What is Witchcraft?

While not all Witchcraft is considered to be specifically “Wiccan,” the terms “Wicca” and “Witchcraft” are often used interchangeably. Some Wiccans argue for a distinction between what they consider to be spirituality-based worship (“Wicca”) and more “secular” magical practice (“Witchcraft”), but more often the two are intertwined enough that the distinction isn’t particularly useful. With all due respect to Wiccans who recognize a difference, the term “Witchcraft” will be used in this guide to describe the general activities found in rituals practised by Wiccans and non-Wiccan Witches alike. Because some Wiccans do not practice magic and do not consider themselves Witches, the term “Witch” in this section of the guide is meant to refer those who both adopt Wiccan practices in some form or another and practice magic as part of their religion. Still with me? Great, let’s take a look at Witchcraft and magic in more detail.Witchcraft is the set of beliefs and practices employed by Witches in ritual and spellwork. Often, magical work is incorporated into the Shabbat and Esbat celebrations observed by covens and solitary Witches, though spellwork may be employed on its own on other occasions. In fact, many Witches consider themselves to be constantly “practising” their Craft in their daily lives through the use of meditation, magically charged meals and beverages, colour choices in clothing and jewellery, nightly candle rituals, and other seemingly“small” enactments of magic. The more one is in tune with the rhythms and energies of the natural world, the more “magical” one’s life will seem and feel, and this relationship with the cycles of life is deepened throughout one’s life through study and practice.“Magic” is a word used for the phenomena that occur when people consciously participate in the co-creative forces of the Universe, by using the subtle energies of nature to cause the desired change in their reality. People may use magic, or “the Craft” as it is often called, for many purposes. This often includes spells, charms, and other workings for what could be called “personal gain,” such as a new job or improvements in a love relationship. However, the Craft is also used to work for benefits to one’s family, community, or even to people across the globe. For example, a coven may use an Esbat ritual as an opportunity to send beneficial healing light to victims of a natural disaster. What the Craft is definitely not used for is anything that would cause harm to another person or other living being, even unintentionally. Our wishes can often be manipulative when it comes to how they affect other people, even when we don’t realize it. Therefore, ritual and spellwork often include safeguards against accidental misuse of magical energy, such as the phrases “for the good of all” and “harm to none”—taken from the Wiccan Rede. Keeping this idea in the forefront of one’s mind is important, particularly in light of another basic tenet of Witchcraft: the Threefold Law. Also known as “The Rule of Three” and “The Law of Return,” this principle states that whatever Witches send out into the Universe as intent, whether positive or negative, will come back to them three times as great. While some Witches don’t subscribe to this particular belief, it is often invoked as a reminder that magical power should be used only for good, and never in the spirit of harm or manipulation