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What is Religious Witchcraft?

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  • What is Religious Witchcraft?

    I'm curious about what defines religious Witchcraft and how it is distinguished from other types of witchcraft. Is it religious if gods are involved, even if they are not necessarily worshiped? What if there are no gods, but the practice is shamanic, using altered states of mind to interact with spirits and other planes of nature? Tell me your thoughts on the subject

  • #2
    Personally I think it is up to the witch to decide if their craft is considered religious or not.

    I think in thought the definition of religion could cover everything you described.

    Personally it is religious to me just because I incorporate it with the Goddess and how I practice.
    Listen to my sound. I am the wind, which echos through the trees. The gentle breeze which tickles your flesh. Touch that which you walk upon. I am the green fields filled with fresh flowers. My breast the mountain peaks which reach toward the heavens. My curves the endless canyons. The waters that run through my womb, nourish the sacred river of life. I am the song within the storm. The whisper on the edge of the forest. The silence. The rush of raging waterfalls. Open your eyes my child, for I am everywhere. I have never left you and never will.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Erebos View Post
      I'm curious about what defines religious Witchcraft and how it is distinguished from other types of witchcraft. Is it religious if gods are involved, even if they are not necessarily worshiped? What if there are no gods, but the practice is shamanic, using altered states of mind to interact with spirits and other planes of nature? Tell me your thoughts on the subject
      The word “religion” refers to the form taken by someone’s spirituality. It is an observer’s word to describe how the spirituality of an observed person manifests—even if the observed person is the observer himself.

      Witchcraft is inherently spiritual. Everyone who practices it is manifesting a spirituality. Thus, Witchcraft is inherently “religious.”

      I am amazed sometimes that more people aren’t appalled by the notion that the “technology” of magick can be divorced from spirituality. This is the same attitude that produces the rape, pollution and despoliation of the natural world by modern industry. Species are being eradicated because people treat the natural world as a dead, lifeless “thing” to be manipulated at will.

      Why do people think magick works differently? Manipulation in the magickal world is just as much manipulation as it is in the mundane world. The elements and forces worked with in magick are not objects or “things” to be twisted and forced at the will of the magickian. They have consciousness. Work with them is a partnership, not a “technology.” It’s ineradicably personal. It is spiritual.

      Some people conceive of religion as a list of dos and don’ts, doctrines you have to believe in and gods you have to kowtow to. If that’s what you think religion is, then, no, Witchcraft needn’t be religious. But that’s a very superficial conception of “religion.”
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Caelestis ♥ Raven View Post
        Personally I think it is up to the witch to decide if their craft is considered religious or not.

        I think in thought the definition of religion could cover everything you described.

        Personally it is religious to me just because I incorporate it with the Goddess and how I practice.
        Ditto.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Erebos View Post
          I'm curious about what defines religious Witchcraft and how it is distinguished from other types of witchcraft. Is it religious if gods are involved, even if they are not necessarily worshiped? What if there are no gods, but the practice is shamanic, using altered states of mind to interact with spirits and other planes of nature? Tell me your thoughts on the subject
          witchcraft is a magickal practice that may be applied to any religious practice. So the religion varies based on whatever the witch believes. There's no one specific tradition called "religious witchcraft" most witches apply similar practices with the callings of thier heart which may or may not include gods of specific pantheons. Some witches, specifically hedgewitches, do work with spirits and is basically a shamanic practice. They may use flying ointments and such to achieve altered states (cross the hedge) but thier are no requirements and it's left entirely up to the witch.

          Is it religious if gods are involved? I'd say not necessarily. Gods aren't a prerequisite for religion. I'd also say that unless gods are in some way venerated it's not religious. If i wanted to i could invoke a diety for aid in something, but if i simply use them as a tool i wouldn't say its religious to me the relationship needs to be more than that. Now i'm not saying using a god like that is the wisest course of action, i personally wouldnt do that, but some might and it might work for them.


          witchcraft is simply using the energies inherent in nature to achieve desired outcomes, frequently using plants, and stones and the like. Religion simply isn't required, the only requirement is the proper knowledge of practices. respect for the powers you work with is wise, but sometimes we must burn our fingers before we can progress to that.
          ~*~ )o( Blessings in Shadow & Light! )o( ~*~

          ~ Semper Fi ~

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          • #6
            Some peopel incorperate their spirituality into their Witchcraft and vice versa. Others see Witchcraft as a craft, a magickal practice seperate from their spirituality. I've met athiest Witches.
            Click here to go to my website: Walking the Hedge :spinnysmi

            Click here to go to my Podcast! Standing Stone & Garden Gate

            Witches’ Sabbat at Raven’s Knoll :boing:

