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WITC HCRAFT

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Witchcraft
or witchery
“WITCH” redirects here. For other uses,
see WITCHCRAFT (disambiguation)
and WITCH (disambiguation).

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WITCHCRAFT
Throughout the early modern period, the En-
glish term “witch” was not exclusively nega-

E TYMOLOGY
DEFINITIONS
AND
tive in meaning, and could also indicate cun-
ning folk. As Alan McFarlane noted, “There
were a number of interchangeable terms
for these practitioners, ‘white’, ‘good’, or ‘un-
binding’ witches, blessers, wizards, sorcer-
ers, however ‘cunning-man’ and ‘wise-man’
were the most frequent.”[32] The contem-
porary Reginald Scot explained, “At this day
The word witch is of uncertain origin. There it is indifferent to say in the English tongue,
are numerous etymologies that it could be ‘she is a witch’ or ‘she is a wise woman’”.[33]
derived from. One popular belief is that it is Folk Hungary seem to have been healers.
“related to the English words wit, wise, wis-
dom [Germanic root *weit-, *wait-, *wit-;
Indo-European root *weid-, *woid-, *wid-
],” so “craft of the wise.”[12] Another is from
the Old English wiccecræft, a compound of
“wicce” (“witch”) and “cræft” (“craft”). “Where shall we three meet again in thun-
der, lightning, or in rain? When the hurly-
burly ‘s done,
when the bat-
tle ‘s lost and
won”
― William
Shakespeare,
Macbeth

Throughout
the early mod-
ern period, the
English term
“witch” was not
exclusively neg-
ative in meaning,
Historians of European witchcraft have and could also
found the anthropological definition diffi- indicate cunning
cult to apply to European witchcraft, where folk. As Alan Mc-
witches could equally use (or be accused of Farlane noted,
using) physical techniques, as well as some “There were a number of inter
who really had attempted to cause harm by
thought alone.[16] European witchcraft is
seen by historians and anthropologists as
an ideology for explaining misfortune; how-
ever, this ideology has manifested in diverse
ways, as described below.

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WITCHCRAFT
During the 20th century, interest in witch-
craft in English-speaking and European
countries began to increase, inspired par-
ticularly by Margaret Murray’s theory of a
pan-European witch-cult originally pub-
lished in 1921, since discredited by further
careful historical research.[59] Interest “I was born on the night of Samhain, when the
was intensified, however, by Gerald Gard- barrier between the worlds is whisper-thin and
ner’s claim in 1954 in Witchcraft Today that when magic, old magic, sings its heady and
a form of witchcraft still existed in England. sweet song to anyone who cares to hear it.”
The truth of Gardner’s claim is now disputed ― Carolyn MacCullough, Once a Witch “I was
too, with different historians offering evi- born on the night of Samhain, when the barrier
dence for[60][61] or against[62][63][64] the between the worlds is whisper-thin and when
religion’s existence prior to Gardner. magic, old magic, sings its heady and sweet
song to anyone who cares to hear it.”
― Carolyn MacCullough, Once a Witch

“I was born on the night of Samhain, when the


barrier between the worlds is whisper-thin and
when mag-
ic, old mag- During the 20th century, interest in witch-
ic, sings its craft in English-speaking and Eu-
heady and ropean countries began
sweet song to increase, in- spired
to anyone particularly
who cares by Margaret Mur-
to hear it.” ray’s theory of a
― Caro- pan-Europe- an witch-
lyn Mac- cult original- ly published in
Cullough, 1921, since discredited
Once a by fur- ther careful
Witch “I historical research.[59]
was b Interest was inten-
sified, however,
by Gerald
Gardner’s
claim in
1954 in
During Witch-
the 20th craft
c e n t u r y, To- day that a
interest form of witchcraft
in witch- still ex- isted in En-
craft in En- gland. The truth of
Gardner’s claim is now
disputed too, with different
glish-speaking and European countries historians offering evidence for[60][61] or
began to increase, inspired particularly by against[62][63][64] the religion’s existence
Margaret Murray’s theory of a pan-Europe prior to Gardner.

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WITCHCRAFT

During the 20th century, interest in witch- During the 20th century, interest in witch-
craft in English-speaking and European craft in English-speaking and European
countries began to increase, inspired par- countries began to increase, inspired par-
ticularly by Margaret Murray’s theory of a ticularly by Margaret Murray’s theory of a
pan-European witch-cult originally pub- pan-European witch-cult originally pub-
lished in 1921, since discredited by further lished in 1921, since discredited by further
careful historical research.[59] Interest careful historical research.[59] Interest
was intensified, however, by Gerald Gard-
ner’s claim in 1954 in Witchcraft Today that

was intensified, however, by Gerald Gard-


ner’s claim in 1954 in Witchcraft Today that
a form of witchcraft still existed in England.
The truth of Gardner’s claim is now disputed
too, with different historians offering evi-
dence for[60][61] or against[62][63][64] the
religion’s existence prior to Gardner.

a form of witchcraft still existed in England.


The truth of Gardner’s claim is now disputed
too, with different historians offering evi-
dence for[60][61] or against[62][63][64] the
religion’s existence prior to Gardner.

During the 20th century, interest in witch-


craft in English-speaking and European
countries began to in-
crease, inspired par-
ticularly by Margaret During the 20th centu-
Murray’s theory of a ry, interest in witchcraft
pan-European witch- in English-speaking and
cult originally published European countries be-
in 1921, since discredited gan to increase, inspired
by further careful histor- particularly by Marga-
ret Murray’s theory of a
pan-European witch-cult
originally published in
1921, since discredited by

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