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Why do People that practice Traditional Witchcraft not like to be called a witch

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Sekhmet Soul30 View Post
    I read on another site that people that practice Traditional Witchcraft don't like being called a witch. The person that wrote the article for the site said that they consider it a dirty word. Could you please explain this in detail if you have the answer.
    I have heard this through others from time to time. The idea that made the most sense to me is that Witchcraft is something of a shifty word in history. It covers a lot of different things and much of it not good. Folk craft as a practice and no real name to the practitioner seemed to fit without the darker connotations. Also there seems to be a little fear held over from the stories of the inquisitions and witch hunts. To be able to practice in relative peace and not attract unwanted negative attention, to blend in so to speak, it just seemed practical to avoid that W word all together.

    Now, now much of that is actually true I couldn't say for sure but it made some sense to me. In this day and age I think its less dangerous to call yourself witch in the states at least. Unfortunately it still holds negative ideas for those not in the know.

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    • #32
      The fact of the matter is, "witch" has always historically carried negative connotations, even when we're talking about other cultures and languages besides Western, Christian-based civilization. There's almost always some equivalent in various cultures and languages of a person who practises magic for ill use or selfish gain. It's only with the development of modern "witchcraft revival" religions such as Wicca and other sections of the Neopagan movement in the 20th century that the term has begun to take on a more positive meaning, mostly due to those movements repeatedly asserting the historically inaccurate notion that "witchcraft" is a retroactive, general term for all kinds of folk magic, with no inherent negative connotations.
      And I don't say this to rag on Wicca and modern Witchcraft religions. I practise Wicca fairly religiously, and I've studied extensively the history of it and the Neopagan movement. But I also recognise that certain tendencies in Modern Witchcraft and Neopaganism have led many practitioners to be purveyors of historical inaccuracies--through no conscious malice or intellectual dishonesty.

      And this isn't to say that "Witchcraft" and "witch" can never be reclaimed and given a positive connotation. I'm just saying that it has historically had a negative one, and to pretend that it never has had one is silly. It is a good part of the reason why it is not used by people that practise what we might refer to as "Traditional Witchcraft"--they probably don't see it as witchcraft. Because, to them, "witchcraft" is a negative term.
      Last edited by Louisvillian; November 4th, 2012, 01:40 AM.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Socinus View Post
        The word "witch" in and of itself is a somewhat negative word in most people's mindset. It conjures up a lot of dark imagery that most people who may otherwise identify as witches would rather avoid.
        also, if this wasn't addressed anywhere in this thread -

        the word "witch" as we know it was created by the inquisition. or at least as far as i understand the etymology.
        ~ Mairwen

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        • #34
          Because they arent traditional witches they are cunningfolk. Im places like Appalachia "witch" is indeed a dirty word among traditional practitions. Because our culture goes back to before the neo-pagan movement were witch referred to someone who worked with a devil figure and in those parts, it still does even today.

          that id not going to change anytime soon, though er arent so backwards as to realize modern witches ate not the same as the traditional witches of yore.

          Those who actually are witches, who identity as practicing tradtional witchcraft, are folklorists who draw on the imagery and lore of whiteches during the witchtrials and forthcoming decades. They take no issue with their being a devil in their craft.

          People will talj about "Granny witches" but they never called thrmselves that. They do not call themselves witches because they arent.

          They come out of a Christian folk tradition of course so does witchcraft, and they are related. To call these people witches youd have to go back to the Christian cunningfolk prior to the witch trials and use their definition of witch.

          Because originally witch was just another word for a cunning person, the cunning people of the area the word hails from. It diverged from this evolving into its own seperate and distinct thing as it started to be colorised during the the trials.

          They werent pagan. Or if Pagan they were Paganus "country dwellers" as stated they were Christian living aftet Christianity had taken hold while still establishing their roots before the modern era. Thete are still cunningfolk today but they are a dying breed.

          The only place you really tend to see non-Christian cunningfolk are in places like the Appalachian and Ozark mountains were idigrnous peoples practice a syncretism of tribal medicine and cunning. But we arent pagan either we are native, and as mentioned the Christian influence is still there.

          Originally posted by Mairwen View Post

          also, if this wasn't addressed anywhere in this thread -

          the word "witch" as we know it was created by the inquisition. or at least as far as i understand the etymology.
          The word wasnt created by the the inquisition, but it certainly was redefined by inquistors and hunters.

          Its Anglo-Saxon, coming from the Old English Wicca it its masculine form and wicce in its femminine form. It became wicha/wiche then finally witch as the transcribing and pronunciation was passed on.

          It means "to bend or twist or " and also "wisdom, wit, cunning". People who were cunning, had an aptitude for knowing things even if they were not formally learned or were seen as practically clever were called witches.
          Last edited by Humming Bird; May 3rd, 2019, 04:07 AM.
          Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
          (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths)
          anikutani.stfu-kthx.net - The Anikutani Tradition

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          • #35
            I tend to let people say what they like or don't like. I am a non Wiccan witch. I don't mind the word. Until they come up with something that covers the practices associated with witchcraft the community can agree on witch works for me.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Ula View Post
              I tend to let people say what they like or don't like. I am a non Wiccan witch. I don't mind the word. Until they come up with something that covers the practices associated with witchcraft the community can agree on witch works for me.
              i'm totally behind that!
              ~ Mairwen

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