Talk:Witchcraft/Archive 2

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Warlock

I added the distinction that a male witch is known as a warlock. Lostcaesar 20:17, 23 June 2006 (UTC) Worlock means oath breaker it is not means as a copliment. sltaylor12/18/2006

Thanks for your contribution, and welcome to Wikipedia. Jkelly 20:20, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm not wicca or anything but the wikipedia page for warlock says that in wicca a warlock is not a male witch but a witch who has violated rules and been expelled. Whereas mainstream connotation lists it as a male witch. Shouldn't there be a distinction made? I would do it myself, but am highly uninformed so I don't want to mess it up. Konman72 03:02, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, I thought the statement “a male witch is known as a warlock” was the most innocuous statement possible. Whatever the case, its standard English use beyond dispute, just check any dictionary (say: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/warlock). I don’t know anything about Wicca, but it seems to me to be a small subset of the article, and discussion could be included there, at the bottom under Theories of Neopagan witchcraft (or in the other article you mentioned). The fact that warlock means male witch, and that witch is usually female, is a fact indisputable.Lostcaesar 04:35, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
Sounds good, I just didn't know if any wiccan followers might not like it, but if that is the lexical definition then it should probably remain and maybe somebody else will slap in that wicca today sees it as an outcast member or whatever. Konman72 04:38, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

I told you it would start some trouble. I'm just going to take out the warlock reference all together. Maybe you all can sort this out here on the talk page. Here is the situation so far...

Warlock is defined as a male witch, but wiccans see a warlock as a witch or wiccan who has broken some kind of rule. Konman72 12:10, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

I am amazed at this. The definition ought to be there. Its no different than the wikipedia article on heros, where it mentions that a heroine is a female hero, or the article on alumni that mentions alumnae are female. If someone has an objection to the definition of a word, let him vioce it here rather than just deleting it. Honestly I had no idea that this definition would be contested. I didn't know anything about this misuse of the term by wiccans. There is a section on wicca in the article, and I think their use of the word should simply be included there. Please, someone who has his feathers ruffled by this use, please come here and enlighten us. Lostcaesar 15:42, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
I've just put a definition back, and attempted to word it so contextual ramifications are clear. It's important to remember that there is no one male equivalent to the word "witch": a "warlock" may be a male witch in the specific context of Christian demonology, and it may also be a non-human demon. It is also, as used amongst witches, a word to mean a witch (male or female) who has betrayed their fellows. In demonology (mostly dating from the time of the witch-trials) the term "witch" is also very often used for the male accused.
Furthermore, there are other words for a male witch that, arguably, are used more often than "warlock", such as "wizard" (generally in the context of myth and fairy-tale) and "sorceror" (mythology, history and anthropology). The contexts I've given for these terms are not fixed on concrete, but they are strong trends. Fuzzypeg 01:11, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

I thought Warlock came from a Scandinavian word that meant "spirit caller." I mean, it's even in an article on this site. Perhaps we should lend it some credence? —Preceding unsigned comment added by SimuEva (talkcontribs)

Perhaps you could point us to the article you mention and any other information, so we can evaluate the evidence. I've never come across this etymology, I'd be interested to hear about it. Fuzzypeg 04:33, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

In the intro section "warlock" had somehow been relegated to sci-fi and pop-fiction applications alone; I've restored it to its wider context. (It appears in historical demonology, such as that of the witch-trials) Fuzzypeg 04:34, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

In Wicca the word warlock is used as 'oath breaker' due to the Old English wǣrloga, oath-breaker : wǣr, pledge. The word Wicca means witch essentially from the Old English translation (and it turned into witch throught the middle English usage of wicche). Wicca utilizes the usage of old English to seperate it from modern day usages. Cause lets face it wicca is a religion that is only 50 years old and wants to be a million years old (I'm wiccan, and I'm not afraid to say it). So male witches are called witches, or Wicca or Wicce (Wicca denoating male, and Wicce female), but these terms are not used frequently and are not accepted by the majority of Wiccans.Daddakamabb 00:03, 10 February 2007

The Old English word wicca means (male) witch; the modern word Wicca means witches collectively, probably in the context of a single tradition of English witchcraft. The words are obviously related, though exactly how is uncertain.
There is certainly one popular theory that Wicca is 50-year old invention, and in light of that theory the difference in meaning between the Old English and modern words is presumably either due to misunderstanding or obfuscation on the part of Gerald Gardner. That theory isn't without its detractors, of course.
I'm not aware of any Wiccans who use the word in the Old English sense of wicca for male witch and wicce for female witch. We have the words "witch", "priest" and "priestess", which serve us fine. Fuzzypeg 23:26, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
The insistance that "warlock" means a traitor or oathbreaker in all branches of modern wicca and paganism is simply not true. I have therefore removed it. In any case, such "definitions" should be reserved for the article on wicca.KitMarlowe2 17:29, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
That is the common usage amongst most serious initiatory witches, both Wiccan and otherwise. There may be a small crop of neopagans who are unaware of this usage and call themselves warlocks, but then, so many people seem to be calling themselves whatever they want and doing whatever they want, to the point that all words become meaningless. I agree though, that it would be better not to have a lengthy discussion of the term "warlock" at the head of the article, but I'm trying to avoid giving the impression that a) 'witch' is only feminine and b) 'warlock' is its male equivalent. Historically more women than men were accused as witches during the trials, but men still accounted for a significant proportion. And amongst modern practitioners, men are 'witches' just like women. I'll have another look at the wording and see what I think. Fuzzypeg 04:52, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
"Wicca" is a twentieth century cult, and this article is about "Witchcraft," a far larger subject reaching much further back into history, with many shades of meaning depending on the religious and political climate of the time. To repeat, discussions about what modern "Wiccans" feel about the use of the word "warlock" are quite irrelevant here and properly belong in the "Wicca" article. (And they certainly should NOT be shoe-horned in at the top of the article, as if to make some kind of point. You may as well state out that modern male wiccans don't care to call themselves sorcerers, magicians, enchanters, necromancers or wizards either. Actually, for the record, Gardner's first book "High Magic's Aid" 1949, p.303, declares that Second Degree male initiates are indeed named "Wizards.") KitMarlowe2 08:49, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
As I said, I agree that it would be better not to have a lengthy discussion of the term "warlock" at the head of the article. Fuzzypeg 02:40, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, "warlock" apparently can mean "oath breaker" and various other kinds of evildoers. (The TV series Charmed [obviously not a definitive/authoritative source, since it is fiction, but Charmed did use a lot of actual folklore to enhance the show! ^_^] used "warlock" to mean "evil witch" regardless of gender.) I would say that by far the most common meaning (or use) of the word is simply "male witch" (regardless of good or evil leanings/associations). However, since the word can mean (at least) two completely different things, both definitions probably should be INCLUDED in the article...or perhaps all we really need as a disclaimer is just "See this article's talk page for further info on other possible definitions of the word 'warlock'" (after stating that male witches are SOMETIMES called warlocks, or that they CAN be called either wizards or warlocks). Does that seem like a suitable/adequate compromise?

(Note: What the people these days who practice Wiccan witchcraft [Wicca, the Craft, etc.] do or do not call THEMSELVES is, I think, actually not necessary as a main point of THIS article [although it certainly could be included in an article specifically on the topic of the modern-day cult known as Wicca (which is, of course, at least in theory derived from older things...but I agree that in its present form it is basically a modern invention!)]. Male witches certainly ARE sometimes CALLED [by writers, by people with interest in the topic, etc.!] both "wizards" and "warlocks". That doesn't have to be what THEY call THEMSELVES, which is actually a separate topic [no, not irrelevant, just separate!] [as many writers quote Kipling ..."that is another story" ^_^].)

(Hey, I have a great idea...why not include the "lengthy discussion of the term" in a Wikipedia or Wiktionary entry titled "Warlock"? And then people can just click on "warlock" and go look it up, and see Definition One AND Definition Two! [Wow. That's such a simple solution, I can't believe it took me over an hour to finally think of it. I am so slow-witted sometimes...^_~])

Well, "that's all I got to say on the subject" (to quote the character Tammy Tyree, in at least one of the Tammy movies! ^_^).

Kitty =^___^=

KittySilvermoon 23:11, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

We have a Warlock article, and I believe the term "warlock" is hyperlinked in this article. You're correct, Charmed is not an authoritative source, and regardless of how much they've consulted folklore to enhance the show, its intention is to entertain rather than to inform. It is quite unreliable.
In Wikipedia we don't provide links to the talk page for information, only for editorial work. Just think, anybody can leave their comments or opinions on the talk page. The talk page also can change quite rapidly. Basically we direct readers to read the article, or other articles or sources, but not the talk page.
Traditional witchcraft, in old legislation, folklore and even historical practice is of course a slightly different subject to modern forms of witchcraft. Basically we don't know the degree of continuity between the two, that being a topic of some controversy. But that's OK. They're both called witchcraft; they're both of interest to readers; they have enough association with each other that it makes complete sense to have them in the same article. The term "warlock" can and should be (and is) described briefly here, both in historical and modern usage, and treated more thoroughly in the Warlock article. Fuzzypeg 03:48, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

I always thought warlocks as offspring of a practicioner of witchcraft.--Bloodsource 18:23, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Split?

