WHAT DOES “PAGAN” MEAN?
The Latin term “Paganus,” which means “country dweller” or “a person who lives in the countryside is where we get the name “Pagan.”
In general, rural residents honoured the ancient deities or local spirits known as “pagus.” Living in the country meant being reliant on the land for your own livelihood, thus things like observing the seasons and becoming one with nature were very important.
WHAT DOES “WITCH” MEAN?
Wita and wis are Old English terms for counsellor and wisdom, respectively. Before Christianity entered the picture, a witch was seen as a wise counsellor who was a significant community spiritual leader and healer with a deep understanding of plant medicine.
Old English words for “witch,” wicca and “wicce,” are masculine and feminine, respectively. These evolved into the word “wicche” in the Middle Ages, which can be used to refer to either a witch or a wizard.
These words, as well as the word “heathen,” which was derived from the Old English word “heath,” meaning “uncultivated land,” initially had no negative connotations. It simply meant “one who lives in the heath or country.” A person who lived in the country, worked the land, and engaged in spiritual communication with the earth was referred to as a pagan or heathen. The word “pagan” was once considered dark and dirty by the church, but in reality, it was something that was really organic and natural.
A witch is a word that refers to a particular type of person (one who engages in magic, herbal knowledge, etc.); the term is unrelated to any one faith or spirituality.
Witches and Pagans both use the natural forces and elements to transfer energy and effect change, though to different degrees. Witch in Russian translates to “the one who knows,” and this is fairly appropriate. Witches learn to manipulate natural forces to effect change, heal wounds, and discover new things.
WHAT DOES PAGANISM REFER TO TODAY?
Shamanism, Druidism, Wicca (which has many traditions of its own, including Alexandrian, Gardenerian, Dianic, and Correllian), Goddess Spirituality, Odinism, and Eclectic Paganism are just a few of the various belief systems that fall under the umbrella of Paganism.
In terms of how people express and interact with their spirituality, each of these branches of paganism has its own distinctive beliefs and “language.” However, they are united by a common set of essential principles.
Although many pagans revere a variety of gods, they frequently see one of them as their principal god, their guardian or patron. There are some polytheistic or even monotheistic pagans, though. Some pagans consider their Gods and Goddesses to be different manifestations or aspects of the same God or Goddess. Reconstructionist pagans in particular make attempts to revive earlier polytheistic cults.
The intuitive mind and body, as well as the notion that the physical and non-physical worlds are equally real and interrelated, are typically given a lot of weight. This indicates that spiritual action (i.e., energetic or non-physical), whether it is done as “ritual,” “ceremony,” “worship,” or “celebration,” is effective in bringing about changes in the physical world.
PAGAN WITCHES IN THE US
Today, when people refer to “witches” in the US, they frequently mean members of the pagan movement, a community of up to a million Americans whose activities combine elements of witchcraft and pre-Christian European faiths with those of Western occult and Masonic groups.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A WITCH?
Pagan religions come in a huge variety; however, they all adhere to some basic principles: They worship nature, are polytheistic (meaning they have many gods and goddesses), think that male and female powers are equally powerful in the universe and that the divine can be found everywhere. There is no such thing as heaven or hell, yet some people believe in reincarnation, or an afterlife place called Summerland. Others may pay homage to an unspecified “god” and “goddess,” while some may revere specific gods and goddesses like Athena or Isis. There is no such thing as “sin,” but there is the concept of karma: both good and terrible things you do will eventually come back to haunt you.
CAN ANYONE BE A WITCH?
Yes! Anyone who wishes to become a witch can do so by starting a solo practice or by joining a group or tribe.
HOW DO YOU BECOME A WITCH?
Initiation rites or hierarchical systems may be present in some paganisms, where new practitioners are greeted and instructed by more experienced ones. However, some witches hold the opinion that you can “initiate” yourself by merely choosing to be a witch.
FACTS ABOUT WITCHES
Women and men who identify as witches or pagans do not always flaunt their piercings, tattoos, and gothic attire. They do not have magic wands or sharp black hats. Because they work for the government or with children, have children, reside in a conservative neighborhood, or are merely concerned that the term “witchcraft” still has too much stigma, some witches prefer to remain “in the broom closet,” as they phrase it.
The Satan of Christianity is a god that many pagans would argue they do not even believe in, hence they are not interested in worshipping him.
It is unjust and untrue to assume from horror films that anyone who calls themselves a witch is trying to do bad things to other people. The Threefold Law, which states that any action you perform will be returned to you three times over, is the moral code this community upholds.
A lot of men also describe themselves as witches
The community appears to be equally split between men and women because pagans think the universe is governed by energies that are equally male and female.
While many other religious groups are interested in converting you to their belief, witches are not. Witches do not want to convert you or your children—in fact, they think it is impolite to do so. The general understanding is that there are many different spiritual paths that you might take; you are not required to follow theirs. From their point of view, it is excellent if your belief matches theirs. But it is also entirely fine if it does not.
PLACES FOR THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN WITCHCRAFT
The biggest draw for tourists in Catemaco, in addition to its stunning waterfalls and natural beaches, is its ancient tradition of sorcery, which is primarily practised by male brujos. Throughout the year, black and white magic is available, but there is constant argument among the populace regarding who is a fraudster and who is genuinely a follower of shamanism.
Harz Mountains, Northern Germany
According to some historians, the Brocken, the highest point in the Harz Mountain range, was the site of sacrifices made to the prehistoric Saxon god Woden (Odin of Norse legend). On Walpurgisnacht or Hexennacht, the evening of April 30, the mountain was also rumoured to be the location of the witches’ gathering.
New Orleans, USA
Thanks to its long history of Voodoo and Hoodoo, New Orleans is the true birthplace of magic in the United States. Since the 1700s, the city has maintained its distinctive blend of West African spirits and Roman Catholic saints, in large part due to the lingering legend of Marie Laveau, a well-known healer and voodoo priestess. Her legacy is so well-known that only guided tours are available to visit her ultimate resting place since many people still want to mark an ‘X’ on her grave in the hopes that she will grant their desire.
Siquijor, which Spanish colonizers called the “Island of Witches” in the 1600s, nevertheless upholds a significant history of native healers (mananambal). The conclusion of seven weeks spent gathering natural materials every Friday during Lent is the mananambal’s enormous Healing Festival, which is held the week before Easter. As a result, rituals and readings are also available, along with popular love potions or medicinal herbs.
Another allegedly magical location is under a 400-year-old Balete tree. It is the largest and oldest tree of its kind in the province, and it has a spring just beneath its tangled roots. Nowadays, souvenir vendors are more common than the rumored rituals and mysterious monsters that once roamed the area.
Blå Jungfrun Island, Sweden
According to mythology, this is the actual site of Blkulla, an island where witches allegedly met with the devil, and which was once only reachable by air. Offerings were frequently placed on the island’s shores in an effort to satisfy any weird creatures that might reside there. It is now a national park and contains a fascinating stone labyrinth as well as caves where archaeologists have lately discovered evidence of ancient altars and ceremonies.
In Peru, shamanism has a long history and is said to have developed alongside the tradition of erecting spectacular temples all around the nation. These days, there are tour organisations that promise to put you in touch with a shaman and provide a secure environment for you to experience this for yourself. Traditionally, shamans would employ natural hallucinogens to communicate with the spirit world and gods.
Lima’s Mercado de las Brujas (the Witches’ Market), located below Gamarra Station, offers visitors a look into shamanic practices. Here, vendors provide a wide range of conventional and folk remedies, including a surprising number of treatments for using llama fetus, frog guts, and snake fat.
WHAT DOES “PAGAN” MEAN?