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Witchcraft without the influence of Christianity and other monotheistic religions?

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  • Witchcraft without the influence of Christianity and other monotheistic religions?

    Okay so think about this; they say in modern times witchcraft has become fluffier and in my opiniion the influence and evolution of Judaism, Christianity, and even Islam has a lot to do with it. So if we nevre had these three religions and maybe some other major religions, how do you think witchcraft would be like today?

  • #2
    I've been running this one around in my head and honestly I do not think you could begin to speculate on what would have been.

    What would be the defination of what is witchcraft and / or a witch? In many area's the very notion of what is a witch and witchcraft is driven by the early church influences. Even those area's only slightly touched use that Christian defination to a large extent.

    Would a Nordic Heathen be termed as a Witch? Probally not. The very notion of Odinist, Asatru, Germanic practioners being called witches seems far fetched.

    Would a Pan American practioner of HooDoo, VoDoo, Santeria or any other combination be called Witches? Probally not, we don't even call them witches today.

    Even the notion of what is a witch varies from region to region, country to country and township to township. An Appalachian witch is a far cry from a Penn Dutch Witch and both are a far cry from the notion of a Bayou Witch.

    This concept also doesn't touch upon the concept of Witchcraft as a magical crafting versus witchcraft as a religious calling versus witchcrafting as a healer. Add in all the Water Witches, Wise Women, Potion Brewers, etc and you have an even wider range of skill sets that have been atributed to witches accross the ages.

    I think the only thing you could say is they would not be the Spiritual and / or religious grouping called priest or priestess. And even that may be an incorrect statement based upon skill sets.

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    • #3
      Fluffy compared to what? What do we have to go on? Furthermore, as the above poster shows, "witch" and "witchcraft" means different things to different people of different regions. Even today not everyone agrees on what a witch is, so to try to judge how witchcraft has even changed or become "fluffier" is virtually impossible. And to blame it on the abrahamic religions is even more impossible.

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      • #4
        Yeah that is a good point that the term witch wasn't really used until years after Christianity.

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        • #5
          well, for one, i probably wouldnt have been asked if i was "part of a satanic cult" while i was looking for someone locally to perform my handfasting ceremony. then again, i do live in bible belt usa!
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sacredsin View Post
            Fluffy compared to what? What do we have to go on? Furthermore, as the above poster shows, "witch" and "witchcraft" means different things to different people of different regions. Even today not everyone agrees on what a witch is, so to try to judge how witchcraft has even changed or become "fluffier" is virtually impossible. And to blame it on the abrahamic religions is even more impossible.
            I agree. I was watching "secrets of the code" narrated by susan surandon(sp)

            They had some interesting points concerning "the olde ways". The majority of the populous at large have no idea just how much the olde religion has contributed to society today.

            And the word Witch has be abused, misused, misdefined and in my opinion is just a title which could mean different things to different people.

            further more, the term "fluffier" also has different meanings depending on who you ask so it is really difficult to pin it on any one religious society.

            WItchcraft and Paganism are not entirely synonomous. yet not exactly apart from one another either.. I guess it all boils down to personal opinions.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by bellamandu View Post
              well, for one, i probably wouldnt have been asked if i was "part of a satanic cult" while i was looking for someone locally to perform my handfasting ceremony. then again, i do live in bible belt usa!
              try and show them that the Pentacle was origonally a symbol of the sacred feminine, which the christian church adopted as a symbol of protection. Add to that the adaptation of it by Wicca also symbolising protection and then add to that the association of it by Satanism and then you are in for a heated discussion lol
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              • #8
                Bellamandu,

                Perhaps you would have been seen as something better or worse depending upon the social and cultural stigma of the area. Yet marriage rites where drawn from local lore and tradition so anything outside that norm could also be construde as wrong or bad. Ironically, with things being seen as bad not from a name but change of a practice.

                But you also make reference to a different facet of Withcraft, that being that many Wiccans are Witches but no all Witches are Wiccan. Handfasting in its current observance is a Wiccan conccept to a great degree, however many culture's had handfasting type rites that had nothing to do with religious traditions..

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                • #9
                  Which is why ive learned, instead of making a reference to wicca when someone asks what handfasting is, i just make a reference to Braveheart.

