What is Witchcraft?

Let me start the introduction to Witchcraft not by saying what Witchcraft is but rather what Witchcraft isn’t.

Witchcraft is not Wicca. I will say it again. Witchcraft is not Wicca.

Some may be confused by this, assuming that Wicca and Witchcraft is the same thing, or at the very least – interchangeable but it isn’t. Wicca and Witchcraft are two very different magical practices. It goes to the old saying “All Wiccans are Witches but not all Witches are Wiccans” and this is very true. Wicca as it stands today is a religion; it has Rules, Credes, Laws, A Dual Deity and a set foundation of ideas and belief systems. Witchcraft is a practice. Witchcraft has no rules, except for perhaps self responsibility.

noun 1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion
3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions
4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion
5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
6. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice

Taken from: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse

As you can see, this does not apply to Witchcraft. Witchcraft is simply a practice of spirituality without organization, without a set of rules, it does not follow ritual observance nor does it have a governing body that makes the decisions and edicts that one would be expected to follow. Witchcraft at its base core is an observance of nature and the practice of working with nature.

Wicca is a tradition started (although some will argue that it was “revived”) by Gerald Gardener in the 50’s. Now he did claim that it was an Old Religion, taken from the days of Goddess Worship which was run underground during the Christian Church’s revolution and domination during the Middle Ages. Who knows? One cannot really say one way or the other. However it is documented that Wicca is a new religion, one taken from old ideas and formed into an organized system of beliefs and practices.

To that end, many of the Rules and Laws of Wicca don’t apply in Witchcraft such as the Three Fold Law, or any of the other Numerical Fold Laws, neither does the Harm None philosophy. That is not to say that those who practice Witchcraft are devoid of personal responsibility, but Witches do not fear Karmic retribution because it is not something that is part of Witchcraft. If the Universe believes that the cause and affect of magic performed has been misused it will pay back in kind if the situation warrants it. Those who practice Witchcraft do not fear the darker aspects of Magic; it’s simply a larger part of the whole. Nature is both loving and cruel, so therefore it is a natural extension that at times magic will be cruel, it is balance.

Witchcraft is much more earth based than that. Witchcraft is probably more true to the ‘alleged’ Old Religion than Wicca. Witchcraft has no dual deity unless the individual Witch chooses to incorporate that into her beliefs, some Witches are atheist and choose to worship and work with nature and its power. A Witch is a person who is aware of the world around them, can connect on an inner level with their power, however the Witch is also a member of society, can be anyone. A Witch does not separate themselves from their spiritual life but include it in every day life. A Witch will apply the principles of the Craft to every day life – there is no separation of ritual in the sense that it is in Wicca. I think therein is the true meaning of Witchcraft and what it is.

A person who practices Witchcraft is a person who is in touch with their spirituality through everyday life – making cookies, cooking a roast, tending her garden, stirring the tea, writing the grocery list –it is not separated from the spirit, it is treated as part of the practice of Witchcraft. A Witch may come home and light a candle – green for prosperity, pink for love but it is not surrounded by pomp and ceremony – it is a simple craft fueled by the Witch’s own power.

The Craft is an everyday practice, an everyday way of living much the same as our ancestors who practiced the Craft did. They were called Cunning folk, Healers, Shamans and Village Wisewomen. They treated people with herbal potions, poultices and teas; they tended their herbs in the garden and often helped deliver the village children. They did not pray to a dual deity, nor did they attend secret coven meetings where they worked their way through Initiations to achieve degree levels, they simply lived practicing their Craft in a quiet, practical manner.