In the french wikipedia, sorcellerie (witchcraft) and sorcière (witch) are separate articles. Why not here? juppiter talk #c 15:42, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Would you have separate articles for Carpentry and Carpenter? Freemasonry and Freemason? Priesthood and Priest? Archery and Archer? You get the idea. I don't read French, but I think we need a better reason to split than "why not?". Fuzzypeg 04:30, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Famous Witches in History

Why on earth are the witches from Macbeth and from one of Roald Dahls books listed in this section? Surely that would be "Famous Witches in Fiction" rather than in "History"? As a side note, I've corrected (for now) the internal link to Roald Rahl to Roald Dahl, pending the removal of the items or the moving of them into a section "Famous Witches in Fiction", as per the results of this discussion Crimsone 16:15, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Oops. Someone beat me to it! Crimsone 16:16, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Clearly 195.93.21.9 has seen my comment and has changed the section to "Famous Characters in witchraft". Many of the entries aren't even witches no, ref: Harry potter and the King Arthur legends to name but two. Sufficed to say, it doesn't really add anything to the article, and is hardly encyclopedic. "Famous witches in History" is encylopedic, but not what 195.93.21.9 has decided to contribute."
In the interests of fairness I am leaving this open to discussion here rather than reverting or changing it. I must say though, Personally, I feel the entire section should be replaced with a "famous witches in history" section, where only actual famous historical figures with strong witchcraft connections should be added. Crimsone 17:50, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
It is not obvious to me that this section belongs in this article. There is no reason, however, why we shouldn't have a List of fictional witches where this stuff would belong. Jkelly 18:59, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps we could add a section "Famous witches in legend, history, and fiction" or similar. Under it, we could place a list of links to pages such as the one you just posted. In the mean time, the recent material could be moved out to a sandbox/this talk page, and can be sorted into the already existing pages as required?Crimsone 19:10, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
I moved it to Talk:List of fictional witches. Jkelly 19:18, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. I can't think of any reason against that. :) I didn't add it in the first place, but would you have any objection to my re-inserting Children of Artemis as a "see also". CoA is a major organisation, which while having some controversy at the moment it seems (in it's article page), is a major and substantial source on wicca and witchcraft - even incorporating a media wing. I feel that it would be a perfectly valid link for further information on modern witchcraft. :) Thanks again Crimsone 19:23, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
I suggest that it should probably go to Wicca or Neopaganism. "See also" sections should really just be a holding spot for links that haven't yet been worked into the article. This article should probably never mention Children of Artemis. Even European witchcraft probably shouldn't get into the naming of individual neopagan organisations. Jkelly 19:32, 3 July 2006 (UTC)
Fair comment. I just felt that it would be a useful link for further information, especially given their media helpline. It wouldn't suprise me if it was already in wicca. Point taken and agreed :) Thanks Crimsone 19:36, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Intro paragraph

The terms witchcraft and witch are controversial, with a complicated histories. Witchcraft is viewed differently in different cultures around the globe. Used with entirely different contexts, and within entirely different cultural references, it can take on distinct and often contradictory meanings.

How helpful is this? It sounds so very vague to me. Is it necessary? How much information does this contribute? Why is the term witchcraft anymore "contraversial", or the history of "witch" anymore complex than any other term? I am not saything that the statement is false, but I think the paragraph ought to attempt to provide some brief answer to these questions if it is to really be informative. Lostcaesar 04:10, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

It's because there are various groups of people who see the terms as having different connotations - for example, An extremeist or fundamentalist christian may see it as negative "devils work", while a person who would consider theirself a witch in todays sense would quite rightly claim this view to be a complete load of tripe when applied to him/her as a description of his/her spiritual practise. Little further information is needed as it speaks for itself upon further reading of the article, or is otherwise simply general knowledge. Crimsone 21:04, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
The intro paragraph has had numerous accretions over recent months, which haven't really been worked together properly. I've tried to reword the difficult bits. In the process I've removed the word "controversial"; the controversy is clear enough from the information given. Fuzzypeg 04:23, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Etymology

I've almost completely rewritten the etymology paragraph based on scholarly sources. The previous version was frought with absurdity and unexplained idle speculation. Specifically,

The origins of the term witch are highly disputed.

No they aren't. This is a well-attested word throughout the history of English literary canon all the way back to the earliest available Old English sources. Pre-literary history is of course heavily conjectural, but this is necessarily so, and so hardly notable.

That the word derives directly from Old Trafford is hard to doubt

Uh, vandalism? Seems to have stuck around for quite a while, too.

but the origins of the Old English words are more problematic.

Yes, like I said, total and complete absence of evidence (regarding Proto-Germanic vocabulary) tends to do this. The fact that there is essentially no extant Proto-Germanic canon is not, however, any more notable or confounding here than it is for any other given Old English etymology.

Contraction of witega ('wise man, prophet') is possible.

How? And according to who? I have never in my life encountered this form of contraction in Old English historical linguistics. /tej/->/tʃ/ in a medial syllable is as far as I know completely unattested as a Germanic sound change.

Low German contains wicker (soothsayer).

Okay, I'll take this at face value and presume it's true.

Other possible connections include the Old English wigle (divination)

Again, wiglian,wigle,wiglung, etc. being cognate with wiccian, wicce, wicca, etc., stretches the imagination and the possibilities available within the domain of Germanic and even Indo-European sound change so much that we might as well just presume every word beginning with w in the entire Proto-Germanic vocabulary is cognate to wicca/wicce at that point. It's idle speculation.

the Proto-Germanic *wikkjaz (necromancer)

Now this actually makes perfect sense, as an exception here.

the Gothic weihs (holy)

One supposes it's conceivable, but no etymological source I have consulted mentions this, and given its profound philological remoteness (an extinct East Germanic form of different meaning) from Old English wicce/wicca, it comes off as just more idle speculation.

and the English words victim (in its original meaning for someone killed in a religious ritual)

Victim did not enter the English language until the Early Modern era, and it entered via Latinate origins. How exactly does this relate to a Germanic word from a thousand years earlier?

and wicked.

Wicked may have been derived from wicce/wicca during the Middle English period. But even if this is so, it certainly doesn't say anything about the origin of Old English wicce/wicca itself.

Many Neopagan sources assert that because the root wik- is associated with words meaning "to bend", the original meaning of the word was "one who bends the natural order" (by using magic). [1].

One supposes they can assert whatever they want. Spurious etymologies can be socially significant, I guess.

You wrote: "the origins of the Old English words prior to the inception of Germanic literary canon are necessarily more problematic." What is the "Germanic literary canon"? Is this Beowulf and some old law codes? To a non-linguist this sentence was difficult to understand. Lostcaesar 14:13, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
The original passage stated that the etymology was "highly disputed", which is absurd given the extent of its attestation. Nevertheless, this was my attempt to translate the notion that there's some grounds for debate regarding the origin of witch into a meaningful point. Because witch is well-attested for all of written history (as far as Germanic is concerned), the only way that one could argue there's any basis for contention regarding etymology is by asserting that its prehistory is unclear. Which it might or might not be as far as purely theoretical etymology goes (i.e., etymology within theoretical Proto-Germanic). It's beyond the scope of this article to look into the relative credibility of reconstructed Proto-Germanic cognate forms, I'd say, though. So I may just ditch the suggestion that there's grounds for questioning the etymology altogether, for simplicity's sake. --Yst 14:36, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Spell casting edits

I've reverted two recent additions to the Spell Casting section. One was about spells requiring three components, one of which was "a material component, such as bits of naughty, 'wild,' obscure, or arcane substances"! This is not a belief I've come across in the Wiccan or wider occult community. Vocals, gesticulations and objects may be helpful sometimes, but you can cast spells without any of them. The other section was about focus on the Goddess. I would suggest that this is not actually about spell-casting, and as it is specific to certain forms of Neopagan witchcraft it belongs in that section. It also strikes me as somewhat misleading because it says that the Goddess is more important than magic, however in Wicca at least our relationship with the Goddess is so closely tied to magic that the two are nearly inextricable. Fuzzypeg 04:46, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

New here

Hello, I'm new here and certainly don't know what I'm doing. I added the second paragraph down on the witchcraft page and haven't the faintest clue how to put word links in there or anything if someone wants to clean up the post...or tell me whether or not it's even appropriate? Dissonantia [ps - Re: the Malleus Maleficarum page, if one hasn't already been worked on, I'm willing to give it a shot! Will explore this site more on Friday, but this is my first time here, and I think it's a wonderful concept!!]

Welcome to Wikipedia! There are many places to get help, but unfortunently posting on a talk page for info of this nature is not reccommended. You can place the text {{helpme}} on your talk page and someone will help you. Also, you can view the quick quide to wikitext for formatting, etc. help. And yes, it is a wonderful concept. WBHoenig 00:51, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

GA Re-Review and In-line citations

Note: This article has a very small number of in-line citations for an article of its size and currently would not pass criteria 2b.
Members of the Wikipedia:WikiProject Good articles are in the process of doing a re-review of current Good Article listings to ensure compliance with the standards of the Good Article Criteria. (Discussion of the changes and re-review can be found here). A significant change to the GA criteria is the mandatory use of some sort of in-line citation (In accordance to WP:CITE) to be used in order for an article to pass the verification and reference criteria. It is recommended that the article's editors take a look at the inclusion of in-line citations as well as how the article stacks up against the rest of the Good Article criteria. GA reviewers will give you at least a week's time from the date of this notice to work on the in-line citations before doing a full re-review and deciding if the article still merits being considered a Good Article or would need to be de-listed. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us on the Good Article project talk page or you may contact me personally. On behalf of the Good Articles Project, I want to thank you for all the time and effort that you have put into working on this article and improving the overall quality of the Wikipedia project. Agne 22:33, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

External links

I take exception that the site spellwerx.com is listed in the external links because it promotes "spells for payment", and most pagans frown on this practice. I've added two sites actually run by witches that may add a bit of balance to this page. magialuna 01:23, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

Recent inaccuracies in article

The etymology as given in the article is spurious, according to academic consensus. A better etymology can be found at Wicca#Etymology. Also, this is not an article about Wicca, nor should it present witchcraft as if all witches were Wiccans. I'm not sure I have the time to fix these things myself... Fuzzypeg 01:02, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

This was discussed before, so I've taken out the parts of the etymology not attested to in the OED. Quoting them here.
The word witch derives from the Old English root "wit", which is the natural ability to perceive and understand. A "witch" is consequently a person with that ability. Wicce/wicca are Old English variations loosely meaning "the wisdom" or "the practice of wisdom", even "practioners of wisdom". This aside, its origins predating the Anglo-Saxon era constitute the major substance of debate regarding its history.
I haven't checked other dictionaries, but if anyone wishes revert this or add other possible etymologies, please cite sources.Bjart 23:05, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

spanish article differences

the article in español has a section on the inquisition and the counter-reformation. i don't see anything like this in the main witchcraft article or the european witchcraft article in english and think it's a good section to add.

Does someone who can read Spanish care to give the rest of us an idea of what's said?  — AnnaKucsma   (Talk to me!) 17:17, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
The section titled La Santa Inquisición (The Holy Inquisition) of the Spanish article reads (excerpts):
Persecution of Pagan rituals begins in the Middle Ages, all that is not Christian is persecuted for its presumed link with the Devil. Nevertheless it is with Counter-Reformation and with the different Protestant schisms when persecution of witchery increases notably ... Summis desiderantis affectibus (bull)... Pope Innocence VIII... Inquisition.
Malleus maleficarum... types of witchery, how to recognize a witch, torture.
The most famous figure sentenced to be burnt on the stake was Joan d'Arc.
In Spain, the Inquisition stop persecuting them after the trial of Zugarramurdi... (see Akelarre and Sorginak in this Wiki).
In the English Wikipedia is all probably under witch-hunt. The article on European witchcraft is very poor, in my opinion. --Sugaar 08:17, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Overview

I would like to open a discussion about two statements made in the Overview section of the Witchcraft article.

