Witchcraft, learn all about the ancient history and secrets.

There are numerous styles of Witchcraft:
Alexandrian Witchcraft is named after its founder Alexander Sanders. Sanders is the self proclaimed "King of the Witches". This witchcraft is the second largest to come out of England. It has great emphasis on cord magic and ceremonial magic. The worshipping is done in skyclad. The Alexandrian Witchcraft is strongest in Canada, but has gone into steady decline in the States and no longer has any association with its founder.

Gardnerian Witchcraft was named after Gerald B Gardner is the dominant tradition in the world today. It has been subject to a lot of criticism and reinterpretation. It centers on the worship of the Goddess and her consort, the Horned God. They are represented in the coven by the High Priestess and High Priest. Nature is honored as is the acceptance of all living things. The belief of reincarnation is emphasized. Also the wiccan Rede of harming no living thing is followed. Eight seasonal Pagan sabbaths are also observed. Initiation into the coven is given by the High Priestess or High Priest. You must enter the craft in "perfect love and perfect trust". This means you must trust you fellow coveners. A man must be initiated into the coven by a woman, and a woman must be initiated into the coven by a man. The hierarchy in Gardnerian Witchcraft has three degrees of advancement. Tradition calls for advancement to be separated by a minimum of a year and one day. Only a third degree witch may become a high priestess or high priest. The high priestess is always the head of the coven. Rituals are performed within a magical circle. The original tradition of the Gardnerian witchcraft was to worship in the nude although most covens now worship robed. Another tradition is "scourging". This is the light flogging of coveners with cords as a means of symbolic suffering........

Faery tradition is an American witchcraft founded by Victor Anderson and Gwydion Pendderwen. Although in the beginning this craft was very small secretive it has now reached a wide audience. The faery tradition honors nature and reveres the dieties that personify the forces of nature, life, fertility, death and rebirth. There is no standard secret book of shadows in this craft. Some aspects of the craft still remain a secret but most aspects are now taught openly. The faery tradition provides for a passing of power upon initiation. Faery tradition Witchcraft also identifies different currents of energy within the universe. Two key teachings centre on the iron and pearl pentagrams. These are meditational tools to bring oneself into balance with the universe and to explore the self. The faery witchcraft tradition also permits eclectism. Rituals are offerings of beauty to the Gods.

book of shadows
Book Of Shadows

Seax Witchcraft was founded in 1973 by Raymond Buckland and seems to have a slight saxon basis. Buckland had been dissatisfied with the corruption and ego trips he saw in some covens and developed seax wicca to answer those concerns. The coven is democratic in that its leader is chosen by election. There is no binding or ritual scourging. Covens decide for themselves whether to worship clothed or skyclad. The rituals are published in The Tree : Complete Book of Saxon Witchcraft. The tradition is also open to anyone.

Green Witchcraft
This style of witchcraft is styled around nature, herbs, healing and the earth mother.

Stregheria Italian Witchcraft
This style of witchcraft gained in popularity during the 1980s. It is claimed to have frown from the ancient Etruscan religion of Italian peasants.

Wicca is a variety of witchcraft that is founded on religious and magical concepts. Most of the adherents of wicca identify themselves as witches. Wicca is just only one variety of pagan Witchcraft, with specific beliefs and practices. Many Wiccans choose to call themselves Pagans. However, the umbrella term Paganism encompasses many faiths that have nothing to do with Wicca or witchcraft.

Contemporary Witchcraft
The term Contemporary Witchcraft refers to the various types of Witchcraft that are practised in the 21st century.

Hearth Witchcraft
The term Hearth Witchcraft is a nature and domestic style of witchcraft. It has sometimes also been called, "Cottage Witchery".

Hedge Witchcraft
Hedge Witchcraft is usually practised by the solitary Witch. It may sometimes be referred to as "hedgecraft,". It is similar to the shamanic art of crossing the boundary between this world and the Otherworld.

