Modern sorcellery 2.0: Wicca
We promised it to you this week in one of our Instagram stories during our special witches week, so here it is! You will understand that the subject is very complex and that we will only touch the tip of the iceberg so that you can really discover the principle of claiming to be a witch nowadays. We will first make a small historical point to see how the witch has evolved in History, then we will see together how one can become a witch in practice.
What is witchcraft?
First of all, it is necessary to define simply and effectively the term "witchcraft". In reality, it is more complex than it seems. Let's see what it really is.
A complex definition
In the Larousse, witchcraft is described as follows: "Magic practice with a view to exerting an action, generally harmful, on a human being (spell, bewitchment, possession), on animals or plants (livestock diseases, bad harvests, etc.). Synonyms: devilry - magic - satanism". This definition has unfortunately been biased by the history of witchcraft and magic as a whole.
Our dear French academy, for its part, absolutely does not seek to get wet and simply describes witchcraft as being "the art of wizards". We have known better as a definition! And if witchcraft was not limited only to the medieval and generalist image that our great thinkers have?
It is the definition of the writer René Guénon that seduces the greatest number, because it offers an alternative to the evil witch: "magic is a technique by which certain natural laws are manipulated, neglected or inaccessible to modern scientists, but making the object of ancient traditional sciences now forgotten". What is particularly pleasing in this definition is the natural and not supernatural aspect! Practicing witchcraft would therefore be much more natural for humans than it seems… Just imagine: if it happens, you are already practicing magic yourself without even knowing it.
The beginnings of the legend
As you can imagine, the origin of witchcraft is very vague, but historians have collected leads to better understand the appearance of these practices.
Many hypotheses agree that the myth of the witch may have appeared with the emergence of Christianity. Indeed, it would seem that before the establishment of the Catholic Church in Europe, the witch was closer to a shaman woman rather than a demoness having made a pact with the devil. This very degraded image of the pagan priestess has obviously evolved over time to gradually integrate world folklore.
The caricature of the Evil Woman was imposed by the Church, because the place of witches before their arrival was well inked as healers. When the Catholic Church arrived, people really wanted Christians to bring a form of magic superior to that of the pagan culture. The women shamans would have been gradually discredited because of the propaganda of the Clergy in order to impose themselves as the only religion. They then became the pagans using the devil to make evil amulets and talismans, while the Church then gradually imposed itself as the voice of the Saints and ancestral relics.
All those who made a pact with the devil by selling their souls in exchange for evil powers were then treated as sorcerers and women were the most affected by these attacks, because they were the ancient healers of the past. They were accused of making a pact with the devil there via their ancestral rites agreed that they met for pagan festivals honoring the sabbaths, the great events of the seasons. During these meetings, they were accused of carrying out diabolical rites to venerate their god of Hell, Satan, to fight against the God of the Catholic Church, namely the Doxa, the most common doctrine in this period. It also showed the determination of Christians to impose themselves by force: if you deny Jesus, you would be called a dark wizard and you would become a threat.
There was a very important turning point in the history of witchcraft when a founding text was published in France. This is the treatise Malleus Maleficarum published in 1487 and having known many reissues, in which the authors publicly denounce the condition of witches. It is following these writings that the witch trials began and even multiplied over time. Other major texts will come out during this period, thus allowing these events to turn into a historical drama. These trials will reach their peak around 1600 and will lead to the death of many innocent women.
Fortunately, initially drowned in the ambient chaos, different voices will finally manage to rise in the face of these trials. In 1563, the doctor Jean Wier contrasted evil witches who had actually committed diabolical crimes with those with health problems. Indeed, during this period, it was thought that the "humors" (the internal liquids of the body) could become infected and directly impact the mental health of the mind. He explains that the black bile could be at the origin of the melancholy and the whimsical imagination of certain defendants.
These writings were widely accepted throughout Europe to eventually be incorporated into the texts of witch hunters. It was then that finally, after several centuries of suffering, the Parliament of Paris became the first judicial body in Europe to put an end to witchcraft trials in 1640. Louis XIV even recalled this very ban on debating accusations of witchcraft in 1672. The term witch continued to be used, but as real witches kept a low profile for several centuries, their existence gradually entered the folklore of fantasy and legend.
It is only since the middle of the 20th century that witchcraft again made its more present appearance. The freedom to practice a religion other than Christianity having surely helped, populations now have the possibility of choosing their beliefs among traditional or neo-traditional religions. The cult of nature is then highlighted by the English Egyptologist Margaret Murray who explains that a traditional religion whose existence was not really suspected could still exist in this period. She explains that this ancient cult would have survived in the form of covens where witches gathered.
