11 Things you probably didn't know about Witches

Forget the stereotype of the wizened old crone casting evil spells around a bubbling cauldron! Witches are modern people who want to follow a spiritual path that encourages individual thought and growth.


Discover the reality behind Wicca


1) Witches are modern people

Forget the stereotype of the wizened old crone casting evil spells around a bubbling cauldron! Witches are modern people who want to follow a spiritual path that encourages individual thought and growth. Wicca values creativity and it has respect for all living things. Most of all it upholds free will as your sacred right, with the condition of taking responsibility for your actions and their consequences. Wiccans do not blame anyone else for their weaknesses and mistakes but they seek to self improve.


2) Witchcraft is a modern religion with ancient roots

Wicca recreates the oldest religion in the world for modern times. It is a way of life based upon the reconstruction of the pre-Christian Pagan traditions of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. In its modern form, it is a newly recognised religious movement created in the first half of the 20th century in England by Gerald Gardener.


3) Witches won't harm you!

The untruth of a witch being an evil person who wants to harm you was spread by the early Christian church and other faiths seeking to knock out the competition. Unfortunately it's a lie that has stuck in people's minds. A quick look at the basics of Wicca will tell you that it's not true. The Wiccan Rede, which is a poem containing the main laws of the faith, has as its main rule: 'as long as it harms nobody, do as you will'. So it goes against the Wiccan central law to do harm!

Also, Wiccans believe in the 'threefold law', which is a bit like the idea of karma. So whatever you send out into the universe - bad deeds, good deeds, bad thoughts, good thoughts - all will be returned to you three times over. So witches are probably the least likely people to intentionally do harm!


4) Witches don't believe in 'the devil'

Witches are generally very bemused by the association of Wicca with the devil because the devil does not exist in Wicca! The devil is the creation of other religions, it has no place in Wicca. Wicca does not see light and dark in such simplistic terms, only shades of grey. So the association of witches with devils or demons is due to sheer ignorance or wilful misinformation.


5) Witches are men and women

Men can be witches too. Just don't call him a warlock! The term 'witch' is used today to refer to both genders of Wiccans. Warlock has negative connotations because it thought to derive from the term 'oath-breaker'. Whereas 'witch' derives from 'wicca', which means 'to bend' or 'wise'.


6) Wicca is feminist

Unlike other religions, Wicca places equal importance on male and female deities. It recognises that both men and women are of equal spiritual power. While other religions are male-centric and seem to attach varying degrees of shame to women, Wicca venerates the female. It holds the Divine Feminine as its central life-giving force.


7) Witches love nature

Wicca is a nature religion. So the natural world and nature is sacred. Wiccans try to tread lightly on the Earth by being eco-conscious and respecting the world and all its creatures. According to Wicca, magical power comes from the Earth.


8) Witches create their own religious book

Because Wicca is about individual spiritual growth, there is no central text dictating what you can and can't do. Wiccans create their own record. It's called the Book of Shadows and it is a personal diary of a Wiccan's spiritual journey.


9) Witches have a sacred symbol

The pentacle is Wicca's sacred symbol. It's a star with five points, representing the five elements: air, fire, earth, water, and spirit. The top point usually symbolises Spirit as being the most important element. A circle is drawn around the star to symbolise protection. The pentacle is a positive, highly protective symbol, not to be confused with the inverted pentagram of satanists!


10) Witches get married

It's usually called a handfasting because the hands are symbolically bound together during the ritual. The handfasting binds the couple together for a year and a day, or as long as love remains. After this time the couple can renew their vows if they want to stay together, and some include a legal marriage ceremony at this point, too.


11) Witches don't believe in death

Taking inspiration from nature, Wiccans believe in a cycle of birth, life, death, and regeneration. So death is not the end of life, it's the beginning of a new phase. Just like the seasons, plants and flowers bloom, die, then bloom again, so Wiccans believe that people and creatures are reincarnated. Wiccans believe you go to Summerland when you die, which is a resting place where you can reflect on your life. When you are ready, you return to continue your path on earth.


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