Born in deepest Cornwall, now living in wild Wales, Bev has been practising her personal brand of eclectic witchcraft for years and years.
If there’s one subject that is imbued with myth, it’s witchcraft. I’m not talking about historical myths either, fascinating though they are. I’m talking about the misconceptions surrounding witchcraft today. As a witch, it’s frustrating to read the same old nonsense over and over. So here’s my attempt to clear up some of those mistaken and sometimes harmful myths about witchcraft.
1. Witches Worship the Devil
No, we don’t. True, there are one or two branches of occult studies, such as Satanism and Luciferianism that do have connections to what we would consider to be the Devil. However, even those traditions need to be understood before making assumptions about what their members get up to. Generally speaking, 99.99 percent of witches do not believe in, let alone worship, any kind of devil figure. And that is because the Devil is an invention of Christianity.
Where confusion arises is in the fact that many Wiccans and witches do acknowledge the Horned God. The Horned God can take several forms, the most common being the Celtic deity, Cernunnos. Cernunnos was (or is) the God of nature and fertility.
2. You Must Come From a Family Line of Witches
Of course a person can be a member of a family tradition, but it’s not a perquisite for being a witch, so there’s no ‘must’ about it. Witchcraft is a path you are drawn to and choose for yourself. It makes no difference if your family roots are in Pendle Hill, Lancashire, England, or Salem, Mass., or you have no idea of your family history. You can be a witch. You can start right from where you are.
3. You Need to be Initiated Into Witchcraft
No, you don’t. It’s not necessary.
However, should you choose to join a Wiccan coven, or one that works in a formal, ceremonial way, then yes, you will expect to pass through degrees of initiation to mark your knowledge and competency in that tradition.
For the rest of us solitary, informal witches, we can choose to mark our progress with a simple ritual, or not at all. It’s a free choice.
4. You Must Cast Spells Naked
Some do, it’s true. But it is not that common to work ‘skyclad’. For one thing, it’s usually a little too cold in the Northern Hemisphere. Many witches will dress for the occasion, in a loose robe, while others wear the same thing they do to go to the supermarket.
If you join a coven and some of the things they advocate make you feel uncomfortable, then leave it. At no time should you allow yourself to be coerced into doing something you don’t want to. You can follow a witch path without dogma and dictates.
5. White Magick Is Good; Black Magick Is Bad
There are those who, somewhat sanctimoniously in my view, claim that they are ‘white witches’ who only work ‘good spells’. Casting spells is simply working with and channeling energy toward a desired outcome. It’s neutral. What is important is that due consideration is given to the possible results. If it involves manipulating specific people, then it’s not good.
And who’s to say that one ‘white’ witch’s good spell won’t cause more harm than good? Imagine casting a love spell that backfires and promotes love between two people who really shouldn’t have got together in the first place. Or maybe the white witch casts a spell to help herself lose weight and becomes anorexic in the process? Not so good, after all.
So look at witchcraft as you would do anything else in your life. Is it good for you and others, or not? Remember that those manipulative spells have a nasty habit of returning to those who cast them
6. Curses, Charms, and Hexes Aren’t Real
Oh yes they are. This kind of magick has a lot of power because of the focused intent and emotion that’s usually behind it. Remember that all magick is simply the directing of energy, and thought is energy. Often, though, the person receiving the curse is in a good place, psychically speaking, and the curse might only have a small, temporary effect. Problems arise when that person is mentally vulnerable, has a deep belief they can be negatively affected, and knows or suspects that a curse has been cast in their direction.
And like any kind of manipulative magick, curses and hexes have a penchant for turning back on the spellcaster themselves.
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7. You Must Keep a Book of Shadows
Even better if it has been written in the blood of fairies and handed down through the centuries.
You don’t have to keep a Book of Shadows, or a witch journal or a spell recipe book at all. There’s no rule that says you must. However, it can be a useful and fun thing to do. And certainly, a journal tracking your spiritual progress is always meaningful. Think of it as a place where you can work out problems, keep track of results, and generally confide in when there’s no-one else you can talk to. But, if you don’t like writing stuff down, then don’t bother. You will be just as good a witch without it.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2018 Bev G
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on December 04, 2019:
Indeed, there's always a 'bad guy', but I was referring to the Christian Devil specifically, as that's the most common perception of witch myth :)
Silas777 on December 03, 2019:
This is a great article! However, people have always believed in an evil entity that controls all that is bad, whether called Being, Kutulu, Hades, Pluto, the Satan, Shaitan, Sathanas, the Devil, and Baal, and even is spoken of in a secular age through fiction, so therefore he is not invented by Christians.
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on May 09, 2019:
Of course we're real. Witches are human beings that practice witchcraft. We're not mythological beings :D
Danel on May 09, 2019:
I think that witches are actually real. I've seen a crucible so that means that they are real, if you believe other wise then you are wrong
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on June 14, 2018:
Do you believe in prayer, Dafuq? Or wishes? Or even just hoping something will happen? They are all spells of a kind. Why would you need help from demons to say a prayer?
Joanna Pilatowicz from Germany on June 14, 2018:
Great words! Precised and concrete!