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Witchcraft in America


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#1 Loona Wynd

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 02:33 PM

Something I'd like to learn more about is Witchcraft in America. I figure this is the place to go as every place else seems to be about Wicca, and that's not what I want right now. I will admit that I do have an interest in Wicca, but I also have an interest in Trad Craft.

It seems to me that most of the craft practiced in America is Eclectic and non organized. I don't have a problem with that at all. I mean I am an eclectic witch. However I'd like to discuss with other witches how Witchcraft came to America and why it's so diverse.


#2 AnjelWolf

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 03:02 PM

Well i mo they came over with the slaves and settlers and it started from there basically.

Also imo, it is diverse ibn other parts of the world as well just not as publicized.


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Posted 29 February 2008 - 03:53 PM

Well i mo they came over with the slaves and settlers and it started from there basically.

Also imo, it is diverse ibn other parts of the world as well just not as publicized.


I agree with AW. The people who came and settled here brought their beliefs and practices with them. Then some of those traditions got mixed with other folk traditions in the area they lived.
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#4 Loona Wynd

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 06:45 PM

I agree with AW. The people who came and settled here brought their beliefs and practices with them. Then some of those traditions got mixed with other folk traditions in the area they lived.
Rebie

True. It just seems like there are so many paths and traditions, that it's hard to see where any one tradition began.


#5 AnjelWolf

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 06:52 PM

True. It just seems like there are so many paths and traditions, that it's hard to see where any one tradition began.


Well that's a journey only you can take. Through your experiences, you will learn which is the right path for you.


#6 Cairelle

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 07:40 PM

Witchcraft by its very nature HAS to be eclectic. There's no other possibility, or else it's not witchcraft.

I think a lot of "American Witchcraft" stems from people tiring of rigid religious upbringings and practices, along with a deepening awareness, in general, of our population. People don't want to be told what to do and how to do it when it comes to their own personal spirituality.

Some of us witches were fortunate enough to be raised with the craft... and for those witches among us here who weren't, I think they were inclined to it anyway.

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#7 Loona Wynd

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 08:14 PM

Witchcraft by its very nature HAS to be eclectic. There's no other possibility, or else it's not witchcraft.

Isn't there anything that ties the practices together that allows a practice to be called Witchcraft instead of just a system of magic?


I think a lot of "American Witchcraft" stems from people tiring of rigid religious upbringings and practices, along with a deepening awareness, in general, of our population. People don't want to be told what to do and how to do it when it comes to their own personal spirituality.

That's true for me. I was always open to spirits and the like from early childhood, even though I was raised a Christian.


Some of us witches were fortunate enough to be raised with the craft... and for those witches among us here who weren't, I think they were inclined to it anyway.

I've been exploring witchcraft from my early teens till today. It seems like those early days was full of "Oh yeah! I've always thought that" and the practice was only at a "surface" level. Today that's different. Today I actually put thought into what I do and practice. If something doesn't work or I have difficulty with it I don't just "throw it out" I try again under a different set of circumstances.

When I try something I put effort into it. I don't take anything as gospel or the "complete truth" any more. I know that I must find my own truth and way of doing things. I constantly discover new things both magically and personally. It's like I'm a snake who always sheds his skin and has a new skin. I'm always throwing away the old and "negitive" or past and moving on to the future.


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Posted 01 March 2008 - 12:47 PM

True. It just seems like there are so many paths and traditions, that it's hard to see where any one tradition began.


Get together 10 witches, and you'll get 10 different views of witchcraft . Traditions develop when someone has a different interpretation of the Craft, which other people find appealing, and follow that lead. Prior to the explosion of the Internet, I suspect that most Craft practices were handed down by word of mouth, and much of the information regarding witchcraft came from covens, or at least from one person teaching another what they knew. So the beginning witch learned their practice from a particular point of view.

