Witchcraft broadly means the practice of, and belief in, magical skills and abilities that are able to be exercised by individuals and certain social groups, specifically witches and wiccans. Witchcraft is a complex concept that varies culturally and societally; therefore, it is difficult to define with precision and cross-cultural assumptions about the meaning or significance of the term.
Witchcraft often occupies a religious, divinatory or medicinal role, and is often present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view. Witchcraft can often share common ground with related concepts such as sorcery, the paranormal, magic, superstition, necromancy, possession, shamanism, healing, spiritualism, nature worship and the occult.
Although defined differently in disparate historical and cultural contexts, witchcraft has often been seen, especially in the West, as the work of crones who meet secretly at night, indulge in cannibalism and orgiastic rites with the Devil, and perform black magic. Witchcraft thus defined exists more in the imagination of contemporaries than in any objective reality. Yet this stereotype has a long history and has constituted for many cultures a viable explanation of evil in the world.
Many times witches it is said that witches are connected with a certain religion, though Wiccan religions may vary, that is based around performing rituals and spells. In short, anyone (regular humans, even vampires and demons) can cast a spell and produce magic. However, those with experience and devoted understanding towards magic are called witches.
Types of WitchcraftEdit
Traditional magic is what many call the basic but most pure form of magic. It is what most witches use; power from the earth/nature and peaceful spirits to generate power. Traditional magic often involve talismans or other elements with mystical energies such as the moon and the sun.
Some witches have the innate gift of magic which is transmitted down through generations, giving them certain powers. If witchcraft is in their lineage, they have the potential of becoming very strong with enough practice. One could grow to possess magical power that's more powerful than what comes from family lineage.
Black Magic (or Dark Magic) is a form of sorcery that draws on malevolent powers, and may be used for negative purposes (e.g. to cause destruction or misfortune, to injure or kill, or for the profit of oneself rather than for the benefit of others.) In popular usage, the term "dark magic" is often used to describe any form of sorcery that is used negatively.
White Magic (or Light Magic) is any witchcraft that draws on benevolent powers is used for positive purposes (e.g. to protect someone or something selflessly, or even to completely annihilate any evil being.) White Magic is known to have ties to other forms of Magic, such as Traditional Magic or Theurgy. In popular culture, the term "white magic" is used to describe any magic that is used positively.
Ancestral magic directly draws from the power of ancestors who have died. Witches who practice this magic must stay in close to where their ancestors are buried otherwise they are powerless.
Voodoo is an extremely powerful and popular form of sorcery that draws on the patron gods, or Loa, of the Voodoo religion. Popular associations with Voodoo include Voodoo dolls used to link one's essence with a totem, and utilizing Loa symbols, or Veves, to channel the respective Loa's energy. Voodoo Witches can grow powerful enough to earn a name in human history, such as Marie Laveau, Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.
Travelers are a subculture of witches. It is removed from Traditional magic (the basic kind that uses spirits and nature). Travelers are much like gypsies as they drift from place to place most of the time. All spells and incantations are performed in a different language outside of English. Travelers are known for their powers in spirit possession such as jumping from body to body, and manipulating the body from the inside in various ways to inflict pain or change. It appears as if Traveler Magic is also a form of group magic in which spells are cast with many people as opposed to just one.
Gypsies move from place to place just like Travelers. They are much more secretive and elusive than the Travelers however. They are often known for curses and hexes (like ones that restores and removes souls). This subculture of witches use both traditional and non-traditional magic to achieve what some may believe are exaggerated tricks and abilities such as glamour/illusion spells, the most advanced can perform shapeshifting, create a mystical thrall, and teleportation to name a few. Gypsies with these abilities are extremely rare which is what makes someone like Dracula such an anomaly, outside of the fact that vampires cannot have natural magic abilities.
Some witches organize themselves into Circles, groups of six witches with a very strong magical link to one another. This link functions such that a Circle Witch cannot do powerful, if any, feats of magic without another member of the circle present. When all six Circle Witches join together, they can accomplish very formidable spells and rituals.
Blood Magic utilizes blood with mystical properties as opposed to using spells and rituals for magical effects. Blood Magic can range from using your blood to lock someplace that can only be accessed by members of your bloodline to channeling someone's magical blood to gain more power for a difficult spell.
Some witches are powerful enough to control the essence of the dead, especially vampires. Using powerful, draining, and skilled dark magic, they can affect the physical corpse (including vampires) through telekinesis or control/destroy the essence that makes vampires animated. They are also able to affect the minds of vampires, either causing them to have amnesia or influencing them like glamour or compulsion can on humans. It is an extremely powerful form of necromancy that can bring the dead back to life.
Chaos magic isn't necessary black magic, but black magic can be a subset of it (as it is not natural magic). Chaos magic, essentially, is said to be worse than black magic. It is any magic not bound to the spirits of nature. It can be in and of itself, limitless and can exceed the abilities of any powerful witch. It is extremely easy to lose control with chaos magic, and it is extremely easy, more so than black magic, to get addicted to. Using too much of it can ultimately kill the user because it severally opposes the laws of nature.
Chaos magic requires three mass sacrifices (of a group of specific species. For examples, one sacrifice of vampires, one sacrifice of humans, one sacrifice of witches) for a witch obtain power. The more sacrifices, the more power the witch obtains. If the sacrifices occur at certain locations, creating an expression triangle, the middle of that triangle will have immense mystical energies a witch can draw from.
Excessive use of this magic, although it is not bound by nature, still has consequences. If the witch is not strong enough or is unable to contain this amount of power, it can have adverse effects on the body. The power can be too much and can kill them. The power can shift into undesirable forms, much like black magic.
Some magic traditions, such as Brujería, common in Latin American sects, use sacrifices of living beings (such as animals) for rituals that will call upon demonic spirits, drawing power from them or using their spirits to do their bidding. Any magic that calls on demonic energies or beings can is a part of this category. It is actually easier than one might think for a non-witch to access this sort of magic through rituals and other means, perhaps doing traditional magic spells wrong.
Theurgy is a type of magic that draws power from divine sources instead of spiritual ones. Theurgy magical purposes are for one to perfect oneself and achieve spiritual evolution though not all godly beings are exactly benevolent.
Divine magic is associated to a deity, a divine character of nature, especially that of the Supreme Being who contains extremely powerful magic. Although the existence of the Gods and Goddesses were poorly explained, based off the fact that the majority of witches receive their power from them, it can be assumed that the deity is an incredibly powerful entity that is capable of obtaining power inconceivable to the human understanding.
In some Native American legends, a skinwalker is a person with the supernatural ability to turn into any animal he or she desires. To be able to transform, legend sometimes requires that the skin-walker wears a pelt of the animal. In most cases, this pelt is not used in modern times because it is an obvious sign of them being skin-walkers.
Witches see Siphoners as abominations of nature just like vampires. Siphoners are a subsection of witches born without the ability to generate magic, but a rare power allowing them to siphon off from other magical sources.