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Witchcraft and Wiccanism
Lesson 2; Brief History of Witchcraft

taught by [rachelah]

Hello, everyone, I hope all is well with you.
This lesson is one of my bad ones, I just copied it from a good website. The internet is a good place to find a lot of stuff. I assure you all that I have no intention of not creating my own lessons in the future, I only copied this one because, quite frankly, I did not know enough about the history of Witchcraft to write a whole lesson. My following lessons should be better. By the way, if you have limited internet access, such as myself, with twenty hours a month, you could copy and paste this lesson, into any word program on your computer that has the ability to save under 'All files'. I use Notepad, but I have a 1998 computer. The assignment is short, you could write it in a minute the next time you are online.
Have a great day.

A Brief History of Witchcraft
The roots of magic come from the Celts, a people living between 700 BC and 100 AD. Believed to be descendants of Indo-Europeans, the Celts were a brilliant and dynamic people – gifted artists, musicians, storytellers, metalworkers, expert farmers and fierce warriors. They were much feared by their adversaries, the Romans, who eventually adopted a number of their customs and traditions.

The Celts were a deeply spiritual people, who worshiped both a god and goddess. Their religion was pantheistic, meaning they worshiped many aspects of the "One Creative Life Source" and honored the presence of the "Divine Creator" in all of nature. Like many tribes the world over, they believed in reincarnation. After   , they went to the Summerland for rest and renewal while awaiting rebirth.

The months of the Celtic year were named after trees. The Celtic new year began at Samhain, which means "summers end," and was the final harvest of the year. This was also their "Festival of the   ," where they honored their ancestors and deceased loved ones. Many contemporary Halloween customs come from Samhain.

Next on the wheel of the Celtic year was the Winter Solstice, celebrating the annual rebirth of the Sun. Our Christmas customs today are similar to this ancient celebration. Around the beginning of February came Imbolg, a time when domesticated animals began to give birth. The Spring Equinox and Beltaine, sometimes called "May Day," were fertility festivals. The Summer Solstice, known as Lughnassa, celebrated the glory of the Sun and the powers of nature. Lughnassa, the Fall Equinox, and Samhain, were considered as Celtic harvest festivals.

The "Druids" were the priests of the Celtic religion. They remained in power through the fourth century AD, three centuries after the Celts' defeat at the hands of the Romans. The Druids were priests, teachers, judges, astrologers, healers and bards. They became indispensable to the political leaders, giving them considerable power and influence. They were peacemakers, and were able to pass from one warring tribe to another unharmed. It took twenty years of intense study to become a Druid.

Translated, the word Druid means "knowing the oak tree." Trees, the oak in particular, were held sacred by the Celts. Mistletoe, which grows as a parasite on oak trees, was a powerful herb used in their ceremonies and for healing. Mistletoe was ritually harvested at the Summer Solstice by cutting it with a golden sickle and catching it with a white cloth while never letting it fall to the ground.

The religious beliefs and practices of the Celts grew into what later became known as Paganism, not to be confused with the term Neo-Paganism, which is beyond the scope of this writing. The word Pagan is derived from the Latin word Paganus, meaning "country dweller." This outgrowth was consistent with the Celts' love for the land and their holding such things as the oak tree and mistletoe sacred.

Paganistic beliefs and rituals blended with those of other Indo-European descended groups, and over several centuries spawned such practices as concocting potions and ointments, casting spells, and performing works of magic. These practices, along with many of the nature-based beliefs held by the Celts and other groups, became collectively known as witchcraft.

The term witch, which means to "twist or bend," has its origin in the ancient, Anglo-Saxon word "wicca," which is derived from the word "wicce," which means "wise." Witch is also related to the German word, "weihen," which means "to consecrate or bless." Some say that the origins of the witch date back thousands of years, to the days when the goddess was worshiped and humanity had great reverence for the powers of nature and for women as creators of new life. In the "New Age" philosophy, this relates to the concept of "Gaia," or "Mother Earth," which views planet earth as essentially a living being.

Prior to the 14th century, witchcraft came to mean a collection of beliefs and practices including healing through spells, mixing ointments or concoctions, dabbling in the supernatural, divining or forecasting the future, and engaging in clairvoyance. Groups holding to other beliefs and rituals often branded witchcraft as "demon-worship."