The statement: “Nevertheless, Witchcraft can broadly be distinguished from religion in that it involves a belief that nature, or even the gods, can be influenced by the human spirit, whereas religion involves acceptance of human powerlessness before the divine.” [2nd statement, 1st paragraph]

Specifically regarding the Wikipedia statement, have you considered the nature of prayer? Is not prayer an attempt by a human to influence either the divine or nature? Additionally, both invocation and evocation are considered rituals to influence, command, and/or communicate with either a divine or semi-divine being. Please also see definitions at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invocation and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evocation. So, considering these practices, is the claim that Witchcraft is not a religion because it seeks to influence entirely accurate?

As well, I am a witch - and I feel that Witchcraft/Wicca is a religion. Witchcraft is a religion because we worship - at the very least - a Goddess. I’ve never met a witch that claims otherwise. And, having perused many books and websites, witches publicly claim the same thing in those same books and at those same websites. Other religions claim that we worship as well [for example, many Christians claim that we worship the Devil - even though we don’t make that claim]. And, there are now a number of countries that officially recognize Wicca [Witchcraft] as a religion. So, again, I need to express my discomfort with “Witchcraft can broadly be distinguished from religion …”

The second statement that I’m uncomfortable with is: “Each culture has its own particular body of concepts dealing with magic, religion, benevolent and harmful spirits, and ritual; and these ideas do not find obvious equivalents in other cultures.” [1st statement, 1st paragraph]

I more or less disagree with the latter part of that statement because I’ve found that most religions [both modern & ancient] do have obvious equivalents such as, 1) The ritual of prayer is common to all religions - is it not? 2) Benevolent and harmful spirits are found in all religions - are they not? [such as, djinn, angels, trickster figures, elves, oriental dragons, avatars, etc] 3) Magic is common to religion - though witches specifically call it magic [or magick] - many religions tend to term magic as miracles, incantation, amulets, etc.

I agree that each culture has specifics that differ. What I don’t feel is that the broad concepts differ.AshleyWitchcrafter 17:44, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Greetings, Ashley,
While witchcraft can be associated with religion, in and of itself it is most especially not a single religion--there are witchcraft traditions worldwide, associated with many religions, or with none at all.
As for prayer, yes, the Western view is that prayer is to petition God--but that is not the majority view in the world. Islamic prayer is an act solely of worship: in Salat, Muslims do not ask Allah for requests, because a fundamental issue in Islam is that God is merciful, but is to be obeyed rather than petitioned. Buddhist and Hindu prayers are quite similar.
All religions have magic? Ashley, I have to point out that stating such is forcing other religions to fit into your terminology. Yes, many major religions (not just Christianity) have a specific set of terminology they call "magic," and yes, they do distinguish it from their religious practice. Most, if not all, of the 5 major religions separate their "magic" terminology from their "religious" terminology, and many of them condemn, or at least disapprove, of mixing the two, or of putting magic above religious priorities.
Friend, I know this is difficult to hear, perhaps, but "Witchcraft as its own religion" is a relatively recent concept. The views expressed in the article are a more-or-less accurate depiction of how the world views witchcraft, and while it is not perfect (no article is), it is a good start, even though it may be somewhat uncomfortable to some. Justin Eiler 18:10, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
While I agree that withcraft is not a religion, at least not a single religion but rather a practice. Some practices considered witchcraft seem to have been true alternative religions (see Sorginak, for instance).
Also it's probably true that all (or most) religions perform "magic". What else are Catholic sacraments? What else are Islamic rituals such as circumcission? They are acts of magic intended to alter the imaginary (psychological reality) of the people into certain state. Prayers, all prayers, are also magic, even if they don't petition: they do alter the individual and collective psychological state into certain states of perception. The main magic of most religions consists in the (re-)creation and perpetuation of their own concepts of "God" (what Chaotists would call "godforms"). This is major magic or witchcraft, have no doubt. --Sugaar 21:44, 29 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't think we should make any assumptions about continuities of belief between all witches, even though widespread continuities have been identified in witch-trial era European witchcraft - the trouble is too many groups fall under the witchcraft banner, and they just won't all conform. We should also avoid terming anything involving the intervention of God as "magic": I believe the common Christian conception reserves "magic" for feats performed through illusion, deception or demonic aid, rather than by the grace of God. All these words have very specific meanings and connotations to different groups.
However I agree with you as to the falsity of the statement that "Witchcraft can broadly be distinguished from religion in that it involves a belief that nature, or even the gods, can be influenced by the human spirit, whereas religion involves acceptance of human powerlessness before the divine". Who decided that religion involves acceptance of powerlessness before the divine? This doesn't even seem to embrace the Christian world-view where humans are both given free will, and are able to petition God.
It would be much more useful and informative to say that the term witchcraft encompasses a wide range of practices and beliefs, some of which are coupled with religious practices and beliefs. No need to confuse the issue by making spurious claims about what does and doesn't count as religion. Fuzzypeg 23:56, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Presumption that witches actually exist

This article, in parts, clearly takes the point of view that witchcraft exists. For example,

Some Neopagans study and practice forms of magery

and

Many neopagan witches subscribe to a model of three parts of the self

Of course, if you define a witch as

someone who claims to practise magic (or is accused of practising it), whether or not they do

then the problem goes away. But this is not the common definition. A witch is someone who practises witchcraft, surely.

MrArt 06:48, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Ez geala, ba geala. Hamalau mila hemen geala. We aren't, yes we are. Fourteen thousand here you have (chant attributed to sorginak, witches, in Basque legends).
Wether witches, as you (subjectively) define them, that is: as true magicians, exist or have existed in the past is a matter of POV. That many have claimed their existence and even persecuted them in the bloodiest of manners is a fact. That some still claim to be witches is also a fact.
Also why do you define witch starting from witchcraft, which is obviously a derived term. It should be the other way around, don't you think? It's not "a witch is that who practices witchcraft" but "withcraft is the craft of witches", as the term obviously implies. It's not like farm and farmer or sail and sailor, but exactly the opposite kind of correlation. --Sugaar 08:07, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Whether witches (in the 'actually practising witchcraft' sense) have existed in the past is a POV, of course. I agree with you. But this is Wikipedia, after all, so you must quote a reliable source that states they did (whether now, or in history).

As for your second point, if you say "witchcraft is the craft of witches", then you must say what is special about witches that makes them, well, witches. This is the crux of my argument. Choose either:

(a) a witch is someone who claims to be a witch

or

(b) a witch is someone who actually casts spells etc., and these spells have a definite supernatural effect

I argue that people of type (a) definitely exist, but there is no evidence that anyone of type (b) exists.

MrArt 13:55, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

It's type (a) what this article can deal with basically (though not just people who claim to be witches themselves but also people claimed to be witches by others, i.e. by Inquisition and simmilars).
Personally I think witchraft, while real, has little to do with actual spell-casting in a Hollywoodian style (that was only in the mind of inquisitors and other credulous people) but rather as practicioners of "shamanic" rituals and psychedelic "trips" in ways that do seem to link to ancient practices, wether you may find them among the worshippers of Dyonisos or think it's a simmilar but local Western European root. (Of course here I'm focusing in witchcraft in the context of Western Europe). These rituals that can be reasonably attested (you only have to read Inquisitor Avellaneda's experience: he just believed too much of what he "saw", and thus he started a witch-hunt out of paranoia). Witches probably had some "powers" by means of secret herbolary knowledge, apparently they were masters of poisoning, specially of crops (rather than people, that is less attested). Many people tried as witches were just herborists, others probably had participation in secret pagan sects.
As far as I can tell from what I've read on Basque witchcraft (see Sorginak) it seems (at least partly) a continuity of ancient religion in form of underground mysterical sect, that in some places was maybe quite widespread.
In other contexts, witchcraft also seems to have that meaning of occult magic, that obviously has more to do with drugs and psychology than anything else, at least as far as I can tell. In some regions is/was part of their mainstream traditions (African voodoo), while in others is underground (American voodoo, santería, etc.) --Sugaar 14:45, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

A lawyer can lose every case s/he tries, and still be a lawyer. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:44, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

But presumably a lawyer can't be a called a lawyer unless they're qualified in some way? MrArt 03:46, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
Just because someone can pass the Bar exam doesn't mean they're any good as a trial lawyer. It just means that they have at least a minimum knowlege of law. Though one would presumably need to know some law to be a good trial lawyer, it doesn't follow that just because someone's a lawyer, that they're automatically a good one.  — AnnaKucsma   (Talk to me!) 17:13, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

MrArt, does saying that "Christians worship Jesus" imply that what they believe is true? Just labeling someone, whether "Christian" or "witch", and stating something that they do as part of that identification, does not imply truth on any objective level. romarin [talk ] 22:04, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Of course it doesn't imply that. But that definition of Christian does not require any Christian beliefs to be true. All it requires is for Christians to worship Jesus, which they clearly do.
But the definition (b) of 'witch' does require witchcraft to exist. Imagine this conversation
Person A (witch): I'm a witch.
Person B (skeptic): Turn me into a frog then.
Person A: Oh no, I'm not that kind of witch. My witchcraft is more to do with rituals and drugs.
Person B: Well, you're not really a witch then.
Who is in the right? MrArt 03:46, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
What about this conversation:
Person A (Christian): I'm a Christian.
Person B (Skeptic): Prove to me that Jesus existed and God as well then.
Person A: Oh I can't do that, I just know that they exist and pray to them before going to bed at night.
Person B: Well, you're not a real Christian then, or you would have conversations with God.
Who is in the right? Just as no one can prove that witchcraft exists by turning someone into a frog, no one can prove that God exists by striking down a heathen with a bolt of lightning. Also, MrArt, I can't say that I admire how respectful you are of others' beliefs ("rituals and drugs"??). Please note that I refrain from making fun of Christianity or other faiths, so you could do the same for witches. It doesn't help you to prove your point, quite on the contrary. IronChris | (talk) 05:13, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
On the contrary, someone could easily prove witchcraft exists by turning someone into a frog! But that's not my point.
Is person A (in MY example) a witch? They are if you accept definition (a), above. But they are not, if you accept definition (b). Which definition should the article use? MrArt 05:39, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
(1) I insist that a encyclopedic article can only deal with the (a) definition of witch (or Christian for the case). How does the entry Miracle treat this issue? They are probably quite comparable.
(2) That example of frogs is absurd (never heard of such transformations except in "shamanic" trances and modern tales for children). I have instead read that wicthes used maybe toads in their drug preparations, what is perfectly in accordance with scientific knowledge of toads.
(3) Remember that Herodes also thought of Jesus as a witch/magician and asked him to transform water in wine, as his disciples claimed he could do (it's in the Gospels). He rejected, obviously. Instead Inquisitor Avellaneda asked the people of Salazar valley to teach him something about witchery and, quite naively, they did: unlike Herodes who didn't believe anythng, Avellaneda "saw" miraculous happenings - and, being a fanatic Christian, he became paranoid, etc. He is one of the Inquisitors that attest (on his own experience) that witches do exist. Of course he was hallucinating - probably. --Sugaar 06:12, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Hmm. The Miracle article doesn't assert that miracles exist (quite properly, in my opinion). As it stands, this article uses definition (b). I prefer that definition for the following reason:

If someone accuses you of being a witch (which in some parts of the world, can cause you serious difficulties), they mean you actually cast spells, etc.

