Witchcraft and Spells

History of Witchcraft
Modern Witchcraft
Principles of Witchcraft
Misconceptions of Witchcraft
The Elements of Spells



History of Witchcraft

From early times god and goddess magick was called upon to bless the fertility of the earth and the safety of farm crops and animals. Ritual dances were created to harness this energy, by leaping and jumping in the manner depicted in an ancient hymn dedicated to Zeus, which entreated him to leap for the well-being of the herds, crops, and communities of Crete.

Witchcraft has always been regarded as essentially feminine magick aligned with lunar energy, stemming from the days when it was women’s work to grow and harvest plants and herbs, while the men did the more manual labor and hunted.  Women learned how the potency of plants responded to the phases of the moon, the time of day or night, and the seasons of the year. They also learned to create  powerful and highly effective spells, perfumes, poisons, and potions to entice, destroy, manipulate, defeat, challenge, fascinate, and confuse. Because she possessed enigmatic knowledge and abstruse healing powers, the witch that is from rural areas in general began over time to be regarded as a threat to the very foundation of male dominance. 

In 1258 Pope Alexander IV issued the first Papal letter to empower the Inquisition to deal with witchcraft, but only when witchcraft was “manifestly savored on heresy.” In doing so, he laid the basis for the persecution of any woman who dared step out of line, especially those who were healers or possessed scientific knowledge that might be regarded as a threat to male supremacy. The Church was pretty intolerant of females who educated themselves, or embraced any other religious belief, such as paganism or witchcraft. 

The persecution of witches continued over the next 700 years, with hundreds of thousands killed in the name of religion. It is salutary to remember that most of these victims of religious piety were simply misunderstood wise women, healers, herbalists, and midwives, or were people of a different religious persuasion and those who owned their own properties, upon which the authorities cast a greedy eye.

The decline of witch-hunting came about not because witchcraft was stamped out, but because adverse public opinion made the “establishment” reconsider its actions and finally turned against witch-hunts for fear of losing the support of the masses.

Modern Witchcraft

Modern witches are, first and foremost, healers and protectors of ancient secrets and old lore’s of nature. They celebrate the alchemical marriage of earth, air, fire, and water and use the magickal and healing properties of herbs, plants, trees, crystals, stones, and astrological energies to enhance their work. You don’t have to go tramping the forest at night, take part in rituals on sabbats, join covens, attend high priestesses in temples, or wear strange ceremonial garb to change your life!

Magick can be performed most effectively, and quite safely, in the comfort of your own home just by learning a few golden rules and by understanding the basic Laws of spell-casting.

Principles of Witchcraft

1.We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the Moon, and the seasonal Quarters, and Cross Quarters.

2. We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment of life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.

3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary, it is sometimes called "supernatural," but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.

4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity - as masculine and feminine - and that this same Creative Power lies in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and the feminine.  We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship.

5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological worlds, sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconsciousness or Inner Planes.  We see in the inter-action of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena, and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.

6. We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.

7. We see religion, magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it - a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft - The Wiccan Way.

8. Calling oneself "witch" does not make a witch - but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that makes life possible in order to live wisely and well without harm to others and in harmony with nature.

9. We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal role within it.

10. Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claims to the "the only way," and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.

11. As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future.

12. We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as "Satan" or "the Devil," as defined by Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.

13. We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.

Misconceptions of Witchcraft

I feel that it is important to re-emphasize that Pagans do not worship "Satan" or the "Devil" as there is no such being in our traditions. Also, Pagans do not require the sacrificing of any living creature, be it human or animal. I am saddened that there are still individuals who believe these things about us. There are many different  Pagan paths as it is a religion that appreciates diversity and individual thought. 

However, one thing that is shared by all Pagans is that we are a peaceful people and we harm no one. We value the diversity of all religions and philosophies and we harbor no intolerance for those who have differing opinions and beliefs.


Magick is the manipulation of natural forces and psychic energy to bring about desired changes. It is the alchemical marriage of earth, air, fire, and water and use the magickal and healing properties of herbs, plants, trees, crystals, colors, stones, and astrological energies to enhance and empower.


To the average person, the thought of "spells" invokes the image of hags, around a cauldron throwing entrails into the “evil" brew. This is so far removed from the truth that it makes most Pagans chuckle at the thought! We do not always chuckle, however, because many innocent people were killed simply because they used herbs, were healers, midwives and the list goes on and on. With education and love, we hope to restore our good name, our birthright, our traditions and our faith. A spell is a way in which to focus ones' energy to affect a specific goal. It may be as simple as wishing for a plentiful harvest, to sending your positive energy to one who's sick, in the hopes that they might be healed. Prayers are very similar to spells as they draw energies from within to provide strength, insight and truth. Pagans do not do "evil" or "black" magic & spells, as we believe that what we send forth comes back to us three-fold.

The Elements of Spells

To perform a Spell effectively, you must call upon energies from around you. These energies emanate from the Elements known as Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. If called upon correctly, these Elements represent portals through which energy is brought to you during the Spell. Properly harnessed, these energies will allow you to perform the Spell and achieve the desired results. Each Element is described by unique properties:

The Element "Earth" is solid. It is stability, security, safety, unyielding, nature, substance, body, endurance, survival, practicality, the mother, green, midnight, Winter, dark, weight, excessive, stubborn, passive, contentment, thought, grounding, physical. In the Spells, the Element of "Earth" will lend this "stability" to create the desired result.

The Element "Air" is gas. It is the carrier, breath, life, wandering, knowledge, new beginning, movement, yellow, the dawn, Spring, light, joy, sensual, intellect, intuition, new outlook, clarity, freshness, winds of change; a reminder that there is no death, only change. In the Spells, the Element of "Air" will become the "carrier" to achieve the desired change.

The Element "Fire" is energy. It is flame, purification, active, cleansing, transformation, passion, heat, red, noon, Summer, sun, hot, brilliant, determination, drive, will power, success, solar, sexual, primal, raw, power. In the Spells, the Element of "Fire" will provide the "drive" to achieve the desired result.

The Element "Water" is liquid. It is emotions, love, truth, compassion, sensitivity, reflective, deep, dissolving, surging, nurturing, sensual, blue, dusk, twilight, Autumn, calm, dream, the beginning and the end. In the Spells, the Element of "Water" will lend its "compassion" to achieve the desired results.