After North America was discovered and Europeans began migrating to the new land, witchcraft came into practice by some of the early, colonial settlers. Since it had previously been branded as "demon-worship," witchcraft was      throughout the North American colonies. Despite this decree by the powers of the day, some colonists secretly practiced witchcraft knowing they would be hanged or burned if caught. It has been said that certain rituals performed by early-American witches helped shield their settlements from attacks by Native Americans.

Magic can effect many outcomes, some good and some evil, depending on the type of magic and the intentions of the practitioner. The more well-known types of magic are denoted by colors.

"Black magic" is performed with the intention of harming another being, either as a means of building the practitioner's power or as the goal itself. The underlying ideology upon which black magic is based states that the practitioner and his or her pursuit of knowledge and/or physical well-being, are more important than other concerns, theological or ethical.

"Green magic" involves the practitioner's attuning himself or herself to nature and the world around him or her.

"White magic" is where the practitioner attunes himself or herself to the needs of human society and attempts to meet those needs. This is a form of "personal betterment" magic, and does not entail harming other beings.

"Grey magic" is magic that is neither green, nor black, nor white, and which usually replaces the absolute stand of these realms with an ethical code that is particular to the practitioner. It is a type of magic all its own, and may be used for many different purposes.

"Folk magic" is an eclectic collection of herbalism, faith healing, curses and hexes, candle magic, and other workings that has thrived in rural areas for centuries.

There is also the term, "hedge wizard," which refers to an individual who attempts to practice magic with little or no formal training.
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2009-03-31 [AngusMacLeod]: Proof that Wicca existed before Gardner please? The word did, but not the SPECIFIC religion with SPECIFIC deities that Gardner founded. I never said I was of the Wica, I have never stated that, I merely read the books that aren't written by authors that have no idea what they are talking about. There is only one Wicca, and it is only 50 years old. You can not prove that it is not older than that, unless you use Margaret Murray and she has been debunked.
Yes, all forms of the true Wicca, the ONLY Wicca are concerned with right practice. Cult-1. formal religious veneration 2. a religious system 3. faddish devotion and a group of persons showing such a devotion. Devotion to what in Wicca? Fertility.
Do you have to be called Wicca? Why can you not be neo-pagan witches, which is what you are. Is it "cool" to be of the Wica (Wicca).
As such, Wica is still a derivative of Wicca because those that practiced Wicca were called the Wica. Read the Meaning of Witchcraft, Witchcraft Today, Triumph of the Moon, some actual FACT on Wicca.
And if you are talking about the "traditional teachings" then you had also read the Equinox by Aliester Crowley and the Book of the Law and pretty much anything on Ceremonial Magic you can find. Along with that I would read anything that is of the Thelema and any writings on the GD and OTO.

2009-03-31 [Mordigen]: *smacks head*
Everything you are talking about is GARDENARIEN Wicca.
if we take *that* fact into count, then yes, everything you are saying is true -- but here's the kicker. GARDENARIAN wicca is NOT THE ONLY FUCKING FORM OF WICCA!!!
and you, nor anybody else, has any right to just overrule all other forms of a religion, and claim *one* as *THE RIGHT AND ONLY ONE* 
......unfortunately way too many people do this, but that still doesn't make it *right*

that is the fucking point i'm trying to make -- not debunk your "facts" because your facts are true statements --- of GARDENARIEN wicca, not ALL wicca.

now - if you cannot get that through your head, then I'm done. Completely done, because I'm not going to repeat that exact same point yet AGAIN.
so, if you can't get my point, and can't open your closed minded lil eyes and try to show some respect to ALL maters of belief, then please, just move along somewhere else -- because this was SUPPOSED to be a peaceful damn place *Sighs*

2009-04-01 [Delladreing]: that I am no longer brain dead and can chime in properly I hate to say it, but Garder's Wicca is the first original official record of the technically other other forms of Wicca come from it. There is more to neo-paganism than Wicca to be sure, but the first actual person to Officially use the term was him and that awful poet woman.

Definition of a Real Wiccan via my own site Playgans.

2009-04-01 [AngusMacLeod]: Doreen?

The sad thing is that Buckland took all of Gardner's writings, which were just outer court material, and gave it to the public. Thus why you have a bunch of people who aren't really of the Wica running around calling themselves Wiccans. It is unfortunate but if we try we can stop the culture rape.

