What is Witchcraft?

 what is witchcraftWhat is magic?

Magic is simply changing the world by manipulation of energy. The world as you know it is merely a hallucination caused by your senses trying to make sense of it.

Magic is using the rules of the actual Universe to influence it. It can feel a lot like breaking them. You are bending your own mind past what you believe to be true – sensing what is actually there, and trying to make sense of it and use it.

So, what can you actually do with it? Just about anything you like. If you aren’t getting the results that you want, you need to look at what you are doing to get them, and change it. Anything is possible – you just have to know the passwords.

What is witchcraft?

This question can be probably be answered much better in a whole book, although I’ll give it a go.

Witchcraft can be many things. It can be part or whole of a religion like Wicca. It can be a standardized version of what  our ancestors left us, like British Traditional Witchcraft. It can be the magic of the common people, the forgotten people, whatever form that might take. It can be whatever knowledge you crib together in the dark with a pebble and a rosemary plant.

This is my definition:

Most forms of witchcraft tend to involve other objects beyond the magic creator. Some will argue and say that someone who purely uses themselves and pure energy to work can call themselves a witch. That’s up to them. But what I describe below are some methods that have been open to ‘witches’ in a variety of cultures across Europe and the US. These methods have been chosen because I know them and can teach them, not because it’s an exhaustive list.

 

A wise man once said that in a room of 12 witches there are 13 opinions. Another wise person once said that the name for a group of witches is an opinion. Bear this in mind when you study.

Forms of Witchcraft

 

The follow list concerns itself with just creating the future, rather than foretelling it, even though many divinatory traditions are associated with or part of witchcraft ones. You’ll notice, however, that I’ve included things like Tarot and runes as things you can use for spells – because you can!

Dolls and Poppets

Poppets are the English terms for what movie call a ‘voodoo doll’. Voodoo doll is a misnomer, and does nothing for either poppet or Haitian magic.

Poppets can be used for a couple of things – mainly either cursing or healing. This doesn’t always have to be physical curses/cures – poppets can also be used to influence thought patterns.

Dolls can also be used to provide homes for Spirits, or used to create guardians. You can also use a doll as a scapegoat to prevent a curse from latching onto you.

 

Shrinemaking

Shrine making is less a way to create a defined outcome, and more a way of pleasing Spirits who you may later want to call upon. It’s kinda like taking your new neighbours a pie, in case you ever need them to watch the house whilst you’re away. The pie is an overture to a friendly relationship, not direct payment for the house sitting. However, if you just blundered into their garden one day and offered them £100 to watch the house, they’d probably tell you to get lost.

 

Get your local Spirits pies.

 

Shrinemaking can also be used to help bless and protect your home and land. By connecting with the other Spirits that are there, you solidify the relationship, and can work together against intruders.

Bottles and Jars

Witch bottles (or spell jars)  are fun, easy ways to create a variety of effects. As a spell base, they can be effective for:

  • money
  • love
  • friendship
  • animal work
  • protection

Some people define a witch bottle as strictly the traditional version which is used as a scapegoat, and call other spells involving bottles and jars ‘spell jars’. Some people use the term witch bottle to encompass all magics involving jars.

You can learn about all types of bottle magic in this free course.

Candles

Candle magic is a much more modern form of magic than you’d think – especially if we’re talking coloured candles. Candles were very precious objects in the past! However, it was not an unusual item to have, like a hunk of crystal or fairy doll, which is why they became an item to use for undetected witchcraft – like brooms, and cauldrons.

As candles have got cheaper and cheaper and less needed to be used for lighting, much more forms and types of magic have sprung up around them. With the addition of coloured waxes or painted candles, the sorts of magic you can do with candles has grown exponentially.

 

Candles are a subset of fire magic and therefore are fantastic for banishing, but they are often the beginners tool of choice. It’s easy to understand why – easy to get hold of, easy to use, and there’s as much fancy ritual needed as you feel inclined to give it.

 

When you want to expand your knowledge, you can still stick with candles – but investigate the use of oils, herbs and crystals in conjunction with candles.

Crystals and Rocks

Crystals and rocks are often used as ‘ingredients’ in other spells. They are very easy to add to bottles, pouches, dolls and more. However, you can also use crystals in spell work solely on their own by adding them to your pillow, till, money box, plant pot, etc.

Their use goes much further than this, but that enters the realm of energy healing which is a part of many traditions and is a very dedicated and intensive practice all by itself, and too much to explain here.

Air

You can utilize the powers of air in a lot of ways. It’s usually good for cleansing spells – think sweeping with a ritual broom, burning incense (smoke=air, not fire), ringing bells or playing bowls, singing, using flags and wheels. Air methods tend to return quick results.

Earth

Earth brings slow results, but they tend to be larger. Earth practices include enchanting seeds that will bring you money as they grow, burying offerings in the Earth, making vessels and spells out of clay, or writing spells in the mud.

Fire

Fire can bring things into your life, but is much better used to get rid of them – for beginners, anyway. If there is anything in your life that you wish to get rid of, you can write or draw a representation of it and cast it into the fire to remove it.

Water

Water can take the longest time to bring you what you need. However, think of water pounding against a rock. Drips of water became rivers, became waterfalls. Water can often bring you the biggest results, but it may take a long time.

Water spells can include potions (see below), but can also include ritual baths, leaving offers in water, or giving up bad energy or habits to the ocean.

Bones

Bones are a contentious subject in witchcraft. Some people will never use them, some people’s practice is not complete without them.

