With Halloween just around the corner, it’s only natural to highlight one of the many supernatural occurrences that go bump in the night: witches.

And no – not the old hags that fly on broomsticks with wrinkly green skin and warts. Nor the bushy haired brunette with buck teeth and scarlet robes. And definitely not a trio of clumsy sisters with an appetite for children.

Witchcraft is a form of modern paganism, which focuses on the cosmic and psychic energies of the universe to bring a desired change to the summoners life. It’s a practice – an art, a science – that could be dated back to early man as our ancestors paid tribute to the gods and goddesses for successful hunts and mild winters.

As witches were mainly women who could harness magical energies for both nurturing and destructive forces, they were greatly respected and feared. This sprouting of fear would eventually lead to mass witch hunts across the world.

The first recorded mass witch hysteria originated in the mid-1400’s in Europe, when two German men wrote Malleus Maleficarum translated to “Hammer of Witches”. A guidebook on identifying, interrogating and hunting witches, ensuing the deaths of nearly 80,000 people.

The fear of witchcraft traveled across the pond into the New World, in what would be widely known as the Salem Witch trials. The trials began when young Betty Parris and her cousin, Abigail Williams, became “sick” from unknown illnesses. The feminine youth of Salem began to cry witch. All throughout the thirteen colonies, neighbor turned against neighbor and brother against sister, as the hysteria of witchcraft continued to take the lives of the innocent.

Since those devastating times 300 years ago, witches have been on the down low. The only times you could run into a witch is either at their small businesses, like The Dragon and The Rose in Santa Ana, or they could simply be a nature-loving neighbor. Or possibly at an event, like Pagan Pride Day that occurred October 14th in Long Beach.

Millions who practice witchcraft flock towards Salem every October. Not only to remember the victims falsely accused by the craft, but also to celebrate the religious liberation witches have.

As the years have passed, witchcraft has become a noble practice. One that does not acknowledge the Devil as their “master”, as many would believe, instead focusing their energies towards Mother Earth and her natural spirits.

If you’re interested in this craft, I highly recommend doing the research. There is a depth to witchcraft, that is truly fascinating. What they worship, how they commence their sacred rituals, even towards which type of witchcraft they want to practice.

There are roughly different 60 types of traditions a witch could practice that range from their cultural backgrounds to simple hobbies. For example, a kitchen witch incorporates their magical abilities into their cooking and a cosmic witch uses astronomy and astrology to influence their rituals and practices.

It’s much more simple to delve into witchcraft, than many people believe. If you have a true fascination for this mysterious craft or the pure beauty the earth provides, then this might be a hobby for you. Again, it’s all about the research.  

Although magic may not seem as extravagant and flashy as they show on silver screens, magic does exist.  It’s in the pulsing energy nature emits. With little time and much devoted practice, you’ll be able harness that power and label yourself a practitioner of witchcraft. Happy witching.