Witchcraft may be literally interpreted as the wisdom, art, sum of procedures, tools or customs followed by witches to fulfill their objectives. It, however, must be clearly understood that a witch is certainly not an ugly, wicked, detestable, diabolical and manipulative old hag out to harm any one and every one with her craft. A witch is exactly the opposite of this. A witch is a deeply religious person, altruistic healer, a teacher, a seeker, a giver, and a protector of all things.
Therefore witchcraft was known as the art or craft of the wise in the olden times. And a wise person in the olden or even in the modern times is one who has the knowledge, craft or wisdom to live a life in perfect harmony with nature and its elements and make use of their multifarious bounties. The major elements of nature are the mother earth, the air, the sun, the moon, sky, water and fire.
Witchcraft is essentially a system of religious belief that human beings are an integral part of the all-pervasive nature—whether visible or invisible-- and not separate from it. They are neither masters of nature nor superior to it. Witchcraft involves maintaining a state of equilibrium in nature. We receive from nature what we give to it. As a natural corollary, we must contribute to nature what we wish to receive from it in return to our contribution. In a way, witchcraft is based on the theory of karma.
There is no place for Satan or Devil in witchcraft. The main tenets of witchcraft are freedom and responsibility. You are free to act, but must be responsible for the consequences of your actions. Witchcraft in its true form is never coercive, regimental or unduly demanding of anything that makes you feel uncomfortable
Believers in witchcraft, of course the witches, worship Goddess and her consort God. The witch looks upon the figure of mother goddess as the ultimate and omnipotent force in the universe.
An important functions of witchcraft is meditation usually using candle flames, spells, magic, herbal medication and crystal gazing and so on. Invocational hymns are chanted forming circles mostly before the altars, where candles of various colors and incense are burnt. The participant may just be an individual or a part of a small group or a coven. The most intriguing functions of witches are the spells and magick.
A spell is nothing but a series of steps in a ritual which aims at drawing energy from the various elements of nature and directing it to achieve positive goals only, as negative actions may attract karmic consequences. Similarly magick involves the use of will power to accomplish positive welfare of the seekers. Witches also seek the help of the spirit guides or elemental energies to energize their rituals and magick.
Another important custom of witchcraft is to wear black robes. Though these robes invoke a strange feeling of fear among the general public the truth is that black robes are not obligatory for witches. Still quite a few witches prefer to wear black clothes because black color is a very good conductor of energy. Witches absorb this energy to reinforce their rituals and will power.
A witch usually holds her sessions during night. One reason for this may be that day is considered for work which involves lots of tensions and distractions. The quiet of night provides the much needed peace and seclusion to concentrate on the rituals and meditation, which brings her closer to her mother goddess.
Like people of other faiths, Witches too have their
‘holy book’ called the Book
of Shadows (BOS) or Grimoire. It is difficult to trace
the origin of the name of the book. Quite possibly the witches hid
themselves in the shadows or dark places to evade persecution in
the medieval times to maintain a sort of diary or journal that contained
details of their rituals, spells, herbs, poetry and similar activities
related to their craft.