Traditional witchcraft is not the same as Wicca Witchcraft – although they believe in some of the same principles. It is a way of life that strongly believes in traditions. It originated in the British Isles and has been around a lot longer than Wicca, which is only sixty years old. Unlike Wicca, traditional witchcraft believes in the ethics of intent and does not have any Rede, self-initiation or Watchtowers. There is a special initiation just for practitioners of traditional witchcraft. There is a strong belief in the “homeland”.
The Principles of Traditional Witchcraft
Those who practice traditional witchcraft believe they are the only ones who should call themselves “witches” and that Wiccans are “Wiccans” and not “witches”. For practitioners of traditional magic, there is the belief that magic is a tool that accomplishes things and it is more of a religion and less a resource for magic. Therefore, not all traditional witches practice magic.
Witchcraft has nothing whatsoever to do with Satanism, which instead is related to Christianity. It is completely unrelated to the belief in Satan or the practice of those who are Satanists. Male witches are not categorized as “warlocks” in traditional witchcraft. This is again something stigmatized by the Christian church to denigrate males who practice witchcraft. In traditional witchcraft, a warlock is someone who cannot be trusted and they are marked with a blade slashed across their forehead.
The Role of the God and Goddess
Traditional practitioners belief in the male and female aspects of nature—a god and goddess. The god and goddess represent the entire universe and do not reign over it. The god aspect of the religion is represented as being the hunter or protector of the witch and coven. The goddess is representative of the land’s fertility. Both are gods of nature and are not believed to be omnipotent. Instead, they have human characteristics, just like normal human beings.
Ancestry in Traditional Witchcraft
You cannot be born a witch but must practice the religion voluntarily. It takes a lot of self-dedication to become a witch and you must consciously want to follow the Old Ways of witchcraft. Traditional witches often keep mysteries or secrets among themselves, most information are shared through oral traditions and they are never supposed to be written down but passed from one witch to another. There is a rite of passage that a witch goes through in order to belong to the coven and become a witch in traditional witchcraft. In some cases, a person passes through the rites of passage at certain times of their life and after a long period of study under other witches. The witch must do specific tasks in order to be deemed worthy of the tradition of witches.
The ancestors are important in traditional witchcraft. The ancestors represent those people who have gone before us. They have different names, depending on the culture practicing magic but they are basically the same. They are considered advisors of the world and are called upon to give advice when needed. Witches sometimes leave small gifts or food out for the ancestors. They are honored and respected but are not considered to be the level of gods and are not worshipped.
Those who practice traditional witchcraft believe in the Otherworld. This is the place where it is believed that the ancestors live. It is not called the otherworld in all practices but its concept is considered to be the same. It is the realm of dead people who have died before us. It is believed to be a location where there are hills, caves, wells and thick mists.