Bamberg Witch Trials
During the 16th and 17th centuries more than 100,000 people in Germany were tortured and murdered as a result of being accused of being witches. The witch hunts were led by fanatical rulers, spurred on behind the scenes by the Catholic Church. Using torture and inflicting horrible deaths on men, women and children over 100,000 people died. Some of the worst persecutions took place in Bamberg, a small state ruled by Gottfried Johann Georg 11 Fuchs von Dornheim. Dornheim established an operation of full time torturers and executioners. A witch prison was built in Bamberg and a network of informers was established. Accusations were not made public and the accused were denied legal rights. Torture was the rule and was applied to all those accused. Victims were put in thumbscrews and vises, dumped in cold baths and in scalding lime baths, whipped, burned with sulphur, put in iron spiked stocks and subjected to other forms torture. The torture did not stop even after condemnation. As they were led to the stake prisoners had their hands cut off. Many rich and powerful people fell victim and had their property and assets confiscated in Bamberg. Anyone who questioned what was happening was also tortured and killed. Through all of this Dornheim became a very wealthy man. In 1627 Dornheim built a special prison for witches that housed special torture chambers. Finally due to the fact that business was suffering Emperor Ferdinand was forced to issue mandates opposing the persecution in 1630 and 1631. Dornheim died in 1632. During the Bamberg witch trials children as young as 6 months old were tortured and killed.

Old Salem Witch Jail
Housed accused people during the Salem witch trial hysteria of 1692-93 was a filthy rat infested dungeon located close to the north river. The Old Salem Witch Jail was used to house criminals who were generally waiting to be executed. Construction of the dungeon was approved by the town of Salem in 1683. The constuction of the Old Salem Witch jail was completed in 1684, and was constructed of hand hewn oak timbers and siding, and was 70 by 280 feet. There were no bars for strangely puritan prisoners accepted their punishment. The few who did not and escaped the Old Salem Witch were generally caught and killed. Either way the end result was the same. The prisoners had to pay for their food, and were generally kept short of water so as to make them more likeley to confess. Despite its terrible conditions the Old Salem Witch jail was a social gathering place. The Old Salem Witch jail staff sold alcohol to people who came in the night to play chess. The jailers stripped the women so as to examine and prick them in search of witches marks. Both the women and their family members were tortured for confessions. Many of the victims died in jail. The saleries of the magistrate, sheriff, hangman and other staff had to be paid by the accused. The prisoners were also billed for the fetters, chains and cuffs. Fees were also charged for being searched for witches markes. People with money were somtimes able to bribe their way out. Victims were taken from the Old Salem Witch jail by oxcart to the gallows hill. Their dead bodies left swaying from the branches of the locust trees could be seen from the centre of the town. Eventually with the end of the witch hysteria the Old Salem Witch jail was closed and sold into private hands and used as a residence. In 1863 it was purshased by Abner Goodell the state historian. In response to the public the Goodells opened the Old Salem Witch jail to the public in 1935.

Arras Witch Trials
Took place in Arras in France in 1459 - 1460. The victims of the Arras trials were tortured and then burned at the stake. The witchcraft trials were one of the earliest conducted in the area. The Arras affair began at Langres in 1459, when a hermit was arrested. Under torture, he admitted attending a sabbat, and named a prostitute and an elderly poet of Arras as his companions. The hermit was burned at the stake. The inquisitors arrested and tortured his accused accomplices. A widening pool of accusations, arrests, tortures and confessions spread like wildfire through Arras. People of all ages and classes were arrested. The inquisitor was spurred on by two fanatical dominican monks. The dominicans believed that one third of the population of Europe was witches, and if they had there way almost the entire population of Europe would have been murdered. Anyone against burning witches was in their opinion also a witch. The victims were placed on a rack and tortured. The soles of their feet were put in to flames, and they were made to drink oil and vinegar. They confessed to whatever the inquisitors wanted. They also named other innocent people in Arras in accordance with the inquisitors leading questions and torture. The inquisitors lied to the victims, promising them their freedom in return for a confession. But the victims were sent to the stake where they were denounced in public and burned alive. Eventually the witch hunt took a toll on business in the city. Arras was a manufacturing and trade centre and many people stopped doing business there. By the end of 1460 the Duke of Burgundy intervened and the arrests stopped. In 1461 the Parliament of Paris demanded the release of those imprisoned. In 1491 the Parliament condemned the cruelty and tortures of the catholic inquisition.

