When you hear the word witchcraft, what image comes to mind? If you’ve only really heard about it from pop culture, you’ll probably summon an image of an old crone with a pointy hat on a flying broomstick. Well, you might be surprised to learn that 16 different types of witchcraft are still practiced to this day!
Basics of Witchcraft
What is witchcraft? It’s difficult to pin down an exact definition because there are so many different types of witchcraft. Generally speaking, witchcraft is the practice of magick—the “k” being the difference between real magick and pull-a-rabbit-out-of-my-hat performance magic.
In the past, it’s been associated with using supernatural forces to manipulate or harm the innocent. However, the reality is less bleak. Witches tend to have a high moral standard and practice different forms of paganism, such as divination or spell-casting, in a benign way.
If you’re reading this because you’re interested in learning more about witches or even getting into witchcraft, the good news is that it is not a complicated process as one might think. It’s surprisingly simple, but also more profound than you might think. You won’t learn it in a day, or even a month, but its lessons are not complex. You just have to be consistent and incorporate witchcraft principles into your lifestyle.
Witch culture has a deep connection to nature and our very life force. It utilizes magick, which is better described as manipulating energy to get the desired outcome. It’s often said that anything you do as a witch will come back to you three times over.
There are several terms relating to witchcraft that can make things a whole lot more complicated than they need to be. Terms such as Wicca, shamanism, and paganism refer to similar but different things. Wicca is a form of witchcraft, but not the only form. Shamans have many overlaps with witches, but they believe that everything has a soul, including rocks and plants, whereas witches tend to believe only in animal and human souls. Paganism refers to people who practice a religion other than the dominant monotheistic religions of today.
If you’re intrigued by witch culture, past or present, you may be wondering: how old is witchcraft? Well, the answer might be quite baffling. It’s seemingly as old as civilization itself, if not far older. There have been various types of witchcraft dated as far back as the earliest written documents.
In the Code of Hammurabi, the Babylonian code of law from almost 4,000 years ago, there is a law against witchcraft. If a spell is cast unjustly against a man, he must jump into the river. If the river kills him, then the spell-caster will take over his home and possessions. If, however, the man is unharmed, then the spell-caster shall be put to death, with the victim receiving the caster’s home and possessions.
The Akkadians also had an anti-witchcraft ritual known as Maqlû that dates back to over 3,000 years ago. Even more interestingly, there are some scholars and witches that claim the basics of witchcraft originated far earlier, around 25,000BCE. The supporting evidence for this is slim, but the countless findings of statues of Venus—round female statues from prehistory—are likely remnants of some kind of female-worshipping cult.
Witch culture continued to be present from antiquity until the modern-day, during the period between the 15th and 18th centuries, witches became commonly associated with Satan worship. People would report others if they thought them to be witches, often without proof. Many witch hunts ended with them being executed, usually by hanging or burning at the stake. This is where the stereotypical idea of witches has its roots.
Different Types of Witchcraft
There have been many falsehoods spread about witchcraft, now and in the past, but the true essence of witch culture boils down to 16 different types of witchcraft. If you’re a witch, you belong to one of these categories:
With a focus on local ancestral folklore, traditional witches honor the old ways of practicing the craft.
An eclectic witch uses the motto, “Use what works for you.” They mix and match from different types of witchcraft to personalize their practice.
A witch at home, you’ll find them with essential oils, herbs, and plenty of loving energy. They’re great cooks and sprinkle their personal energy into every meal.
Green witches love the great outdoors. They thrive off nature and have a strong connection to the energy of mother earth. They know plants and herbs inside out.
As the name suggests, these witches practice their craft alone instead of joining a coven. They have less of a need for the energy of others.
Masters of astral projection, a hedge witch can ‘jump the hedge’ into the spirit world at will. They can send and receive messages from the other side.
These witches work wonders with the natural elements: fire, earth, air, and water.
No men are allowed to be Dianic witches. They’re a feminist group that worships the goddess Diana through three forms: the maiden, the crone, and the mother.
Sea witches harness power from the sea and the moon. They often use items from the ocean in their practice, such as sand, shells, and driftwood. They feel a strong connection to mythological sea creatures like the Sirens.
These witches specialize in rituals and ceremonial magick. They prefer special events when their energy is at its peak such as the summer solstice. They can call on other entities to help guide them.
Hereditary witches were born into the business. Their magick has been preserved and passed down from generation to generation. You can only become a hereditary witch if you’re from the right lineage.
Using astronomy and astrology in their craft, cosmic witches summon great power during cosmic events like a solar eclipse.
The work of a secular witch is entirely devoid of spirituality. They don’t worship a higher being or deity. The witch may be spiritual, but the magick never is.
Named after the teachings of Caroline High-Correll, these types of witches are the most prominent today. They believe that all paths come from the same source and that all forms of deity are equally true and valid, but fall short of the incomprehensible reality.
You must be initiated into the branch of witchcraft that follows Gerald Gardner’s teachings. He popularized Wicca in the mid-twentieth century. Gardnerian witches are masters of intention.
Alexandrian witches revere the power of both masculine and feminine energies. It’s another derivative of Wicca, but more eclectic than Gardnerian.
Witches can use a wide variety of crystals to help them with their craft. Each natural stone can be beneficial in its way. Whichever crystals you work with, it’s important to remember to always cleanse and program your crystals before working with them, regardless of your intentions.
Here are 5 crystals often used by withes in their craft:
Once part of a tree’s immune system, amber is technically not even a crystal. It’s a fossilized tree resin that is used as a natural gem to enhance positivity, energy, and health.
The pink stone of love is perfect for enhancing self-esteem. It empowers you to love yourself and find your inner peace if you’re feeling down.
A stone of protection, confidence, and willpower, Tiger’s eye is the ideal crystal for responsibly harnessing positive energy. It’s a good luck gemstone that can be used to manifest success. Also known as a stone of truth, keep tiger’s eye nearby to flush out liars.
Another witchcraft crystal that isn’t a crystal, this volcanic stone has been used since antiquity to make scrying mirrors. Black Obsidian encourages you to delve deep into your sense of self and discover personal truths, as well as protect you from the negative intentions of others.
Amethyst is known to activate the crown chakra. It empowers you to communicate with the spiritual realm and dramatically enhances your intuition. You won’t find a better stone to relax your energy than Nature’s Tranquilizer.
The deeper your understanding of yourself, the better witch you can become. Witches are ethical, self-disciplined, and self-aware. If you can strengthen these traits then there is no reason why you cannot excel at witchcraft. Search for a coven to join that has the same moral standards as you, or practice alone if you prefer the solitary life. Most of all, enjoy it!