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Traditional witchcraft is an umbrella term that includes many traditions. Essentially traditional witches are practitioners of forms of witchcraft that pre-date Wicca and new age practices. Some of these traditions may be passed down as family traditions, whilst others are cultural, where witches follow the traditions of their own or a specific culture.
Traditional witchcraft is based on the traditions of the old wise women and men, cunning folk, herbalists, healers and witches. Today some witches may work as part of a coven but most traditional witches are solitary workers. In fact, traditional witchcraft places a lot of importance on working alone and is also usually based on nature alongside shamanistic practises and techniques. The traditional witch will utilise the natural world, often wildcrafting, growing herbs and collecting natural materials and objects found in nature.
Some traditional witches do buy tools if they feel they are needed. However, mainly it is felt that specific tools are not needed in traditional witchcraft. The witch will use tools that he or she will feel benefits their craft. In fact, some witches prefer to use only a few tools or none at all, preferring instead to stick with tools that are very practical in nature such as the pestle and mortar for herbs or the staff when walking which can also be then used to connect to the spirit world.
In ritual and spell work the craft is not scripted and is not ceremonial at all. Rituals and spell work is usually spontaneous and spoken from the heart. There is no circle casting as the traditional witch feels that all space is scared. Sometimes a compass round is created, which is very different from a circle. This can be traced with a broom/ besom or a stang /staff. Some witches will simply use their bodies to do this such as using their heels and hands to create the compass, whilst others will prefer to do this within using visualisation techniques.
Above is only a very basic definition of traditional witchcraft. Overall traditional witchcraft is a very deep craft. The witch embraces everything in nature and within. This means that the witch will walk both into both the dark and light aspects of nature. However, usually the two are irrelevant, as the witch will simply see the two as a whole and not as two separate things. There is deep inner knowledge to be found in working this way and in this tradition, the witch will strive to find this knowledge. This mystery can not found in any book. In fact, many traditional witches will give up the pagan and witchcraft books, and instead read books and information that is relevant to them. For some this will be to find out everything about herbalism, making potions, practising spellcraft, while for others this will be to find out about working with spirits, reading religious texts, different types of spirits, shamanism etc. And then another witch may be interested in history and will research the folk traditions of different cultures. Whatever the witch is interested in you can bet that he or she will somehow include this in their craft, because the witch will incorporate witchcraft into every minute of their lives. It’s part of who they are.