Now that there is so much information readily available, I think a good majority of witches are self taught. They are gathering knowledge from many, many sources. Eclecticism is inevitable. People are picking and choosing aspects from many traditions that fit their needs and lifestyles. Whether this is good or bad is for each person to decide for themselves. There are many hard line Wiccan's who find fault in eclecticism, which is interesting when that path actually was a result of patchworking many different paths together.

One can go absolutely batty trying to figure out what is right or wrong. When I decided Wicca was not for me, I worked backwards. I learned as much as I could about the roots of paganism. That led me toward an affinity to the Celtic path, which is steeped in traditions and lore. It was through that connection that I really started to feel a connection to the "Olde Ways" of witchcraft. It's just a continuous journey.


#9 Loona Wynd

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 04:59 PM

It was through that connection that I really started to feel a connection to the "Olde Ways" of witchcraft. It's just a continuous journey.

I agree that it is a continuous journey. It's something I don't think we ever really stop learning or exploring. Our practices continually evolve and change, (at least mine does). I think that every witch has an established core that they follow, but may add or subtract things that don't work for them or fit them and their life style.


#10 Tana

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 12:33 AM

Bit of a sweeping statement, that last point!
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#11 Loona Wynd

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 01:37 PM

Bit of a sweeping statement, that last point!

What I meant by that was that every witch has their central set of core beliefs that suits them and their path. From that they may add or subtract practices, views, and beliefs.


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Posted 29 April 2008 - 02:47 PM

Isn't there anything that ties the practices together that allows a practice to be called Witchcraft instead of just a system of magic?


You don't have to practice magick to be a witch. Being a witch is a way of life, much like Jewdism is a way of life not just a religion.
My witchy practice is my life and I guess a religion of sort, but for one of my best friends, she is a witch who does not practice magick.
I guess what I am saying is you can practice magick without being a witch and vise verse.
I practice both. I'm also very diverse with what kinds of magick I use. It just depends on what the use is for as to wheather I use color, candle, etc.
I hope I'm not too off track here.


#13 Scott

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 12:47 AM

Greetings L.W

You know that is a quite inspired query really.

While I can't tell you what Witchcraft is like in the US or it's overall proclivities as a social movement (or plurals) as I don't live there; I know what you mean in that the different areas into which witchcraft of various forms is introduced does change it's tone and eventually even its basic praxis. It makes for something of an interesting study I find that revels quite a bit about how the different forms work internally, what the nature of the place and people are etc etc

I find that it also changes from city to city. My town of Brisbane for example has a very different vibe than say Sydney or Melbourne and when one knows how to look, "local product" has a very specific taste to it that really does show it as an import or not.

Of course the same goes for homegrown witchcraft and that way these forms interact with anything being grafted onto it. I imagine Anjel and K.W could wax fairly lyrical on that subject given their backgrounds - or of course Sandy with her current place of residence and background.

Interesting to watch and muse on .... *G*

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#14 Startella

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 11:25 AM

Greetings L.W

You know that is a quite inspired query really.

While I can't tell you what Witchcraft is like in the US or it's overall proclivities as a social movement (or plurals) as I don't live there; I know what you mean in that the different areas into which witchcraft of various forms is introduced does change it's tone and eventually even its basic praxis. It makes for something of an interesting study I find that revels quite a bit about how the different forms work internally, what the nature of the place and people are etc etc

I find that it also changes from city to city. My town of Brisbane for example has a very different vibe than say Sydney or Melbourne and when one knows how to look, "local product" has a very specific taste to it that really does show it as an import or not.

Of course the same goes for homegrown witchcraft and that way these forms interact with anything being grafted onto it. I imagine Anjel and K.W could wax fairly lyrical on that subject given their backgrounds - or of course Sandy with her current place of residence and background.