Some uses for bones are:

 

  • Telling the future (casting bones or lots)
  • Housing the Spirit of the animal so you can work with them
  • Form parts of wands or ritual jewellery or headresses
  • Ingredients in pouches

 

Tarot, Runes and Ogham

You can use all of these fortune telling tools in spells, too! You can choose one of them that has a characteristic or represents an outcome that you’d like. So if you wanted a new job, you might choose the Ace of Pentacles. Then you could do any one of the following with it:

  • Use it to focus a candle spell
  • Add it to a pouch or bag spell
  • Add it to a jar spell
  • Use it in lieu of a sigil
  • Make a vision board around it
  • Even burn it! (You can get single Tarot cards for this purpose on eBay.)

 

Potions and Elixirs

Potion Magic used to be a lot more popular. Whilst elixirs, tisanes and tea blends are still popular for use on yourself, the masses of recipes of potions, philtres and similar recipes have all but died out. That’s because a lot of potion magic is only to be used in desperate circumstances, like love potions and curses. The reason so many old fashioned love potions are beyond creepy and controlling is that woman’s husband was her meal ticket. If he left her, not only would she be blamed, but she would be out of a house, food and her own family probably wouldn’t take her in. She had shamed them all. (Often through no actual fault of her own.)

So dousing  a lover or husband’s food with love potion made a lot more sense then, than it does now.

Thankfully, most of us don’t live in those circumstances any more, so a lot of philtre or potion use has died out. However, there are still some amazing things you can make to ingest yourself:

  • Tea blends
  • Tisanes (herbals teas)
  • Bath spells
  • Lunar or solar water
  • Herbal Oils

Spoken Magic

Spoken Magic can be long and complicated, or very short. It doesn’t have to rhyme (but it can) it doesn’t have to flow like poetry (but it can). You can use spoken incantation to help direct energy when you’re using other methods, but you can also use it on it’s own.

Some examples of spoken magic:

  • Affirmations
  • Words of power
  • Singing
  • Ritual Offerings
  • Wishes

You can even banish Spirit’s solely through your voice. Shouting ‘Leave!’ with the correct intention can be very powerful.

Written Magic

 

Written magic has existed since we could write. Many cultures view writing AS magic. Think about it – 26 (or thereabouts, depends on your alphabet) tiny squiggles can become anything when placed in the right order. Dumbledore was right about the power of words.

Written magic can include:

  • Petitions to Spirits
  • Magic squares
  • Words of power or protection
  • Wishes
  • Tattoos
  • Rune work

Bag and Pouch Magic

There is all kinds of bag magic – from mojo bags, to more modern spell envelopes. The main idea behind bag or pouch magic is that keeping a carefully curated selection of objects together for a certain time period will produce the effects that you want. A lot of bag magic produces indefinite spells  provided they are charged. Such bags usually grant the wearer protection, prosperity, luck or good health. However, there are bag magics wear a specific time limited spell is wanted – invisibility spells, hex breakers and the like.

Enchantments and Glamours

Enchantment covers a variety of spell types, but theme of the spells are pretty much the same. Enchantment covers a lot of the old folklore kind of witchcraft – hidden worlds, changing age, changing into different animals and so on.

Enchanting something fools the viewer into believing something is there when it is not, or isn’t there when it is, or is something completely different.

Think of the Harry Potter scene where Hermione explains that the ceiling of the Great Hall isn’t a real sky, it’s just enchanted to look that way.

Real enchantment can be done for fun, but they can also be useful pieces of magic. You can enchant jewelry, clothes or makeup to bestow certain personality traits upon you. You can enchant your witchy items to look normal if you’re fearful of discovery. The possibilities are just about endless.

 

Congratulations, you made it! I know this was a long article, and I’m super pleased if you read it all. Just to remind you that any underlined text contains a hyperlink that will lead you to some more information about all the forms of witchcraft mentioned.

But before you go! I’d just like to have a quick word about my premier course, Magical Methods.

Magical Methods covers 80% of the topics above in great detail, and it includes video lectures, video tutorials, worksheets and downloads. I designed it to take you from ??? to !!! in a matter of weeks, instead of months or years.

This course condenses nearly eight years of study into an enjoyable and relatable format. It’s just £29 until the 1st of June, and it also comes with a free bonus. You can check it out here, or try the first module for free here.

4 Comments

  1. Alexandra

    Witchcraft has always been fascinating to me. This article is great! But my mom says that I have to avoid some aspects of it because the devil has a hand in it?
    Could you (being experienced) confirm or deny this? (I’m not being a “hater” I’m genuinely interested :)) thanks for your time!

    • emmasiobhanjohnson@gmail.com

      You can perform witchcraft and be of ANY religion or of no religion at all, including working with the Devil/Satan/Lucifer/etc. I’m of the opinion that I won’t tell someone what to believe when it comes to religion, so I would encourage you to read about the common religions that often get blended deeply with witchcraft (or are based in these kinds of folkloric practices) – namely Christianity, Wicca, Satanism and Asatru, but I would also recommend you look up what ‘witchcraft’ looks like in your own culture as well – all cultures have it, whether they like it or not. Once you’ve read a few viewpoints, you can decide for yourself what (or who) you believe in. Only you can decide which Spirits, Beings or Deities exist for you, and that’s your conclusion to come to once you’ve read the evidence. Do I PERSONALLY believe that Devil has a hand in witchcraft? It kinda depends on what you mean by ‘Devil’, but basically, my answer is yes. A lot of witchy Spirit contact mentions either a horned figure or a light bringing figure (literally: Lucifer, which is a title, not a name), and these are often one and the same being. To my scientific mind, this is a thousand coincidences too many. But your religious beliefs are up to you to explore and find out, and whichever conclusion you do come to, know that this blog is very secular and will not preach about one religion or another. This blog is about witchcraft, Tarot and energy work as a secular practice. Good luck in your journey!

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