Jump to content


Photo
* * * - - 2 votes

The Craft of the Witch


  • Please log in to reply
78 replies to this topic

#1 anjeaunot

anjeaunot

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 431 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 10:41 AM

R H Robbins used the word craft advisedly on page 3 of his Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology: “If witchcraft had never meant anything more than the craft of 'an old, weather-beaten crone, leaning on a staff, hollow-eyed, untoothed, going mumbling in the streets',..."5

Dr Robbins used “craft” in its original and correct context: a skill or ability to be utilised. He used the word again when discussing the argument of Sir Robert Filmer. (Page 198. The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology): “If witchcraft is an ‘art working wonders’, it must be a witch’s art: otherwise it is the Devil’s craft.”

Freemasonry was associated with the term “Craft” because the original operative masons had been skilled stone craftsmen.

  • 6

#2 Hannah

Hannah

    Advanced Member

  • Seekers
  • PipPipPip
  • 52 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 11:38 AM

R H Robbins used the word craft advisedly on page 3 of his Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology: “If witchcraft had never meant anything more than the craft of 'an old, weather-beaten crone, leaning on a staff, hollow-eyed, untoothed, going mumbling in the streets',..."5

Dr Robbins used “craft” in its original and correct context: a skill or ability to be utilised. He used the word again when discussing the argument of Sir Robert Filmer. (Page 198. The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology): “If witchcraft is an ‘art working wonders’, it must be a witch’s art: otherwise it is the Devil’s craft.”

Freemasonry was associated with the term “Craft” because the original operative masons had been skilled stone craftsmen.


There is other historical precedence for the word "craft" associated with witches, but these are excellent references! Just excellent! Thanks anjeaunot!

But even without the historical usage, which anjeaunot has illustrated...the use of the word "craft" just makes sense and is the most appropriate, surely? What else could you possibly call it "witchhobby", "witchbaking" "witchbusiness" "witchaction" "witchgames" "witchwork" "witchdoings" "witchskillz".......? Can anyone think of a more appropriate word than Craft in the English language?



  • 4

#3 Jevne

Jevne

    Former Member

  • Former Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4,441 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 12:03 PM

There is other historical precedence for the word "craft" associated with witches, but these are excellent references! Just excellent! Thanks anjeaunot!

But even without the historical usage, which anjeaunot has illustrated...the use of the word "craft" just makes sense and is the most appropriate, surely? What else could you possibly call it "witchhobby", "witchbaking" "witchbusiness" "witchaction" "witchgames" "witchwork" "witchdoings" "witchskillz".......? Can anyone think of a more appropriate word than Craft in the English language?


You know, Hannah, I don't think I can. Very good point.

J

  • 1

#4 Aloe

Aloe

    ridge running Ozark banshee..

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3,420 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 02:31 PM

You know, Hannah, I don't think I can. Very good point.

J


Me neither. Good post A.

  • 1
"The people who live in the Ozark country of Missouri and Arkansas were, until very recently, the most deliberately unprogressive people in the United States. Descended from pioneers who came West from the Southern Appalachians at the beginning of the nineteenth century, they made little contact with the outer world for more than a hundred years. They seem like foreigners to the average urban American, but nearly all of them come of British stock, and many families have lived in America since colonial days. Their material heirlooms are few, but like all isolated illiterates they have clung to the old songs and obsolete sayings and outworn customs of their ancestors." Ozark Magic and Folklore

#5 Guest_Jack Dark_*

Guest_Jack Dark_*
  • Guests

Posted 29 November 2011 - 02:39 PM

Well, respectfully, I have to disagree with you there and placed in context the meaning is clearer. If you take the *full* quote, what was said was:

"If witchcraft had never meant anything more than the craft of an old, weather-beaten crone, leaning on a staff, hollow-eyed, untoothed, goingmumbling in the streets, Europe would not have suffered, for three centuries from 1450 to 1750, the shocking nightmare, the foulest crime and deepest shame of western civilization, the blackout of everything that homo sapiens, the reasoning man, has ever upheld.‎"

... and he's talking about the perception of witches and the fear of them, which was based on slander, unfounded accusations and the desire to take land from people labelled as criminals by dint of being 'witches', *not* that the 'nightmare' and 'deepest shame' that he's talking about were warranted. He's clearly saying that it was a matter of regret that this accusation was made and that it wasn't true.