Pentacle and Pentagram
The pentacle is probably the most important symbol in witchcraft. It is a five pointed star with a single point facing upright. A written or drawn pentacle is a pentagram. In rituals and magic the pentacle is a round disk of earthenware, wax, silver, or clay. It is inscribed with magic symbols including a pentagram and is used to consecrate the magic circle. In some rituals the high priestess may assume the pentacle position. Some witches may wear a pentacle as a sign of their religion. Some covens use the pentacle as the signal of the witches who are initiated in to the second degree. The pentagram is the witches symbol of power and protection and used to control elemental forces. Pentagrams are usually drawn in the air with a sword. The method used to draw the pentagram depends on its purpose.

In 1320 the inquisition added witchcraft to its list of heresies. Many styles of torture had been invented during the inquisition so as to inflict the most horrific pain on the poor victim without killing them. The worst of these were turned upon those accused of witchcraft. With pope innocent v111 issuance of his papal bull against witches in 1484, the torture of people accused of being a witch reached fanatical proportions. The worst tortures of the inquisition occured in Germany and France. Millions of innocent people were tortured and murdered during the inquisition. The inquisitors followed procedures set forth by the dominican monks of pope innocent v111. At first the poor accused were told to confess. They were then stripped naked, shaved, pricked with needles for insensitive spots and then examined for marks of the devil. Before the torture started, the victim was told what was about to happen and in many cases this forced the accused to commit to whatever the inquisitors wanted. It was noted that a person who refused to talk even under torture was being aided by the devil. While the poor victim was being tortured a clerk recorded what was said. In many cases the clerk recorded things that were not even said. Each subsequent round of torture was much worse than the one before. The torturer was paid out of seized funds belonging to the victim. If the victim had no money then the relatives were made to pay. While the poor victims screamed with pain the childish tortures carried on like sadistic maniacs. They sprayed there instruments with so called holy water, wore amulets, herbs and crossed themselves. The exact method of torture varied from place to place. The rack was well used in France during the inquisition. Some victims were horsewhipped. A sharp iron fork was used to mangle breasts. Red hot pincers were used to tear off flesh. Red hot irons were inserted up vaginas and rectums. A device named the turcas was used to tear out fingernails. After the nails were ripped out needles were shoved into the quicks. Boots called bootikens were used to lacerate flesh and crush bone. Thumbscrews were used to crush the fingers and toes. Acid was poured on victims and hands were immersed into pots of boiling oil and water. Eyes were gouged out by irons. Alcohol was poured on the head of the poor victim and set alight. Water was poured down the victims throat with a notted cloth. The cloth was then jerked out tearing up the victims bowels. There was no limit to the types and cruelty of the tortures. The inquisition meant anything was allowed. The inquisitors were sadistic and mentally disturbered. Even after the poor victims confessed to things they never did more torture was to follow. On the way to the stake or gallows victims were flogged, burned, branded and had their hands and tongues hacked off. By the 17th century as the catholic church began to loose power the inquisition began to collapse. Millions had died as a result of the inquisition, including men, women and children.

Witching Hour
The hour of midnight on a full moon. It is at this time that the witches spell casting powers are at their fullest. The witching hour is a time of change and transformation. The history of the witching hour may be traced to the ancient times of the worship of Goddesses associated with the moon and fertility. As the moon waxes in its phases so do the powers of those, until they culminate at the full moon. In European folklore, the witching hour is the time when supernatural creatures such as witches, demons and ghosts are thought to be at their most powerful, and black magic at its most effective. This hour is typically midnight, and the term may now be used to refer to midnight, or any late hour, even without having the associated superstitious beliefs. The term "witching hour" can also refer to the period from midnight to 3am.

Witches Tools
Are consecrated in rites involving the four elements, air, water, fire and earth. Witches Tools are inscribed with Runes, Sigils and Symbols. Witches tools are used in the consecration of Magic Circles. ATHAME : The witches personal knife. Usually double bladed with a black hilt and made of steel. CENSOR : Container used in the burning of herbs, incense and other substances. Used in removing the unwanted energies away from the magic site. CHALICE : Associated with the female forces of fertility, beauty, womb, earth, and subconscious mind. PENTACLE : Symbol of the earth. Used to ground energy and sometimes to serve food. SWORD : Associated with the element fire, it is sometime used for casting the circle. WAND : Symbolizes the life force within the witch. HAZEL : The wood used in making a wand.

