Witchery: An Introduction Into the Craft

Elements Spiritual& Wellness Center

Witchery: An Introduction Into the Craft

by The Emerald Hexe on Jan , 2022

Before we get down into the nitty-gritty of what Witchcraft is let’s talk about how we here at Elements approach the Craft & Spirituality in general. 

I challenge each one of you from this moment on to work under this theme: 

“Reality is Multiple & Diverse” 

Now what does that mean?

It means that when you dive into this realm of Spirituality and Craft we encourage you to leave every pre-conceived notion at the door and walk forward with a mindset of everyone’s Spiritual Journey is different. They are not all of one general way. There is not one book, one person, one path, one idea to look to. Your options are vast and plentiful. 

In general, the Pagan Community stands against totalistic religious & political views. We do not think “one” should dominate “all” so in the majority of things we encourage you very highly to “Strive to be comfortable in Chaos & Complexity” thats just another way to say “Reality is Multiple & Diverse”. It is your reminder that you are but one flower, it takes many to make a garden. We will always encourage you all to be as One who walks many worlds at once. Perspective is a great key to wisdom. 

Although a diverse Community, us Pagan and Esoteric peoples universally hold a loose general idea that the World/Earth/the Universe…Nature…the Body…Sexuality…the Imagination…it is all Holy. Divinity is immanent in Nature. It is within you as it is without you. Spirituality, in which you are here for today…Spirituality in all its forms, ultimately, is to lead you to your own Connection to the Divine, whatever your definition of Divine is.

Lastly, no one here is trying to convert you. We will never do that. Not to Paganism, not to Witchcraft, not to Energy Work. While we have quite the collection of books & materials, you will find no one is shoving leaflets in your direction or standing on the corner encouraging you to repent or else. 

When coming to us, in an education setting or for whatever other reason…all we ultimately strive to do for you is simply hand you your personal power back and say…” where would you like to go with it, and would you like us to hold your hand along the way?”...

So for whatever personal reason that you have come here today with we extend a huge Thank You & we hope you can gain knowledge and perspective while you are here. 

Ok, NOW let’s get started! 

The Umbrella & Paganism


This is the Modern Umbrella of Paganism. While it is not a complete list be assured that this is a very good starting point of what falls under Paganism. But also Notice that Afro-Indigenous Practices be it from here in the States, the Caribbean, or from Africa and Native Indigenous Practices from the Americas or Turtle Island are not a part of this Umbrella. Neither are Energetic Paths from Eastern Practices. This Umbrella also leaves out Satanists & Christianity as a whole as well. This is but one umbrella of many of its kind that we are focusing on today. 

Also while I am very researched I am not the know-all be all of Magics, Practices, and Paganism. I won’t even pretend to know some things you may ask and we will most definitely be bringing in other knowledgeable peoples to speak on different Paths that we do not practice, in the future. As WitchTok Content Creators as well as all the other areas of Online Social Media Content Creations we have made a pretty vast network of creators from all different Walks, Paths, & Practices. That is another thing we do offer here at Elements, Networking. We can put you in touch with just about anyone that can speak on a topic better than we can. Back to the Umbrella…

As you can see we will be focusing on the very first category, Witchcraft. We won’t be discussing the different types of Witchcraft per se but what it is in general and a little history. I have included the Umbrella for you to research these different names and titles for yourselves. 

Paganism and Witchcraft, the revival and absolute surge of curiosity into these practices,  kind of go hand in hand. As both of these terms can be described very similarly. We can describe both as a return to the primitive or a stance against modern religion. They also both let us peer behind the veneer so to speak, into the Natural and Supernatural happenings around us. But they can also be defined in very different terms as well, lets look. 

Paganism or Neo-Paganism as it is referred to today since we are in a revival of sorts of the old European religions and ways of life. We usually find someone who refers to themselves as Pagan as someone who senses a “presence” to Nature. An aliveness so to speak. They share a goal to live as one with nature as best as they are able to. We can usually define a Pagan as 

    • Polytheists-  the worship of or belief in multiple deities, which are usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religious sects and rituals. Polytheism is a type of theism. Within theism, it contrasts with monotheism, the belief in a singular God, in most cases transcendent.
    • Animists-  the belief that objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Potentially, animism perceives all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork, and perhaps even words—as animated and alive.
    • Pantheists-  the belief that reality is identical with divinity, or that all things compose an all-encompassing, immanent god. Pantheist belief does not recognize a distinct personal god, anthropomorphic or otherwise, but instead characterizes a broad range of doctrines differing in forms of relationships between reality and divinity.

