As there are many different dominations of Christianity. There’s also a large number of traditions of Wicca. The oldest is Gardnerian founded by Gerald Gardner. Alexandrian was founded in the 1960s by Alex Sanders. Raymond Buckland founded Saxon witchcraft or Seax-Witchcraft in 1973.

There are a large amount of covens that claim roots in Italian, Celtic, Druidic, Welsh, Irish, Dianic, or Scottish. More still classify themselves as eclectic.

All follow the basic witchcraft beliefs and celebrate the Sabbats at the same time of the year.

Origins of Witchcraft

Let us gather for another Witching Hour.

There’s no way of finding the true origins of witchcraft. Dr. Marget Murry, traced it back from the persecutions of the Middle Ages to the Paleolithic Age. It was the beginning as religo-magic not the beginning of witchcraft.

During those times, nature was looked on as a source of power; maybe even having a mind of its own. This causing the idea of Gods –as a way of offering respect to that which caused awe. A god of wind, god of trees, god of rivers, all that caused awe and deserved respect.

This was Animism the most forceful factor in the evolution of religion it still lingers in parts of the world today.

A very important concern of the early people was hunting and the success of each hunt. Without hunting, they wouldn’t have meat, skins for clothing, or antlers and bones for weapons and tools. Omens were looked for while hunting to provide confidence in the hunter’s success. These omens could get complicated quickly leading the hunters to believe that everything during the hunt was controlled by an unseen power enter the God of Hunting.

Believing if they gained the god’s favor their hunts would be bountiful, they would pray, and possibly perform rituals to the God. With one man acting as a priest, playing the part of the God he led the others through the pantomime of the hunt. Because most of the animals hunted had horns, and antlers the God was also thought of as having antlers or horns.

Paintings at Caverne des Trois Freres in Ariege, France and Fonneav du Diable in Dordonge, France show a man leading a ritual dressed in the skin of an animal, wearing a mask and horns of the beast. Artifacts have also been found at Le Tnc d’Audoubert in Ariege, France proof of Sympathetic magic (remember sympathetic magic) Clay models of bear and bison which are pot marked where they have been ritually stabbed in the mimes.

A fertility Goddess was also recognized by the early humans. Without fertility there wouldn’t be animals or even children for the tribe to continue. Later when the hunters became farmers crops fell into the need of fertility too. The early depictions of this Goddess accentuate the feminine and reproductive aspects of a woman. There are many early “Venus” figurines, they have exaggerated breasts, rear ends, pregnant stomachs, and enlarge genitalia –to show the fertility aspect.
The fertility Goddess later became the most import of these two deities as agriculture become more depended upon.

Animism and magic formed a very crude form of religion, with a priest who served as the go between man from Gods and the humans.

IN 22,000 BC to 18,000 BCE the Graverttian began the practice of burying the dead, showing a likely belief in Afterlife. As the bodies were sprinkled with red ochre to resemble life. Food and implements that might be needed in the Afterworld were also buried with the bodies. The Hunting God then became the God of Death and Afterlife. Keeping his place opposite the Goddess.

As humankind moved around the Earth, the ideas of deities, rituals and magic moved with them. With time the deities took on various characteristics but basically stayed the same. The Great Mother (fertility Goddess) stayed the same along with the Horned God (hunting God). The Celts called him Cernunnos which is Latin for “the horned one.”

In western Europe this pattern was followed, but instead of small groups or a single person, larger groups began to worship these deities. The priests still existed, but now not only did they lead rituals they also began to heal using herbs. They became known as Wicca or the wise one. Witch comes from the word Wicca.

First The Witching Hour

Its time for our first The Witching Hour!

I’ll go over a the history of the witch today.

When you hear the word witch what comes to mind? Do you see an old ugly woman with greenish skin, and warts? Does she have a long pointy nose or a hooknose? Is her hair graying and stringy? Is it in total disarray? Does she wear a long flowing black or other dark color dress? Most importantly, does she carry a broom with her everywhere she goes?


Hmmmm, I was afraid of that. You dear reader, (if you thought that way) have watched too many movies. Media has made that the image of the witch an image of an ugly woman to show us how witchcraft (which is thought of as evil) is ugly. In reality, it isn’t so. Or not always so.

The word witch comes from a Wiccan term meaning “Wise One”

Many centuries ago, witches were looked upon very differently than they are now.
In those days, medicine was very different than we know it to be. Doctors were far and few. Villagers were more likely to go to the local witch (she might be called an herb witch or a healer) for their illnesses. They were skilled in what we now call natural medicine.
They were usually the only midwife available. They would use their knowledge of plants to help a woman in labor, to ease the pain, to help move the labor along, and in some cases to begin labor. These women practiced what is commonly called white or good magic. Where they didn’t hold a diploma, they were better than not having treatment. I would go out on a limb and say they were much better than the medically trained, considering the medical use of leeching and bloodletting.

We can now look back and see where their downfall was just a matter of time. The church (I use the word for all religions) –needing a scapegoat- became upset that “Women” were healing and not only healing but doing so well. They were skilled and knowledgeable; something not highly looked upon by the church. Witches were also called on for many other reasons: to cause the rains to come, to make crops to grow, to have bountiful crops and a bountiful harvest.

People began to see how well a witch’s spells worked so well that when things went bad they doubted the motives behind the witch. Soon the idea of a witch working under the guidance of the Devil was easy to believe. The idea of witches doing the Devil’s biding was commonplace. Witches went from a helpful healer to something to be feared.

Slowly they began to go into hiding. Before long, they would no longer admit to knowing the skills that once helped so many. By the 1400s, any woman accused of witchcraft was tried and executed publically as an example to others. By the time the mass hysteria started, the true witches were watching their backs. Anything out of the ordinary was reason enough to make an appropriate allegation. If one neighbor was annoyed with another it was easy to get rid of them. Accuse them of being a witch. If the accused refused complying with the Devil; they were found guilty and sentenced to death. Witch-hunts and trials spread like wild fire through the world.

By the time, the United States began its hysteria Europe was in the process of ending their hunts and trials. In England, witchcraft wasn’t punishable by law anymore when the Witchcraft Act of 1735 in England was signed. Witchcraft remained punishable in Germany until the late 1800s. There are still some places in Africa where witchcraft is a punishable act.

Photo Credits:
Green witch
Natural medicine
Devil and witches
Witch trial