Interesting to watch and muse on .... *G*

Fraternally

Scott


Interesting Scott! With those thoughts in mind each state here in the US has a different tone per say, and ways, so even our witches can and most likely will have a flavor that matches with their state. Witches from the hills will be different flavor from Ark and those of the hills of Tenn. Those of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and very different from those of Flordia which is also a peninsula. North and South, West coast and East coast. I can see how differently even a family tradition can change from state to state here, due to the different locality and socal structure of each state. Not to mention how within each state you have country, rural, and urban within each city, town, village and township.


#15 Scott

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Posted 11 June 2008 - 12:15 AM

Greetings S

Yes indeed. As the old joke goes .. "Times change hairstyles change" .. if after all we believe in our ability to affect change in a manner we find desireable then we must be working to achieve actual effect and results.

If we are doing that then surely the ways change as the people, the times and the places change. This is of course one of the major stumbling blocks that the so called academics and alleged experts can't wrap their heads around and it is why they will ever be prattling about what they were told someone did at some stage and attempting to correlate it with their present experience .. and failing ... lol

But hey that's what makes em so damned funny and tasting the difference from line to line, area to area etc so damned interesting! *BG*

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Posted 14 October 2008 - 02:45 AM

I think that each witch has thier own way because of more than just thier beliefs, but also because of upbringing, likes and dislikes or even because of experiences.

I was asked recently what kind of " witchcraft" I do. I looked my friend in the eye and stated that it depended on the situation and my mood.
It could be romanian, irish, native american or even simply nature based.

Each day is a new day, and it brings with it new feelings and thoughts. New perspectives and new needs.


#17 Brigid

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 10:50 PM

As an American I find this topic very interesting and I think if there are any would be writers in here, would make a fascinating book!

If you really think about it, if we were to explore any Traditional American Witchcraft it would have to start with the natives as well as in England as they were the first settlers here. With them they would have brought their traditional home grown herbs and beliefs, But after some time would have had to incorporate native herbs and uses into their practice. As well as other settlers.

As the topical terrain of the states have many different conditions this would vary from state to state. Making I believe a very interesting study.

Could be fun to look into, I'm in Jersey, the Pine Barrons, lot's of history here.

Thanks for the post, I think I might just give this a go!!

Not the book LOL just the history of the state and see what I come up with. Scouting the pines and see what I find growing in the wild, my husband knows this land well. He knows the trees and plants, could make an interesting essay. :)


#18 lurcher

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 11:18 PM

I have great sympathy for you guys in USA, Canada, Australia and elsewhere who are decedents of settlers. It must be hard to decide what practices you adopt from other settlers and what to use of the native ways.

Being from British Isles, I'm suitably protected from such wonderings. But I looked through the thread and one or two points had me wondering. Sorry for not quoting people properly but its late and it could get complex.

Someone said Witchcraft has to be eclectic. I'm not sure I know what you mean so any chance of expanding on that as I don't want to blunder along the wrong path.

Don't have to practice magic to be a Witch? Now I consider Witchcraft to be an occult art or a system of magic. How can you not practice magic and yet be a witch? Surely for Traditionals that is the definition. You work magic.

Someone else said they use Witchcraft from lots of different sources depending on the need. There are very few differences, surely, in spellcasting and the other techniques we should be familiar with. Alright, I'll grant you that Irish is particularly suited to creative cursing, but are there other differences? That might be worth a thread of its own.

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#19 Brigid

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 11:28 PM

"Alright, I'll grant you that Irish is particularly suited to creative cursing,"

Is that sooo? I think the Italians would beg to differ :)

Ritualistic behaviour, though well-intentioned, possesses no significance or effectiveness unless its external prescription is matched by a personal, internal motivation of will and desire.

#20 AnjelWolf

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Posted 28 October 2008 - 11:55 PM

"Alright, I'll grant you that Irish is particularly suited to creative cursing,"

Is that sooo? I think the Italians would beg to differ :)




Not necessarily...they are actually better known for their healing rather than for their cursing :)

And Lurcher I tend to agree with you on how could you not practice magic and yet be a witch? If you were to separate the two then you become a healer only.

Just my opinion though...