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  • How would you describe witchcraft?

    Hey yall!

    Well, I have this 5-6 minute oral for English class and we had to find a subject and guess what I picked (well, what? It had to be controversial :D )! A friend of mine who didn't know I was a witch is actually the one who thought of it and I thought it would be, well, ironic. :D

    Anyway, I was thinking that maybe you guys could help me to describe witchraft to my class, I don't wanna leave out anything and assume people know this or that or say something kinda stupid that maybe only I believe in. I wanna get this general portrait of the religion, I don't want to just present my point of view.

    So, my questions are:

    How would you describe witchcraft?

    What should I mention in my oral? What should I not forget, you know? (For example, I thought about talking about the pentacle, the demonization of some of the pagan Gods and to talk about the triple aspect of the Goddess)

    We also gotta have a discussion at the end of the oral, so if people don't ask any questions, we gotta get a discussion started by asking "thought-provoking questions" (as my teacher calls them! lol! )
    So, my back up question right now is: Do you think Witchcraft should be a reconized religion?

    If any of you guys have any ideas that could help me, I'd really appreciate it! Thanks!
    We pray for one last standing
    On the globe that gave us birth;
    Let us rest our eyes on fleecy skies
    And the cool green hills of Earth.

    ~Robert A. Heinlein


    There is a silence where hath been no sound
    There is a silence where no sound may be
    In the cold grave, under the deep deep sea.

    ~Thomas Hood

  • #2
    I would be very careful not to mix Neopaganism/paganism/wicca and witchcraft.

    Witchcraft is a skill/craft/art which can be practiced independantly from any religion, while paganism is a group of religions and Wicca is it's own religion.

    Not all witches use the pentacle (I don't), or believe in gods, a goddess, or even any sort of a higher power. Many of them aren't Wiccan, and throughout history there have been many types of witchcraft all over the world, which were/are obviously not Wiccan as Wicca was only invented in the 20th Century.
    Last edited by John_Mischief; April 13th, 2005, 06:46 PM.
    Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come ot the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world.
    -Joseph Campbell

    Comment


    • #3
      Witchcraft is not a religion......

      ~VB
      "Ne invoces expellere non possis"
      (Do not call up what you cannot put down)

      "It's better to be hated for who you are, than be loved for who you're not" - Van Zant


      Comment


      • #4
        For the history part, trust me, I've done my research, witchcraft was present in most of the parts of the world throughout history and Wicca was only created in the 1950s, though I was thinking about doing it more on where it comes from, but more of the European/people "revering" Nature to get good crops kinda thing. Though, I have to say that I didn't know that some people didn't use the pentacle (see what I meant about my beliefs? :D ) I don't use it that much myself, but it's still a very powerful symbol to me. I'd be really interested to get your pov!

        VB, since it is a set of beliefs, practices and rites, I consider it as a religion. Though that is my opinion.

        You know what... that would be a good question... What makes a religion? hmmm... people would argue on that...
        We pray for one last standing
        On the globe that gave us birth;
        Let us rest our eyes on fleecy skies
        And the cool green hills of Earth.

        ~Robert A. Heinlein


        There is a silence where hath been no sound
        There is a silence where no sound may be
        In the cold grave, under the deep deep sea.

        ~Thomas Hood

        Comment


        • #5
          Magic is the manipulation of the energy that runs through everything. This can be deliberately or undeleberately. Witchcraft is the practice of magic as a deliberate art form. A witch is the practitioner there-of.

          Religion has nothing to do with it. Or evil. I consider a prayer (even to the Christian God) a spell, or witchcraft.
          Sat Bast, meryt Serqet-Aset her Yenipu-Wepwawet her HetHert-Sekhmet
          "While I dance I cannot judge,
          I cannot hate,
          I cannot seperate myself from life.
          I can only be joyful and whole.
          That is why I dance."
          --Hans Bos

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jelly.belly

            VB, since it is a set of beliefs, practices and rites, I consider it as a religion. Though that is my opinion.

            You know what... that would be a good question... What makes a religion? hmmm... people would argue on that...
            What makes you consider it a religion?


            i did a little digging....