Early neopagan beliefs were that a witch was in fact a female or male shaman. In India in the Vedic Age, a witch was called a "yogin". In modern Hindi, a witch is called Daayan or chudail. It is interesting to note that witchcraft is often mentioned in the Bible, both the old test Testament and the new Testament make regular mentions to witchcraft. In Africa, the term witch doctor has been misconstrued to mean "a healer who uses Witchcraft", when the original meaning was one of "who diagnoses and cures sickness caused by a witch".

In Witchcraft the Triple Goddess represents the 3 aspects of the Mother Goddess in one, maiden, mother and crone. The Triple Goddess symbol most probably originated from the Classical Greek lunar symbolism representing the three aspects of the moon, waxing, full and waning moon. )O(

The word Hedge Witch, comes from the Saxon word for witch "haegtessa" (hedge-rider). These days a Hedge witch is a solitary witch who is focused on helping others or healing the land.

Somtimes wrongly used these days used as the term for male witches. But men who practise withcraft as a religeon generally prefer to be referred to as witches or wiccans. Warlock comes from the old English "wer loga" and means enemy, traitor, liar, etc. The word Warlock became associated with one who had made a pact with the devil. In an attempt to discredit wicca the catholic church started this slander. The devil has nothing to do with wichcraft as contempory witchcraft does not share christianity's belief in the devil.
Book Of Shadows
A book of beliefs, witchcraft laws, rituals, herbal and healing law, incarnations, chants, dances, divination methods, spells, Sabbath rites and other information which serves as a guide for witches in practising their craft and religion. Each tradition has its own book of shadows. In addition individual witches add their own personal material. This book must be kept secret at all times. However sad to say some witches have gone public with their Book Of Shadows over the years. In true tradition only one copy of a Book Of Shadows should be kept for a coven. This is usually held by the High Priestess or High Priest. The book of shadows should only ever be hand written. The secrets in the Book Of Shadows are limited to the witches position in the hierarchy. Information in the Book Of Shadows is passed out as the witch progresses through the ranks of the coven. If a witch leaves the coven the Book Of Shadows must stay with the coven. Very little is known about "books of shadows" before the 20th century. In earlier times the secrets were generally passed down through the generations orally. Some hereditary witches claim their ancestors recorded secret spells and lore in little books. One of the first book of shadows to be published was Charles Godfrey Leylands "Aradia" in 1899. According to tradition a witches book of shadows is destroyed upon their death.

Witches Cauldron
The Cauldron is usually made of iron. In the witch lore of middle ages the cauldron was where poisons, ointments and philtres were brewed. Neo-Pagan witches still use the cauldron burning fies and incense in rituals. If used in a ritual the cauldron is usually placed on the witches alter inside the magic circle. There is strong magical significance to the cauldron in many cultures throughout history. The Celts associated cauldrons with fertility, abundance and revival of the dead. Cauldrons were also sometimes used in human sacrifice. The poor victims were sometimes drowned in them or had their throats cut over the cauldron. In Greek mythology the witch Goddess could restore people to youth in a magic cauldron. The cauldron is also linked to the chalice of the holy grail.

Cone Of Power
Raising a cone of power is done within a magic circle. The coveners focus on a single goal which is visualized in a image which everyone agrees. The power of the cone is raised through chanting, dancing, drumming, hand clapping or cord magic. The coveners dance around the circle and as the tempo increases the cone of power begins to rise above the circle. To some the energy is visible as a shimmering light. When the energy is at its peak the high priestess or high priest instructs the coveners to release it towards its goal. Timing is crucial otherwise the spell misfires. The cone of power has a symbolic significance in witchcraft. In ancient Syria the cone was the symbol of Astarte, the Phoenician goddess of motherhood, fertility and war. Also tall conical hats are associated with witchcraft. The cone of power has had some remarkable success through history. It was used in 1588 against the Spanish Armada which suffered a serious defeat. Again in 1700 it was used against Napoleon and again against Hitler.

