Witchcraft Beliefs

What is witchcraft?

Witchcraft allegedly carries the meaning of exercising supernatural powers and control human being and different events. It is linked to crones who get together at night and perform different types of evil actions such as cannibalism in order to make an alliance with the devil. Most people believe that witchcraft is just an idea and imaginative phenomena but the European witch hunts in the 14th and 18th century are the best depiction and representation of the beliefs regarding witchcraft. The involvement of black magic is also an integral part of witchcraft hence explaining the activities that crones participate in. This concept is mostly found in the west but of course, different cultures have different explanations and beliefs regarding this. Historical tales linked to witchcraft also vary depending upon the culture.

Literal meaning

If we look at the literal meaning of witchcraft in modern English then we find three connotations linked to it.

  • The practice of magic or sorcery worldwide
  • A variety of modern movements called Wicca
  • The beliefs associated with witch hunts of the 14th and 18th century

The difficulty comes in explaining witchcraft because the name changes according to different cultures and also according to the time and place radically due to which the concepts change as well. Another issue faced is that the series of cultures do not share a coherent and obvious pattern when it comes to witchcraft due to which the beliefs associated with it often blend with other concepts which are magic, sorcery, religion, folklore, theology, diabolism and technology. Some cultures believe that a witch is actually a person who embeds supernatural powers due to which they can pull off such stuff. West cultures, on the contrary, believe that a witch is an ordinary person who has the free will to practice magic with the aid of supernatural powers such as getting together at night and indulging in activities to attract the powers of the devil and evil beyond.

Coming to the most frequently asked question whenever this topic comes up is that do witches really exists? The answer to this question is entirely dependent on your set of beliefs. There is no single definition which one can stress upon to clearly explain this phenomenon. Although one this is for sure that the emphasis on witches in art, theatre, film, and literature has no resemblance to external reality. The concept here is quite fabricated using some information which comes from the known definitions and some which are basically fictional.


A sorcerer is basically a magician or a witch who attempts to control the surrounding worlds through means which are hidden and cannot be seen obviously thus are occult. If we look at Western cultures then until the 14th-century witchcraft basically has more in common with sorcery in other cultures as an example with those in Africa and India compared to those concepts which were related to the witch hunts.

If we talk about how the witches or sorcerers were thought about by people then they were both feared and respected and they also used a vast number of means to achieve their goals which include incantation which basically means the use of formulas and chants in order to invoke evil spirits, deviations and oracles which basically predicted the future, amulets, and charms who’s purpose was to repent harmful events and hostile spirits, potions or salves and dolls which were basically the representation of their enemies. Witches were known to do a number of things. They could gain and even preserve health, they could gain property, they could help a friend out with the help of supernatural powers, they offered protection against evil spirits and natural disasters and also sought revenge. We can also notice that sometimes this magic worked as simple causation linked to technology. An example of this is that it was believed that fields fertility could be gained by slaughtering an animal.