We usually see modern Paganism as two or three of these definitions at the same time. It heavily gravitates towards ancient symbols, myths, and the reclaiming of these religious paths. We can see this reclaiming first hand in a lot of modern storytelling most notably from Disney in their most recent line of movies like their animated and Avenger lines. But we can also see it heavily in  J.R.R. Tolkiens written works. These are just a few examples, im sure youre saying to yourself your own examples from your own observations. 


Now let’s get into what usually turns people off instantly. Witchcraft. There is a very obvious instant “turn off” that happens when we discuss Occultism in most of its forms in many so thought “intellectuals”. No matter how “open-minded” or  “accepting” the general public has been for centuries for our “off the beaten path” types throughout history like Artists and other very talented people…the minute a word like MagicSpellWitch or the like come into play the realism of the conversation leaves and the doubt in one's “rational mind” seeps in.  Don’t get me wrong humans are absolutely fascinated with the concepts of Occultism and the Craft. But there is a general lack of weight in the conversation as soon as these types of topics are at hand. 

But we ARE seeing more and more Academic interest in topics of Neo-Paganism, Witchcraft & Occultism throughout history into the Modern Day. I recently followed a University Professor & PhD holder in Europe who specializes and lectures in Witchcraft, Paganism, Esoterism, & the Occult. (Those are all different things by the way). Their entire job is teaching basically what we are discussing today but on a much grander scale at a University Level. 

When you search “What is a Witch” you get some pretty amusing results…

Even Gaia keeps it pretty easily digestible…

Britannica.com gives the best at first glance definitions without opening the tab:

In my opinion, their first sentence explanation is one of the best on the first search page. Because as a Practitioner of Magic, we do attempt to influence the surrounding world through the occult. The word "witch" denotes etymologically "one that knows." It is historically both masculine and feminine. Since the 13th century, the word "witch" has come more and more to denote a woman who has formed a compact with the Devil or with evil spirits, by whose aid she is able to cause all sorts of injury to living beings and to things. The term "witchcraft" means in modern English the arts and practices of such women as above.

Now let’s take all of that fru-fru out and really look at the History of Witchcraft and talk about it through an academic sort of lens. To save us from being here for hours on end we will be lightly touching on areas in our history. I do encourage you to explore any timeframe more in-depth on your own time and ask any questions that may arise in your research either in person or via messenger. 

Witchcraft and Sorcery have, by some sort, most likely existed since humans first came together in groups in the Paleolithic Era. We can see this through prehistoric Art and Archeological findings. Examples that have been found are:

  • Offerings to helpful Spirits
  • The use of Charms
  • Magical Rites to ensure successful hunting parties
  • Religious Rituals involving people dancing in animalistic costumes
  • The practice of contacting Spirits through dreamwork and meditative trances

Still remaining under that initial Umbrella we talked about earlier is Shamanism. It is probably the oldest Religion that we can determine right now in our archeological, anthropological like our cultural, and sociological history findings. It differs from Witchcraft in the aspect that Witchcraft is a non-theistic Practice or basically a way of life in its most basic form and Shamanism is in its earliest form was/is Religious Practice. We do have to thank the practice of Ancient Shamanism for the collection of much knowledge about Magic and Magical tools. 

Now, let’s move into the times of Sumeria and Babylonia. We can thank them for our elaborate understanding of Demonology. During this time they held a belief that the world was full of Spirits. Also, they believed that most of these Spirits were hostile. It was said that each person supposedly had their own Spirit that would protect them from these Demons and also their other enemies. They fought these Spirits and enemies off with Magic. The forms of Magic in Sumerian and Babylonian times were mostly incantations, exorcisms, and the use of Amulets. 

We take from our observations of the Practices of Antiquity and we can watch how Witchcraft moved and morphed into many different forms all throughout the Western world. We see the birth and rise of traditions in cultures such as Egypt, Greece, Italy and upward through the Northern European countries with Germanic tribes and the rise of Druidism & Norse Practices, etc. 

Through this observation of all these different cultures utilizing magicks and nature-based beliefs we get the Wheel of the Year. While our modern wheel has a lot more dates on it than what would have been observed long ago we can still see how we lived our lives in our ancient communities with the passing of the seasons. 

Through the Wheel, we can see how each Equinox, Solstice, and the addition of the modern cross-quarter holidays flow. We are reminded through these holidays of fertility, growth, harvest & death to come back to nature and to become one with ourselves and loved ones again.  

