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  • Witchcraft: Evil or not?

    by Patricia Della-Piana

    Witchcraft is one part of the practice of an ancient religion. Those who practice the Craft generally believe in a loving god (and goddess), or in multiple gods, who reign over the many facets of our daily lives. This is derived from the earliest religions of great societies, like Rome, Greece, Anatolia, etc. Those worshipers were not creating evil to harm their enemies, nor were they attempting to cause havoc in the world. They prayed in their own manner to the gods of their society to grant them peace, prosperity, happiness, love, and blessings of all kinds, just as many people do today to whatever god (or goddess) they hold in great esteem.

    Just as there are many good people who practice witchcraft in one form or another, there are many other good people who believe that all witchcraft is wrong. Usually those people do not really understand the religion or the practice of witchcraft. They believe the things they read in fiction novels and the things they see in movies. Witches, pagans and new-agers do not believe in Satan, nor do they worship or even acknowledge that personage. Satan is a purely Christian anti-hero, and does not enter the cosmology of pagan worship in any manner. The church named the ancient gods 'demons' in centuries past, in order to differentiate them from the god they preferred the people to follow. We do the same thing in today's world. We do it in sports, calling the visiting team by ugly names in order to raise pride in our own team. We do it in politics, spouting exaggerations of our opponents' positions in order to validate our own view. It's easier to find negative things to say about one's rival, rather than to try to understand his or her viewpoint.

    I can only tell you that those I know who practice the Craft (including myself) are faithful to the same tenets believed in almost all the great religions of the world to care for people who need help, to love our neighbors, and to cause harm to no one. Yes, we light candles to our gods in order to gain their attention when we require a blessing of some kind; some of us kneel before a picture, statue or representation of the god's creation to pray; we pray with dignity and respect; we burn incense to perfume the air as we pray; we set up an altar to attract the gods' attention to our needs; we pray for our families, friends and neighbors, that they will receive blessings from the gods; we have no interest in proselytizing, since we believe each person must find his or her own way to his or her own truth. We do not engage in naked orgies, nor do we indulge in drug-induced fantasies. Our sacred ceremonies include the calling out to the gods and goddesses, singing songs of praise to them, participating in a communal sacred meal of bread and water (or wine), and demonstrating our respectful love of each other, and the earth, which is created by the gods. Some of us also dance in praise, in much the same manner as do many Christians.

    Our utmost intention is to love the gods and goddesses who love us, and to maintain the viability of the earth and the universe. We do this through prayers, songs, ceremonies (which are rituals), and we do it together. That's religion.

    About the Author

    Patricia Della-Piana is a spiritual poet, with over fifty years in the field. She is a practicing strega (Italian witch) and has been dedicated to the Goddess for more than forty years. Patricia has written a number of books including Aradia: Gospel of the Witches, Retold.


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