I'm a writer and vintage junkie transplant from Baltimore to WV. Interests include Etsy, crafting, Melmac dinnerware, and archaeology.
If you lived in Salem Masschusetts in 1692 you may have been going about your daily routine one day, and being on trial the next. For a group of mischieveous girls may have accused you of being a witch if you had a birthmark on your arm. You would try to be drowned, and if you survived, maybe later hung in the town square if the elders believed you were such. Your family would be cursed for centuries afterwards, and financially ruined.
Salem, Massachsetts circa 1692
Did You Know?
The Rebecca Nurse Homestead is now a tourist attraction persevered at 149 Pine Street in Danvers, Massachusetts. It gets thousands of visitors per year and has even been a site for weddings.
Modern Day "Danvers" and surrounding towns was considered then Salem, where most of the witches were found, and or tried.
Modern Day Danvers : Doesn't Look So Witchy!
Cute or America's Youngest Witch?
It's Judgement Day
Today you get a chance to tell me your personal thoughts and opinions. Things you would not say in public perhaps, but here you can vote and no one will know you said it. Today, my friend, is Judgement Day !
Use the poll to weigh in on the thoughts of witchcraft and witches! No one will know you voted, and you don't have to share your results.
Well, what are you waiting for? Vote now!
Riddle me this!
Witches : In Ancient Times
Somewhere in the Mediterranean, even before the Roman Empire built a colosseum, if you didn't worship the Gods as the Romans suggested, you may have been being accused being a (Pagan) deflector.
Your fate could have been to rot in jail, slaughtered in front of the King, run in a maze with a hungry lion behind you, or stoned to death in the area in front of your friends and family.
The latter was more popular as quite possibly you'd have this done in public. It would be a lesson and a form of amusement. After being stoned to death, and quite possibly having your own family and friends forced to stone you, you would then be left unable to move in a heap in the heat with your face bleeding into the dirt, but still breathing.
A day later you may or may not have noticed the vultures visiting to feast off the remains of your body, All this for amusement....as you were by their accounts, a practitioner of all things black magic, sorcery, and witchcraft.
LEARN: Paganism History
Youtube is an interesting place to find out more about ancient Paganism as it pertains to ancient times. Many documentaries continue to be made due to the growing interest in this religion. Some are depicted from a particular point of view and may be subjective.
Pagans of Ancient Times
Similar stories in England and former Wales dating back to druids who believe in Nature and the power of the herbs on the forest floor to make natural tonics and cures, but not necessarily all the rules of the Church or Bible as translated by man, they too were considered pagans and wore long white coats, labeled sorcerers and given title of Witchcraft which had harsh penalties. For these people who kept most papers on leaves, were the Druids.
(Although a bit more tolerant England's history is rich with ruining people's lives over witchcraft.) Perhaps that is why little is found on Druidism in the texts, and some sacred texts of other lines of magic including their own very royal Knights Templar (if they were practicing magic) will be sealed in secrecy forever.
Stonehenge, Home of the Druids?
Perhaps England Thinks So
Rise and Fall of the Druids in England
ONE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE OTHER
The issue has been that talking about Witches and Witchcraft was so misunderstood and perhaps as our ancestors did we are scared of that we do not know.
None of the examples listed above could at all be lumped with the other. They are separate issues and separate religions, all with their own separate beliefs.
Just like there is Catholicism, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Unitarians, and Baptist, all are forms therein of Christianity yet some slightly differ in their practice of the Word and may not agree with the other. The easiest comparison would be the 60's offspring called the Unitarians -- whom consider themselves more modern day Christians.
If we were to compare this theory to Christianity, let's say some branches in modern day times would accept gay unions (Unitarians), but not so the case with most (Methodists) . Case in point, they defrocked one of their own pastors ( Frank Schaefer, Pennsylvania 2013) because he married his gay son in a civiil ceremony. He was later offered a job by a Bishop!
This is meant as an example where different rules may apply to different religions but all may practice sermons from the same book, also known as the Bible.
Same applies to the modern day witch style religions such as Wiccan, Paganism, Druidism, Satanism, and other sideline forms thereof have cropped up with guidelines and beliefs. YOu can't lump them all together into one generic genre for two reasons:
- No two are alike
- Sects and cults within each one could operate differently.
