Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Occult (witchcraft)


     Witchcraft, as defined by, is the art of practicing sorcery or magic.  This art is one branch of the occult religious beliefs and has been swept under the carpet for most of our history.  Until rather recently, witches have been considered devil worshippers, murderers, and have even been killed because of their beliefs.  In this essay, I will explain the fundamentals of witchcraft, some of its history, and its links with our modern society.

     There is a lot of speculation and mystery surrounding the art of witchcraft, so the real facts are always hard to find.  However, many witches claim that they use the elements and spiritual connections to guide their powers.  The main branches of witchcraft are spell casting or magic, necromancy, and sorcery.  Magic is used to manipulate elements for the witches bidding, and is usually accompanied by a ritual and chanting of some sort.  Sorcery is used to craft potions that would have some sort of effect on the one who imbibes it.  It often involved a toad’s wart, the eye of a snake, or other strange ingredients (Mr. Kuehner).  Explanations of real effects from these potions could be explained by a chemical in the toad’s skin called DMT which could send the one who drinks it on a psychedelic trip leading to spiritual enlightenment.  The final branch of witchcraft is necromancy.  This is the act of conjuring dead spirits and using them for information or power (Wikipedia).  This art is the one considered by most mainstream religious believers to be the most dangerous; however no scientific evidence has been found supporting demonic possessions or any other malevolent effects from necromancy (common knowledge).

     The supposed danger of witchcraft has been the cause of their persecution throughout all of history.  Prejudice towards witchcraft can be found back as far as the Bronze Age, and books condemning them to death such as the Bible are proof of this.  This long tradition of so called “witch hunts” can be found from Roman Law, throughout the middle ages, up until the most famous of witch hunts, the Salem Witch Trials.  During these witch trials, about 24 innocent people were murdered by paranoid fundamentalists.  Nineteen men and women were hanged, one was crushed by large boulders, and at least five more died in prison.  Yet witchcraft still lives on in our modern day society (Wikipedia).

     Since the Salem Witch Trials fear of witches has decreased significantly with the huge boom in modern science.  Many people now are entirely skeptical of the entire art and find it to be nothing more than ridiculous.  Witchcraft has even been brought into the hearts and minds of the mainstream through books and movies like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.  While people who still study and believe in the practices of witchcraft or now called “wicca” are considered occult, nobody really takes them seriously or considers them to be dangerous.  Thank Gandalf and Harry for turning around the image of something that was considered foul for so many years (common knowledge).

     In conclusion, witchcraft or wicca is the belief that by our mental focus and fortitude we can control the elements.  Witches, while they still hide in their basements looking up spells on the internet, are now considered harmless and have become a fad for bored teenagers.  It is a good thing; however, that people can now practice whatever they please in America without fear of being burned at the stake, so put on your robe and wizard hat and have a blast.

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