Witch Cup
A chalice used in witchcraft during the preparation of special philtres. It is also used to drink consecrated wine. This is the sacramental wine which is consumed in some ceremonies, and also used to consecrate things at times. The witch cup is a variant of the cauldron of Ceridwen. The Witch Cup usually takes the form of a goblet made from horn, wood or polished metal. Wood is considered the best choice for such a cup. And better still if the wood cup has been hand crafted.

Witch Garter
Worn in various rituals as magical properties and are also used as badges of rank. The use of garters can be traced back to Paleolithic times. The different colours of the Witch Garter carry a special meaning. Green is the colour of fairies, red is protection against bewitchment and silver is associated with the moon. In modern witchcraft the witch garter is considered the ancient emblem of the high priestess. In some traditions a high priestess who becomes Queen Witch over more than one coven adds a silver buckle to her garter for each coven under her. It is also used in the use of "lithomancy", a type of divination where 13 stones are cast inside a witch garter.

The Festival of Lammas is one of four major sabbats in witchcraft. The festival comes from the Celtic celebration of Lugnasad. It is held on August 1. The festival celebrates Autumn and the harvesting of the crops. The festival celebrates by making offerings to the Gods thanking for the harvest and to make sure of the ongoing fertility of the land.

The term for a non-witch. That is to say for a person who has not been initiated into the craft is a Cowan. In fact the word is an old Scottish term for a mason who has learnt the trade but not served an apprenticeship. A Cowan may be invited to attend sabbats but are usually not allowed to attend circles or esbats. The term does not seem to be used much these days in Witch circles. The term Cowan was often used in the past in a very derogatory manner. The term is sometimes used in Masonic rituals.

Craft Name
It is the custom in Withcraft to adopt a new name upon initiation. This reflects ones new identity as a witch. You may only disclose your craft name to other members of the coven. Certain covens have strict rules about disclosing craft names to outsiders. The main reason for secrecy around craft names is is because of the power of names in witchcraft. It is believed that knowing the craft name of a witch gives a magical power over that person. Many spells involve writing a persons name upon a piece of paper or object. Craft names tend to be individualistic in nature and may reflect heritage or aspirations. You select a craft name through meditation, study or divination. Some are given craft names by the high priestess. Witches may also change their craft name as they advance in the levels.

Are a customary site of religious and magical significance. The Greek Goddess of Witchcraft, Hecate, was also the Goddess of the crossroads. Crossroads, an intersection of roads. This meaning is used metaphorically as a place where other things, both physical and abstract meet. It was said that Hecate appeared on crossroads at midnight with spirits and howling dogs. Offerings were left at the crossroads for her. In Celtic Ireland and Wales it was tradition to sit at crossroads and listen for the howling of winds which would prophesy the year to come. Crossroads also represent the intersection of positive, neutral and negative forces.

Five Fold Kiss
Conducted in certain ceremonies it is a ritual kissing of five parts of the body. Five Fold Kiss is only done within the magic circle and is symbolic of homage paid by the goddess and god to each other. The five fold kiss may only be conducted man to woman or woman to man. The recipient stands with legs and arms outstretched. The kisses correspond to the pentacle. Each kiss is accompanied by a blessing.

Drawing Down The Moon
A ritual in which the covens high priestess enters a trance and becomes the Goddess. The Goddess is symbolized by the moon. This is done with the help of the high priest who draws down the spirit of the Goddess into the high priestess. The origins of Drawing Down The Moon can be found in classical times. The ancient Thessalian witches were said to control the moon. In some modern rituals the high priestess may recite the "Charge of the Goddess" which comes from the Gardnerian tradition. Drawing down the moon is one of the most difficult and most serious rituals in neo-pagan witchcraft. A similar ritual for invoking the horned God is called "Drawing down the Sun".

A Witch Ladder is a string of forty beads or a cord with generally forty knots. The number of knots and nature of charms varies with the intended effect (or "spell"). The knots or beads enable the witch to do repetitive chants without having to keep count. The Ladder helps the witch to focus will and energy on the desired goal. Sometimes feathers, bones, and other trinkets are braided into the string as symbols for a desired spell effect. An earlier version of a witch's ladder consisted of a rope or cord of three, nine, or thirteen knots. The witch's ladder can be created a section at a time or all at once. Either way, special chants are spoken during the creation process to empower the talisman to do its creator's bidding.