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Juniper138 View Post
              Some peopel incorperate their spirituality into their Witchcraft and vice versa. Others see Witchcraft as a craft, a magickal practice seperate from their spirituality. I've met athiest Witches.
              I'd agree with Juniper, it depends on the Witch, some see it more as a religion, whether it's Wicca (or similar to Wicca or completely different), others see it more a practice, about, simply, magic, and use it to develop their magical abilities/powers, and others might see it in both ways.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by David19 View Post
                I'd agree with Juniper, it depends on the Witch, some see it more as a religion, whether it's Wicca (or similar to Wicca or completely different), others see it more a practice, about, simply, magic, and use it to develop their magical abilities/powers, and others might see it in both ways.
                Being a witch, I'd have to agree. But from experience I've known very few witches (of the handful I've come across) who don't incorporate some sort of spirituality/religion into their personal craft. Only once or twice have I seen someone just in it for the magic and craft-work who might be offended if referred to as practicing their religion. Some people may be involved in another religion but still practice witchcraft, it's not entirely unheard of.

                I work with it as a religion in response to my environment, the cycles and my needs. I worship both Goddess and God as all-encompassing, ever constant yet always evolving entities while I perform magic, spells, or ritual work.
                Blessed Be, in both Light and Darkness.

                Feed Me!

                Need an amazing pagan discussion podcast to listen to? Then look no further: http://imbleedingprofusely.com/


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Faelon_Moon_Hawk View Post
                  witchcraft is simply using the energies inherent in nature to achieve desired outcomes, frequently using plants, and stones and the like. Religion simply isn't required, the only requirement is the proper knowledge of practices. respect for the powers you work with is wise, but sometimes we must burn our fingers before we can progress to that.
                  To say that "Religion simply isn't required" may appear to be true for some, but for others, the energies that are inherent in nature belong to the Creator, or deitie(s), so religion is automatically a part of it.

                  "sometimes we must burn our fingers"
                  I ask why? It is like an individual, knowing nothing of electricity, trying to wire up his / her home him / her self and catching the house on fire. Would it not be much more prudent to study electricity, and learn it's proper application and where it comes from, where it goes, and how it gets there, before getting burned?

                  I don't want to get into a religious debate, but to understand my point of view, here's a couple verses of the creed (More like scripture, but I know a lot of people here don't like that word.) that I had to learn many years ago before I took my vows, and I still adhere to. Within my creed, I think it's impossible to practice without religion:

                  From her, all things proceed; to her, all things return.

                  There is no confusion in her laws. All other laws are confusion unto themselves. Her laws are life. All other laws are death. For her law is nature, and her law is love, both of which are immortal and open all doors to the secrets of the heavens (universe).


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                  • #10
                    not everyone takes the time to learn the proper ways of doing things, whether it be wiring a house, or the ways of magick.

                    I see your point, i myself am religious. However I know of those who aren't so to say that one must be religious to practice witchcraft just isn't true. There are atheist witches out there, and that works for them.

                    I see and understand your quotes, but to agree with them one must believe in a higher power, and not everyone does. Some may believe that the powers of nature simply are. That they are not created nor part of some higher power but powers unto themselves.
                    ~*~ )o( Blessings in Shadow & Light! )o( ~*~

                    ~ Semper Fi ~

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                    • #11
                      Magick works whether you believe in the goddess or not.
                      Click here to go to my website: Walking the Hedge :spinnysmi

                      Click here to go to my Podcast! Standing Stone & Garden Gate

                      Witches’ Sabbat at Raven’s Knoll :boing:

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                      • #12
                        I agree with Faelon Moon Hawk, here. I am a witch and practice witchcraft, something I was taught by my grandparents and mother, although they were Christian, they never forgot the old ways. My Grandparents came from the old county and much of what they did had not changed over the years. I do not worship any deities, I do respect and honor them and mainly work with nature, spirits, and ancestors, although I have worked with deities on occasion. I am now just getting into crossing the hedge, this is something that was not taught by my family members. Is my craft also religious, well, I do, do things religiously but I don't adhere to deities.


                        Originally posted by Faelon_Moon_Hawk View Post
                        witchcraft is a magickal practice that may be applied to any religious practice. So the religion varies based on whatever the witch believes. There's no one specific tradition called "religious witchcraft" most witches apply similar practices with the callings of thier heart which may or may not include gods of specific pantheons. Some witches, specifically hedgewitches, do work with spirits and is basically a shamanic practice. They may use flying ointments and such to achieve altered states (cross the hedge) but thier are no requirements and it's left entirely up to the witch.


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                        • #13
                          I think it truly depends on how the practitioner views what they do. It is all individualistic to me. I am religious about it.

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                          • #14
                            There's a group called DRW, Dedicatory Religious Witchcraft. Don't know much about them but I can guess that they consider witchcraft and religion. I think, I don't know, totally confused by their title.

                            Even awake I'm confused.

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