Saturday, February 1, 2014

Wicca? Witchcraft? hmmm

A while ago there were some lively discussions about witchcraft, in Dutch groups on Facebook. It was just like the 'Old Times' when exactly the same discussions took place on the internet forums that predated Facebook. And after all these years I see the same people, making the same statements all over again. So I would like to repeat my own point of view, which hasn't changed either. But now I can write about it with even more confidence.

Are witchcraft and wicca the same?

Oh no! No, no! they are not!  No matter how hard some Wiccans try to claim the word witchcraft all for themselves.

Wicca is a branch on the tree of the western mystery tradition. It is an initiatory religion, with a set of characteristic of its own.
Casting circles, altars, watchtowers, swords, elements and directions corresponding with each other, it all comes from ceremonial magic and has very little to do with ancient witchcraft.  The basic initiation rites are, slightly altered, copies from the rites of free masonry.The God and Goddess are based on a mythology that developed from the work of some romantic scholars. The 8 festivals are a combination of Celtic folklore and modern Druid influences.

It is a beautiful tradition! Gardner did an excellent job and created a meaningful new religion, that has great importance in this time.

No wonder wicca has inspired so many non-wiccans to copy all that has ever been published about it and start their own little traditions. Some call themselves eclectic witches, some traditional, or hereditary witches, neo wicca, etc.

Just look at how many new traditions have invented their own founding mythologies about grandmother's who were witch queens, or chief high priestesses, while all they offer is a watered down version of wicca, based on the many books published about it. Some ask loads of money for membership of a 'coven', with guaranteed initiation after a year and a day. But they can never offer the quality of a genuin wicca training (which is almost free btw)
So at first sight you would say, that all modern western witchcraft indeed stems from wicca.

But is it witchcraft?

Do you have to believe in a God and Goddess to be a witch?
I don't think so!
Do you have to cast a circle to do the work of a witch?
Not really!
Do you need wicca tools , like pentacle and athame, etc, to be a witch?
No you don't!
Do you need to be initiated into any kind of tradition to be a witch?
Absolutely not!
Celebrate 8 festivals? Dance naked in the moonlight? Cake and wine ceremonies? 
All lovely customs, but it doesn't really make you a witch!

Real witches are found all over the world. Some are good, some bad, most are something in between. They are called with many local names, but in the west we know them as medicine man, witch doctor, shaman. They are men and women who know how to cross the border between the living and the dead, between the world of people and the Gods and spirits. And they not only know how to come back again, with useful information, they also know how to use the information from the other world in a most practical way.

This ancient wisdom can also still be found in modern Europe, if you try hard enough to find it. Some people did and they have nothing to do with wicca or anything like it. Seidhr workers for example, or hoodoo practitioners, or any other practitioner of a  witchcraft tradition from remote parts of the world.

I am seidhr worker and I learned my craft from the Spirits, through shamanism and the study of Old Norse sagas and European folklore. Seidhr is the real witchcraft of Old Europe, not a romantic reconstruction of a made up 'old religion', but the real, sometimes scary, stuff.
When I hold my staff, sing my song and the Spirits gather round  to sing with me,
I am practising witchcraft.
When I sing a little song in the light of the full moon and next morning happens what I was singing about,
I am practising witchcraft
When I let a Spirit work through me while I heal a client with just my voice,
I am practising witchcraft.
When I go out to the local herb garden, to bring an offering to its guardian and pray for the right amount of rain and sunshine for his garden,
I am practising witchcraft.
When I'm lost in the city and a crow comes to show me the way,
it is the result of me practising witchcraft.

This has nothing to do with initiation, fancy tools, or ceremonial magic.
This has nothing to do with wicca, nor with its offspring.

The witchcraft I practise is much older and is taught mostly by Spirits. All it takes is dedicated training, courage and a lot of common sense.
If someone tells me I'm not a witch because I'm not initiated into wicca, it makes me smile. It just shows, that the person doesn't really know what is going on in the worlds.


  1. Very well put! :D

  2. true words of a real witch Blessed be

  3. But of course the claim that Seidr is the West European Witchcraft is a bit short. There are of course other "traditional' European Witchcraft. And yes, they all mak use of herbs, the power of the voice, consulting the ancestors and Otherworldly trance journeys (and more).

    1. Ok I should have written witchcraft of North Western Europe :-)

      But still, it is the only old European witchcraft I know, with enough historical records to make it possible to revive it. Historical records confirmed by archaeological finds!
      But I would love to learn about other kinds of genuine old European witchcraft, with written records to prove its age :)
      ( and no sorry, Aradia is not one of those)

  4. OH, all these comments :)
    I only see these now, never got any notification :/

    I guess I have to come here more often again :)