Not all people who practice witchcraft consider themselves Wiccan or Neopagan.

Magic Circle
A sacred place where all rites and ceremonies are carried out. It acts as a doorway to the Gods. More important, the Magic Circle is a boundary of concentrated power. Within the circle you are able to transcend the physical and open your mind to a higher level of consciousness. In ancient times circles were drawn around sick people to protect them against demons. The magic circle was also used in ancient Pagan rites. The magic circle serves to keep out unfriendly spirits. Negative energy is cleared prior to casting a magic circle. The magic circle should be nine feet in diameter but larger circles are sometimes cast for large groups. The alter and ritual tools are placed inside the circle. The magic circle is drawn on the ground or sometimes laid out with a cord. The witch visualizes a field of energy. The working space of the magic circle is in fact a three dimensional sphere. Candles are placed on the ground at the cardinal points. Convener's enter through a symbolic gate which is then closed. The magic circle is then consecrated with the four elements. Then the guardians of the four elements are invoked. The God and Goddess are invoked through ritual. The purpose of the ritual is then stated and carried out. At the close of the ceremony food and drink is offered to the coverners. The candles are then extinguished and the circle is ritually closed.

Four Quarters
Points of the magic circle that are associated with an element, ritual tool, color and attributes. NORTH : To the ancient Pagans the heavens spun around the north star and they aligned their temples to this star. North is associated with darkness, mystery and the unknown. The north is also associated with the colors gold or black. Some traditions align their altars to the north. EAST : Represents illumination, enlightenment, mysticism and the eternal. Its colors are red or white. It corresponds to the element of air, the asthame or sword. Most traditions align their altars to the east. The northeast is the dividing line between the path of darkness(north) and the path of light(east). SOUTH : Represented by the colors blue or white. Energy, the sun and the element fire are associated with south. The Four Quarters is also associated with the magical wand and is the direction and channeling of the energy forces. WEST : Emotions, water, creativity, fertility and courage to face ones deepest feelings. It is associated with the chalice, the symbol of female creative power.

Great Rite
Pays homage to the male-female polarity in the universe. It expresses physical, mental, spiritual and astral union between the male and female. The great rite is associated with the sacred marriage. Neo-Pagan witchcraft is a fertility religion which includes intercourse. The Rite releases enormous power which may be directed for magical purposes. It is one of the eightfold paths. The great rite is usually performed within the magical circle. The great rite is usually carried out in a symbolic manner rather then in actuality. The high priest plunges a ritual knife into a chalice filled with wine which is held by the high priestess. In some covens the union is done in actuality.

Very old handbooks of magic, some of which may date back to ancient times. Grimoires were well used during the 16th and 17th centuries. In some covens they may still use some magic texts from Grimoires. The original purpose of these grimoires was to conjure up the Demons who would be used by the magician to gain wealth or bring harm to enemies. Grimoires give very detailed instructions which are very difficult to carry out. These instructions include what to wear, what prayers and incarnations to use, the tools that are required, precise astrological times, recipes for incense, seals, signals, magic circles, amulets, talisman and more. Grimories first came into common use around the 13th century and is thought by some to have been linked to the Knights Templar. A true grimoire is written by hand, those that are typed or mass produced are fake and should be thrown in the rubbish bin. Much of the material in grimoires is taken from Egyptian texts dating back to around 100A.D. Using the Demons meant making a pact with them. The grimoires help the magician outwit the demons so as not to fulfill the magicians end of the bargain. The greatest grimoire is "The Key of Solomon" which was attributed to the legendary King Solomon. Another grimoire connected to Solomon was the "Lemegeton" which included both white and black magic.

Seventh Child
The seventh son of the seventh son or the seventh daughter of the seventh daughter is said to possess supernatural powers. In the Tamar only a male child born in this way may be a record carrier and only a female child born in this way may be high priestess. There were seven planets in ancient astronomy, the world was created in seven days, each of the four phases of the moon lasts for seven days, seven notes on the musical scale, seven colours in the rainbow, seven is the number of wisdom, truth and harmony. From around the sixteenth century onwards, children born into a seventh position in their family were thought to have the power to heal by touch. However, some people viewed the seventh child of the seventh child as being cursed.

