Double, double, toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

That’s a popular line from William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, one of the earliest shows that depicted the ever-growing magical movement of witchcraft that seems to be having yet another revival today.

I’m seeing many younger people claiming to be witches these days and while I am amazed that the belief is still thriving, I sometimes wonder whether these new witches understand what being a witch means. I am not a witch myself but as a spiritual healer of several decades, and one who is fully aware of the supernatural and the spirit world, I do understand that being a witch might not be the best path for the faint-hearted, especially if you’re afraid of demons.

With Halloween right around the corner, I thought this would be a ripe moment to discuss this starting with the history of witchcraft, and no, witches were not flying on broomsticks or turning green, although I do blame Hollywood for those inaccurate depictions. Witches are continuously featured in numerous movies, TV shows, and, of course, Netflix shows, so I don’t blame people for not having a firm grasp on the topic.

If you look up the definition of a witch in the dictionary, you’ll find that it describes a woman who is thought to have magical powers. But where do those powers come from? Nature? Demons?

History

Many who practice witchcraft follow Wicca, a pagan religion with roots in England that began before Christianity existed. They worship the Horned God and his goddess. During medieval times, witches were normally associated with traditional medicine healers. But that changed between the 1400s and 1700s, when they gained a reputation of having a pact with the devil. For 300 years, witch hunters accused them of having sexual intercourse with the devil, worshipping demons to gain supernatural powers, and participating in orgies hosted by the devil, known as the black mass. Tens of thousands of witch trials and executions took place in Europe during that period, driving the world of witches into darkness. Then something changed in the ‘50s that led to witches coming out of the woodwork.

A man named Gerald Brosseau Gardner brought the witches’ world back into the light after returning from his overseas travels, during which he also visited Malaya while it was under British rule and learned about Malay mysticism. That helped plant a seed inside of him and opened him up to the world of magic. Gardner later started a coven, compiled notes and spells in the first known Book of Shadows, and became a media personality who was interviewed by multiple news outlets, including the BBC, to whom he refuted speculations of mass orgies. He did, however, admitted to conducting rituals naked.

Today, the public image that modern witches have is one of nature worship and being one with the divine, with some calling themselves a “white” or “green” witch, disassociating themselves from anything dark. I strongly believe that there may be those who invoke the devil in order to extract powers from him, whether it is for white or black magic. Even the bomoh, or the Malay witch doctor, is known for getting in touch with Jinns for healing purposes.

Being a witch

As I said earlier, a witch can be good, bad, or even both. I think anybody can become a witch if they want to, especially if they are born with psychic abilities or strong intuition. But I do like to note that those who come from descendants of witches tend to be more powerful, simply because they were born and grew up in a family of witch heritage. Being the first witch in the family can be daunting, especially if you’re weak, because then the magical powers you get may have the potential to make your life worst.

Practicing witchcraft is not just about opening a book of spells and casting magic on others. You need to devote your entire life to it by embracing Wicca, the god and goddess, along with other Wiccan principles such as the rule of three, which indicates that whatever you do in this world – be it positive or negative – could come back three-fold.

If you’re considering becoming a witch, here’s a tip: think of it as if you’re entering a new religion. It is not a trend and it is definitely not something you can easily detach from when you decide not to practice witchcraft.

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