            From merriam-webster online:

            Main Entry: re·li·gion
            Pronunciation: ri-'li-j&n
            Function: noun
            Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back -- more at RELY
            1 a : the state of a religious <a nun in her 20th year of religion> b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
            2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
            3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
            4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith


            #1 is out as applying to witchcraft, as there is no required commitment to a higher power.
            #2 and #4... I wouldn't call it a system of belief. #3 doesn't apply.

            I see witchcraft as a mode for change. Everyone can do it. There is no worship required. There isn't even reverence required.
            Sat Bast, meryt Serqet-Aset her Yenipu-Wepwawet her HetHert-Sekhmet
            "While I dance I cannot judge,
            I cannot hate,
            I cannot seperate myself from life.
            I can only be joyful and whole.
            That is why I dance."
            --Hans Bos

            Comment


            • #7
              [QUOTE=jelly.belly]Hey yall!

              Well, I have this 5-6 minute oral for English class and we had to find a subject and guess what I picked (well, what? It had to be controversial :D )! A friend of mine who didn't know I was a witch is actually the one who thought of it and I thought it would be, well, ironic. :D

              Anyway, I was thinking that maybe you guys could help me to describe witchraft to my class, I don't wanna leave out anything and assume people know this or that or say something kinda stupid that maybe only I believe in. I wanna get this general portrait of the religion, I don't want to just present my point of view.

              So, my questions are:

              How would you describe witchcraft?


              Witchcraft is the mostly folk-use of magick, which is the art of creating changes in the world by purposefully choosing and applying thoughts, feelings, and changes in consciousness, or activites that cause the work's participants to think, feel, or change their consciousnesses as appropriate. This is differentiated from so-called 'high magick' which tends to use a lot of Latin, Hebrew, and mainstream religions.


              We also gotta have a discussion at the end of the oral, so if people don't ask any questions, we gotta get a discussion started by asking "thought-provoking questions" (as my teacher calls them! lol! )
              So, my back up question right now is: Do you think Witchcraft should be a reconized religion?


              No.

              Should small town use of sculpture be a recognized religion?


              If any of you guys have any ideas that could help me, I'd really appreciate it! Thanks!
              Last edited by AlAskendir; April 13th, 2005, 09:40 PM.
              "...but fruit flies like a banana!"
              Biggest Brightest Blessings!!!

              I have no common sense, and I believe that each person not only has their own individual path to wherever they are going, but they have subconsciously used magick to 'think themselves' to wherever they are in the Infinite World of God Herself.

              Use that grain of salt in digesting the above post.


              Furthermore, there may be an absolute truth, but I believe that no mortal can encompass it. We are all blind-men dealing with the Elephant. My investigations of the rope (tail) may be of no help whatsoever in your investigations of the spear (tusk), and vice versa.

              But it's fun to compare, anyway!


              [email protected]

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by AlAskendir


                No.

                Should small town use of sculpture be a recognized religion?

                hehehe

                Not the best discriptive IMHO... but cute regardless.


                Should prayer be a recognised religion?
                Last edited by Romani Vixen; April 13th, 2005, 09:44 PM.
                Sat Bast, meryt Serqet-Aset her Yenipu-Wepwawet her HetHert-Sekhmet
                "While I dance I cannot judge,
                I cannot hate,
                I cannot seperate myself from life.
                I can only be joyful and whole.
                That is why I dance."
                --Hans Bos

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AlAskendir
                  No.

                  Should small town use of sculpture be a recognized religion?
                  You're right

                  RV, actually when I had to do a "project" in high school about religions, I had to check what the word meant and, my dictionnary (thats Le Petit Larousse illustré, I'm a French Canadian) says that it's a (bear with me here, I'm traducing) : "2. Set of practices and rites proper to certain beliefs." (Does the proper make any sense in there? )
                  Anyway, since that has been my only description of a religion for almost half of my life, well, witchcraft has been stuck in my mind as a religion... I'm not saying it's true or right, I'm just saying that since my definition of religion is pretty vague, a lot of things fit in there! lol!