Tamar Secret Society
Tamar is the oldest and most secretive witch society there is. Its origins may be traced back 2,000 years to the time of the essences and Jesus, heir to the Davidic bloodlines. During this time Jesus and Mary Magdalene had three children, Tamar (being the first child), Jesus and Joseph. Because Tamar was a girl she was bypassed in favour of a boy, the same rules which still continue today within the Royal family. But there were those that believe Tamar was the real heir and as such a secret society sprung up around her and her beliefs. Later that society found its footing in both France and Britain. The original founding of Tamar secret society in Britain may be traced to Glastonbury. The society formed and grew in an underground sort of way. It had strong connections with the Celtic church where many of its members came. Later it developed strong connections with the Cathars in France. Much like the Freemasons, Tamar was a very secretive society and few even knew of its existence. During the times of the catholic inquisition the Tamar went to great lengths to stay hidden. Although a secret society with strong religious overtones, Tamar took on many practises of witchcraft. Tamar has a whole secret language it uses, and it is the words from this language that provide the basis for the spells of Tamar. All in all Tamar has some 5,000 spells which comes from an origin that no one can be sure of. The language used by Tamar comes from an also mysterious origin. The Tamar where well connected to the Knights Templar and it is thought by some that when the Templar where being persecuted by the catholic church that the Templar passed on to Tamar the secrets of the Arc, which they had discovered some years earlier. The Tamar still remains the worlds most secretive and yet most powerful secret society. It some some very strict beliefs, and holds virginity to be of importance in both male and female. Positions of authority may only be held by females, yet they must be guided by a male sort of councillor. There are only two male councillors in the world today, and they both hold the only two copies of the history of Tamar and its secrets. These two do not know each other and may never meet. Tamar identify each other through secret forms of code, such as encrypted sentences, handshakes and certain jewellery. Spells may only be cast after gaining permission from a higher level in the society.

The word Witch derives directly from Old English, but the origins of the term witch are highly disputed in Witchcraft. But the term witch has always been applied to both men and women. Many people outside of the craft or often the beginner make the mistake of calling a male witch a warlock, wizard or sorcerer. A wizard is a practitioner of magic that is often found folklore or fantasy fiction. One such famous wizard was Prospero in Shakespeare's "The Tempest". The term warlock is a witch who is considered a liar, thief, or may have been expelled for reasons such as revealing secrets.

A belief among some practitioners that one can turn oneself into a wolf. In fact it is this belief were the term Werewolf comes from. The term Lycanthropy comes from the Greek "lukos" meaning a wolf and the "anthropos" meaning a man. It may also apply to the ability to change into other animals also. Many Shamans also believe they are capable of transforming themselves into animals.

Horse Whisperer
In Ancient British Witchcraft certain people were given the power to talk with horses. To do this special spells and magical charms were used. The people who became horse whisperers also had to be born on certain dates.

Charm Licking
A very old superstition that goes back centuries. It was used by many people to break a spell. Only the person who is the victim of the spell may use this method. Simply lick a charm in an up and down motion. Then lick it in an across back and forth motion. Then lick it in an up and down motion again. If you can taste a salty taste on your tongue then you have succesfuly removed the spell.

An ancient magical symbol worm by some witches. It represented the witches name and birthdate. It had strong magical powers and in ways was similar to an amulet or talisman. Glyths were also worn to ward off evil and sickness.

Similar to a curse. It can be placed on people or property. The word hex comes from the German "Herxse" which means wizard. Special talisman and amulets are available to ward off a hex.

Were common during witchcraft in the middle ages. The Familiar accompanied the witch and in some cases was the source of the witches power. The bond was formed by placing a drop of blood from the witch in the animals food. The Witch sometimes consulted the Familiar when seeking omens. Dogs, cats, hares, chickens and rats were often used for a Familiar.

In witchcraft the Esbat is a meeting of members of a coven on the night of each full moon. In a year there are thirteen Esbats. In tradition the Esbat will last from midnight until the cock will crow.

In Neopaganism, modern day practices identified by their practitioners as "witchcraft" have arisen in the twentieth century. These may be broadly subsumed under the heading of Neopaganism. However, as forms of Neopaganism can be quite different and have very different origins, these representations can vary considerably despite the shared name.

