I'm going to tell you something about witches. I choose witches, because I’m interested in the subject and there is a lot of information about witches on the internet. The subject is a little bit complicated so I'm just going to explain the basics of what witches actually do and what they believe in.
The word witch is from wicce, wich means wise one, or follower of the Old Ways, or something like that. Wica was the name originally given to the priesthood of the Old Religion, which by 500 BCE (before common era (=voor de gewone jaartelling=voor Christus)) had began developing set rituals and festivals. The original religion of Witchcraft dates back about 25,000 years, to the Paleolithic Age, where the God of Hunting and the Goddess of Fertility first appeared. Out of respect for the overwhelming power of Nature grew a belief in gods, who controlled the winds, the seas, the earth and the fires.
A long time ago people arrested and burned witches, because they thought witcraft has something to do with the devil. Witches call that period The Burning Times. In the year 1233, Pope Gregory the fouth instituted the Roman Catholic tribunal known as the Inquisition in an attempt to suppress heresy. In 1320, the church (at the request of Pope John the twenty-second) officially declared Witchcraft and the Old Religion of the Pagans as a heretical movement and a "hostile threat" to Christianity. Witches had now become heretics and the persecution against all Pagans spread like wildfire throughout Europe. I’ll give you some examples of howmany witches were murdered: Between 1347 and 1400 there were 67 people burned for witchcraft In France. In 1515 in Geneva there were more than 500 executed for witchcraft. In 1589 in Saxony, they burned more than 133 witches in one day. In Switserland from 1591 till 1600 there were another 300 witches executed for witchcraft and in Sweden between 1674 and 1677 there were 71 people beheaded or burned.
The modern wicca is a new religion. Wicca is a mix of west-eruopean traditions and it contains a lot of elements coming from the old christian folklore and the Jewish mystic. The modern wicca-religion began in the late thirthees and was raised by Gerald Gardner. His Book of Shadows was the oldest one ever found. His teaching spreaded very fast and attracted a lot of people, but he also got the premises-witches angry, they are witches who are descended from old family’s who lived by popular believe. There are, nowadays, still people of the old wicca who don’t live by the modern wicca-rules, and live by the old witch traditions.
Wicca is also called Modern Witchcraft or The Old Religion. It’s a nature religion. The witches are not like what most people think, ugly old ladies on a broom. They got that apperance from writes of fairy tales. They’re actually ordinary people just like you and me. The only difference is that the witches have a different view on life. They worship life and respect nature and the forces of it.
The most important things are the God and Goddes. The Goddes stands for the moon and the earth and the God stands for everything on earth. Witches use magic to honour the Gods and not to curse people or harm them. They don’t do such things because there is a rule, the rule of three: ever mind the rule of three, what you gives, returns to thee. This lesson, thou must learn, thee only gets what thou must earn. That means, witches never harm anyone or anything, because they know, everything you do you get back times three, so if you hurt someone, you will get hurt three tomes worse. That’s why there are not many witches who practice black magick. So, like I said, they use magic to honour the Gods. To practise witchcraft they use tools like candles, herbs, stones, tarot cards and things like that. The witches have thirtheen things they do to live their life like they should:
-Know your craft
-Apply knowledge with wisdom
-Keep your words in good order
-Keep your thoughts in good order
-Attune with the cycles of the earth
-Breathe and eat correctly
-Excercise the body
and Honor the Goddess and God
The wiccan language contains a lot of old Englisch. You often hear words like:ye, thou and thee. Sentences wich get used a lot by witches are: Brightest Blessings, Merry meet and merry part. Wicca can be practised in a group, called a Coven. Or it can be practised alone, as a solitary witch. A solitary witch is a witch who taught everything about witchcraft to herself, by reading books or asking other witches.
A book pof shadows is your most important form of record keeping, it‘s a reflection on your spritual journey. Your Book of Shadows contains story‘s about rituals you do, spells you cast, magickal working you do and the results of them and thaughts and feelings you have.
An important symbol used during these rituals is the pentagram or pentakle. It is a symbol for protection and used as an amulet during rituals. Each star-point stands for a point of the compass and for an element. East goes with air, north with earth, west with water and south goes with fire. The fifth point stands for The Spirit which is superior to the elements. Sometimes Satanists wear the symbol upside down so that the elements earth and fire are on top. But that doesn't have anything to do with witches. A lot of people think that witches worship Satan, but they don't. They don't even believe in the Devil. They think it’s invented by the Christian church.
This was my speach, any questions??