Since ancient times, witches have been seen as demonic, scary and devilish creatures. People used to do witch hunting and burn them at the stake. Nowadays, the situation is a little bit different, but still, most of the population doesn't approve of any forms of magic and esoterism.
As a matter of fact, they are wrong! Did you know that blowing out the candles on the cake is a form of fire magic? So why is the modern witch not as bad as she seems?
And more importantly, can you learn something from magic? Let's take a look at its history first!
A witch is born
It is hard to set when the first witches appeared but there are some traces of witchcraft in the Bible or other ancient books. In the beginning, they were mostly women who cast spells and made potions or rituals. Esoterism was not so separated from other zones of spiritual life such as religion, as it was later.
Some people used to visit witches, for example, to treat their illness or to cast a love spell on the people they were attracted to. Interestingly, in some languages, the word "witch" means a wise woman.
In ancient Greece, witchcraft was a huge part of its culture, and surprisingly, it wasn’t reserved only for the poor and uneducated part of society. A lot of myths contain magical content in them. The most famous wise women of mythology were Hecate (the Goddess of the moon), Circe, and Hermes. Citizens of ancient Greece would often make sacrifices for them or carry protecting amulets all the time with them.
Burn the witch!
The most infamous era of witchcraft was, of course, the medieval times. During that time, if someone discovered that a woman was a witch, it was very likely that she would be burned at the stake or subjected to painful torture. A very common practice was the swimming test, which was used during trials of women accused of witchcraft.
In this test, the charged person was thrown into the water with a stone, or other heavy objects, tied to their body. If she was floating or swimming, it meant that she was a witch. If not, she was killed innocently.
Burning witches was a European practice, but the most famous witch trial was the Salem Witch Trials. It was one of the biggest and most famous events of mass hysteria caused by myths, legends, religion, and false beliefs on the New Continent. The series of hearings and prosecutions took place in 1692 and 1693, in Massachusetts.
Over 200 people were accused of witchcraft practices, and about thirty of them were found guilty. Both women and men, and even two dogs!
Across the globe...
On the other hand, in other parts of the world, witchcraft was something normal and a part of the culture. Some eastern religions, like Buddhism, have practices that can be compared to magical ones. The esoteric traits were also visible in the indigenous religions of Africa and both Americas, where sacrifices, shamanism, and divination were common.
A lot of primordial tribes had special caplans that took care of the appropriate length of the growing season or "summoning rain". Some African and pregnant women used to go to the rainforest to pray for their upcoming children. The situation was and still is different in the Islamic part of the world, where magic is seen as devilish and is banned in countries like Saudi Arabia, where the law is based on Sharia law.
Do they treat it seriously? Yes. Even bringing a deck of tarot cards is illegal in the biggest country of the Persian Gulf.
For centuries, witches had to live in hiding. The situation started to change in the twentieth century with the rise in the popularity of modern religions, such as Wicca or Neopaganism. Liberal constitutions, signed after the First and the Second World Wars, guaranteed religious freedom.
People who belonged to new cults weren’t burned at the stake anymore. Even some celebrities, for example, Tom Cruise (Scientology), joined some religious/ philosophical groups, whose purpose is similar to the goals of witches- to bring joy and love and to unite people.
Teens and magic
Nowadays, magic practices are very common. The beauty of esoterism is attracting more and more teenagers. Some of them like to buy crystals with magical properties, such as widely-known rose quartz, which is often called the stone of love.
Others like to manifest. What is it? It is simply attracting and changing your mindset for new things or people to come into your life.
There are a lot of manifestation guides on YouTube or TikTok. Another form of the modern witchy lifestyle is to experience shifting or lucid dreaming. It is a technique of sleeping when you can control and participate in your dreams.
To sum up everything that has been stated so far, to some people, witchcraft is something devilish or foolish, but to others, it is a form of religion or philosophy that doesn’t harm anybody. Manifestation, meditation, or casting spells (that DO NOT affect others) can improve the lifestyle and set some goals. Should we be scared of this behavior? It depends on your personal beliefs.