremonial arts of music and dance.
Well, what does art have to do with witchcraft?
Where art exists in Africa, there is magic. Carvings may be objects that are
believed to contain spirits and prized as amulets and talismans saturated with magic;
masks often represent supernatural spirits or ancestors.
Native People: The original inhabitants of North America were never very large
and were scattered widely across the continent. So the cultures of the different
tribal groups show as much difference as the environments they live in.
Their traditions of magic are just as varied; unique features include the amulets and
charms of the Inuit in the far north, the startling vision- inducing rituals of the Plains
tribes, the costumes and masks of the eastern woodlands people, and the monumental
carved totem poles of the tribes from the northwest pacific coast.
However different they are they still share that mystical sense of awareness with their
India and Tibet: The great religions of Hinduism and Buddhism have grown on the
Indian subcontinent for centuries, from Sri Lanka in the south to the Himalayas and
Tibet in the north. Popular magical traditions have also been a part of these grounds;
in particular, magical charms and amulets, often composed of natural resources,
are used as protection against a huge range of evil spirits and other dangers, as well
as ill fortune.
Thanks to story books, plays, and television, many people are assured
that witches are not real. Even when we are sitting alone, at night, on the couch
watching a frightening movie about an evil, wicked witch harming innocent children,
we know we probably should not be watching it, but we look on because we know
there are no such things as witches.
It would be impossible to meet a green, wart faced old lady in black wearing ridiculous
clothing and carrying an old broomstick.
That is a witch. Right?
Because of the world of fiction, it is.
Since society has given a witch a demon title, it would be very difficult
for a person, secretly practicing Wicca, to step up and share his or her beliefs
The public must realize the mistakes it has made.
Though many might not take this matter seriously, the misconceptions put
towards this religion are prejudice and we as a people have no right in making
a person feel so ashamed of their own religion.
We must remember that this is a religion, and it would be the same matter
if someone was to say that Christianity is an immoral belief.
Wiccans are normal human beings that live in normal homes, they might drive to
their normal jobs in their normal cars, and live their normal lives.
The point is that they do not stand out like a sore thumb.
They are just another person walking down the street, but they have a secret
that many normal people do not know.