But it is so hard T.T people cling so hard to the term.

2009-04-02 [Delladreing]: I can never spell her last name without having to look it up. I always want to write "Valentine."

Eh, it all became grey area in the 80's.

2009-04-02 [Mordigen]: Gardener gave it a name -- that does not mean it did not exsist before him.
If -none- of it ever exsisted it until he "created" it, then archaeology and history and science would not have shown that thousands of people, centuries before he was ever even born - followed the *same* practices, and *same* dieties, and *same* beliefs has "his" religion.

Like I said before -- He FOUNDED it (I never denied that) -- but he did not INVENT it.
two different things.
he took an already exsisting religion, and made it "official" that's all he did.
but just because he was the first person to make it "official" does not mean the rest of the belief that came before his endorsing just all the sudden ceased to exsist, or whiped it off the history records -- and not ALL sects and paths of Wicca follow his foundation of his Wicca that he founded -- there are many forms of wicca out there, before Gardener, during Gardener, and now After Gardener that completely disregard him and his belief and his "founding" of the religion, and follow the olde, traditional teachings of the celts and druids, completely unrelated to Gardener.

again -- He *founded* it, he did not *invent* it.

2009-04-02 [Delladreing]: We are not saying he invented it, but to be quite honest, he stole a lot of it from the Golden Dawn order and a lot of eastern world practices. Wicca is a shadow and an idea (I think I stole that from lotr) of what celtic or pictish practices used to be, for the best part a lot of it has been made up.

2009-04-02 [Mordigen]: Very true - I agree. But he is making out that this one way of Wicca is true for *ALL* of them -- and that is very very inaccurate.
Like I said before, there are a lot of forms of wicca that completely disregard Gardener and his teachings.
There are a lot of forms of wicca that could rightfully be called Native American Tribal religions -- and has nothing to do with Gardener, or the Celts.
There are TONS of different forms of it, nowadays, and far too many of them that have nothing to do with Gardener's teachings to say that "this is true of all wicca" Like Angus is saying.

2009-04-02 [Delladreing]: Gardner's Wicca was the original, that is a fact, or at least as factual when one can get when one is dealing with the rise of cults. Which is what it was before it was recognised as a religion. But those things are technically not Wicca...Wicca stems from the celtic/pictish traditions and some parts of europe. Everything else is better off classed as "Neo-paganism" to prevent arguing over semantics. To call oneself Wiccan while invoking a native american god makes one an eclectic-neo-pagan, not a Wiccan. 

2009-04-02 [Mordigen]: Gardener's wicca was -not- the original.
He was the first person to take it, and give it that specific name, and make it official.
Gardener's Wicca was the original "official" sect of that religion.
that is it.
I mean -- if I took, say, methodism -- called it a different name, and then founded it, you would not say that mine was the "original"
no, because like hell it was.
Or lets say, I invented and entirely new religion, all on my own, completely seperate from anyone or anything else. And I had practiced it for over a century on my own, growing a huge population of followers in my new faith -- but then say, another 50 or 60 years down the line someone took *MY* religion *I* had created and gave it a name and officially founded it -- it is not the original, like hell.
things do not work that way, and to claim it does, is fraud.
Gardener is a fraud, thats all the hell he is.
He took something that ALREADY exsisted, changed a few things, and gave it a new name and then has become world-renowned for something he shouldn't have any right to.
I give him complete and sole credit for what he should get - Founder of GARDENARIEN wicca. He is not *the* founder of *WICCA* all in itself. No, he is the founder of HIS sect of Wicca.
And no - in a discussion like this, you have to get into semantics, because it is all semantics. Technically, none of it should be called wicca - because that is not what the *original* was. So you have to get into semantics.