They are NOT accusing you of 'claiming to be a witch'.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/witch has both definitions, but (a) seems more common.

MrArt 07:16, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

They are claiming that you are a witch, what is the same: alleged witchcraft. Some believe they are, others believe others are and in some cases both believes may co-exist. In any case it's def. "a" (as per my expanded verion of it it, see at the beginning of this discussion).
Of course a dictionary can accept that witch means a true witch (def. "b"), because a dictionary only deals with meaning of words, the dictionary also defines "dragon", "imp", "God", "angel", etc. But an encyclopedia has to deal with either: the reality and fenomenology of their existence (if that's reasonably proven) and/or the fenomenology of their alleged existence (particularly in the case of mythic or semi-mythic beings. Witches obviously fall in the second cathegory of mythic or semi-mythic beings. --Sugaar 10:16, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

This conversation seems to be hinging on the idea that "real" witches can turn people into frogs. This is a fairly rediculous notion, as there is no historical basis for this supposition, beyond fairy tales and such. Just because a fairy tale implies this definition of a witch, does that mean that it is the denfinition to end all definitions? Of course not. If someone identifies as a witch, for whatever reason, they are a witch. Thus, witches exist. Their definition of what it means to be a witch may be different from yours, but you could say the same thing about a lot of different identifications. You could also go around telling people that they are not what they say they are, because their definition for what they are does not match yours. But is that really worth it?

The article opens with "Witchcraft, in various historical, religious and mythical contexts, is the use of certain kinds of alleged supernatural or magical powers. A witch is a person who practises witchcraft..." How is this troubling? It says "alleged", for one thing, which implies that not everyone would agree with the existance of such powers. Then, it goes on to state that a witch is someone who practices these "alleged" powers. I imagine that one could assume this definition throughout the article, thus every time it says "witches do ..." it is implying that "those who allegedly have supernatural powers do ..." I suppose we could get into it over what the definition of "supernatural or magical powers" is, but beyond that, I don't really see your problem. romarin [talk ] 14:39, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

If someone identifies as a witch, for whatever reason, they are a witch. No proof or evidence required.
Fine, as long as the article is consistent. I'll leave it at that. I still think it's a ridiculous definition. For example, do these make sense to you?
If someone identifies as a doctor, for whatever reason, they are a doctor.
If someone identifies as a thief, for whatever reason, they are a thief.
If someone identifies as a father, for whatever reason, they are a father.
I'll say no more about it. MrArt 23:59, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
You're arguing over definition of the word witch. Obviously there are many possibilities, some more useful than others. Why not take the definition of an expert in the history of Witchcraft, such as Eva Pocs? From memory, she defines witch (type A) as a person accused of witchcraft by their neighbours, a person who generally wouldn't agree that they were witches. A witch (type B) is a person who believes they are a witch and attempts to practice magic. A witch (type C) is not a person you could meet in the queue at the shop - they are ghost-like monster figures, often encountered in dreams and stories. All these figures are (or have been) in popular usage "witches". Modern practitioners fit into type B and are, according to Pocs, witches, practicing witchcraft. Fuzzypeg 01:21, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, that's an excellent summary, and I'll try to incorporate it into the article. MrArt 02:45, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
OK, I have the book in front of me now: Pócs, Éva (1999). Between the Living and the Dead: A Perspective on Witches and Seers in the Early Modern Age. Budapest: Central European University Press. pp. pp. 10–11. ISBN 963-9116-19-X.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help) The "neighbourhood witch" or "social witch" she designates as type A, identified with social or neighbourhood conflicts, the source of conflict being the breaking of a norm of coexistence (for example, denying having borrowed money). In this case the claimed maleficium is, according to the logic of the narratives, the result of a curse by the accused witch. Type B witches, the "magical" or "sorceror" witches, are people who, according to the narratives, are expert in magic or sorcery or acts that lend themselves to such an interpretation. They may be healers, sorcerors, seers or midwives, or everyday people who practiced household magic and increased their fortunes through magic, to the detriment of a neighbouring household. Ambiguity between magic and healing is the common instigating factor in accusations of maleficium here, and it is often expressed in the own-alien opposition, i.e., the opposition between households, communities, magicians, healers (that are good), and alien households, communities, etc. (that are bad), the healer-midwife rivalry, and in the witch's dual function as both malefactor and healer. Type C witches, the "supernatural" or "night" witches are characterised as demons of night visions and dreams. These testimonies are related as personal experiences of the conflict between the human and supernatural worlds, where witches as supernatural creatures attack their victims.
The summaries above are kind-of reduced quotes - some sentences are reproduced nearly verbatim. I don't have time to either a) rewrite in completely new words in summary form or b)copy entirely in quote form. Sorry. Fuzzypeg 21:28, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
That's very interesting and should be in the article. --Sugaar 22:29, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

In response to MrArt, the first poster in this thread/topic: Well, obviously what we have here is yet another definition difficulty/conflict (see the "warlock" thread/topic at the top of this talk page! ^_~). A "witch" certainly CAN be (AND, for purposes of Wikipedia's "Witchcraft" article probably SHOULD be! it would go with the existing tone of the article!) defined as a person who practices (fictional, mythological, folklorical, etc.) magic, AND as a person who claims/believes that he she practices (actual) magic... AND as a person who is NOT necessarily EITHER of those but IS a member of a cult/group/etc. identifying itself as part of/a branch of Wicca, the Old Religion, etc. ("Witch" originally meant "to know", or came from a word meaning that, or so some claim...certainly "wit" can mean "know", and so can "wist" [as in Shakespeare, the Bible, etc.!]. "Witches" can also be people with knowledge of herbs/healing/etc. [some say that the Old Testament's "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" refers really to "poisoner" (a person who knows how to use, and does use, poisonous herbs/drugs to kill, rather than good herbs to heal, and so would be considered an "evil witch" according to the "knowing about herbs" definition of "witch")].) Not all people who call themselves "witches" believe that they have actual magical powers...apparently, some people do make those sorts of claims and others do not.

Bottom line: There certainly are real people who are really called "witches"...and in some cases, not only do others call them that, but they themselves call themselves that. (Whether or not they have any "powers" is, apparently, very much a matter of opinion, open for debate, etc.! ^_~)

(Oh, and, to Sugaar: Yes, I agree, witch maketh craft... not [usually ^_~] the other way around! ^_~) (Clothes maketh man, or man maketh clothes? ^_~ Hmmm. Two different meanings... again...as seems to keep occurring around here lately! ^_~)

(And, to MrArt again: No, calling yourself a witch, and therefore being one, is not at ALL the same as calling yourself a doctor and therefore being one. There ARE numerous people today who call themselves "witches". That actually IS often considered one way of being a "witch"...not the fairy tale kind, but still, it is one kind of "witch", whether you are aware of that or not. [There is not, to my knowledge, a large cult of unlicensed and unverified medical practioners who go around pretending to be "doctors". There ARE, however, numerous people who hold doctorates in fields completely other than medicine. If a person is, say, a doctor of law, or of chemistry, or of music, he or she IS indeed a doctor...just not a doctor of medicine. ^_~ (Same word. Different meaning. And in THAT way perhaps it IS comparable to the "witch" topic under current discussion! ^_~)])

Are witches real? Yes, they are, if the term "witches" can (and, yes, it can! ^_^) be inclusive enough to include any and all who call themselves witches, who claim to practice any form of witchcraft, etc. (I DON'T think that it should include those ACCUSED of being "witches" who definitely do NOT call themselves that...for instance, those who were accused in the Salem witch trials...but otherwise...the term CAN INCLUDE practically anything/anyone with any connections to any variety of anything described as "witchcraft".)

Courteously,

Your friendly neighborhood Wikipedian witch-cat =^__^=

Kitty =^___^=

KittySilvermoon 00:05, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

(Update: I forgot to add that no one needs to "prove" [in Wikipedia's "Witchcraft" article] that the "actually magical" type of witch exists...providing, of course, that no one has asserted that it exists...one needs only to state clearly that the magical/folklorical/mythological/etc. DEFINITIONS exist, AND that the popular modern Wiccan, pagan, etc. definitions exist ALSO and are intended, in most cases anyway, to refer to a DIFFERENT KIND of "witch"! [And, yes, I agree with those who think that the definitions can get complicated. In fact, at least one poster in this very discussion appears to have, at least in part, misunderstood some of the definitions/distinctions! ^_~] [There ARE INDEED several different meanings of the word "witch". THAT never NEEDED to be up for debate. If someone does not AGREE that there SHOULD be more than one definition, THAT is his/her business...but in fact there IS, and has been for many years, more than one definition...like it or not, that is not only a fact, but common knowledge among those with experience in research of the particular topic/subject!])

