Witches Magic, Witch Lore and Their Allure
Everyone Loves A Witch and Witches Magic
The 2012 favorite costume is the witch. Witches hold a fascination for many
and an obsession for a few. The reasons are varied, but most come from
positive and romantic ideas and feelings.
Witches in today's enlightened society do not have to hide in a forest to follow
most of their ritualistic beliefs. Herbs and their uses encompass most of
their practices and spells are usually performed to have a positive influence on
a situation or person and not to harm someone, as many still believe. Black
magic is frowned on by most of today's witch groups.
Witches were shunned and persecuted throughout history for their beliefs.
core, an economic element-- the theft of milk, the destruction of property,
threats of physical harm that came true (or at least came true in the witness
accounts), and curses that were coincidentally efficacious.
In a fascinating tabulation of witness statements from Danish witchcraft
trials, there were 271 accusations of murder, 510 of causing human illness,
339 of causing cattle's death, thirty-nine of causing cattle's illness, 104 of
stealing or spoiling milk, 157 of killing horses or causing illness, thirty-seven of
killing sheep, twenty-seven of killing pigs, twenty-one of ruining beer, and
eleven of inflicting poverty.
All of these crimes constitute some form economic transgression as both
murder and illness could have significant economic repercussions in the tight
knit rural communities; furthermore, nearly half the cases (735 out of 1,519)
speak of crimes whose primary effect was economic. While the church saw
witches as a spiritual threat to the community, in practical and juridical term
witches were largely prosecuted because of their imputed economic threat to
the community. Quite simply, in the eyes of the courts and the local populace
who brought the initial charges, witches were seen as an economic threat that
needed to be eliminated.
Origins of the Witch
European pagans worshiped a triple goddess who at once was a maiden, a
mother, and a croon. Croons which were later made into our Halloween witch.
Her broomstick represents the tree of life and her ride across the moon
represents her journey to the spirit realms, where she spends the winter
months resting and rejuvenating before returning as a maiden in spring.
The first fully intact 17th-century "witch bottle" has been unearthed in the U.
K. The bottles were used to ward off illnesses thought to result from a curse.
Two hundred broken bottles have been found -- this is the first chance
scientists have had to see what they contained. Pins, along with the sick
person's urine, hair and fingernails, were placed inside, and the bottle was
buried. The purpose was to reflect a curse back onto the witch from whom it
The so-called period of witch craze in Early Modern Europe (1480–1700) not
only brought about the tragic executions of 45,000 accused individuals, but
also gave birth to numerous text types. In England, one type of texts that was
printed and distributed as a means to inform the public and disseminate news
about witchcraft, which was a concern of English life then, was witchcraft
be seen, on the one hand, as symptomatic of the prevailing belief systems that
constitute that social moment, and therefore they help make it possible to
explain “why…witch-hunt took place” and “why witch-hunts, once they had
begun, followed many different patterns of development”.
Witchcraft Was Openly Practiced Before 1800
On the other hand, the ways that witchcraft is talked about in these
pamphlets can also be seen as a means to reproduce and extend beliefs about
witchcraft, thereby re-construing the meaning and experience of witchcraft
through each act described. The witchcraft texts may have contributed to the
hatred of Witches.
During the Early Modern period in England, witchcraft was an important
concern for people from all walks of life and from all levels of society.
Ironically, the intellectual era of the Renaissance brought with it a renewed
belief in the supernatural.
There was a widespread belief in witchcraft at the time, and people believed
in ghosts, fairies and poltergeists. Attempting to explain the cause of the
witchcraft mania we point to dysfunctional relations within communities and
between individuals. In particular, posits that there was disparity between
two groups in a community, namely, between those who were marginal and
downwardly mobile, and those who were wealthy.
Frequently, conflicts arose when the former requested some small favor from
the latter and, when it was denied, showed anger, sometimes through cursing.
The wealthier, aware of having failed charity, would interpret any coincidental
sickness or misfortune as being caused by such a harmful act. In this way,
witchcraft accusations can be argued to be a means by which the better-off
group, trying to regulate community conflicts, displaced their own sense of
Thus, we see that, in the limited evidence available, quarrels over gifts and
loans of food, and to a lesser extent money and implements, precipitated the
majority of witchcraft attacks. The actual object of the dispute, the loan of
an implement Discursive control and persuasion in early modern news discourse
or the demand of money that should be returned, was merely the final state in
the severing of a relationship.
Such relief of guilt through projection onto another person easily led to
witchcraft accusations, and it is here that religious factors came into play.
Because Christian moral teaching advocates generosity and charity towards
others, the better-off group would naturally feel guilty when denying the
object of the dispute. By accusing the unaided person of being a witch — hence
a moral aggressor unworthy of support — those in the better-off group could
rid themselves of the guilt experienced.
At this point, the use of legislative power on the part of the state came to
facilitate the process. With the passing of laws against witchcraft and the use
of magic, moral offences came to be prosecuted in the secular court, as there
was simultaneously a general decline of ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Simply put,
witchcraft accusations made were not only mainstream society’s attempts to
preserve the moral fabric of a model Christian community against corrupting
influences but also religiously-inspired guilt projected onto others, and
facilitated by legislative power and religious attitudes. These factors
produced profound effects on the outcry against of witchcraft, to be
explained in detail below.
Burning Witches- How Did It Happen
Here are the systematic ways in which 17th century witchcraft pamphleteers
attempt to shape the reader’s mind through persuasion in their versions of
witchcraft-related events. By being persuasive, the pamphleteers may exert
discursive control over the reader, thereby swaying the mind of the non-
believers or, at the very least, perpetuating the beliefs of those believers.
The typical path towards persuasion consists of the following linguistic
methods: negative depiction of the accused as threats, construction of a
positive self-image, and reader involvement.
The first technique, the depiction of the accused individuals as threat,
functions mainly to create a sense of community amongst the readers. In
presenting these individuals as a threat to society, the pamphleteer warns the
reader for the possible danger presented by the witches and urges the
members of the community to be concerned about the safety of one another.
At the same time, the pamphlets provide the solution to the threat by
identifying the alleged witches, and as a result, the alleged witches become
the victims on whom readers projects their fear, caused by the threats in the
Constructing a positive self-image, on the other hand, appears to cover a
different set of functions. This strategy helps not only to create a sense of
community but also to establish the credibility of the accounts in the
pamphlets, as the pamphleteer can identify with the readers’ concerns, show
understanding and respond to their needs. Furthermore, a positive self-image
is a meaningful factor contributing to credibility or like-ability of the source,
and by presenting themselves as caring about the reader, the pamphleteers
can strengthen their case and arguments.
Dunwich, G. Wicca Book Of Days: Legend and Lore for Every Day of the Year.
Dunwich, G. Exploring Spellcraft: How to Create and Cast Effective Spells.
Normand, L. Witchcraft In Early Modern Scotland: James VI's Demonology
and the North Berwick Witches. 2000.
Witch Spells and Herbs
What is Wicca?
Persecution of Witches
Witches in England
Witches in America
Witches in Denmark
Witches in Sweeden
Witch Costume Ideas
Witch Decoration Ideas