And I have another huge issue with "before it was recognised as a religion"
who gets to say what is recognised as a religion?
back in the time, in the era that it originally exsisted in, you didn't have an "official" say so in what was or whas not a religion, save for say - the catholic church, but of course they are going to denounce anything that isn't their teachings. So it is completely wrong to say it wasn't recognised as a religion.
thousands upon thousands of people recognized it every day of their life, for centuries, as a religion. Thousands and thousands of people, for centuries had made it"official" as a religion - to them.
who is anyone to say that their thoughts, their opinions, their recognition just doesn't fucking matter?
because the social approval didn't exsist in those times like it does today - but nowadays they have a much different scale of what it "official" and "unofficial" there are tons of tirbal religions in Africa, for instance, that no one has "founded" as official - but they are still legitimately recognized as a religion.
Why, all of a sudden, are religions that exsisted before this common logic just all the sudden don't count as religions?
that's not right.
and I resent the use of the word "cult".
"cult" emplies that it is not legitimate - and whos the deciding factor to say what can and cannot be legitimate?
I mean - anything can be classified as a cult.
by definition, and definition alone - Christianity is a Cult. But it doesn't make it any less legitimate, and likewise, if someone *did* call christianity a cult -- even though by definition, that is entirely accurate -- that person who called it a cult would be shamed and illegitimized themselves.
it's a double standard.
"oh, your not legitimate because we say so -- and we are legitimate....because we say so."

not right.

2009-04-02 [Delladreing]: I'm reading what you're saying, but it's translating in my brain as "blah blah blah" Srsly, child throwing a tantrum. You're making me like Angus more, and he came in here being a bit of an ass.

Gardner is the first record we have of Wicca, true. But Wiccan practice and belief although similar to celtic practices are also a great deal can I put this? Made. Up.

You just said it was correct that Gardner was the original sect of Wicca, yes...which means it is the original of Wicca. Wiiiica. It is another branch of Modern. Neo. Paganism. Why are you even arguing with me if you claim to get this??

The point of fact is, there may have been other branches of modern paganism around and before that time, but they were not officially known as Wicca. I'm in the fortunate position of having known people who were about when Wicca first crawled out from under a rock, there was no such thing as Wicca until Gardner came bounding out wearing nothing but a cloak and a crown of leaves surrounded by a lot of scantily clad women. The original form of Wicca is his Wicca- sadly. It is now a well known truth that his "records" were fabrications. Every other form of neo-paganism from that time, is called NEO PAGANISM. It was only after he coined the term that Wicca came to be used by lots of people who thought it was a neat idea to mimic the old religions and put new age spins on it. If we're talking semantics, Wicca and Witchcraft are not words to be used synonymously. Which is what you are doing.

As for the word cult? Get the hell over it, like you said, all religions were cults at one stage. Which means yes, up until oh, probably the 60's Wicca was just another cult. It didn't gain prominence until after the 80's when it took of in the States. It reached Religious Status after it peaked in popularity. Like most religions do. If you can't recognise that all religions are at heart cults in relation to your own religion then you have issues.

2009-04-02 [Mordigen]: So when someone makes a point that is different than yours, it becomes a child throwing a tantrum?

I said Gardenarien Wicca was the Original Sect of *his* wicca. Not all Wicca- I never once admitted that, ever.

I understand what you are saying - apparently no one here gets the point I am trying to make, because no matter how many times I repeat it, you people go back to a point that I never even said.......

He coined the term. That's a much better explanation of it.
Still the simple point is - his religion that he devised is *ONLY* the original form of wicca based SOLELY on semantics of calling it wicca.
The only reason why it is the "original" form of it, is because it was not called Wicca before him -- but the RELIGION DID EXSIST before him. He stole the religion, gave it a different name, and claimed it to be "his".....which it is not.
That is what I meant by none of it should even be called wicca to begin with because the original of it - which is not Gardeners - was not even known as wicca.

Just like all the different sects of Christianity aren't looked at as completely seperate religions just because they founded it under a different name - they are all considered sects of Christianity, not independant entities -- Gardener's Religion is not the original, it is a sect of a greater religion, a greater belief, that had been around long before he ever exsisted.

that is my fucking point, why is that so hard to get through peoples heads?

It's like you guys are just flat out ignoring my points, and are just set on blindly believe whatever some book tells you to, just because it came from some supposed authrotive source.

2009-04-02 [Delladreing]: No, it's just the way you are acting.

It's so hard to get through because it's wrong. Wicca as a religion did not exist until him and a few others came about. I am not arguing the existence of neo-paganism or the traditional religions they draw on, I am arguing the use of the word Wicca, it is inaccurate. It should not be used to describe something else. Is the term "neo paganism" not getting over to you?

