Witchcraft: Debunking the Stereotypes

When I was around 14 years old, my aunt told me that she believed that I am a witch.

Many thoughts popped into my head when I was first introduced to the concept of witchcraft. These numerous thoughts ranged from believing that anyone who claimed to be a witch was an idiot who thought they could create fire with my hands all the way to thoughts revolving around devil worship.

I have already touched upon stereotypes regarding witchcraft in my “What Is a Witch?” blog post, however I wanted to create a separate post to delve deeper into a wider range of negative connotations and rumours about witches in a separate post.

Black Cats

The Celts and Druids adored black cats. They were associated with many positive concepts such as prosperity, good luck, and love. Since these people were considered heathens by the church, their relationship with black felines cast the cats in an unsavory light. This idea evolved further when the Puritans claimed that cats were not just animals, but witches themselves taking animal form.

Unfortunately, this is where the association of black cats and bad luck comes from, and can be attributed to the fact that black cats are common in rescue centres.

To become a Witch, You Must be Born Into a Family of Witches

This is a surprisingly common belief that I shared before I read deeper into my craft and its history. I felt that it was important to include this stereotype as I feel strongly about letting people know that witchcraft is all inclusive and one of the most liberating of all the ideologies.

The Principles of Wiccan Belief set in April 1974 by the Council of American Witches states that the ability to practice witchcraft is natural to all. In other words, you do not need to have a certain set of beliefs, nor do you have to be born into a family of witches. Furthermore, if you so much as have an interest in witchcraft, you are just as capable of practicing as anybody else, as long as you are open to it and its potential.

Devil Worship

From a glance at the history of witchcraft, it’s no secret that Christians weren’t the most tolerant of witches in the past..Or anyone that worshipped anything besides the Christian God.

The myth of devil worshipping links heavily to this as it stems from the Christian belief that worshipping anyone who wasn’t the Christian God was unacceptable, as I alluded to above. During the occupation and conversion of the Celtic region, Christians found depictions of the horned God, Cernunnos, who they perceived as the devil.

Broom Riding

There are multiple theories I’ve heard about where the association of broom riding and witches came from, but by far the most interesting one I’ve come across is from the book “The door to witchcraft” by Tonya A. Brown. In her book, Brown explains that many believe that during the middle ages, women would make ointments out of the fungi Ergot as it is an LSD-like hallucinogenic and administer them vaginally with their broomsticks. I feel it’s important to mention that the hallucinogenic probably would not actually cause them to literally fly… But they certainly would have provided a high.

Another common theory, which honestly sounds more realistic and considerably less painful, is that the image of women riding brooms stems from witches jumping in fields with their brooms to simulate and encourage crop growth as a result of pagan rituals.

Black Hats

Black hats were never associated with witchcraft until the Puritan era. It was once said that the devil wore such a hat, so it became associated with witches. It was later adopted by Wiccans as a symbol of the cone of power.

The cone of power is a method used by witches to raise energy within a magical ritual. The name comes from the fact that this method involves pulling a “cone” of energy up from the earth.

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