Introduction to Wicca
Enter Hollywood: Samantha is Part of Witchy History
Witches: The Past Hundred Years, A Hollywood and Video Game Cash Cow
FAST FORWARD TO MODERN TIMES
In more modern times, evolved the Church of Satin, song tributes to "Mr. Crowley" and the Satanic Bible. After a brief stint with public hysteria, Hollywood cashed in exposing witches, sorcery, occult, black magic, Ouija boards, and Druidism lore. Just when did Hollywood step up to capitalize.
Has Hollywood's contribution made witchcraft any more 'hip and trendy"?
Some notable Hollywood cash-ins are listed below. Note these were used with permission from WitchWayBlog.
1937 - The Hobbit is written by J.R.R. Tolkien
1939 - Frank L . Baum's The Wizard of Oz book would hit the big screen. The Movie featured "Glinda the White Witch" and Dorothy. This would be a billion dollar cash cow today, with costumes for Halloween, magical shoes , books, movie remakes , official merchandise and toys. Did we mention Toto has a cult following of his own?
1964 - Bewitched made the nose wiggle cool.
1969- H. R. Pufnstuf by Sid and Marty Krofft features lovable character "Wichie Poo" and soon the shows are seen in the USA and a cult following ensued.
1981 - Clash of the Titans features magic witches and mythology. Perhaps the work of Ray Harryhousen had something to do with it, or the fact we saw Harry Hamlin half naked, but still, this has been a billion dollar enterprise and the movie has been remade.
1982 - Poltergeist proved that playing with the Ouija was dangerous.
1987 - WItches of Eastwick made us think witches could be sexy.
1990- J.K. Rowling writes Harry Potter. By 1998 deal is in force with Warner Brothers to make the movies. The trillion dollar cash cow is born from book reprints to video games to plush toys and a game that teaches children how to cast spells. What?
1997 - The Craft has a cult following.
1998 - Charmed has a huge cult following.
2001 - Peter Jackson releases Lord of the Rings Movie. Gandalf is hip.
2004 - W.I.T.C.H. animated series for girls in UK made it hip and trendy to have magic.
2004: Elder Scrolls Online Make Being a Mage and Having Magical Powers Cool
2005 - A Haunting hits the Discovery Channel
2011: Skyrim game comes out on PC with soon to follow game systems...
2012 - Wiches of East End on Lifetime
2014 - Salem Drama Show to Debut, will this too have a cult following?
2015- Witcher Wild Hunt Game makes Mages and Alchemy Potion Making Hip
2018- Charmed Reboot TV Show
SInce 1992 and the internet boom, more online resources are available for the modern day witch. Etsy is loaded with hand made spell books, Ebay sells witchcraft kits and blogs are cropping up all over.
Being a witch is not just for Halloween anymore.
Picking Apart Harry Potter
Test Your Witchy Hollywood Knowledge
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- Which star appeared in the Witches of Eastwick?
- Clint Eastwood
- Sarah Michele Gellar
- Cindy Crawford
- Who portrayed Glinda, the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz Original Movie in 1939?
- Marilyn Monroe
- Rita Hayworth
- Beatrice Potter
- Billie Burke
- Who played the eldest sister, Prue Halliwell on Charmed?
- Shannon Doherty
- Holly Marie Combs
- Alyssa Milano
- Rose McGowan
- Billie Burke
- Shannon Doherty
Charmed: A Cult Following Thanks to Hollywood Has Been "ReMade" or "ReBooted"
Black, White, and Grey Magic
BLACK CRAFT and BLACK MAGIC
Oddly there are two different "main" Satanic churches one ran by the wife and the other by the daughter of famous Satanic practitioner Anton LaVey. Some practicing Satanism will tell you they have drawn power from animal sacrifices and practice deep into the occult. Other sects of the same Satanic religions would tell you the do not condone such sacrifices. How can they be so far apart in views? Satanism, no matter how you practice, is considered a black craft.