The Dark Side of our History

Honestly, this section could be a stand-alone workshop all on it own. But I did want to discuss it anyway. Witchcraft in the Medieval Period. Not glamorous, not fun to teach, and definitely not fun to learn in-depth. But at the same time, we get a LOT of magical exploration and healing wisdom gained from this time period as well. 

Witchcraft during this time was less Demonology and more Folk-magic and common sorcery in the form of Wise Women and Healers. We were established communities with farms and cities. Meaning we knew the land and how to utilize every aspect of it. Being so, in the early Christian methodology it was common practice of rulers and clergymen to involve already established Pagan traditions into their conversion techniques. It swayed the Heathen masses a little easier than threats and punishments. We see this in Christmas & Easter most heavily. They were originally known as Yule (the birth of the Sun) & Ostara (for the Goddess Ishtar).

Around the 5th Century AD, we see a direct turn in events. Paganism and Heathenry were now viewed as Evil and invented by the Devil to lure humanity away from Christian truths. This is where we start to see more talks such as Witches and Satan dont have “real power” and that they are trying to dissuade you from the “one true God”. As rulers & theologians observed you could use religion as a means to gain power. Thus the snowball of anti-witch rhetoric exploded. We see a huge rise of civil laws banning certain practices, pagan Gods, and fully trying to remove any Pagan “stain” on Christianity. 

Cunning folk were still viewed as important members of society at this point as they knew healings, forecastings, recipes, and still bravely practiced their clairvoyance openly. They would even be hired to curse for you for a fair enough price. The church begrudgingly let these types of people continue their practices until around the 13th Century. Around this time Witchcraft was labeled demon worship and Pope Innocent III basically declared war between God & the Devil. Thus the start of many inquisitions for alleged heresies amongst various religious sects now labeled as heretics. 

Also around this same time, we begin to see the message of the world being full of Evil. There was a rise in preachings about dangerous demons that were trying to lead people into temptation and this directly led to the association between Sex & Witchcraft. The Catholic Church began its extremely long vigil of Inquisitions on innocent people. A few hundred years later in the 15th Century AD, the Witch Trials really began. 

The first wave of trials happened around 1401 when Witchcraft or any act of sorcery was labeled as heresy and if the accused did not abjure their beliefs, they were burned at the stake. By the mid-1400s the acts of torture began to be incorporated to produce confessions. The idea of the Witches Sabbat was introduced around the last quarter of the 15th century. Where claims of Witches meeting with demons, casting spells that destroyed crops, aborting infants gained popularity. This is when Heinrich Kramer was asked by the current Pope of the time to publish a full report of the “threat” of Witchcraft. He believed that this supposed threat wasn’t being handled seriously enough and thus the “Malleus Maleficarum” or “The Hammer of Witches” was born. This rise in a new form of Orthodoxy held the belief that Christians had an obligation to hunt down and kill them. 

Despite the fact that Malleus Maleficarum was banned by the church in 1490 it was reprinted over and over for the next forty years. With each new revision provided, there were more and more techniques added to produce confessions. I won’t go into the degrading ways they went about their Witch Huntings just know that by the end it is estimated that close to 100,000 people died as a result. This period in our Witches history is called “The Burning Times”. If you have ever heard of the “Witch Wound” it is usually these times that we feel a connection to it. It is a stored trauma that we carry through our lifetimes.   

Witch Hunts & Trials continued into the late 1600s and ultimately ended their full-scale assault on the esoteric world with the culmination of the Salem Witch Trials. Between 1692 and 1693 over 150 people were arrested and imprisoned. The courts convicted 92 people of the capital felony of Witchcraft. Several of the accusers later admitted that they had made up their accusations. The courts later cleared all remaining accused and reversed the convictions. 

The very last officially recorded execution for Witchcraft happened in Poland in 1793. Though Practitioners remained hidden and in secrecy until the resurgence of Neopaganism, Occultism, and Wicca in the mid-1900’s. We can thank the likes of Charles Leland, Margaret Murray, Robert Graves, and Gerald Gardener for how Alternative Spirituality is viewed today. Since 1986 Wicca has been federally recognized as an official religion here in the US. The world continues to evolve and accept our Practices as genuine. Romania even went as far as making Witchcraft a taxable profession in 2011. Albeit they did so out of trying to stop tax evasion…

Even though we still can see some lingering discrimination and there are sadly still actual Witch Hunts that happen around the world, we have made leaps and bounds. We have gained legal, social, & Constitutional Rights in the last century and a half. . 

