Spellbinding Things You Didn't Know About Modern Witches

Do modern witches exist? It’s been over 400 years since the Salem and Pendle witch trials, but the fascination and practice of witchcraft in its many forms has never waned - it just went underground. Since various forms of paganism were punishable by death (or at the very least, exile) in the Middle Ages, the traditions were mainly oral or mnemonics, leaving no evidence of the practice, which led to the mystery behind witchcraft. To this day, there’s the wide-held belief that the spirit world exists, and can be accessed by people, although through many interpretations and practices.

Witchcraft and paganism are often wrapped in long-held misunderstanding and inaccuracies. Paganism includes Wicca, Druidism, and Shamanism. Neopaganism is the contemporary set of beliefs that includes animism, pantheism, and polytheism. There is great diversity among belief systems and even witches disagree as to what constitutes a witch.  

The practitioners of these faiths maintain that they are not Satan worshippers, as that requires the practitioner to believe in Christianity. Modern day witches, for the most part, are peaceful law abiding citizens who respect nature and honor it with various practices. However, some individual or group is always hijacking these belief systems and warping them, making headlines and overshadowing thousands of years of history to the contrary.  

Some belief systems have even been accepted into the mainstream in many countries. Wicca has emerged as a more widely-accepted practice and is recognized in many official capacities. Governments have gone from fully recognizing witchcraft as real and therefore dangerous to dismissing it altogether.  

In 1735, The Witchcraft Act was passed by Parliament and saw the end of several laws making witchcraft punishable by death. It also imposed fines or imprisonment on people who claimed to have magical powers. The Act was repealed in 1951 by the Fraudulent Mediums Act. That Act was repealed in 2008.

Some believe that the origins of witchcraft began with the attempt at understanding women’s health such as menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and childbirth. Others believe that its origins stem from the creation and mastery of fire. Even Julius Caesar had a keen interest in Druidism and the Celtic people.

A revival in the belief of Wicca and witchcraft sprang up in the 1940s and has only steadily grown over time. Even in a modern world fill with technology, many believe that some things can be influenced by spiritual methods. Modern witch facts point to the nearly 400,000 years of history related to witchcraft and paganism.

So, are witches real? Do modern witches exist? Read on to learn more about what's going on in the world of witchcraft today.

  • The US Declared Wicca a Religion in 1985

    The US Declared Wicca a Religion in 1985
    Photo: Malloym / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0

    The ruling read: “The District Court of Virginia declared in 1985 (Dettmer v. Landon, 617 F Suup 592 [E. Dst. Va.]) that Wicca is "clearly a religion for First Amendment purposes....Members of the Church sincerely adhere to a fairly complex set of doctrines relating to the spiritual aspect of their lives, and in doing so they have 'ultimate concerns' in much the same way as followers of more accepted religions.

    Their ceremonies and leadership structure, their rather elaborate set of articulated doctrine, their belief in the concept of another world, and their broad concern for improving the quality of life for others gives them at least some facial similarity to other more widely recognized religions." 1 This was a landmark case.”

    Source: Religious Tolerance

  • Some Might Still Do Blood Rituals

    In 2015, news of a woman in Texas (along with three accomplices) holding a victim captive in order to conduct a "blood ritual" broke. Reportedly, the woman was held captive for three days in a San Antonio-area home, forced to ingest drugs and participate in a blood ritual.

    A spokesman for the local sherrif's department said, “It was a form of witchcraft where they cut her hair and drew blood from her." While most modern witches seem peaceful and tolerant, this case goes to show that there seems to be a bad seed in just about any group of people.
  • Witches Don’t Necessarily “Celebrate” Halloween (Samhain)

    Witches Don’t Necessarily “Celebrate” Halloween (Samhain)
    Photo: Rene Cunningham / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

    For Wiccans, it’s a time to remember those who have died. Wiccans also use this time, when the veil between the living and dead is the weakest, to communicate. That can mean simply honoring them with a ritual or actually speaking to them.  

    Witch Lucya Starz says she and her fellow witches have a specific ritual. “We put out all the lights except for a single candle and ask departed loved ones to join us for the evening, then sit in silence for a while to see if we get messages from them. What we normally do in my coven is scry into a cauldron full of water. A bit like using a crystal ball, you look for images in the water. They aren’t clear images like a movie – more like shadows or ripples in the water. Usually what you see is rather vague and hard to interpret as well. The people we try to communicate with are our departed loved ones,” Starza said.  

    Source: Metro
  • There Are Plenty of Male Witches (Don’t Call Them Warlocks)

    Witchcraft is not gender specific and both men and women can be witches. Calling a male witch a warlock is not cool. A warlock is witch who has been exiled from his coven. 
    Source: Male Witch