What Robbins is saying is that this 'weather-beaten crone' was not guilty of any crime or even of practising any kind of malefic magic, but of being an easy target and scapegoat and that the problem that led to the persecution of people accused of being witches was the *fear* of witchcraft, not *actual* witchcraft.

  • 0

#6 Guest_Jack Dark_*

Guest_Jack Dark_*
  • Guests

Posted 29 November 2011 - 02:53 PM

Hmm...

and well-met again, anjeaunot, I believe that we've discussed similar matters before, under slightly different names, in a different time and place and agreed to disagree, although I very much enjoyed the conversation and found it productive, so I hope that it can be allowed to continue naturally again here.

Glad to see you're well.

Edited by Jack Dark, 29 November 2011 - 02:57 PM.

  • 0

#7 Marabet

Marabet

    Miss Clavel's Shadow

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 863 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 02:59 PM

There is other historical precedence for the word "craft" associated with witches, but these are excellent references! Just excellent! Thanks anjeaunot!

But even without the historical usage, which anjeaunot has illustrated...the use of the word "craft" just makes sense and is the most appropriate, surely? What else could you possibly call it "witchhobby", "witchbaking" "witchbusiness" "witchaction" "witchgames" "witchwork" "witchdoings" "witchskillz".......? Can anyone think of a more appropriate word than Craft in the English language?


This.

Thanks, anjeaunot.


  • 0
I ran to a tower where the church bells chime
I hoped that they would clear my mind
They left a ringing in my ear
But that drum's still beating loud and clear

{Florence + The Machine 'Drumming Song'}

#8 Hannah

Hannah

    Advanced Member

  • Seekers
  • PipPipPip
  • 52 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 03:16 PM

Well, respectfully, I have to disagree with you there and placed in context the meaning is clearer. If you take the *full* quote, what was said was:

"If witchcraft had never meant anything more than the craft of an old, weather-beaten crone, leaning on a staff, hollow-eyed, untoothed, goingmumbling in the streets, Europe would not have suffered, for three centuries from 1450 to 1750, the shocking nightmare, the foulest crime and deepest shame of western civilization, the blackout of everything that homo sapiens, the reasoning man, has ever upheld.‎"

... and he's talking about the perception of witches and the fear of them, which was based on slander, unfounded accusations and the desire to take land from people labelled as criminals by dint of being 'witches', *not* that the 'nightmare' and 'deepest shame' that he's talking about were warranted. He's clearly saying that it was a matter of regret that this accusation was made and that it wasn't true.

What Robbins is saying is that this 'weather-beaten crone' was not guilty of any crime or even of practising any kind of malefic magic, but of being an easy target and scapegoat and that the problem that led to the persecution of people accused of being witches was the *fear* of witchcraft, not *actual* witchcraft.


Well whilst you might be right in your comments about the broader context of the quote my dearest Mr Dark, i'm not sure that it negates Anjeaunot's point on the use of the word Craft. The two things are not mutually exclusive historically or semantically.Tis possible that the word Craft was used in a negative and even unjust context but it still illustrates the use of the word Craft as applicable to the perceived practice of witches whether they be fear inducing or not. The quote is "if witchcraft had never meant more than the craft of an old weather-beaten crone"....so whilst the craft did become more than that and as you state used as a paranoid fear fuel and manipulation tactic in persecution or the acquisition of land it does not negate that this quote also states that there is a craft that was other than this.