Kitty =^__^=

KittySilvermoon 00:23, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Reversion

I've just (badly) reverted a section. can anyone help get it back to the way it was? Probably needs linking. Totnesmartin 00:55, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Your current edit is +/- as your other one of 28 Nov. It seems it's ok diff.
To revert, just edit the old version you think is the last good one and save it without changes ignoring the warning. Practice with discern, of course. --Sugaar 01:56, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

(table of molluscs deleted)

blimey, and I thought I was bad at editing! Totnesmartin 21:51, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
I've deleted that: it was either vandalism or an absurd error. Normally talk pages' comments by other editors should not be edited but that obviously falls in the category of exceptions. --Sugaar 03:27, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

witches in popular culture

in the popular culture section, there is only a short description of the general popular perception of witches. is there any information on how witches came to be known as old women with pointy hats, green skin and warts who stir cauldrons? do any of these things have historical roots? i think answers to these would help the article. Bigdan201 08:10, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

((right off, I state that I have only the vaguest idea of how talkpages work. Excuse me if I screw it up, please.)) Also in Pop Culture, the description of Elphaba is flawed. The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was not named Elphaba. She was, in fact, unnamed, though there are several other named witches in Oz. The name Elphaba was created by Gregory Maguire for his revisionist novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

And, now that I look at it, the Macbeth reference might be faulty as well. As far as I recall, they are referred to only as "Weird Sisters" in the play, and not as witches - though that is generally what they are presumed to be. This, however, goes back to the arguement of what makes a witch... 64.211.50.218 17:08, 14 December 2006 (UTC)Tiktokism

Thanks. My pop-culture witchcraft knowledge obviously isn't up to scratch! I've changed the article. Fuzzypeg 22:23, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

I propose editing the popular culture section to seperate it into more categories such as television, movies, and books so that they can each be elaborated on. If there arent any objections i would like to start on it soon. Grey witch 05:31, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

good idea. A plain list of titles helps nobody. Totnesmartin 16:35, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
I have begun the edit so please dont revert it anyone, i havent got time at the moment to finish it, however if you think it needs to be changed please explain why here. Grey witch 22:33, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Well i have done some more work but now that its taking shape im not sure where to go with it, most of the famous depictions of witches are both books and movies so what should i do? Keep them seperate? Create an extra category which is just for things that are both movie and book? Grey witch 00:56, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Go with the more famous version. if they're equally famous (how do we work that out?), put them in the first version they came in, eg: "My Stepmother is a Hedgewitch was a best-selling 1995 novel by Frank L Rowling. It became a succesful film in 2007". Totnesmartin 14:56, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks that makes a lot of sense, i will keep it in mind. Grey witch 20:29, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

New photo

I disagree with the recent photo addition. This article is about witchcraft all over the world, and starting it off with a photo depicting a completely Western stereotype is a bad—and ethnocentric—representation. Furthermore, using a picture that represents a stereotype in itself, and a specifically negative one at that, goes against any educational values that this article may have. This photo represents something that has very little to do with witchcraft as it is viewed and practiced on a global scale, and it belongs on the Broadway article more than it does here. I would like to remove it, but wanted first to see what others think. Thanks, romarin [talk ] 05:22, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

I've moved it down to the "popular culture" section, where I think it is appropriate. Fuzzypeg 21:00, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
So now we need a new top picture. Hopefully not a crass stereotype. Totnesmartin 21:54, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

"blah sense?"

In Old English, wicca and wicce may not have blah sense now lost to modern scholars What in the world is "may not have blah sense" supposed to mean? I'd correct the article, but I'm not sure what it's supposed to say in the first place; I'm pretty sure "blah sense" isn't right, though.

"blah sense" is, if anything, probably vandalism.  — AnnaKucsma   (Talk to me!) 02:25, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Luck of the Irish

I've heard Irish folklore says witches can turn in to a cat 8 times before being unable to change back. Can somebody confirm? Include it? Trekphiler 11:37, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

I can neither confirm nor deny   ;-Þ   but I can say it's not a relevant piece of information. There are millions of scraps of folklore about witchcraft, and we want this article to be a broad survey of the subject, not a comprehensive list. Cheers, Fuzzypeg 05:20, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

It might be not relevant for THIS article...but this article's talk page might be a good place to mention that I'd really love to see (and maybe even help write, if I ever get enough time! ^_~)an article specifically on the folklore of cats (including their mythological [magical ^_^] connections to witches, goddesses, etc.). Would Trekphiler and/or other users here be interested in contributing to such an article? (Whoever wants to, or gets to it first, or whatever, feel free to start writing one...and then we can discuss it further on THAT article's talk page, if we want to! ^_^)

(Btw, I think that I might've heard that same scrap of folklore before too, a long time ago [it would fit well with cats having nine lives and all that sort of thing, certainly!]. I can't confirm or deny it either, though. [The (old, probably out-of-print) book Nine Lives: The Folklore of Cats, by Katharine Briggs, is an especially good source of cat lore. ^_^ You may be able to find it in libraries. Good luck, good hunting, etc.! ^_^])

Kitty =^__^=

KittySilvermoon 22:30, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

'Modern practitioners'

OK. Can I have a citation of real (rather than claimed or alleged) practitioners of witchcraft, as defined in this article, including paranormal magic. Otherwise I'm removing references within the article, because they don't exist. - MrArt 00:22, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Here's one: Evelyn Paglini. She was a regular on Coast To Coast AM. 205.240.144.220 07:47, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Taking exception: modern practitioners of "actual" witchcraft

MrArt placed a {{fact}} tag in the intro with the following edit summary: "I'm shortly going to remove this statement unless someone cites the existence of 'modern practitioners' of actual witchcraft". The tagged statement was about modern practitioners' views of witchcraft as being morally positive. I removed the tag because I believe I can answer his complaint.

Now firstly, the article doesn't claim that these powers are necessarily real, or if it does, it shouldn't. So when discussing modern practitioners, they are people who believe or claim that they are using magical or supernatural powers. There are plenty such people. Secondly, the word "witch" is widely used in a variety of contexts to describe such people. It is used in historical/anthropological contexts to describe, for instance, the individuals in early Modern Europe who believed they left their bodies in a trance, attended fantastical feasts, fought evil spirits, communed with the dead and cursed or healed their neighbours; also for non-european sorcerors in places like Africa. It is also used very widely amongst self-professed practitioners of witchcraft, such as Wiccans, neopagan witches and others who claim older origins.

These are very common uses of the term, and Wikipedia should reflect common usage. If you believe that "witch" only refers to people with actual provable magical powers then you are imposing your own ideosynchratic restrictions on its meaning. Fuzzypeg 00:23, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

We've had the argument about the definition of 'witch' above, and I accept your version, as it is in several dictionaries. But now you want to extend that to 'witchcraft' too? - MrArt 00:31, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
MrArt, since te terms "witch" and "witchcraft" are so closely intertwined, would it not make sense that the sense of one influences the sense of the other? Justin Eiler 02:25, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes it would - but as it stands, I think the article implies that witchcraft (in the original, magical sense) actually exists. It is an unfortunate blurring of the definition to allow the 'witchcraft' as practised by today's 'witches' to have the same name. The article should make clear that there is nothing magical or supernatural about it. Furthermore I think its discussion should be more restricted to the Neopagan series of articles. In my opinion, this article should mainly discuss the historical and fictional connotations of the word, which is what most people (again, in my opinion) think of when you use the word witchcraft. - MrArt 03:31, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I can understand and respect your opinion. However, in the case of an encyclopedia like Wikipedia, I would imagine that giving a general overview of all common views would be preferable to restricting to solely the academic view. Not all modern-day witches are Neopagan, but to eliminate consideration in this article of those who are (and who call their practices witchcraft) really restricts the utilty of this article, IMO.
Additionally, while I understand and respect that you may or may not believe that witchcraft exists, there are those today who do believe it. The article does not advocate that witchcraft is "real" or "fake"--it simply notes that the belief in witchcraft exists, and that people practice it. Justin Eiler 04:59, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree that the article should discuss modern-day attitudes towards witchcraft. But are there any reputable sources on what these attitudes are? I don't think the claims of 'witches' themselves counts.
I have particular objection to the following part of the introduction
for instance, in post-Christian European cultures it has historically been associated with evil and the Devil, while most modern witches see it as beneficent and morally positive.
because the witchcraft referred to in the first part of the sentence is absolutely not the same witchcraft as that in the last part.
I'm going to have a go at rewording the introduction at some point, to make the distinction clear, and I'd welcome your response. - MrArt 05:30, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I suggest the way forward for this article is to have a section discussing the academic/scholarly views regarding historical witchcraft, because that would illustrate clearly that some don't believe in the existence of witchcraft. Writers like Norman Cohn and Ronald Hutton take the view that not a single person accused of witchcraft during the great trial period was anything more than a relatively normal person who fell foul of a popular hysteria. Other writers hold that there were well-established beliefs in society regarding witchcraft, including many individuals who did the whole magic, trance, healing and cursing thing.
I don't think we need to fall over ourselves to emphasise the unproven nature of magic, though. What you've done is insert some pretty strong innuendo right into the introductory paragraph, which destroys its neutral point of view. It is not customary for scholarly works to take such a polemical tone, and really, I think it's overstating the obvious. We've already said that magic powers are "alleged"; we have to respect the readers' intelligence and let them draw their own conclusions. Just think, would an article about priests labour the fact that they only claim to be priests, because the existence of their God is unproven? That would be insulting. Fuzzypeg 10:01, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I've just attempted a rewording that I hope states what you're trying to state, that witchcraft is a "belief system", that the powers are "alleged", and that supposed witches were either "accused" of witchcraft or "claimed" to be witches. I feel like in the process I've actually improved the intro section, making it more informative. What do you think? Fuzzypeg 10:58, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Much better - and I take your point about the priests. The article could still do with some modern cites on prevalence of witchcraft beliefs and so on. I'm glad that we can work together on this, even though from your user page it appears we hold very different views.- MrArt 11:09, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Non-European witchcraft

Keep in mind the belief and the practice of witchcraft still exists in many parts of the world (outside of Europe,North America, Australia & New Zeland). (Now whether they have actually paranormal powers is another issue and topic.)

