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What Is Witchcraft?

Learn about witchcraft from Wiccan High Priestess Phyllis Curott in this Howcast video.


Witchcraft is the pre-Christian, indigenous tradition of the British Isles and also the Celtic countries, which included Ireland and France and little bit of Germany. The Celts were all over the place, Italy, northern Italy. It is a religion because it's practiced by a community of people. It's a spiritual path that's very personal, because it's practiced by each person on their own. It's a personal spiritual practice. Witchcraft is about taking off the blindfold to see the sacred in the world, in the natural world, in other people, and in yourselves. It's a way of discovering the presence of the divine and of making magic with it. It's ancient. It was brutally persecuted, which began in the 1400s with a lot of distortions, including the false accusation that witches worshiped Satan, which they do not.

Satan is a strictly, entirely, utterly Biblical character. He is the property of the Abrahamic faiths. He's their personification of evil. And witchcraft has no Satan. It has a very different idea about evil, because for us the divine is expressed in the natural world, and you don't find evil in the natural world. If you're walking through the jungle and a tiger eats you for lunch, it's a tragedy for you and your family. But it doesn't make the tiger evil. It makes him a tiger. And so witchcraft becomes, especially in modern times, it's a way of bringing us back into contact with the wisdom of our ancestors, because it is an ancestral wisdom tradition.

And it brings us back into contact with the natural as an embodiment of the divine. It's a way of bringing ourselves into harmony with the natural world, with the cycles of the seasons, with the cycles of the moon which are particularly meaningful for women, because our bodies literally correspond to the 28-day cycle. And our ages as a young woman, as a mother, and as a crone, and older woman correspond to the phases of the moon, the new moon, the full moon, and the waning moon. So within nature is a treasure trove of spiritual wisdom, and witchcraft is one of the rediscovered paths to being in relationship with the natural world as a spiritual teacher.

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