This theory could never be proven and was seen by some as a conspiratorial hypothesis. However, it did influence the establishment of a new neo-traditional religion based on ancient witchcraft: Gerald Gardner's Wicca.
Witches were once seen as monsters who made a pact with the devil and they even experienced the sad consequences… This symbol even remained with the Halloween holiday celebrated on October 31st while the pagan festival of Samhain is celebrated by witches . Once again, it would not be surprising to establish the hypothesis of an attempt at denigration on the part of the Church towards this community simply celebrating the last harvest and the new solar year. Today, the movement is gaining strength and witches are daring to express themselves again, even using networks like Instagram or TikTok.
The Wiccan School
Wicca is a movement mainly represented in English-speaking countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom or Canada. However, it seems that this school is gaining more and more followers by using social networks. Wiccanism was introduced by the British esoteric writer Gerald Gardner through two founding works of neo-paganism ("Witchcraft Today", 1954 and "The Meaning of Witchcraft", 1959).
This culture between religion and spirituality is based on a mixture of shaman, druidic, Greco-Roman, Slavic, Celtic and Nordic beliefs. The common point of these beliefs is that of the veneration of nature and natural magical mysteries. While the image of witches remains negative throughout the West, other international religions and cultures pay little attention to them without however associating them with Satanism. Other currents of thought will subsequently develop, drawing inspiration from Wiccanism but specializing in a specific area or culture.
The pop-culture phenomenon
Thanks to Wicca, the phenomenon of witches spread more and more until its boom in the 90s. We find many representations of witches in popular culture through series and films on the small or big screen. From children's series like Sabrina the Teenage Witch or for teenagers like Charmed, to series about strange phenomena like X-Files or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, mystery and magic now seem to attract the public. If we can say that these works made young and old alike dream, it would be more accurate to say that the link with real witchcraft is rather weak.
You now understand that witchcraft is not what we think of. Today, witches and wizards are in tune with the energies of nature and they use its resources consciously. If you also want to try to practice magic, to your grimoires!
The basics of modern witchcraft
Modern witchcraft generally uses the same classic bases and we will see together how you can practice this ancient art.
Base 1: respect the codes
The "Rede Wiccan" is a text written in 1964 by Doreen Valiente in verse form and it defines who defines the moral bases of Wicca and Paganism. Even if there are no specific rules or laws to follow like commandments, this text allows you to follow a guideline to have a life in accordance with the Wicane culture. We have decided to present to you the three main "rules" taken from this text:
- The imprint: You have to treat people the same way you would like to be treated and do the same with the surrounding environment. You have to understand that all your actions leave an imprint following you like baggage during your life.
- The analogy: You have to diffuse good energies around you to radiate positivity in your environment and that your entourage is in positivity.
- The harvest: Your actions must be exemplary because everything you do will be returned to you. Focus on your good deeds so that only positive is returned to you.
Base 2: write your grimoire
You should immediately think of the "Book of Shadows" popularized by the "Charmed" series. You're not completely wrong, but you're not right either. The purpose of this book is to keep track of everything you have learned about magic. You can write down your spells, rituals, intentions, dreams or even the benefits of your favorite crystals.
There are no precise rules because this grimoire is completely personal to you and you can therefore write down what you want, when you want and how you want. It is a reflection of your experience and your wishes, so take regular notes and add to your grimoire as your expertise in sorcery hones. The next time you want to perform a ritual, all you have to do is open your grimoire to rediscover your notes. The advantage is also to see your evolution in your magic practice.
Base 3: Celebrate the Sabbaths
The great sabbats are the equivalent of Christian Christmas or Easter, but they are festivals celebrating the calendar of the seasons based on the solar and lunar stars. As in ancient times, Wiccans celebrate rites of passage from one season to another by performing rituals and spells. To celebrate nature, they perform these actions to thank and celebrate nature and its perpetual cyclical changes. This is a way to set an intention of gratitude on what we have and to set goals related to the party, until the next one: just like nature, Man evolves and constantly renews.
The rituals applied by Wiccans are only a reflection of the intentions of the witch or wizard. To manifest these intentions, do not complicate the task and listen to yourself while drawing inspiration from nature. If you find it difficult to celebrate these Sabbaths, you can first take the time to reflect on what the seasons mean to you: is winter a time for pause or deep reflection, is spring synonymous with abundance and fertility? To go into practice, you can take a bath infused with flowers or semi-precious stones, meditate with incense… The possibilities are endless so find out more, but also listen to yourself!
Base 4: create your altar
An altar is an organized area in a rather isolated place and where security and protection protect the wizard. It is the expression of beliefs and allows to work on the spiritual evolution of the person. It is a sanctuary where your intention and the energy you place is more important than the material you expose. However, beginners will find it easier to use spiritual tools to reach the desired state of consciousness. Try to represent the expression of your personality and create a beautiful place that will appeal to you aesthetically. You can practice your favorite activity there: prayer, meditation, offerings, tarot, writing...