  • 1

#9 Guest_Jack Dark_*

Guest_Jack Dark_*
  • Guests

Posted 29 November 2011 - 03:28 PM

Well whilst you might be right in your comments about the broader context of the quote my dearest Mr Dark, i'm not sure that it negates Anjeaunot's point on the use of the word Craft. The two things are not mutually exclusive historically or semantically.Tis possible that the word Craft was used in a negative and even unjust context but it still illustrates the use of the word Craft as applicable to the perceived practice of witches whether they be fear inducing or not. The quote is "if witchcraft had never meant more than the craft of an old weather-beaten crone"....so whilst the craft did become more than that and as you state used as a paranoid fear fuel and manipulation tactic in persecution or the acquisition of land it does not negate that this quote also states that there is a craft that was other than this.



Well, quite. But I'll refer you back to your comment about the 'perceived practice' rather than an actual one. This perception would also have been that it was worship of the devil and petitioning him, or other demons to cause a nuisance or worse, rather than a series of magical skills and techniques, such as are claimed to be traditional witchcraft by those who use them today.

It's perhaps an interesting thought that the modern Sabattic craft had its origins here, and it certainly was inspired by this, I'll absolutely concede, but this is also something that is self-aware that it is a reconstruction, in the main.

  • 0

#10 CelticGypsy

CelticGypsy

    Crazy NastyAss Honey Badger

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4,105 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 03:28 PM

I can't think of a better word than " Craft " as back in that time era, that's what a skilled person did, they exercised skill in hand making something. These who were actively engaged in a perfecting a skill by hand. These people also took under their tuteledge apprentices to learn how to make objects or things by hand.

Now I don't know about you all, I can't wiggle my nose and make the manifestation of a delicious Pot Roast and all the trimmings, nor can I snap my fingers and the manifestation of a new set of coverings for my bed.................. sorry, no less a Witch here, I make these that I illustrate by my hand, much like my concoctions and other worldly crafting.

Thank you Anjeanot for you always welcomed input to the Forum.

Regards,
Gypsy

  • 5

" The last thing you wanted a Witch to do is get bored and start making her own amusements, because Witches sometimes have erratically famous ideas about what was amusing "

 

Terry Pratchett Legends 1 


#11 Guest_Jack Dark_*

Guest_Jack Dark_*
  • Guests

Posted 29 November 2011 - 03:35 PM

CelticGypsy - you misunderstand my point. It's that it refers to a singular thing. In the case of Freemasonry, this was true. In the case of Wicca, this was true. In the case of what the cunning folk or others from whom it is sometimes claimed 'witchcraft' descended, it was demonstrably not.
  • 0

#12 Hannah

Hannah

    Advanced Member

  • Seekers
  • PipPipPip
  • 52 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 04:22 PM

Well, quite. But I'll refer you back to your comment about the 'perceived practice' rather than an actual one. This perception would also have been that it was worship of the devil and petitioning him, or other demons to cause a nuisance or worse, rather than a series of magical skills and techniques, such as are claimed to be traditional witchcraft by those who use them today.

It's perhaps an interesting thought that the modern Sabattic craft had its origins here, and it certainly was inspired by this, I'll absolutely concede, but this is also something that is self-aware that it is a reconstruction, in the main.


Unless you are a Time Lord (and if you are...RESPECT!!!) but suspecting that you are not indeed a Time Lord, all history is formed on perception so we can only ever speculate on whether anything ever documented in history (or even from first hand evidence) is actually used in the way we speculate it may have been. So this is effectively a semantic Event Horizon which neither you or I are going to benefit from being sucked in to on this particular occasion. But because you are actually wrong on this particular semantic argument, i will take a few moments to pull us both out of the gravitation pull of this singularity.

"If witchcraft had never meant anything more than the craft of 'an old, weather-beaten crone"





So no we can't say what the "Craft" was that is being referred to in this quote but i can jump up and down with the same semantic flashing stick as you have and we can go down in glorious neon flames. Shall we just do that for funsies Jack?