THERE ARE DARKER
Sadly, if you were to really delve yourself into finding out more about the art of Black Magic, there are much more heinous forms of black craft existent in the world such as modern day VooDoo. HooDoo, and strange forms thereof in other countries whose occult practices use modern day bones in their work. Ouch! That would be enough to make Satanism look angelic.
WHITE CRAFT and WHITE MAGIC
Pagans are more generalized into a lump since so many Pagans deflected in early times, and the history surrounding them came from all parts of the world. Their history is unwritten into one book nor streamlined into any one component with the exception they have a huge bond with nature, animals, and Mother Earth. Pagans could be considered those who believe in Mother Nature, or those who believe in God as well, but don't got to church to practice.Those who practice magic would be labeled as "White Magic" as most of their craft involves elements from nature and herbs, grasses, oils and roots.
GREY REPLACED WITH WHITE
Druidism is a bit more complicated, we know they existed but little documentation backs up this theory and translation of old texts is an issue. Quite possibly some of the only references from England and Wales confirming such was from Pliney the Elder who talked about Druids. Unfortunately, not all documentation paints them in the best light, some of the talks seem to loom more like grey or black magic,and reference to human sacrifices and cannibalism. This theory has been debated among many, thinking perhaps evidence found weren't Druid offering sacrificial graves but sacred burial grounds. We may never know.
Today Druidism would be a "White Movement" and if they did practice it would be "White Magic" if they do practice, drawing elements of nature. Druids of today may agree that feasting on the heads of their enemies is just lore. England has done more to bring this religion to the forefront and overall this is a peaceful and white movement.
COMMON THREADS & CROSSOVERS
Wiccans, Pagans and Druids seem to have a respect for nature's gifts such as natural herbs, plants, and animals, holistic healing and the universe, yet all do not practice witchcraft. Those Pagans or Druids who do may be practicing their own spells or crossed over into the Wiccan or other religions.
WICCANS : THE LARGEST HUB
Case in point, Wiccan originated in England and this religion was brought to the US by Gerald Gardner. It is the largest unified religion for witch folk. Not all Wiccans are practicing witches, so it's important to realize Wicca is a religion and not a craft. Wiccans who do practice magic, possess Paganistic tendencies in the sense they draw their magic from key elements of nature and work on a lunar phase to practice their magic and celebrate their holidays.
Overall their magic not to be used in a harmful way (thereby coming back to them threefold) but instead is considered a "White Craft" thereby a "White Religion." Ironically it is also a fact that Wiccans worship a Goddess and (recognize an antlered God) and do not believe in Satan.
Often misunderstood the public equates all Wiccans with the dark and black magic but this may be thanks to Hollywood. Most will tell you are staying deep within the white, others will tell you they are somewhere into the grey.
There's another area considered Green. It's all very confusing. I bet you are wondering, where are all these witches?
Alchemy Labs and Potion Bottles ; Home Decor Trend
Mages and Cosplay Costumes Not Just For Halloween This is a Wand Holster for Your Magic Wand
Where the Witches Are
Don't worry, you probably have crossed paths with a witch in the last week or so. Anyone falling under the catergories I've listed above may have already said hello to you this week. These modern day witches are just every day people with their own religious beliefs. Highly doubtful that you'll run into a Druid dressed like Gandalf (unless you are at a Lord of the Rings convention, or a Halloween party.)
It's quite possible even someone in your extended family could be a Pagan, or someone you work with could be dabbling in occult practices. It's a fact that only a small portion publicize their beliefs. WIth this being more acceptable these days, more Witch blogs, online Meet Up Groups and websites are becoming more popular.
NO NEED FOR HYSTERIA
No need to panic! They aren't going to turn you into a frog. Even the Satanists don't go around actively recruiting these days. Today's society is a bunch of free thinkers and each person has a right ot their thoughts and words even if you don't agree. This doesn't mean they are to be feared, evil, or going to hurt you. I also don't think sprinkling holy water on them is going to make them melt.
Better to worry about real problems that are out there, like cancer, povery and modern day terrorism. Hey, speaking of, it's really too bad all the witches don't get together good and bad, and cast a spell to turn all the terrorists into butterflies.Maybe some crooked politicians too!
What do you think?
