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Traditional Witchcraft: How Was It Practiced During the Last Millenium?

Oct 16, 2007
Traditional Wicca and Traditional Witchcraft are frequently confused with one another. Wicca is a neo-pagan nature based religious movement that came into being during the mid 1900s. Out of this movement, traditions such as Gardnerian, Diannic and Faery evolved.

Traditional Witchcraft, on the other hand, is an ancient practice, which has been around for millennia. Its practices, traditions and knowledge were simply handed down from one generation to the next, mostly within the same family circle. In the context of this article, Traditional Witchcraft is viewed to be the shamanistic Craft as practiced in Western Europe over the last 1,000 years.

Traditional Witchcraft Beliefs

Traditional Witchcraft is a one hundred percent oral tradition. Illiteracy and forced secrecy both contributed to the absence of written records. One has to bear in mind that it was not only during the burning times that witches were persecuted. If material was found containing anything that could allude to the fact that the owner of the material was a witch, it would have meant certain death - by brutal means. Hence Traditional Witches did not and still do not keep the Wiccan equivalent of a Book of Shadows. In all truth, the concepts of Grimoires and Books of Shadow are late19th and mid-20th century inventions respectively.

Traditional Witches did not necessarily worship any Deities as a part of their Craft practices. The knee does not bend and the head does not bow, so to speak. The majority of Witches worshiped Nature as an all-powerful force instead. They considered everything, from the energy of the smallest grain of sand through to the energy of the remotest star in the sky, as a part of Nature. Nature in this sense is synonymous with the Universe.

Traditional Witches would generally draw on their own power when performing Magick and call on one or more spirits to lend additional power to their magickal workings. The believed that mortal and spirit worlds are connected and that the spirit world can affect the mortal world. November's Eve (Samhain) was recognized as the only time of the year when the veil between these two worlds was at its thinnest. It is also to the spirit world that the souls of all mortals go after death. There they remain until the time comes for rebirth into the mortal world. Whilst karma forms no part of the Craft, the traditional Witches believe that all souls are reincarnated for a special purpose - one that is revealed as life on earth progresses.
About the Author
Rose Ariadne has been practicing ancient forms of Witchcraft for over 25 years. Learn more about traditional witchcraft:
http://www.askroseariadne.com/editorials/traditional-witchcraft-during-last-millenium.html
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