                  Though, the more I think about it, the more I like your way of seeing it: "a mode for change". That sounds pretty nice!
                  We pray for one last standing
                  On the globe that gave us birth;
                  Let us rest our eyes on fleecy skies
                  And the cool green hills of Earth.

                  ~Robert A. Heinlein


                  There is a silence where hath been no sound
                  There is a silence where no sound may be
                  In the cold grave, under the deep deep sea.

                  ~Thomas Hood

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There are many places where witchcraft is considered a religion.England and Italy are just a couple.I have gotten into many discussions over the subject withpeople who live there.
                    knows nothing and everything to learn

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Many people, inside and outside of the Pagan community, still use witchcraft and Wicca interchangable, and I believe that the US Armed Forces recognized "Witchcraft" as opposed to "Wicca" as a religion (I may be wrong with that one) so for the purposes of a short class presentatio using the term to mean a religion is fine. My quick definition of witchcraft would be "a magical tradition based on folklore and superstition and using props such as candles, herbs, or crystals to aid in focusing energy" and something about a connection to the earth/natural cycles.
                      :fpraise: Hail the mighty Wikipedia :fpraiseyo

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Witchcraft a Legal Religion??
                        (I've copied this from my site for you as evidence as to why Wicca is a recognised religion, but Witchcraft is not)

                        For the last 15-20 years a great many so-called "experts" in the Pagan/Wiccan traditions have proclaimed that Witchcraft is a recognised religion in the United States. They point to a 1986 Federal Court opinion as the basis for this declaration. Unforutnately, in this Author's view, this proclamation is inaccurate for the following reasons.

                        The case everyone quotes is Dettmer v. Landon. Dettmer was a 29 year old inmate at the Powhatan Correctional Center in State Farm, Virginia. His claim was that his First Amendment right to the free exercise of his religion, the Church of Wicca, was violated by prison officials who refused to give him access to his religion's worship materials. Prison officials said that the worship materials that Dettmer wanted--candles, a statue, a white robe, incense, and sulfur--would be hazardous to prison security. The prison officials also claimed that the Church of Wicca was not a religion entitled to First Amendment protection.

                        During the time from 1983-1985, Dettmer repeatedly sought permission to obtain the matereials, and the prison officials, sensitive to potential security problems, denied each request. They alleged that the items posed a threat to the security of the intstitution. They stated that the incense could be used to mask the odor of drugs, a statue could be used as a weapon, sulfur could be used to make gunpowder, and a hooded robe could be used to hide a prisoner's face in an escape attempt.

                        Realizing that the prison officials had legitimate security concerns with some of the items, Dettmer consulted his religious leaders and offered to substitute sea salt or uniodized salt for the sulfur, to remove the hood from the robe, and to use a plastic statue rather than a wooden or ceramic one. However, despite Dettmer's efforts to provide a workable solution, and even though officials never questioned the sincerity of Dettmer's beliefs, the prison still denied Dettmer's access to the items.

                        Throughout this trial, the Court had to determine whether the Church of Wicca is a religion for purposes of the First Amendment. Because religion is so highly personal and private, dealing with spiritual rather than temporal matters, courts have traditionally been reluctant to examine and pass judgment upon these beliefs. However, when confronted with a dispute between religious conviction and the needs of the state, courts have a duty to make an inquiry into the nature of the faith to ensure that purely secular beliefs and practices are not accorded the special protection afforded by the First Amendment.

                        The courts have also ruled repeatedly that the belief in a religion is different from the actions of a religion. Simply put, there's a difference between belief and practice -- your belief system may promote an illegal activity (lets say human sacrifice) and the belief isnt illegal, but if you act on it (by sacrificing a human) thats illegal (obviously). Governments are also bound by Court decsions that prohibit them from creating law aimed at the practices of any specific religion--law must deal with the citizenship as a whole. In a Florida case from the 80's the Federal Courts struck down a Florida law prohibiting a religion from sacrifcing animals in the Rites. They did so because the law was aimed directly at this group and not at citizens in their entirety. Peyote is something many Native American wish to use in their rituals, but is banned from general use by the public, therefore it is banned for the use in Native American Rituals.