Witch Online Reading History Black, White, Grey
- White Witch: Spells, Information and Understanding
- WHITE: Diary of a White Witch, Witchcraft, Fun
Diary of a Modern Day White Witch including what to wear, crafts to make and originals spells. If it Witchy it's here.
- BLACK: Satansheaven - Rituals of Black Magic
This site is about Satan, Satanism, Prayers to Satan, Hymn to Satan, Pacts with the Devil, the Black Mass, Black Magic Rituals, Necromancy, Spells and Witchcraft.
- The Occult - Occultopedia: The Occult and Unexplained Encyclopedia
A Treasury of Occultism, Mysticism, Supernatural, Magic, Demonology, Mythology, Psychic Powers, Witchcraft, Metaphysics, Spiritism and Pseudoscience
- HISTORY The Hermetic Library at Hermetic.com
A collection of texts and sites relating to Hermeticism in a broad sense, the Western Esoteric Tradition, and Aleister Crowley's Thelema. Includes works of Sam Webster, Bill Heidrick, Benjamin Rowe, Aleister Crowley, Frater Achad, Sabazius, Tau Polyp
- HISTORY: Who were the Druids? (Wales / UK)
The history of the Druids and Druidism as a religion in Wales and Britain.
- Real Magic Spells for the Dark Moon: Breaking an Add...
Looking to break the grip of an addiction that has a hold on you? Try this spell, perfect for the dark moon phase.
© 2013 Cindy Fahnestock-Schafer
Leave me your Thoughts, Opinions and What Have You
Maurice Glaude from Mobile on May 01, 2017:
Ian Stuart Robertson from London England on June 19, 2014:
merrie we meet
I appreciate your some what expertise on the topic.
In addition to Stonehenge (a solar observatory) the Druids also held gatherings is sacred oak groves by well water springs.
Just wondering should you have included the 1958 Bell.book and candle in the Hollywood list and glad you excluded Rosemary's baby.
The room in my lodging house has just been clensed by two mediums. Surprising how much maligne influence in the 'aer' around us.
Mackenzie Sage Wright on January 05, 2014:
Well-done hub that explores a lot in this confusing topic. I think Witches get such a bad rep because, historically (before the late 19th century), witchcraft was always by all cultures exclusively associated with malevolent magic. Not that all practitioners of magic were evil, but they wouldn't have used the word 'witch' to describe themselves. As great as it is that people like Margaret Murray and Gerald Gardner sparked the Pagan revival, the historical inaccuracies and misinformation they put forth is still confusing many people today. Really interesting!
OldWitchcraft from The Atmosphere on December 30, 2013:
That Magic Wand Magazine you have a pic of up there really interests me. I'm doing a little online searching about it right now.
If you like that sort of thing, you might find it interesting to know that in the U.S. before the Red Scare of the 1950s, which is when the country started going ultra-fundie Xian, there were some great old horror radio shows. The first horror radio show ever was broadcast back in the 1930s. It was called The Witch's Tale and it featured your host, the witch Nancy and her black Cat, Satan.
I can't imagine such a thing running now - the fundies would go ape!
If you like things like that magazine, you might enjoy some of the Witch's Tale, which you can find online here and there.
Wonderful, fun and informative article! Voted up and accolades. And, of course, I voted in your poll - I am a witch - the old-fashioned kind, black cat, that old black magic and all!
MysticMoonlight on December 30, 2013:
I like your light-hearted approach to what can be a taboo-for-some-topic. Witches are often misrepresented to society and certainly Hollywood has played a part in that for sure in the past. It has capitalized on witches and the common misconceptions surrounding them but I think some recent movies and TV shows has helped soften and somewhat quell the notion that all witches are bad and out to only do harm.
I'm pretty sure there will always be "witch hunters" in the sense that no matter what, they will always have their haters but, too, I think society is loosening their ties a bit, or at least, to some degree. Perhaps it is because more and more people are starting to realize that it's really none of anyone's business what others believe.
I have a mentality of to each their own. People should be who they want to be and not worry with what society deems appropriate. As long as no one and nothing is harmed, you are kind and considerate to others, live morally and consciously, contribute positively to the world, what is it any of my or anyone else's business what people do with their lives.
That's my two-cents anyway and thanks for providing the opportunity to say so! :)