To facilitate the setting up of your altar, you will really need to place intentions on each choice:
- What are you going to dedicate your altar to? (goddess, event, natural element…)
- Where are you going to set up your altar? (to inside or outside, in a small quiet corner or in a lively room…)
- How will you place your altar? (towards the north, tilted towards the east, in full light, in a dark corner…)
- What symbols will you use for your altar? (colors, herbs, crystals…)
- What hardware are you going to install? (tablecloth, ritual tools, incense, statues, crystals, runes…)
When everything has been chosen, it's time to act by setting up your very first altar. Take the time to configure the place as you wish, without interrupting yourself in this process.
Once everything is in line between your aesthetic and your inner intention, you will need to clear the energies of your space and its objects so that it can accommodate your intentions to be ready to react. You are free to do as you wish: a prayer, a fumigation with white sage or a smudge stick… Above all, imagine that all the impurities burn in the smoke and disappear during the purification process that you have chosen. In the end, it will suffice to consecrate your altar. Through a simple prayer, ask that he be blessed to help you achieve your goal.
Be aware, however, that your altar, even if it is permanent, must be regularly readjusted so that it is relevant at all times according to your personal evolution and why not the seasons. To keep the altar consistent throughout the year, you can use a pentacle so that its positive symbolisms help unify your altar. For information, the pentacle is a natural symbol that represents the white magic of light and love, where the 5 branches symbolize earth, water, air, fire and spirit.
Put into practice
To practice Wiccan magick, energy must be channeled to achieve a specific intention. It is a spiritual act that helps to move from dream to reality. To achieve this, Wiccans make extensive use of plants. We give you 3 rituals to perform with plants to place in jars. Prepare your ingredients and we're off to perform 3 "Spell jar" rituals!
Spell jar 1 : fortune
- Start by writing your goal on a piece of paper using a green ink pen, then fold it up and put it in the bottom of an airtight jar. Then prepare 8 coins (8 is a number associated with the fluctuation of money) in order to cleanse and purify them, while concentrating on your intention, then put them on the paper at the bottom of the jar.
- Take fresh or dried thyme, basil and cloves, then pass them through a pestle and mortar to reduce them to a powder state. If this is not possible for you, cut the herbs as finely as possible and mix them with the cloves. Drop this mixture on the coins at the bottom of the jar.
- Add a layer of oats on top of the herb mixture, then add another layer of sprinkles or star-shaped sugar candies. Fruit shapes also work, as the goal is to represent the sweetness and fruit of your labor.
- Make several successive layers of the mixture of herbs, oats then vermicelli.
- You have finished your jar but you have to act to freeze the spell: either you leave the jar open to add change every day until your goal is reached, or you close it tightly and burn yourself a white and green candle on top to fix the spell.
- Once you have reached your financial goal, remove the paper and burn it or bury it.
Spell jar 2: positivity
- Start by writing your goal on a piece of paper being as specific as possible about the reason for this anti-negativity spell, then fold it up and place it in the bottom of an airtight jar.
- Place nails or tacks at the bottom of the jar. They represent all the negativity you wish to take away from you.
- Finely chop fresh or dried basil, then mix it with cinnamon and ground ginger. Put this mixture in the bottom of the jar.
- Then place petals of violets or sunflowers on top of the previous mixture, while thinking of the positive that this whole process can bring you.
- Finally, pour rainwater into the jar imagining that it submerges all the negativity and evil.
- Finally, all you have to do is seal the jar hermetically and then burn a black or blue candle on top.
Spell jar 3 : amour
- Prepare two separate small bowls with white sugar. Add pink food coloring to the first, and orange to the second. Mix so that the sugars are of a homogeneous color.
- Write down the qualities of the person you hope to attract on a piece of paper, being as specific as possible. Place the paper in the bottom of the jar.
- Crush roses and lavender with a pestle and mortar while thinking about your intention to attract love.
- Place the elements in the form of layers respecting the following order: the pink sugar, the mixture of herbs, the orange sugar. When the jar is full, sprinkle cinnamon powder to attract love and happiness.
- You can then seal the jar tightly and burn a pink candle on top.
What you must remember
As you will have understood, witchcraft is not the evil phenomenon that we think of at first sight. Magical practice continues to evolve while the Christian Church loses more and more enthusiasm as time goes by. If you want to get into Wiccanism, don't be afraid and find out more by reading the founding works of this movement. Not only is it interesting, but you can learn a lot from nature itself. Good discoveries!