Countless stories in traditional folklore all over the world has some type of magic wielder as a character. Humans are obsessed with creatures who can bend the rules of the natural world through unbelievable powers. A human who could control these powers was known as a witch in most cases, although some traditions like to claim witches to only be women or have a different term for a man who uses magic like a wizard or sorcerer. However, these ancient legends were warped over time with the spread of the religions of Abraham—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. For a long period of time, if someone could even be remotely linked to the use of “magic,” the religious establishment would quickly torture a confession from that person before killing them. The ancient pagan religions that had multiple gods and goddesses as well as a link to nature were forgotten and given up as the heretical past of ancestors. However, over the past century, the strict and brutal treatment of followers of these old religions by the dominant religious faction has inspired a curiosity and even a resurgence of the pagan belief system. Just like with every other religion though, there are schisms, sects, and multiple factions with this growth in the ancient uses of magic and belief in nature deities. The one binding foundation of these new, resurgence of pagans is that they all subscribe to a belief in magic and their ability to harness magic with certain rituals and spells after a great deal of practice. They are all witches.
The Gardnerian form of the craft is probably one of the most well known. It was started by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s in England. He was the first to publicize witchcraft as a type of religion in attempt to preserve the old ways of pagan ancestors. This type of craft is considered Wiccan in that it does no harm to others and uses magic to be closer to nature.
The Pow-Wow group of witches has its foundation set in south central Pennsylvania. Their roots are based on Elite German Magic that is just over 400 years old. Pow-Wow witches have modified the older German magic to focus primarily on simple healing spells and rituals rather than an in depth, multiple usage magic.
Strega witches are generally acknowledged as the smallest group of self proclaimed witches in the United States. Their craft originally comes from Italy and deals with the manipulation of elemental spirits of air, earth, water, and fire. Some Strega witches bring in Catholic themes but most subscribe to the Old Religion (La Vecchia Religione) that is primarily pagan with undertones of reworked Hermetic and Egyptian folk beliefs.
Someone who is referred to as a hereditary witch can actually follow any form of witchcraft. The main concept of a hereditary witch is someone who has been trained and taught the Old Religion by family members—such as a mother or father, grandmother or grandfather, or even aunt or uncle. This type of witch is separated from other traditions in that he or she is following a family craft instead of stumbling into the craft later in life.
Caledonii craft is the traditional Scottish witchcraft. It used to be known as the Hecatine Tradition. It holds to the pagan folk beliefs of pre-Christian Scotland and celebrates many ancient Scottish rituals and festivals.
The Alexandrian craft is a relatively new form as it was established in the 1960s. It was started by a man named Alex Sanders who was living in England following the Gardnerian witch tradition until he sought to make a few small modifications. He called himself the “King of Witches.” Alexandrian covens involve both men and women and focus on the duality of the godhead as both masculine and feminine.
An eclectic witch does exactly as their name says. He or she will choose specific beliefs and traditions that he or she feels most drawn by and then mixes them together to form his or her own personalized craft. This is one of the most popular forms of the craft in today’s modern world as whatever works best for the individual, regardless of whichever witchcraft it comes from, can be piled together to suit the witch.
Celtic Wicca is both a type of witchcraft and a specific pagan religion. It focuses on the gods and goddesses worshiped by ancient Celts as well as a few select deities from the Anglo-Saxon pantheon. Their rituals and spells heavily emphasize nature and their connection to it. These witches also like to work with other magical spirits of the realm such as fairies and gnomes when performing their magic. Also, there is a heavy foundation in elemental spirits and the manipulation of them to perform an individual’s magic.
British Traditional Witch
British Traditional Witches take from the history of witchcraft in Britain to make their own specialized following. It takes aspects of Celtic Wicca and the modern Gardnerian pagan witchcraft. Covens include both men and women and focus greatly on education in their craft. A follower of this tradition can even take in depth courses and receive a degree in British Traditional Witchcraft.
Kitchen witches focus primarily on magic in general rather than an actual religion. The magic of a kitchen witch centers around the home and practical, everyday life. Kitchen witches use spells that require potions through cooking or herbs as well as the creation of crafts to control magic. They focus on magic that can be used for the benefit of regular humans and their regular problems. A kitchen witch can subscribe to any religion he or she believes in since their craft is not based on deities.
Ceremonial witches follow closely to what their name implies. They do not have a strong base in nature and natural magic as other forms of the craft do. However, much ceremony and ritual is put into the magic that they do practice. There is some traces of Egyptian magic in this craft and a great deal of Quabbalistic tradition which provides the rules and circumstances for each important spell and ceremony practiced by these witches.
Since there are very little historical evidence and records of the ancient Druids of Britain, Druidic witchcraft has a few holes that are filled in with modern thoughts and beliefs. These neo-druids are very linked to the craft as a religion by worshiping Mother Earth in all her forms and the polytheistic belief in numerous supernatural spirits. These witches generally only practice their craft in areas where nature is preserved—heavily wooded forests or parks—since they feel to use magic they need to be close to nature. These witches also believe in leaving offerings at special altars for Mother Earth who gives them their powers.
Dianic witches are thought of as the “feminists of the magic realm.” While their particular craft can be incorporated into just about any religion, it focuses heavily on a divine goddess with little mention of a male deity if he is mentioned at all. It includes many types of magic though with this main feminine foundation to have their own collection of spells and ceremonies.
Author: Brooke Windsor Copyrighted © paranormalhaze.com