Witchcraft Today

Today we see the Practice of Witchcraft spanning a variety of categories. We see it intermingling within cultures of different backgrounds, medicinal roles, and even though it isn’t inherently religious we find it incorporated into a variety of religions as well. There is a glorious thing happening, in my opinion, that you can pick almost any aspect of modern life and either find or incorporate Witchcraft into it. Witchcraft is a complex concept that varies culturally and societally; therefore, it is difficult to define with precision. 

We utilize the practice of Witchcraft for reasons today that are different than in the past. Today we mainly practice for navigating our internal landscapes. Finding our own personal power and developing strengths in areas of magic that may correspond with any preexisting Clair senses we come into witchcraft with. We can use a variety of techniques like meditation to teach us to look inward and balance our emotional plane, Shadow Work for healing our own past traumas, Physical healing via herbal, crystal, and energetic works. Witchcraft also includes divinatory practices such as tarot, oracle, and other forms of readings. Various forms of workings like Protections, Banishings, Cleansings, and Blessings. 

The list of where Witchcraft can take you is vast and unending, & anyone can get started on this path. It can be as simple as living every day with intention or it can get extremely ceremonial and ritualistic. This can be a huge reason the Craft can be intimidating and scary. There isn’t really a universal starting point beyond wanting the “more” that comes with curiosity. Plus I hear you come in and say  “I don’t want to get anything wrong or accidentally curse myself”. You’re not going to accidentally curse yourself. We can go over that more in-depth in a later class. There is one BIG note I would like to say before summing things up. Witchcraft in itself is neutral. It is not inherently good or bad. To take a quote from one of my favorite movies:

“...True magic is neither black nor white. It’s both because nature is both. Loving and cruel, all at the same time. 

The only good or bad is in the heart of the Witch. Life keeps a balance on its own…” 

So for finishing this class I have put together a list of things you can do as a beginner to start incorporating Witchcraft into your daily life. After the list, there is another list of study queues for you to be able to take the reins into your own hands and deep dive into the world of Witchcraft…

Things you can do and get familiar with. The first almost part of becoming familar with a magickal lifestyle is by mostly studying and observations.  These don’t scream “witchy” but they will alter your way of going about your practice and set a good foundation of incorporating magic into your daily lives…

  • Remember the veneer, and start looking beyond it. Peering beyond the veneer changes the way you see the world. You begin to notice more, observe more, and sometimes speak less.
  • Live as Intentionally as you can. Be it reducing your carbon footprint, changing your diet, thinking more positive thoughts or even just more long baths to wash away the day. 
  • Start incorporating a form of meditation into your daily life. There are many ways to find your “zen/zone”. Mine is by creating art or writing, I cannot traditionally meditate, it is OK if you cannot as well.
  • Acknowledge the Moon, Sun, Wind, Nature, etc regularly. 
  • Take more walks or go out into nature and observe the entire time. How does everything interact with each other? Do you feel the earth’s vibrations yet? 
  • Get outside and Ground yourself. Put your feet on the earth and feel your connection. This is a scientifically-backed practice that actually leads to a healthier mindset and lifestyle. 
  • When you walk outside for the first time in the day, quickly look up to the sky and then down to the ground. Give a whispered thanks for the air you breathe and the earth you walk on.
  • Start incorporating a running journal of your questions, quick notes, thoughts, and observations
  • Do a daily Card pull and see how you can use the advice. There are free online ones if you do not have a deck of your own yet. 
  • Incorporate magick into your cooking and baking, either by blessings, using magickal herbs and spices, or both.
  • Create a cairn of stones to remember someone who has passed.
  • Put food out in winter for birds and other wildlife. Remember to break the ice on their water supply.
  • Charm your jewelry for abundance or protection.
  • Create a bedtime ritual of giving thanks and appreciation for the day that’s ended and the good night’s sleep to come.

Study Queues for Beginners and the Curious. This is where you will take off in your journey and you may “Rabbit hole” yourself. Remember to come back to the present often and do some things listed above to remain as grounded as possible while opening your world up to an entirely new way of life. 

  • Types of Witches & Traditions
  • The History of Witches and Witchcraft
  • Grounding & Meditation
  • Moon Phases & Cycles
  • The 5 Elements
  • Different Herbs & Their Magical Properties
  • Different Types of Spell Work
  • Methods of Divinations
  • Crystals & Their Properties
  • Wheel of the Year

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