Bill (Feb 7, 2007)

Yes, however I believe the development of witchcraft in Europe will continue to be the most prominent theme in the article. You see, "witchcraft" is a very amorphous concept, which has had quite widely varying definitions to different people at different times. So much of the meaning of the term comes from Euro-centric folklore, demonology and the hysteria of the witch-hunts, that any practices from other cultures to which we apply this term end up being coloured by our European stereotypes. In many ways, it would be better to avoid using the term "witchcraft" where possible in non-European cultural contexts; however we should of course document those cases where the term has (historically) been or is used. Fuzzypeg 20:45, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Proposed external link

A good site seems to be www.witchcraftspellsnow.com. Would it be ok to add that to the links? The webmaster is a Priestess and explains the beliefs of Wicca. Probably the most amazing thing on this website, which I have seen linked on other Witchcraft sites is her famous Top 50 Witchcraft Myths page. I figured it would be a good link to add because of that one page alone. The article really doesnt go into common myths about witchcraft all that much which is a big topic for those new to witchcraft. The page with the top 50 witchcraft myths is http://www.witchcraftspellsnow.com/top50witchcraftmyths.htm. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.81.109.65 (talkcontribs)

I can't say I share your enthusiasm about the top 50 myths page. I've had a look at this site and removed it from the external links in the past. There are two main things I don't like about this site: 1) The "priestess" claims to be Wiccan, yet offers spells over the internet for money, which indicates that she has no connection to any traditional or ethical form of Wicca. She is unlikely to be doing much good for her customers (although stranger things have been known), and this is forbidden in Wicca. If she were truly an initiate she would be regarded as an oath-breaker and ostracised. 2) The website is not an encyclopedic source of... anything, really. It's a commercial site for selling "spells" to misdirected people who think another entry on their credit card bill will make their lives better. It is linkspam, and inappropriate under Wikipedia's external links policy. Fuzzypeg 22:51, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Wicca = Cult irrelevant (& biased) in this article

"Since Gardner's death in 1964 the "Wicca" cult that Gardner claims he was initiated into has attracted many initiates, becoming the largest of the various "witchcraft" traditions in the Western world. Members of the cult have steadily been claiming to to be real "witches" for the past forty years, a notion further disseminated by such fictional television dramas as Charmed. However in truth a Wiccan is about as genuine a "witch" by initiation into the cult as a Grand Wizard is a "wizard" by initiation into the K.K.K. "

This section of the article uses blatently defaming words and comparisons, and should have no place in this particular article. While I do believe that Wicca should definitely be presented in this article, as it does play a huge role in the modern understanding of present-day witchcraft, it should be done briefly, fairly, and with a more unbiased and less slanderous tone than what is presented. I do not yet know what could be done to improve the paragraph/area, and that is why I am bringing it up here, so that hopefully we can peacefully come to a consensus as to how to correct it. :-)

(I apologize in advance if I do/have done something inappropriately, or do not/have not follow(ed) convention. I am quite new at this (having only just created an account upon encountering this particular piece.)

LilyRain 18:23, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

You're fine, no need to apologise. I'm not sure how I allowed that section to creep in under the radar! Thanks for bringing it to our attention, and it's been dealt with in the only reasonable way possible, by deleting it. Keep up the good work! Fuzzypeg 01:09, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Removed inappropriate and unascribed "information" about "warlocks" again. Please, no more fluffy insertions, whoever you are.KitMarlowe2 23:23, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
Your attempts to shoehorn in this erroneous, non-Gardner usage of the term "warlock" continue to astonish me. You claim to be a Wiccan but apparently know few of the fine points of the history of your own cult. KitMarlowe2 16:54, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
You are not one to be talking, as your talk page shows that in the past, you have been adding non NPOV information to Wicca and other articles related to witchcraft. Nol888(Talk)(Review me please) 16:59, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Be that as it may, I continue to find Fuzzypeg's dealings with my attempted amendments warped by his blatantly biassed Wiccan zealotry, which I would have thought would be unacceptable on a site that claims to be encyclopedic. F.peg NPOV? Hardly. KitMarlowe2 22:28, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Cool off, go look at WP:NPA, and realise that this editorial comment you added into the article itself "(although why this arcane and basically unsupported piece of information should be included here, only the poster would know.)" is over the top and violative of a number of guidelines in wikipedia. I think you are showing yourself to be getting heated, and are now resorting to insults because others disagree with you.--Vidkun 22:43, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
When one is confronted by a rigid, partisan advocacy for an historically undocumented,demonstrably inaccurate statement that has been adopted by a major website posing as an impartial encyclopedia, I think it fairly natural that one would get hot under the collar, yes. (And since when has speaking plainly and honestly been considered "insulting"?) I have repeatedly requested some kind of respectable chapter and verse for the implications that the term "warlock" has "always" been a disparaging one in wicca and that male witches are "*always* called witches *never* warlocks", and have been fobbed off with one pathetic reference to a website dealing with hearsay and opinion laid down as law set in stone (the latter a typical Wiccan failing, I might add). Yes, I am angry, not to mention disappointed, that you all appear to be knuckling under to this kind of shoddiness - I see your witchcraft and wicca sites as frankly a mess, infested with fluff, and unworthy of the rest of the cyclopedia. KitMarlowe2 15:21, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
You still don't get the point, do you? Please, go cool down, quit throwing around words and phrases like pathetic, the latter a typical Wiccan failing, knuckling under, all of which are personal attacks. You think the info is bad, and that you are going to have to keep reverting etc, and that it's based on one person's bias? Take it up with an arb, then, because your constant complaining here is getting less and less information oriented, and more and more editor oriented.--Vidkun 16:54, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm afraid I - and possibly others who read this exchange - get the point all too clearly. Obviously you can do as you will with your own site, and that is your prerogative. But that does not mean that I agree with you or your censorious policies. But I do agree with the tenor of your response; this conversation has gone on far too long; I will cease my badgering, having run out of time and patience, not to mention respect for your endeavor. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 64.167.89.101 (talk) 01:47, 14 March 2007 (UTC).

Proposed external link

I would like to propose http://www.blue-moon-manor.com/ which presents witchcraft from a traditional point of view, rather than Wiccan. I am the webmaster and a Traditional Witch.

Traditional Witchcraft, or Trad Witchcraft, is a family of witchcraft traditions of the British Isles that date back into time. This website describes one Trad's witchcraft spirituality. The website includes a Glossary of Witchcraft Terms.

Adrianius 03:38, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

You've obviously put a lot of work into this site, but I'm not convinced that it meets the criteria for inclusion as an external link. Remember that the intention here is to have only a very few links of the highest merit. We often have to weed out some of the weaker links that get in here.
My reasons are based on the external links policy: Personal web-pages and blogs are not normally linked to, unless the person is particularly notable in some way. You're not the only person with a page about witchcraft. Also, sites containing significant quantities of inaccurate or unverifiable material are not normally linked; I understand certain aspects of traditional witchcraft are by their very nature unverifiable, however I note that much of your information about "Wicca fluff" is factually inaccurate, and stands as an opinion-piece rather than reliable information. Furthermore, we are very unlikely to link a site that has a commercial purpose, such as selling an online course in traditional witchcraft.
I note that much of the information presented on your site, although purporting to be traditional, derives from forms of Wicca at least as late as the 1970s. The eight festivals, for instance, did not exist as a complete system before the (Wiccan) Bricket Wood coven of the 1950s, and the name Mabon was not used for the festival until the 70s. I also note a striking resemblance between the rituals offered on your site and the basic Wiccan ritual format; structurally these rituals are much closer to Wicca (or more particularly, Eclectic, white-light Wicca) than they are to any of the other Traditional forms of Witchcraft that I have any familiarity with.
There are many forms of so-called "traditional" witchcraft that actually postdate Wicca and derive from it; there are also older family traditions that have adopted elements of Wiccan ritual and theology; it is never easy to tell exactly what you're being initiated into, but I would suggest that your tradition, at least as far as depicted on your site, owes more to Wicca than you might realise...
I hope that doesn't offend... Fuzzypeg 05:25, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Fuzzypeg, I read your well-presented comments with keen interest, appreciation, and a dose of Pepto-Bismol. Your comments revealed two over-sights I had not considered.

1) Of course, my own Trad rituals are NOT on the website. The rituals I published were created by me for the general public to be as pagan-generic as possible. Big mistake. I should have been aware that some would think they were my rituals. I need to rectify this a.s.a.p.

2) Of course, we never observed Mabon or even some of the other festivals recognized by Wicca, as listed in the Festivals section of Blue Moon Manor website. Again, I was too accommodating to the general reader and should have thought about consistency with my personal Trad. This was also a blunder and will be rectified a.s.a.p. Also, I was unaware the name, Mabon, is bogus.

3) Perhaps the primary point that I submit is that Gerald Gardner's Wiccan creation of 1951 (or 1954 if you prefer) was certainly itself a study of "inaccurate or unverifiable material." However, I realize that an Alexandrian "High Priest" would not necessarily agree to such a hypothesis, even with empirical evidence such as may be evident.

Nevertheless, as far as I am concerned, I believe that between your Alexandrian perspective and my London Trad perspective, it is only a matter of some different points-of-view between two confederates.

I would have thought the topic of witchcraft would be open to a wide spectrum of Traditional Witchcraft points-of-view, rather than the pressing of a Wiccan orthodox interpretation as a censorship standard. This does seem to be the situation. This is most disappointing. For you see, Fuzzypeg (and I do say that name with sincere respect), what is your accurate opinion I can find to be "factually inaccurate."

I am sure we could both apply the principles of argumentation theory and absolutely prove ourselves to be unquestionably correct, at least in our own minds, respectively.

5) However, I do fully accept that websites accepted on Wikipedia should not be commercial. So, by the merit of that one argument, I do concur with you, and accept my fate of being silenced. Gee, I feel so persecuted.

