Pagan Paths

Traditional Witchcraft are paths of historically based magic practices that are generally animist and countercultural. Spiritscraft explores themes of spirit work, resistance and local and natural magic and ritual.

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Magic, Wonder, and Spiritscraft

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Magic and wonder have been important to me spiritually for my entire life. As a child, I learned basic magical skills — like energy protection, artistic magic, relaxation, and healing meditation — from my family. We were all very connected with nature, and the sacredness of the outdoors.

I began having out of body experiences when I was a teenager. When I met my familiar spirit, it was an angel who protected me when I was very sick. My familiar helped me to become a stronger and braver girl.

At University, I met druids and witches among my classmates and professors. The mythology and anthropology I was learning helped me understand my experiences with spirits and the otherworld. After checking out various religious options, I returned to my true-self and ultimately witchcraft.

I am grateful to Anne Niven for giving me a column here on Witches and Pagans, and I want to use this platform to share with the community about traditional witchcraft. Traditional witchcraft refers to an occult movement following underground forms of magical practices in medieval and modern times.

In most cases historical magical and spiritual practices were illegal under witchcraft and heresy laws. The practices dubbed witchcraft or heresy are: conjurations of sprites, having a familiar spirit, enchantments to find money or treasure, claiming to foretell the future, cast spells, love sorcery, hexing, and worshipping “false” gods. Additionally, witches were indicated by ownership of grimoires, herbal medicines and poisons, witch marks and magical pets that served them.

Now that alternative spiritual practices are no longer illegal in many parts of the west, interest in witchcraft has revived. Religious freedoms permit people to commune with fairies, ghosts and familiar spirits for sacred purposes. It is permissible to foretell the future, cast spells and dowse for lost goods or treasure as long as you do not guarantee your services and you include a clear disclaimer. (However, laws do vary and there are still places where loss of custody of your children, or discrimination in work and housing are still a risk for witches and pagans).

Because the practices once considered illegal witchcraft are now more acceptable, modern witches embrace the title of the former felony with pride. And when witches seek their forbearers, they look for them not only by the once criminal title, but also by the spiritual and magical practices that defined them.

Traditional witches base their practices and spiritual customs on historical records, folklore, grimoires and herbals, trade lodge rituals, cunning folk professions and archaeological finds.

In my column, I will explore the topics relating working with spirits, as well as historical and modern expressions of traditional witchcraft. I look forward to getting to know the community here. Thank you for reading and welcome to my blog!

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  Sara Star is a traditional witch, historian, sacred artist and fairy faith animist. She was raised in a new-age family and learned animism and magic from a young age. Sara is an author, illustrator and a contributor of upcoming books about traditional witchcraft.  
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