2009-04-02 [Mordigen]: How am I acting? All I am doing is trying to get my point across in a manner where someone can finally understand me -- as each time I say something, it seems that no one even gets it.

*smacks head*
see - once again. Nothing I say seems to get through to anyone.
EVERYTHING the BOTH of you are saying is completely getting through to me........the problem I am getting frustrated at is that apparently NOTHING I am saying is getting through to either of you.

I am not calling anything outside of "Wicca" as Wicca. I am arguing the fact that people say that Gardenarian Wicca is the original form of the religion. It is not.
Gardenarian Wicca - or Wicca itself -- is not even's an entirely different religion, that was Branded with the name "wicca" because of Gardener.
Gardener stole an already exsisting religion, named it wicca, and has since exploaded a new revolution of pagan religions that -- like you said -- are basically made up, but the fact remains that Gardenarian Wicca is not the original form of the religion, because it was an entirely different religion -- it was not wicca -- It was a seperate religion on it's own That Gardener took, and just decided to Call Wicca.

I am not calling anything that is not Wicca wicca, I am not calling anything that should be called neo-paganism anything other than that -- why do you keep thinking I am ?
I am arguing the fact that Gardenarien Wicca is not the original form of the religion, because the "original" "wicca" religion, was not "wicca" at all -- it was an already, pre-exsisting, legitimate religion that he stole, re-named, and flooded with his propoganda.

2009-04-02 [Delladreing]: Maybe it's your lack of ability to convey things, I don't know. But the point is, Wicca didn't steal A religion, he stole from numerous religions and created Wicca. The original Wicca, there is no way around that. Everything else just borrowed the term.

Witchcraft and Wicca are again not the same thing. The Old English word for 'witchcraft' was wiccacraeft, not Wicca. Please tell me you are not confusing the "two". And why do I think you are not getting this, because you are still arguing using the term Wicca to describe things far older- although at one point you remedy this you still fall back on to thinking they are in some way similar in origin.

2009-04-02 [Mordigen]: No, I know what you are saying....and I'm saying anything against it -- The point of my frustration is just not being able to get you guys to understand what I'm trying to say -- which I don't know how else to say it other than the ways I've been trying to say it.
Though, I've told a several numbers of my friends about it -- trying to ask them *IS* it just the way I'm saying it?? But they were all able to follow along with me perfectly I don't know what else to say to just get people to understand what I'm trying to say.
Maybe I can just vocalize it much clearer than putting down in words - I dont know, but I guess I'm done here now because I just can't get across what my point is.

I'm following along with you two just fine -- it just seems like the point I'm trying to make just doesn't come across, so I don't know what more to do about that, and no debate or discussion can continue on when one side just can't make their point clear...... :S

2009-04-02 [sequeena_rae]: This is hilarious.

2009-04-03 [Mordigen]: yea, for you! it's frustrating as hell for me, because I'm trying to say something that is really, in my head, soooo simple, but I -apparently- just can't get it *out*

quit laffin at me ! XP

2009-04-03 [sequeena_rae]: I laugh at you all :P

2009-04-03 [AngusMacLeod]: Good, I am glad I am not the only one that sees the hilarity in this.

There was NO Wicca before Gardner. Murray tried to claim it and then Gardner followed. That theory has been DEBUNKED. It is only 50 years old. You are trying to say that Gardner's Wicca is not the original Wicca, unfortunately it IS. Idiots like Buckland "brought" it to American and used his outer court knowledge and wrote books calling it Wicca.

It is a specific religion with specific deities, like ALL religions. Anything else is just neo-paganism. The Gaels did NOT practice Wicca, and that is very insulting. If you did you research correctly you would see that Gardner drew from Uncle Crowley, Pickingill, the GD, the OTO, to make up his Wicca to try and reconstruct a form of witchcraft and use his love of naked women and drama (I love Gardner, but really?).

As I say again: Read. Triumph. of. the. Moon.

I am sorry that I seem to be an asshole, but I won't stand by and let people rape a culture. Inaction is still an action and a bad one at that.

2009-04-04 [Delladreing]: There's a knack to correcting idiocy, you just lack the subtlety I do... ;) (The subtlety of a brick to the head:Playgans)

I don't know what Mordi was trying to say, but it just seemed to run in circles. At one point she said "it's not even Wicca" which er, yea. Begs the question as to what she was trying to talk about then.

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