One last thing, I appreciate your time in replying. With my regards,

Adrianius 20:16, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, my comments strayed a bit from being business-like, but Wiccan orthodoxy wasn't my intention. I've tried to explain myself a bit better at your talk page. Fuzzypeg 04:44, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Merging info from Witch

Most of the info in Witch is either repeated (and better written) here or at Witch-hunt; there's a significant amount that's either original research or just plain wrong; and there is one brief statement that we might want to save, although exactly where we should incorporate it, I don't know:

The people of the Great Basin area believe that a witch called a pohagadi can cause a child dreams that will in time turn him into a witch.[1]

One leaf we could take from the Witch article is that it has a section on witches in floklore and mythology; it is very poorly written and not worth copying, but at least it has this section, something that is conspicuously lacking here. Fuzzypeg 06:25, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

I tried to look up "the Witch article", but I only found the disambiguation page. How do I get to the article itself? DanielDemaret 08:54, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
When you click Witch and are redirected somewhere, there is the following text under the header:
(Redirected from Witch)
When you click on "Witch", you are taken to the article itself.
--Kevinkor2 13:26, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Witchcraft in Europe

The section on Europe could be made shorter to aid legibility. I suspect that most of what is said here is already in the articles on "Witchcraft in Europe" or "Witch-hunt".DanielDemaret 09:52, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Sounds good. We want to keep a summary here, but excessive detail can be merged into Witchcraft in Europe or Witch-hunt. This article should eventually be expanded to include the concept of "witch" from many perspectives: European historical, but also non-European anthropological, mythical, modern, etc. This article should be a survey of the different uses of the word. Fuzzypeg 21:43, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Great. Any chance that I can ask you to do this? I am too lazy to be a good writer. I read a lot more than I write. DanielDemaret 08:46, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
By Witchcraft in Europe I think that I may have been thinking of the article European witchcraft DanielDemaret 08:49, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Etymology section

I have added to the Etymology section a cut-and-paste of the entire section from the article on Wicca. This is in pursuit of a general shortening and tidying of that article, and also because the etymologies are so much intertwined that it seems silly to have a detailed discussion in two separate places. I realise this makes this section very long (and possibly repetitive.) Perhaps there needs to be an entirely separate article on the etymology of witch/withcraft/Wicca? I will happily migrate this text to such a page, if people think this is the right idea. Please do not just do a straight revert of this: I do realise it leads to an untidy and over-long section, but I believe this material belongs together. I will put this page on watch, and happily join a discussion here or on my talk page. Many thanks! Kim dent brown 19:06, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Please go for it, Kim. I fully support you creating a new article on the etymology which other articles can link to to reduce redundancy. I am just too lazy to do it myself. DanielDemaret 08:43, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
Have done so. New page is at Witch (etymology). This has removed about 5k from this article, bringing it down to about 37k. I have removed most of the text from here, leaving only a short section, but all of the text is faithfully copied over to the new article. However the new article will need some work - especially from someone who knows about etymology and can cite the literature!! Kim dent brown 09:52, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Merge Russian Witchcraft into Witchcraft

Russian witchcraft got created then immediately flagged for deletion. I removed that flag and proposed a merge into Witchcraft. Your thoughts? Davidwr 14:56, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

As I said on its talk page, I think there's little or no content there worth merging. Can anyone else find anything? Kim dent brown 15:00, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
I have no problem if poor-quality content is merged then severely pruned, or better yet, replaced with quality content. Hopefully the original author of Russian witchcraft will see this and do something about it. The issue of deletion is that content is lost forever. Even poor-quality content needs to be kept in the edit record unless the particular content is inappropriate to keep around or there is no place to merge it into. Davidwr 15:32, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
I can't see anything worth keeping other than perhaps the examples of omens (a gloved man indicating death, fish predicting marital luck, and children’s games foretelling other things). But does that even fit in Witchcraft or is it better placed under Superstition" (Yes I know, the word "superstition" isn't very charitable, but it's the word everyone uses.) However I don't suggest we work too hard to try to engineer a place to put these details. If there's no obvious place then just discard them. It's all very well to gather every possible piece of info in Wikipedia, but if it's not organised so it's useful, then the purpose is defeated. Fuzzypeg 22:54, 30 April 2007 (UTC)
I would like to keep the article, if only for the sources cited. There might be not much worth in the article itself, but as one put it is a starting point. It looks to me as if the article was written without knowledge of the "witchcraft" article, which explains its weakness. - unregistered frequent user, May 1st 2007 (the one who started the section witchcraft in Islam)
I agree the sources might be useful - but I think they're the only thing that is in the article's current state! I'm doubtful about having any article on Witchcraft in a specific country, as it invites a few hundred sister articles... Witchcraft in Liechtenstein anyone? (PS - thanks for the witchcraft in Islam material. I've tidied it up a little.) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Kim dent brown (talkcontribs) 11:05, 2 May 2007 (UTC).
A source on its own is not useful since there's no information to let you know why it might be worth reading. If you want to read a book on Russian witchcraft you can probably find a couple at your local university library. What is there to recommend this book above any others?
If we keep this reference in, it remains as an orphaned reference to a couple of quite obscure pieces of trivia Probably no-one will ever pick up the book. If we remove it the content is not "lost forever" - it is still contained in many libraries around the world, accessible by thousands, and easy to find through computerised catalogues. If (when) someone decides to write some decent info on Russian witchcraft they will read this book or others similar. Lets not turn Wikipedia into a dumping-ground for poorly-written trivia. Fuzzypeg 23:52, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Query re: Witchcraft and satanism

Is witchcraft Related to satanism? I hear that a lot. I Do Know God Condemns black magic But condones White.user:Bloodsource

This isn't really a question for the discussion page here: I will reply on your own User:talk page. Kim Dent-Brown 21:26, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

"Historically anachronistic"

This has been the justification for removing a few sections of the article recently. I agree with some of the deletions; in particular there was an addition under the Spellcasting heading that seemed only intended to insert a spam link as a reference. However this argument is only valid so far. Neopagan witchcraft may be "historically anachronistic" in the sense that it doesn't strongly mirror older practices or conceptions of witchcraft, however the descriptions of neopagan witchcraft are in fact pretty faithful descriptions, and they should remain in the article. I'd be happy if they were more segregated into their own section, rather than popping up in lots of little places around the article, and in fact that would happen according to my vision for the article.

I would like to see this article track the historical development of the concept, drawing on the work of Eva Pocs, Carlo Ginzburg, E. William Monter and so on. It would start with proto-witchcraft (ancient witchcraft in all but name) and move forward through the witch-trials and the development of the diabolical Sabbath stereotype, cunning-craft and the various horsemen's, millers' and masons' guilds, 19th and early 20th century literary additions such as Charles Leland and Margaret Murray, application of the term to non-European cultures by anthropologists, and finally neopagan witchcraft.

Anyway, deletion of large sections of text should generally be accompanied by a fairly comprehensive explanation of why, and some discussion is generally appreciated before major changes to an article. Thanks, Fuzzypeg 22:33, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

>Fuzzypeg: Sorry I didn't include any type of explanation for my edits, which were I have to admit performed in haste at close to 1 a.m. my time. The entry looked rude, but wasn't intended to be. "Historically anachronistic" was the shortest phrase I could think of to squeeze into the explanation box. And tidying up (rather than "spinning" the subject matter) was all I was after.

I agree with you about a fresh approach incorporating Ginzburg's work. Also included should be mention of Eliade's "Occultism, Witchcraft and Cultural Fashion" (which has more material about the Benandanti, Romanian parallels, and "Irodiada"/"Herodiada"). And yes, surely the guilds you refer to should be dealt with as well. However, the subject is so large not to mention complex, it really deserves a scholarly new book, not just an article. Not sure what Ginzburg is up to these days; unfortunately Culianu could have tackled it, but alas he is no longer with us.

P.S. as Vidkun observes, somehow I have lost my KitMarlowe soubriquet. I can't imagine how that happened. Pahuson 23:10, 15 May 2007 (UTC

"Russian Witchcraft"

Someone has suggested including the separate article "Russian Witchcraft" in the "Witchcraft" article. I see no reason not to do this, and nobody else seems to have raised an objection. So I shall attempt to do this. If anyone finds this objectionable, he or she is welcome to revert the material to its original status. Pahuson 05:19, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

I shall also add some reference material.

Thanks for bringing this material in. I've blanked the original page and turned it into a redirect aimed at the Witchcraft#Russia section. Kim Dent-Brown (Talk to me) 07:31, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Bloodsource

This is the first time i've posted here so i got a question. Would it be such a good idea to post spells and potions. You know the people here researching this stuff may want to know some spells and potions and things like that. User:Bloodsource

There are so many spells and potions in the world of witchcraft! We might conceivably refer to one or two as an example, but only if it were relevant to some point in the article. What's more important is to give a thorough explanation of witchcraft and its history, and make sure that we cite sources that people can follow if they want to find out about specific practices. I see no reason to create a list of spells in Wikipedia. Fuzzypeg 02:12, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
I have to agree with Fuzzypeg. There's a page somewhere headed 'Wikipedia is not an instruction manual' (or something similar) which covers this. Articles on games and sports for example don't give you the rules or tips on playing. They outline the history, significance and cultural contribution of the game/sport, while providing external links to rules or tips. I think we should follow this example. Kim Dent-Brown (Talk to me) 06:53, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't know about that. Maybe i can make a link to my favorite site for spells and all that. But i'm afraid i might get in trouble so i'll leave it up to someone else. The site name is: WWW.SpellsandMagic.com.

Hello Bloodsource - I think it was a good call not to post this link on the article. It's a site I've never heard of before, but I paid a visit and found this on the front page:

Spells, white magic, ceremonial magic, incantations, candle magic,

black magic, conjuration's, and invocations. It's all here to help you through life. If you believe in the power of Magic your dreams can come true. So be it! We all have needs in life and Magic can help fulfill those needs. Whether it be power, money, fame, revenge, love or hate... the universe can be bent to our will and it can all be achieved with

spells and magic.
Then further in you get:

Witches and accused witches were persecuted for hundreds of years, until, in 1951, the law in England was rewritten because of a Wiccan High Priest named Gerald B. Gardner. While employed as a civil servant, he decided to declare his religious preference – Witchcraft. He demonstrated a ritual to the Parliament and explained the nature of his worship so they would realise that his religion was not about demons, destruction and sacrifice.

So given this level of ignorance and fabrication I'm afraid I must offer a 'steer well clear' warning from this site! Aplogies for copying from it at length, but thought the GBG quote might be instructive! Kim Dent-Brown (Talk to me) 18:46, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

If you click on the black magic part it wont show any ritual but it show a cat with a gun and warns of black magic thankfully it does that. but i guess your right about that. but what if i posted some on my user page?

