Born in deepest Cornwall, now living in wild Wales, Bev has been practising her personal brand of eclectic witchcraft for years and years.
Is Witchcraft Evil?
Witches get asked these questions all the time. Is witchcraft evil? Is there such a thing as an evil witch? Well, no. But maybe yes. The thing to remember is that witches, despite some claims to the contrary, are human beings. And human beings come in all flavors, including rather unsavory ones. So, to answer the questions, witchcraft in general is not evil, but some who call themselves witches are evil.
Witchcraft Is the Manipulation of Energy
When witches cast spells, they are attempting to manipulate energy in a certain way to achieve a desired result. One might do the same with prayer, or making a wish. It’s no different, apart from the fact that an experienced witch is adept at directing energy in whatever way s/he chooses. So witchcraft itself is neutral, but it can be used for wicked purposes.
Most Western witches today follow some kind of British/European path. There are those in other places, such as the African and Asian continents who follow many varied paths. However, whereas the modern Western witch leans towards the ‘wise woman’ (or man) variety, in Africa many societies take it extremely seriously. To the point they allow the idea of the supernatural inform every aspect of their life. Many people have murdered, and have been murdered, in the name of witchcraft. So, indeed, in certain areas and societies, those who use witchcraft to control, manipulate, and damage the lives of other people are evil.
At the same time, people who have been accused of witchcraft have also suffered torture and mutilation at the hands of angry mobs. For example, in 2008, 11 people in a Kenyan village were viciously hunted down and killed after being accused of lowering the intelligence levels of village children.
In modern witchcraft, we have taken the best and least offensive parts of British and European traditions and created new trends in witchcraft, such as Wicca, eclectic witchcraft, and hedge-witches, kitchen-witches, and so on.
Originally, traditional British witchcraft was a mix of helpful wise person to whom the local population turned to for healing and highly secretive, manipulative black magic.
Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, the lure of doing evil using magick is irresistible for some. Again, this doesn’t mean that witchcraft itself is evil, but it becomes a tool for those who practice evil. Like guns. And Twitter.
And remember that all religions have been used as excuses for evil acts right down the centuries. You might not describe any particular religion as inherently evil, yet some of its followers were, and are, engaged in evil doings.
Misconceptions Regarding Witchcraft and ‘Evil Witches’
Not All Witches Are Wiccans
Wicca is a movement which arose out of the British Gardnerian tradition espoused by Gerald Gardner, who claimed to have been initiated by a bunch of New Forest witches. It quickly gained momentum and spread across the Atlantic. It now is an official religion. However, not all witches are Wiccan. The majority practice a wide variety of traditions from all over the world. Most Wiccans are gentle, generous, and kind.
Not All Witches Are Religious
A lot of witches do see themselves as religious, worshiping a pantheon of gods and goddesses, from Celtic to Shamanic to Scandinavian to Ancient Roman and Greek deities. Also there are the ones who practice earth-based religion, which focuses on the Earth, the Sun, and all nature in general.
However, there are many who don’t see themselves as religious at all. They view witchcraft as a way of life and part of who they are. While they tend to have a deep appreciation of nature, people and animals, they don’t incorporate any religious practice.
What interests me is why men think of women as witches. It's because they're so fascinating and exasperating, so other.
— John Updike
Witches Do Not Worship the Devil
Satanists worship the Devil. Witches don’t believe in a Devil because it is merely a construct of certain religions. Invented to keep the faithful flock under control. It could be said that Christians themselves invented satanism; it was an accusation thrown at anyone who didn’t conform to the Christian ideology. Eventually, some bright spark decided to set up a Church of Satan. A sort of self-fulfilling prophecy; accuse enough people of certain beliefs and pretty soon those beliefs will take root.
Some witches and pagans revere a mythical figure known as the Green Man, often depicted as a male face framed by leaves.
Pan, the Greek God of nymphs and nature has the head and hooves of a goat and has a devil-like appearance, so it is possible that confusion, deliberate, or otherwise, occurred between witches and their accusers over the centuries. Pan was, and is, a great favorite of witches and pagans as, traditionally, he is worshiped out of doors in fields and woodlands.
The recent revival of Curnunnos, the Horned One, or Bucca, as ‘god of the witches’ is based upon an old Celtic reference. He frequently appears in carvings all over France and western Europe. He was connected with another manifestation of the horned god, Herne, in Margaret Murray's 1931 book, God of the Witches. It was all rather speculative. Of course, many non-witches leaped on the idea of the Horned God as Satan—it was too good an opportunity to miss.
Witches Do Not Sacrifice Animals
Modern witches are far more likely to rescue and rehabilitate animals, rather than sacrifice them. In the distant past, witches were accused of murdering and sacrificing babies, but this was probably connected with the fact that the local witch had a lucrative sideline carrying out midwifery duties, as well as terminations (using herbs and seeds as abortifacients). The rate of stillbirths and infant mortality was extremely high among the poor and it fell to the wise woman to dispose of tiny bodies.
Witches Do Not Have a ‘Dark Bible’
Witches kept a record of their recipes and spells. After all, back in the day, witchcraft was their business. More than likely, those witches of old could barely read and write. Having said that, some of the British witches in the west country, commonly called ‘pellers’, and not referred to as witches at all, did very well financially, because they were the ones in the community who could read and write.
These days, that kind of record book is called a ‘Book of Shadows’, though the name is a modern invention to make it all sound spooky, attractive, mysterious, and perfect for Hollywood.
Do You Think Witches Are Evil?
I’m not trying to paint all witches as sweet people who wouldn’t harm a fly. Some have been known to have committed wicked deeds to cause harm and death. However, as members of a minority sector of society, most simply lead their lives the same as everyone else. And many do a lot of good in their communities. Like the rest of society, there are good ones and bad ones.
Have you ever had experience of an evil witch? Someone who has actually set out to harm you or another?
- Kenyan Witch hunt Leaves 11 Burned to Death
- 'Traditional Witchcraft: A Cornish Book of Ways' by Gemma Gary
Questions & Answers
Question: How do I know if my ex-sister law, who practices witchcraft, has put a spell on my family and me?
Answer: You can't know for sure. However, you can block, return, or remove a curse and then create a protective ritual. It means you'll have to do a little witchcraft of your own.
Alternatively, you can just ignore her and assume that such spells do not work. Remember, also that any 'bad energy' that anyone directs outwards, inevitably comes back to bite them eventually. Hatred hurts the hater far more than the hated.
© 2018 Bev G
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on March 09, 2018:
Yes, it has to be really; you can't be half a witch although I think I do tend to dip in and out as I go along. It's always there underlying everything.
I have teens, I can be pretty evil occasionally... cackle...
Thanks for reading, Nicole xxx
Kitty Fields from Summerland on March 09, 2018:
I couldn't agree more, Bev. It's all in the person wielding the craft/power. I consider myself a witch who happens to incorporate ancestor worship and the genius loci into my practice. I do work with a goddess of my ancestors, as well, but I believe witchcraft is a way of life, for sure. Xoxo
RoadMonkey on February 27, 2018:
Very interesting. You have clarified a number of points that have never been clear to me, previously. I haven't known any wicked witches but then, I don't know any witches at all, not that I know of.
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on February 27, 2018:
Thank you, Maurice. Blessed be.
Maurice Menard on February 27, 2018:
Thank you Bv G. This article was very well written and very informative. Blessed Be!