Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Truth About Witches

In honor of Samhain, I thought I would post this article written by my human friend. Perhaps it will clear up some of the misunderstandings surrounding witches. Happy Samhaim! I am off to visit the earthly realm while the barriers are thin. If you see me I might bring you back with me where you will have to stay at least until Beltaine when the barriers are thin again. By then you might be an old man or woman. Approach me if you dare. Just kidding. A faery joke (really).

By Kelley Heckart

As the shadows deepen and the days grow shorter, thoughts of the darker half of the year come to my mind. Halloween, as we know it today, is my favorite time of the year. There is something magical about it—the wood smoke-scented air chilled with the hint of winter, and the full harvest moon bathing the earth in a luminous light.

I still enjoy going to Halloween parties—dressing up in a costume and assuming the role of a character on Halloween. It is the only time of the year when you can be someone or something else for the night—a truly enchanting time.

While looking at all the Halloween decorations out in the stores, my eyes were drawn to the witch decorations that are usually of old, ugly women wearing a pointed hat and riding on a broomstick. I realized how misunderstood this Halloween icon was so I decided to do some investigating to shed some light on the mystery surrounding the witch.

The word ‘witch’ has evolved over the centuries and has different meanings in different cultures. In old Anglo-Saxon, ‘wicca’ and ‘wicce’ (masculine and feminine) refer to a seer or one who can divine information by way of magic. The word Wicca is a term many witches use to refer to their beliefs and practices. ‘Wych’ in Saxon and ‘wicce’ in Old English mean to ‘turn, bend, shape.’ An earlier Indo-European word ‘wic’ or ‘weik’ also means to ‘bend or shape.’ Witches bend the energies of nature and humanity to promote healing, growth and life. The word ‘witch’ can also be traced back to the old German root ‘wit’—to know. A witch is a person of knowledge, a person knowledgeable in both scientific and spiritual truths.

Their beliefs evolved from the Old Religion, the religion of the Goddess and the cycles of nature, cycles that were very important to the ancient people. Halloween or Samhain (Sow-in) is an important time of the year for witches because it is a celebration of the eternal cycle of reincarnation. It is a time to remember the dead, it is a powerful time when the veil is thinnest between the world of the living and that of the dead, and it is a time of endings and hope for new beginnings. In European traditions, Halloween is the time when the old God dies and the Crone Goddess mourns him for six weeks (winter).

Here are some interesting facts about witches:

A witch’s pointed hat is a spiritual point to channel magic—to help them center and focus.

The broom was used to sweep away evil—they sweep east to west, the path of the sun, to sweep evil away.

Witches wear black because it is a color that draws in energy and light. This allows a witch to tap into the universal wisdom.

There are male and female witches and both are called ‘witches.’

There are laws in witchcraft. I cannot go into all of them here, but one important law is the three-fold law, which means that whatever you send out into the universe (spell) will come back to you three times. For every cause there is an effect.

Witches do not worship the Devil. In fact, they do not even believe in the Devil.

So, why were they persecuted from about 1050 until the 17th century in Europe? Fear. A witch’s life is a walk of wisdom. Wisdom equals power and this was frightening to those who did not understand their ways.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Copyright 2006 by Kelley Heckart


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