The calling forth of a spirit using spells. In order to contain the power of the spirit a triangle is used. The Witch places a talisman in the centre of the triangle then summons the spirit. The Witch then moves outside of the triangle. It is important never to enter the triangle after the spirit comes forth. Without these symbolic restraints it is believed the witch may lose control over the manifestations.

This is a word that will have the same spelling when read forwards or backwards. Sometimes these words may be found in magic squares. Many of these words are used in spells. The Tamar are known to use such words in their language.

The term Wica first appears in the writings of Gerald Gardner (Witchcraft Today, 1954, and The Meaning of 'Witchcraft, 1959). Gardner uses the word as a mass noun referring to the adherents of his tradition of witchcraft ('the Wica'), rather than the religion itself. Gardner referred to the religion as witchcraft, but never Wica. The word seems to be based on the Old English word wicca, which meant "sorcerer, wizard". Old English wicca and its feminine wicce are the predecessors of the modern English witch.

In witchcraft this is the ritual act of moving around a circle in a counter clockwise direction(Southern hemisphere). The witch first stands and faces the circle, then moves to the right. This will help to produce positive magic. If the witch moves to the left this is called Widdershins and produces negative magic. However, in the northern hemisphere, deosil means clockwise and widdershins means counter-clockwise.

Glas Ghairm
A spell of Scottish origin. It had a number of uses including it could stop a Dog from barking. The spell could also open any lock and was used by young men in courting a woman.

Witchcraft has become a popular subject in many movies of today. Some examples are The Blair Witch Project, Practical Magic, The Craft, Hocus Pocus, and Harry Potter.

A witch doctor often refers to an exotic healer that believes that maladies are caused by magic and are therefore best cured by it, as opposed to science or developed medicine. The term does not, as is popularly believed, mean a doctor who uses witchcraft to cure.

Spell casting is one of the powers of witchcraft. It can take many years of dedication to be able to cast a spell. Spell casting in Witchcraft may involve a number of things including words spoken, ritual, herbs, verse, tools or a combination of these or others. Sometimes tarot cards or runes are used in spell casting by a witch. Spell casting takes time and practise so be patient before you start to see the results. Learn about the spells of witchcraft.

Witchcraft Trials and Persecution:
From around 1400 to 1700 Europe it became very dangerous to be accused of Witchcraft. A shocking series of torture methods were devised to elicit confessions of Witchcraft against the accused. These methods were so brutal, people were only to happy to confess to anything including witchcraft, in order to stop the brutality. Methods of torture used to elicit admissions of witchcraft included, leg vices, whipping stocks with iron spikes, thumbscrews, scalding lime baths, racks, and the strap. It was always presumed the victim was guilty of witchcraft. Most victims were executed. Burning at the stake was the standard punishment for witchcraft.

Witchcraft Laws
Over the years a large number of complex and draconian laws were passed against Witchcraft in various countries. In England, Wales and Scotland a number of Witchcraft Acts have passed over the years that provided heavy penalties.
Religious persecution often resulted in the introduction of serious penalties for witchcraft. Henry VIII's Act of 1541 (33 Hen. VIII c. 8) was the first to define witchcraft as a crime.
Witchcraft Act 1562
During the early reign of Queen Elizabeth I the Act Against Conjurations, Enchantments and Witchcrafts (5 Eliz. I c. 16) was passed into law
Scottish Witchcraft Act 1563
The Scottish Witchcraft Act 1563 made the practice of witchcraft and consulting with witches an offence.
Witchcraft Act 1604
In 1604 the Elizabethan Act was further broadened. The Act's new full title was An Act against Conjuration, Witchcraft and dealing with evil and wicked spirits, (2 Ja. I c. 12).
Witchcraft Act 1735
The Witchcraft Act of 1735 (9 Geo. 2 c. 5) showed a change of attitudes and made Witchcraft only a minor offence. These days most Act`s of legislation against Witchcraft have long since been removed and in most countries people are free to practise witchcraft.

Paralumun New Age Village

Sally Amber
The Witchcraft section of Paralumun New Age Village is maintained by Sally Amber, a practising witch. Sally has a family history in witchcraft dating back to her Grandmother. Sally uses this lifetime of experience in the craft to pass on her knowledge to our readers.