Alternatively, in reference to our modern usage of the word Craft/craft (whether used as a noun or verb) does it not present itself as an appropriate word for what people here on this forum are doing?


I rather suspect that whatever it is that people do "craft" here on this forum, that somewhere and maybe everywhere, through out history others have been "crafting" in a way that is recognisable and comparable. Is there anything new under the sun in this respect? I really doubt people following their intuition, believing and maybe even actually interacting with forces that are considered to be magical, using herblore, folklore, sympathetic symbolism, chanting, incanting, willing, wishing, petitioning etc etc is a new thing. If you can tell me that i'm wrong by all means do so but aside from that....doesn't everything else just comes down to belief? And we know there be dragons if we try to dictate what others believe.


So whilst technically nothing you say is inaccurate it's no more factual that what I have said because we can't legislate perception or belief. Doesn't mean of course that we can't get sucked into a singularity of historical maybe's but i suspect that we'd be the only ones doing it and the rest of the forum will likely ignore us.



  • 2

#13 sarasuperid

sarasuperid

    Wild Witch of the West

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,429 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 04:25 PM

Regardess of what words were used several hundred years ago, witch has a different meaning now and it just makes sense to continue using it. Witch was at one time a pejorative for a type of heresy. Across languages and across times there were dozens if not more terms for what we are up to these days. Obviously, those who find themselves here know what the words mean now, what types of activity and mindset are considered witchery, witch arts, and witchcraft or they wouldn't have joined.

It's so very simple, non-Wiccan witch community, it means that all the various types who do things now associated with the word witch sans the few defining hallmarks of what is publically known as Wicca. As far as I can tell as an non initiate wiccans tend to have two deities they work with that represent all deities of each of two polar genders, wiccans it seems have some redes that are specific to them, and they trace their practices back in general to writings by Gardner and by Sanders. Now I am quite sure that inadequetly covers it, however, we prefer to just leave it at that. If you identify your practices and outlook enough with witchcraft but not with what is popularly known as Wicca--then you will find yourself here. There were other sites with different and more specific definitions, but they are not this one. We do not all claim a line back to pre Gardner direct and unbroken, I think most of us here are openingly and honestly semi reconsructionists semi whatever works semi outer circle followers of other witchcraft clans. There are others here with family lineages in something, but most of those at one time or another said their family did not always use the word witch to describe themselves. Whatever family hand me downs they have could be from cunning craft or midwifery or guilders or what have you. There may be a few who stand hard by a long history of using the word witch, but I haven't noticed them. It's the word that led us to find likeminded folks and the words we use now to describe our practices.

Imagine wasting your time on a board of homosexual men telling them gay is a misuse of the word and no men who tended to have sex with and fall in love with men used it before the last hundred years in that contact, well yeah so who freaking cares we all know what it means now. Then imagine going on about how there was no gay culture because there was this and that context and on and on. What it freaking comes down to is there have always been gay men whatever you call it and they found each other for sex and companionship somehow and I'll be damned if we spend our time on exact semantics when we have other topics if more immediate relevance to actually being and getting on as gay. Or in our case witch.

So if you can't use the word in it's current modern meaning to describe yourself discuss and relate to others, maybe you should join another's board that uses words you like better and find historically satisfying like maybe cunningpeople.net or something

  • 7
"A Craft, a calling, a set of Keys to unlock a particular cosmology that is borne, and born, in the blood of the practitioner, and sets the Work to be done with which one may commune with those who hold the patterns and keys of the life of the practitioner and hir stream. The Work is to be done, and we are to do it." --Aiseling the Bard

