The Witch, The Warlock
and The Witchcraft
A witch is a female shaman, typically including divination
(astrology, palmistry, tarot, I Ching, etc.), healing (herbal medications,
aromatherapy, massage, sacred sexuality, etc.), and magick.
The practice of any of the arts of a witch or the
religion of a witch.
Wizard: a traitor. From Old English wær covenant
+ -loga one who denies (related to leogan to lie), literally meaning “oath-breaker”.
This term reflects medieval Christian propaganda and does not accurately
describe a male witch. Warlock is sometimes wrongly used these days as the
term for male witches. But men who practice witchcraft as a religion
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 witchcraft, as
contemporary witchcraft does not share Christianity's belief in the devil.
is a lot of confusion over exactly what witchcraft is. Part of this
confusion is because “witch” has a lot of different meanings, and the
number of meanings is expanding rapidly. The preceding definition is a
root definition, from which the many modern definitions are derived.
Obviously there will be a lot of modern witches who don’t match the root
definition. We’re not trying to exclude them. Once you understand the
root definition, it becomes easier to understand how the many modern
varieties came into existence.
In particular, we are not trying to discriminate against guys. Of course
men can be witches. Traditionally, witches are women, but there have
always been a small number of male witches. In modern times it is much
more common for males to become witches.
You see, the origins of witchcraft are early human efforts to deal with
women’s mysteries, particularly the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and
childbirth. We can’t be certain when witchcraft first started, although
it probably started around the same time that pre-humans mastered fire
(around 400,000 years ago). The oldest evidence of witchcraft is a piece
of whalebone from 106,000 years ago that has a crude calendar marking the
phases of the moon and a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Early witchcraft combined magick ritual with herbal preparations, built on
millennia of lore passed down through generations of wise women.
As one example, consider the use of the rose. Modern science has
revealed that the rose hip (the sweet part at the center of a rose) has
the highest concentration of iron of any plant (it is also an excellent
source of vitamin C). A woman loses a lot of iron during her period, and a
natural supplement of iron has obvious positive benefits. Additionally,
there are a few dozen minor trace ingredients in rose hips, many of which
help stabilize a woman’s emotions and moods while on her period.
Obviously early witches didn’t know the scientific details, but they did
know that eating rose hips (either fresh, or dried rose hips used to make
rose hip tea) helped during menstruation. So, taking rose hips during
menstruation became a fairly standard part of witchcraft.
fact, it is this witchcraft practice that led to the association of roses
with romance. Before Christianity, the use of rose hips or rose hip tea
during a woman’s period was fairly common knowledge. The men who were
close to a woman (particularly her husband or mate) would make sure that
they brought their lover plenty of roses during her period. And obviously
a man would have to be on intimate terms with a woman to know the right
timing for when to bring roses.
Several Christian popes attempted to eliminate the practice of witchcraft,
including outlawing growing or possessing flowers with the death penalty
(because witchcraft made so much use of various flowers for herbal
preparations). This harsh penalty caused a lot of the common knowledge
about the herbal effects of various flowers to be lost in Western
civilization, but the association of roses with romance and love remained
long after the actual witchcraft meaning was lost.
Witchcraft, like any living religion, has blossomed and grown and changed
through the millennia, and now has lots of different forms. But all of
those new forms can be traced back to early female shamanism.
The Wicca ABC's - we define witches as wicca (modern witch), and these
page explain the simplest meaning.
Wiccan Rede - Witch rules and regulations
The Spell - The entire meaning of spell and some spell you can use
Casting A Circle - Your circle is important
Some Witches Greetings - How to greet one witch at a time
List of Gods and Goddesses - Your Deities
Witches Powers - Can you handle these
Herbal Knowledge - medical knowledge
SALEM Witchcraft Trials - Remembering Old Salem (1690)
Magical Creature and Beings - Other beings connected to witches