                  Then everyone says... Ohhhhhh! I know what you are talking about now! :weirdsmil
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                  • #10
                    Sacredsin wrote:

                    so to try to judge how witchcraft has even changed or become "fluffier" is virtually impossible
                    I wonder if "Fluffier" is not really a valid comparrison to a degree. However, I do think the comparrison would be based upon one regions practice against another region that had a similar point of origin.

                    For instance take rural Virginia on the western ridges, much of the area was settled by Scotish and Irish immigrants. They brough thier traditons and beliefs with them when they settled the area. Now compare and contrast the traditions of Scotland and Ireland of today against the Western ridges of Virginia and both sides could claim the other has grown fluffy in practice as they look upon one another.

                    The defining factor being the changes each culture and society have experienced based upon the geographical and political influences of the area.

                    Yet as I said I think it would only be valid when compared to two areas derived from the same point of origin. Even then a time line would have to be established to show where a comparriosn would no longer be valid based upon passage of time.

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                    • #11
                      Lots to think about so far in this thread... great posts, everyone!

                      Regardless how you define witch and witchcraft, if you are looking for ways to practice today that are not influenced by Christianity, Judaism, or Islam then you will have a real challenge ahead of you. There is a lot of modern occult and magickal practice which is at least influenced by those big three religions, if not developed through them.

                      Probably the best advice would be to pick a particular culture that you find appealing, and then do some heavy-duty research into the religious and magickal practices of that culture outside or before they were affected by Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Are you most interested in Celtic cultures, Egyptian, Roman, Greek, Mesopotamian, or one of the many cultures native to the Americas? What about Asian cultures or cultures of the southern hemisphere? There is a whole world to choose from.

                      Even if you are planning to be more of a practical witch rather than a historically-focussed reconstructionist, you will probably find some of the best resources among reconstructionist work for the culture you want to explore. For instance, check out the various Paths sections here at MysticWicks to see what books are recommended by the various reconstructionist practitioners here. They can point you in the right direction for your research.

                      And while it's clear you don't want your witchcraft practice to have overt Christian, Jewish or Muslim influences you'll likely find that some source material is available only through those three religions. Examine those source materials and see if you can strip away the Christian, Jewish, or Muslim veneer to expose any Pagan core lurking there. Or perhaps you will want to adapt a particular practice to your own Pagan version and go with that. Don't turn away good stuff just because it happens to be presented in a Christian, Jewish, or Muslim wrapper!

                      Ben Gruagach
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                      • #12
                        Yeah, because we all know the Witches' rede wasn't around back then :weirdsmil

                        I mean - these days you have to have a rede, just to say you have one, so the mainstream will leave you alone - aaah, but we all know that no one really follows it.

                        Just kidding - I know some people do, but I don't practice spellcraft often, so when I do, it has more to do with me than with anybody else. Even if I did practice more often, it wouldn't be in the confines of some kind of rule. Spirituality is spirituality marked with what should be a higher change in consciousness - not bound by earthly means.

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                        • #13
                          whats the witches rede?

                          I know of the wiccan rede, is this the same?
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                          • #14
                            A huge chunk of modern paganism is based on Christian mysticism. Eliminate Christianity, and you eliminate much of modern paganism.

                            Now, if you're speaking of ancient paganism, which was MUCH different (and rather the established religion of the time), it's difficult to say how things would be today. Without the Big Three (Christianity, Judaism, Islam), you wouldn't have had the renaissance or the industrial revolution. In fact, humanity's entire history would be vastly different. I find it difficult to believe that we'd have the same technologies today if the past had been different. The entire world would be vastly different.

                            I am content with the world's religions and technology as they are today, and where they are going tomorrow.

                            I wouldn't want to meddle with changing the past. Haven't any of you ever watched Star Trek or anything? Infinite realities! So many differences based on so many choices.

                            But that's a question for another thread - do you believe in infinite realities (I think it has something to do with quantum string theory?), or do you believe that everything is destined to happen, and it's just this one reality that exists...!
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by teishabee View Post
                              whats the witches rede?

                              I know of the wiccan rede, is this the same?
                              It's posted here: http://www.witchaven.com/Craft_info/witches_rede.htm
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