#14 Guest_Jack Dark_*

Guest_Jack Dark_*
  • Guests

Posted 29 November 2011 - 04:32 PM

Unless you are a Time Lord (and if you are...RESPECT!!!) but suspecting that you are not indeed a Time Lord, all history is formed on perception so we can only ever speculate on whether anything ever documented in history (or even from first hand evidence) is actually used in the way we speculate it may have been. So this is effectively a semantic Event Horizon which neither you or I are going to benefit from being sucked in to on this particular occasion. But because you are actually wrong on this particular semantic argument, i will take a few moments to pull us both out of the gravitation pull of this singularity.<br style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204); font-size: 13px; line-height: 19px; background-color: rgb(34, 34, 34); "><br style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204); font-size: 13px; line-height: 19px; background-color: rgb(34, 34, 34); ">"If witchcraft had never meant anything more than the craft of 'an old, weather-beaten crone"
<br style="color: rgb(255, 255, 204); font-size: 13px; line-height: 19px; background-color: rgb(34, 34, 34); ">So no we can't say what the "Craft" was that is being referred to in this quote but i can jump up and down with the same semantic flashing stick as you have and we can go down in glorious neon flames. Shall we just do that for funsies Jack?




Right, but such speculation isn't pointless and basing it on evidence can give us something useful to work with rather than just what we wish to interpret it as without anything to support that.


Alternatively, in reference to our modern usage of the word Craft/craft (whether used as a noun or verb) does it not present itself as an appropriate word for what people here on this forum are doing?




As a verb, absolutely.

  • 0

#15 Guest_Jack Dark_*

Guest_Jack Dark_*
  • Guests

Posted 29 November 2011 - 04:35 PM

Sarasuperid - you may be surprised to find that I absolutely agree with you.
  • 0

#16 Hannah

Hannah

    Advanced Member

  • Seekers
  • PipPipPip
  • 52 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 04:53 PM

Oh boo, sorry my post makes no sense, i said i was going to semantically wrangle with you and did so after the quote in purple but the text has gone awol and you can't see it?

Anyway, i won't go over it again, as i think Sarasuperid has made the point that is most relevant here, so i'll just leave it at that.

  • 1

#17 Whiterose

Whiterose

    Senior Member

  • Former Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3,747 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 05:28 PM

I don't know about all of you but I'm really tired of "semantics" threads. How many times to we have to rehash the same shit? :deadhorse: We are witches, we practise witchcraft and craft does not mean a specific tradition, it means the actions a witch takes to manipulate her "raw materials" whether or not that is energy, matter or both and turn it in to something different that has a purpose known to the witch. If you are not a witch, don't practise any sort of craft, have no desire to be one, and don't believe in witchcraft in any form besides trickery, then you don't belong here. Plain and simple. I wish you well on finding your path.
  • 9

#18 Guest_Jack Dark_*

Guest_Jack Dark_*
  • Guests

Posted 29 November 2011 - 05:35 PM

Whiterose - are you directing that specifically at me?
  • 0

#19 Whiterose

Whiterose

    Senior Member

  • Former Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3,747 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 05:38 PM

Yes. You and many others that have found their way here in the past weeks, though most of them are gone now. I do wish you well, but I think you do not fully understand the purpose of this site.
  • 1

#20 sarasuperid

sarasuperid

    Wild Witch of the West

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1,429 posts

Posted 29 November 2011 - 06:46 PM

Yes. You and many others that have found their way here in the past weeks, though most of them are gone now. I do wish you well, but I think you do not fully understand the purpose of this site.


We had the site closed for a few months from new memberships, so there wasn't much of hashing out what words mean and such. We all already knew each other and had been through that stuff. Now that the site is back to normal and accepting memberships, there will be lots of new members needing clarification. If its cutting you on a raw nerve, some members might want to pass up posts that are boring or annoying them. I find I avoid these unless I have something new to add. I don't know about others, but I was getting a tad stir crazy after several months of no new blood. But I do see your point that some of these basic questions might be better served by pointing new members to sticky threads or old conversations that already covered the material.

  • 1
"A Craft, a calling, a set of Keys to unlock a particular cosmology that is borne, and born, in the blood of the practitioner, and sets the Work to be done with which one may commune with those who hold the patterns and keys of the life of the practitioner and hir stream. The Work is to be done, and we are to do it." --Aiseling the Bard