They believe in the power of nature and that in helping our Mother Earth she will grant them the power to become one with her. Most witches or pagans believe in the old ways, the ways of our ancestors – believing in more than one God/Goddess. This is called a polytheistic religion – as opposed to monotheistic religions that only believe in one God. Basically, any of the ancient religions are polytheistic; Ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, Celt, Norse (Viking), Indian, Hinduism (before the influx of Islam into India) Taoism (before the arrival of Buddhism), Shinto (again before Buddhism), the Aztecs, Mayans, American Indians, and Australian Aboriginals. Wow, would you look at that! That’s almost every religion, isn’t it?
So, what happened? The Crusades, from 1095 – 1291 were a series of wars waged by the pope to regain control of the “Holy Land.” They were fought mostly by Roman Catholics, against Muslims and Greek orthodox Christians (all monotheistic religions), but smaller campaigns were waged against the pagan Slavs, pagan Balts, Mongols and “Christian Heretics”.
Another example of aggression against paganism is the witch trials, where people who were believed to be ‘witches’ were put on trial and executed. Everyone in modern times has heard of the witch trials, I mean we still use the expression “a witch hunt” this very day.
The witch trials started in south-eastern France during the 1400’s before spreading like a plague through central Europe and then to other parts of the continent and in some of the Eastern European colonies in North America.
The peak of the witch hunting years was between 1580 and 1630 AD. Over the entire duration of the phenomenon (some four centuries), there was an estimated total of 40,000 – 60,000 executions. Many of these people actually just followed pagan religions. The next misconception about witchcraft is the pentagram.
First of all, the typical pentagram with a circle around it, as seen in movies, is wrong; a pentagram is a five-pointed star with no circle surrounding it. OK, some more linguistics: ‘penta’, as most people know means five and gram is ancient Greek for “something written” or “drawing”. So together they mean five picture – a.k.a. a five-pointed star.
Pentacle, on the other hand, means five-circle, you can see where the misconception lies. A pentacle is the five-pointed star with a circle around it, a pentagram is the one without (although they’re similar concepts). Another misconception is that the pentagram is the symbol for the devil; the symbol of Satanism is actually an inverted crucifix.
Why is this? Because Satanism is considered the opposite of Christianity. The pentagram is the symbol for the five natural elements: earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. Whether it be upside down or not, it means the same thing, although in some areas of paganism if the top or spirit point is facing down then it is used for ‘dark’ magick rather than ‘good’ magick (although in other sects it is just another symbol for the horned god).
A representation of the pentagram with the five pagan elements. Is there another word for male witches? No, a witch is a witch no matter which witch is which.
A wizard should more often than not be called an alchemist or a warlock (Honestly, the semantics are pretty varied). The term wizard was most likely manufactured for fantasy literature, and it doesn’t really have any bearing on paganism. I am a convert to paganism myself, I was born and baptized a Roman Catholic, but I couldn’t deal with what I saw as the use of fear to intimidate people into belief, using it as a tool to make people be good. Most Middle Eastern monotheistic religions make heavy use of the image of hell; where if you are a ‘sinner’ you will suffer for all eternity.
It’s just something I can’t really believe – why would an all knowing being send the creations that he loves to a place where they will be tortured for all eternity? have found that the clergy themselves do not necessarily follow these ideas – there are many different interpretations of the bible.
But I just could not take some of the interpretations in, so I did some research and eventually found my way into Paganism, and all the witches I have met so far, including one of my aunts, have been really nice.