                        A decision was then reached by the Court and is and quoted here: "Members of the Church of Wicca sincerely adhere to a fairly complex set of doctrines relating to the spiritual aspect of their lives, and in doing so they have 'ulitmate concerns' in much the same way as followers of more accepted religions. Their ceremonies and leadership structure, their rather elaborate set of articulated doctrine, their belief in the concept of another world, and their broad concern for improving the quality of life for others gives them at least some facial similarity to other more widely recognized religions. While there are certainly aspects of Wiccan philosophy that may strike most people as strange or incomprehensible, the mere fact that a belief may be unusual does not strip it of constitutional protection. Accordingly, the Court concludes that the Church of Wicca, of which the plaintiff is a sincere follower, is a religion for the purpose of the free exercise clause."

                        The application of this decision is where the controversy arises. Various groups, (The Witches League for Public Awareness, The United Pagan Fellowship, The Church of Wicca itself, as well as other groups both online and off) interpret this decision to mean that Witchcraft is a recognised religion in the United States. If you read The Church of Wicca's mission statement and their opinions on Witchcraft, one of the things you will find is that they will tell you that all Wiccans do not practice Witchcraft or cast spells. (This is the basis for the arguement that all Witches are Wiccan, but not all Wiccans are Witches). The difference between the two is easy to see-- Wicca is a BELIEF system, and Witchcraft is a practice (or ACTION). The Court decision everyone refers to as making "Witchcraft" a recognised religion focused on the "Belief System" not the "practice of Witchcraft".

                        In many texts out there you will see the Court's quoted opinion above editted by either adding "(or Witchcraft)" or by substituting the word "Witchcraft" for "Wicca" in the opinion. In this author's view, the Court not only never intended that to be done (they would have done it themselves--these are some very learned folks here), in reality they never visited the issue of Witchcraft. Law in any form, from the most Local to the Federal level, does not allow one to extrapolate anything extra from their text. In order to expand the "meaning" of a law one must proceed through the Court System and garner a legal opinion on the matter. Therefore, to extrapolate on this decision and say because the Court said Wicca they meant Witchcraft is impossible.

                        Those who would disagree with this Author's thoughts will most likely respond by stating that Mr Dettmer was a member of The Church of Wicca and that The Church of Wicca practices Witchcraft, therefore Witchcraft is a protected religion. In my eyes that is untrue--if you re-visit the idea of beliefs vs. practices you will find that the Court protects only beliefs, it in no way protects practices. If the Court did that, Native Americans could use Peyote legally in their rituals after being exempted under the Freedom of Religion clauses. They tried to get that exemption, and lost. This is not meant to mean that Witchcraft is legal or illegal, only that it is not protected under the First and Fourteenth Ammendments for the purposes of Religious Freedom. Whether any or all practices contained within Witchcraft are legal is an issue that is outside the scope of Religous Freedom in its nature, but is governed by the General Laws on all levels. Another example of this is the Massachusetts Laws prohibiting the sale of Athames. Even Mr. Dettmer's legal counsel understood this fact--he origianlly requested an Athame in his list of items necessary for his practices, but later dropped that specific request after realising that no Court would allow an item into a prison that could be used as a weapon. Even in protecting Religious Freedoms, there are exceptions when Government Agencies (the Prison Board in this case) can present a valid reason that the practice is dangerous to the population in general.

                        In conclusion, the Court has most certainly proclaimed the Church of Wicca as a valid religion, but the Court in no way either visited or gave an opinion on the practice of Witchcraft. At the same time, due to the fact there are no General Laws anywhere that make the practice of Witchcraft illegal, these Rituals continue to be included in SOME Wiccans rites, but certainly not all Wiccans choose to include them as is evidenced by the universally accepted fact that not all Wiccans are Witches and practice the craft.

                        There has been and continues to be a great struggle fought by Pagans of all Paths to garner "respectability" for their chosen Path and Paganism as a whole--both legally in the eyes of the government as well as morally in the eyes of the public. When Pagan people who have acheived great noteriety amongst the public in general take liberties with the Rights that have been gained it does much more harm than good. Granted you may convince some people that you are right, but in the long run you will find that what is remembered is the liberties you took without the right to do so.

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