Witchcraft and sorcery
(some general wikification, copyediting)
Revision as of 10:51, 10 December 2009
Witchcraft in the Christian tradition is what women do when they use magic; such women are called witches. Male counterparts have been called wizards, sorcerers, warlocks (although this term is fraught with controversy), or simply witches.
Witches, it was and is imagined, are of two or three types.
- White Witches used magic in good ways like healing sick people and were not necessarily bad.
- Black Witches were women who had sold their souls to the devil. Unless they repented they would burn in Hell forever. While on Earth, black witches were more powerful than white witches.
- Grey Witches were neither good nor bad. It is not clear how this fits in with the theology above.
It was believed that men could perform magic as well. In past centuries when very many people believed all this it was assumed that men were stronger than women. Therefore most wizards or sorcerers were more powerful than witches. Women were also considered more liable to temptation than men because Eve committed original sin before Adam. Therefore it was believed that witches were more common than wizards. There is no record of how many innocent women were burnt to death or executed in other cruel ways because some judge thought they were witches.
New-agism or Neo-Paganism has very many different interpretations. Feminism has influenced some sections of the New Age Movement. New Age “witches” may owe allegiance to some assumed pagan goddess or goddesses and do not see themselves as servants to the devil. For example there is a Celtic goddess with three aspects, the maid, the mother and the crone,   this is about as rational or irrational as the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity. Some sections of the New Age Movement believe that witches and wizards have different powers but neither is inferior to the other.
The right hand path and the left hand path
Today there is the concept of the left and right hand paths. There is large-scale disagreement as to exactly what is involved as the different occultists disagree with each other as intensely as the different sects of Christianity but broadly:
- Those who try to use magic to do good are seen as following the “Right hand way.” The right hand way can also be seen as "Spiritual" rather than material.
- Those who try to use magic to do harm are seen as following the “Left hand way.”  The left hand way can also be seen as "material". Not all occultists see the left hand way as evil magic but many do.
A great deal of the New Age Movement looks harmless but there is always the danger that people who believe in any kind of magic will come into contact with people claiming to follow the Left hand way. Bad people may tell them things like, “I’ve got you under my spell. You must do what I want, you can’t escape me.”
No religion is completely safe.