Calling ourselves Witches

I don’t want to get stuck discussing labels (whether we should call ourselves witches, wiccans, pagans or magi I have explored but really I don’t think it should cloud what we are). However I’ll discuss the word “witch”. Yes, this topic is a little overdone but who cares! XD

I’ve been reading a lot lately, taking my books over to my boyfriend’s house, and in the first section of every book on witchcraft (almost every) there’s a big chapter on history. In some books the history used to go in depth about the “burning times” and sometimes these were quite fictional accounts of history. But most books these days talk about the times that the Witch seemed to be very important.

I’m not talking about the Medicine Women, the Wise Ones or the Cunning Folk, and I’m not talking about the Priests and Priestesses, the Druids or Shamans. I’m talking about Witches. A witch was a person who used supernatural forces to cause harm to others, whether it’s diseases in cattle or crops or infertility or whatever.

A witch wasn’t a person who gave medicine (everyone was happy to take the medicine); it wasn’t someone who divined the future or talked to spirits (these were people sometimes also used to track down witches!). Whether anyone was actually a Witch back then I have no idea! Whether anyone actually intentionally or successfully used magic to cause death, disease or misery I don’t know, and I’m very doubtful. Everyone knew how to perform curses. Nails in bottles, etched copper plates and poppets are methods carried on and still used today (not always for curses, but to cause an effect).

Believe it or not I’m actually neutral on the use of “Witch” as a name. I use it all the time, sometimes I use other names. We all know what they mean to us. 🙂 What I actually find most interesting is the times that they lived in, in the UK. There was a great big cultural scramble. They had generations of invasion and conquest. They’d seen so many cultures come and go and no real stabilising periods so naturally the cultures mixed and didn’t have anything cohesive or coherent to say it was a religion or faith, or even what it was. There were still people who put horse shoes in their houses. There were still people who hung elder and honey suckle above their doors. There were still people who left dishes of milk for spirits. And that was part of the culture, regardless of religion.

Why it’s interesting to me is that we call ourselves, right now, Witches. Right now, we live in a world of globalisation (in a sociological perspective, whether globalisation is good or bad I will not explore but to us it seems to be quite good). This makes our society as multicultural as before, if not even more. We can Feng Shui our houses, balance our Chakras, prey to Indian gods et c. And the fact that the Witch has returned in a similar cultural climate really gets me thinking.


Anyway, just a thought put into a lot of words!

Hope you enjoyed




(ps, here’s an interesting video I found that really got me thinking about this stuff)


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. byronycoffin
    Sep 01, 2012 @ 21:57:53

    What an enjoyable article. I hope to keep reading many more like it from you. I consider myself a Wiccan and a Witch. I am both but I do not use any of my powers for bad. I spoke to an empath one day and she said I was a sorcercer in my past life and I’ve brought it with me and I am powerful. I should be careful. I feel this power and I am grateful for the chance to become a powerful witch. I am grateful to become a wonderful person and a wonderful witch and I am going to be very happy to do as I will and hopefully suffer from lack of less karma. I know what karma feels like. It hurts your soul. I am glad that it’s all over, my bad weekend, but I must say I am happy with what I have and what I can do. You have my brightest blessings. Byrony


    • The Pagan Pair
      Sep 02, 2012 @ 08:59:53

      Thank you very much. And if you had a bad weekend there might have been a soul lesson for you to learn in it. Some of the things that hurt the most give us valuable wisdom. You’re very lucky to have been a sorcerer in a past life. 🙂 I recently learnt that my Great Great Aunt Winnie was a witch, and my Grandad might have practiced some magic himself, but sadly none of the traditions have been passed down the family (probably because people thought it was less important). Thank you very much and lovely to hear from you. 🙂


      • byronycoffin
        Sep 02, 2012 @ 17:35:56

        Rowan thank you so much for responding to me it makes me feel heard as a Wiccan and a Witch. I am going to do all I can to keep up with my posts and my replys to others and make things go the way they should. Brightest Blessings. Byrony

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