Personally, I don't think that's a great idea. Your user page is meant to help you and others in writing this encyclopaedia; it's not meant to be a blogspot or personal homepage. You might be better off putting the link on a MySpace account if it's a personal favourite. Just my opinion, of course. BTW, if you sign your posts with ~~~~ then your signature and a timestamp will appear, like this: Kim Dent-Brown (Talk to me) 21:10, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Majority of accused witches were women

This statement had a {{dubious}} tag attached, with the edit comment reading "mmmm, debatable... the feminist revisionist historians who like to look at witchcraft persecutions as sexism make this claim, but it doesn't hold up in witchcraft trial records". Actually this is not a feminist revisionism; it is fact, well evidenced, and agreed on by all the witch-trial historians I've read: Keith Thomas, Norman Cohn, Eva Pocs, Carlo Ginzburg, Ronald Hutton, E William Monter, Alan Macfarlane, etc, etc. In a few places such as Iceland men were the more common victims, but in most countries women were by far the majority.

I find myself smarting a little at the phrase "the feminist revisionist historians". As if feminist history = revisionist history, or perhaps feminism = load of rubbish. This is probably not what you intended, but it's a good idea to be careful with your phrasing, and evaluate evidence based on its merits, rather than what light it shows women in. There are many conservative academic historians who have produced highly flawed and polemical history, and there are many feminist historians who have written balanced, scholarly and authoritative history. It's not about what club you belong to or what banner you go under, but how well researched you are, and how well your work follows the evidence. Fuzzypeg 02:08, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, if it's honestly well evidenced and agreed upon by real historians, than say that those historians claim that, and cite a real source. The source you provided was not a real source, just some website by some nobody. The sources I have read say just the opposite, and I can guarantee that mine were scholarly sources, I just don't have time to pull the books out at this time. The difference here is that I am not making the article claim that most were male. so I don't need to cite it... yet. The claim that most were female was in the article, and thus needs a real, honest, scholarly reliable source.
And as far as the feminist history = revisionist history, well, YES, it is. The fact that it is a "feminist historian" instead of just "historian" means it's not doing history as pure history, but history with an obvious agenda, to promote feminism. That's not how scholars should work, they should find the facts whatever they are, and most feminist history books I've read certainly do not do that. DreamGuy 04:02, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
Jenny Gibbons' article is rather well regarded in academic circles and comes from a published journal with wide readership. It is indeed a journal relating largely to neopaganism and neopagan witchcraft, which makes it of more interest to readers of the current article. It's also online, which is handy. I can find other sources if you like; I have read fairly widely through the literature and I can pretty confidently say you've misinterpreted or misunderstood something you read. However in the meantime, I have provided evidence, and you have provided none. You seem to have no general knowledge of the field, or you wouldn't call Gibbons a "nobody". I think it would be a little more graceful of you to put the work in and actually find a reference that supports your claim. You say you don't need to cite anything yet because you're not making any claim... however you are indeed making the claim that Gibbons is incorrect, and you need to cite evidence.
As to "feminist history": adding an adjective to "history" doesn't lessen it — it merely tells you what field or approach to history is being taken. For instance Microhistory, New history and Cultural history: all simply approaches to history, that complement the more traditional approaches. Feminist history takes the approach of focussing on women and their place in society, an area that has traditionally been given little importance. I note that many historians who write specifically about women are labelled "Feminist" regardless of whether they have used that term themselves. I'm intrigued: you speak of "most feminist history books I've read"; can you name some of these for me?
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I really don't think Gibbons counts as a Feminist historian. A woman perhaps, but nowadays we try not to hold that against them. :P Fuzzypeg 06:27, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

My recent reversion of "essay"

I recently removed what I considered to be an "essay": view diff here, and I believe I may not have explained my reasons clearly enough in the edit comment.

I noted this was largely about Wicca and thus more appropriate to that sub-section, or indeed the Wicca article, since the Witchcraft article is about witchcraft historically and anthropologically, as well as the many modern varieties in different cultures. Wicca is only one modern variety. The "cited colour association" I said was atypical referred to the associations given to the colour white: supposedly most associated with the Moon, but also associated with the elements of air and fire. Now first off, witchcraft worldwide and throughout history has a huge number of associations with the colour white, and in traditional European witchcraft I would venture to suggest that white is most commonly associated with the witches' Goddess, death, and perhaps winter. Certainly air and fire seem quite atypical. That Lexies and Gards are less likely to call themselves "White" might possibly be true, but even with my knowledge of these communities I couldn't be sure of this. This looks like original research, and is a classic case of an assertion that needs to be supported by cited evidence. "Green Witches" may be a term that has some usage in the United States; it's certainly uncommon here. But I would suggest that the description you've given of the people you then term Green Witches, "focus their energies on natural healing through ancient herbal remedies and the channeling healing energy", actually applies to just about all people who call themselves "witches", and few of these would claim to be any particular colour. I'm not saying any of this is wrong; it just seems to be overly specialised for this section of the article, and atypical within the greater scope of world witchcraft practices. Fuzzypeg 06:50, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Stop. Calm down. I understand that you believe yourself to be somewhat of an expert on this subject matter and I appreciate and respect whatever additional perspective you bring to the table on this. I am sure that there is a good deal I can learn from you. There is nothing to be gained by diminishing or degrading the contributions of other pieces of the whole. Ponder that, please. The commentary regarding white witches is sourced. Green witchery pre-dates modern Neo-Paganism, which is why the information, to my mind, belongs here. The term does not apply to "just about all people who call themselves witches" - this is a very distinct, seperate and secretive group that embraces an unique set of ancient traditions. I, daresay, that green witchery is probably not as "uncommon" as you think it is in New Zealand or anywhere else. It's simply more "out of the closet" in the U.S. I do not see the mention of this distinction as an "essay". It was a few sentences, that will hopefully spark an article on an important subject matter, when the time is right. This and all other articles on Wikipedia are crafted for the edification of the general public. I do not think it is wise to limit available information based upon internal differences. I see how my energy agitates you and I am sorry for that. It surely is not my intent to cause you any discomfort. Again, I wish you nothing but good will. MegaMom 08:27, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Lyblác

I've just removed the following section from the article:

In Anglo Saxon England male & female Witches/Sorcerers/Sorceresses were called Lyblæca (M) Lybbestre (F) with specific laws enacted against them.
"Those who swear falsely and are Lyblác let them be forever cast out of all commission with God, unless they turn to right repentance." King Edmund 1st 939-946 A.D.
Also: The Laws of Alfred, Guthrum, and Edward the Elder : If Witches (lyblács) or diviners be found let them be driven from the country or let them totally perish within the country, unless they desist.
The Anglo-Saxon laws of the time make definite distinctions between heathen practices and those of Lyblác Witchcraft. Heathen practice being tolerated much longer than that of the Lyblác. Although some may say that Witchcraft itself is a much older and earlier tradition (as wrongful interpretations have been made so many times over so many years with regards to its practices) we can see an example of this by reading one such "Interpretation" of Exodus 22:18 which states:
"Thou shalt not suffer a Witch to live."
The verse however does not tell the whole truth? The word with which the verse associates as the meaning of "Witch" is "kashaph" and in fact actually means poisoner or those who kill by poisoning. The only connection it can have with "Wiccercræft" is the use of baneful herbs with which if one were not proficient enough in their use they could easily kill, so the connection was made and the wrong translation added and the rest is history as they say. The verse should actually read:
"Thou shalt not suffer a poisoner to live."
and has nothing to do with Lyblác Anglo Saxon Witchcraft or any Witchcraft for that matter but served to "rally" some against solely honourable and well intentioned practitioners of a developing magical craft, that has lead us all to the point at which we find ourselves today.

My problems with this text are as follows:

  1. It is written as an essay with no citations to demonstrate that Lyblác Witchcraft is particularly more significant than other forms (or names) of witchcraft. How common was this term? was it any more common than the other terms? Why is "lyblác" more worthy of mention in the article than, say, "brujeria"?
  2. There is much analysis and interpretation in the text that seems to be original research, and thus unsuitable for Wikipedia. The only interpretations of data allowed within Wikipedia are the interpretations made by reliable sources (in general, published authors).
  3. The details about kashaph are discredited. I believe Reginald Scott first made the claim that this word should be translated "poisoner", however scholars of Old Testament Hebrew seem to be of the consensus that this is not correct: "sorceress" is the closest translation. There have been a couple of discussions about that which you should find in the archives to Talk:Witchcraft or Talk:Wicca.
  4. The text seems largely intended to advertise "Lyblác Anglo Saxon Witchcraft", a reconstructionist tradition which originated in 2003 as an offshoot of Seax Wica. This tradition may be worth including in the article, but as I noted with a previous edit comment, we need to see citations attesting to its significance as a tradition. There are hundreds of such traditions, offshoots of offshoots of Wicca, all valuable, but we can't list them all. Why does this particular tradition stand above them all?

Thanks. Fuzzypeg 01:26, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

I'm glad you grasped this nettle Fuzzypeg as this section had troubled me too. The problem was that the contribution by 80.195.241.122 was not the usual illiterate and garbled rubbish that these pages attract! Therefore I held back from challenging it, although it struck me too as possible original research and definitely too detailed for this article. So I support your reversion, but would encourage 80.195.241.122 to write up an article (with proper sources on Lyblác Anglo Saxon Witchcraft, with links to Seax Wica. This will put this information in its proper context. Kim Dent-Brown (Talk to me) 08:53, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
He/she would have to register first though - anon IPs can't create articles. Totnesmartin 10:31, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Witchcraft in popular culture

I just did a big removal of info, replacing it with a brief summary of trends. I probably went overboard I'm sorry, but I think we need to adopt a new approach for this section:

  • We do not need to mention every film or novel that depicts witchcraft.
  • We mention particular depictions that have been historically important, generally in determining the stereotype that later depictions follow.
  • We organise the section as a narrative of how the popular stereotype has developed and changed, rather than organising it as a list separated into film, TV, novels, anime (!) etc.

Thanks, Fuzzypeg 01:31, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

There's currently a trend in Wikipedia to delete trivia lists and "In popular culture" articles, so your suggestions are probably the way to go. Start with folklore (folklore is popular culture, folks!) and build it from there until we get to today. But no lists of cartoons mentioning Gandalf, please. Totnesmartin 10:02, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
Thoroughly agree with Fuzzypeg's reasoning and actions. I automatically assume the worst when I read an article or section headed 'X in popular culture'. My favourite bit (now happily excised) from this article was: "Roald Dahl's novel, The Witches, features large numbers of witches." Well quite! Kim Dent-Brown (Talk to me) 10:33, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
I recently split "King Kong in popular culture" (not worth linking to, honestly) from King Kong. It was 60% of the article! Totnesmartin 11:56, 30 July 2007 (UTC)