If you look up the word witch in a dictionary you will find a definition of " one who casts spells or something much worse. Witches at one time used to be both feared and respected in history. At another time they were thought to be only "fairy tale creatures". Witch is usually thought of as female,but can be both male or female. Wizard is a term usually used for male magick users.
I practice witchcraft as a way of life. The art of being a witch is that of using the natural elements of the earth to better my self and help those who ask it of me.
My rule of being a witch is that if I am not asked directly for help I can not help. To do so would be a violation of another beings self will. In all actions there is an opposite and equal reaction.
My energies come to me through visual stimulation, atmosphere is a must for me.
In the olden times spells were made into ryhmes ,which were easier to remember and if heard would thought to be only a childs folly, read "Mother Goose" if you want a true old spell book. But not all spells have to rhyme, but the most key ingredient is your emotion, if you can work enough energy through emotion while making a spell then you will succeed.
Being a witch is'nt just about "casting spells", most witches believe,as I do, that there is a duality in nature , a male and female aspect. So we try and find the balance of these aspects in all we do, even our deities are both female and male, a goddess and god that we find comfort in seeking. .
There have evolved in our last century groups that have come to be called witch traditions,such as the Gardenarians, those who follow the teachings of Gerald Gardner, Dianic-those who only worship the goddess aspect,Alexsandrian-those who follow the teachings of Alex Sanders and so on etc. But I would say that there are probably more "solitary witches ", those who practice the art of witchcraft either alone or with a few others, using whatever path they choose that is best for them. The point is that being a witch is being your own individual self, your energies will make the appearance of your deities that are best suited to you,there are no hard and set rules to follow, your own conscience and instincts will tell you the right ways of magick.
" Some History of Wizards and Witches"
In the beginnings of what we have come to consider a wizard or witch to be , there were those that had already become legend . In Finland there was a wizard named Vainamoinen the Steadfast, he was an aged man even then with a heavy brow and a white beard. He drove a horse drawn sleigh. In those days a wizard's power was enchanted through song. With the understanding of magical knowledge and the right song much could be done or undone.
In Finland other wizards resided as well , Ilmarien the Smith, who made a mill that eternally ground out salt, grain and gold.
Lemminkainen, who could sing sand into pearls, and in the northern reaches was a sorceress named Louhi who once stole the sun and moon and hid them in a mountain as the story goes.
Across the Russian steppes strode the warlike Volga Vseslavich, who could change shapes. In Ireland were Cathbad, who knew the meaning of every hour, and the bard Cairpre, who toppled a tyrant with a quatrain of verse.
On the Isle of man in the Irish sea dwelt Manannan Mac Lir, whose protective spells could raise a mist to shield his realm or change a single foot soldier into a company of a hundred.
Britain was called the Island of the Mighty ,in wales lived Taliesin, son of the sorceress Ceridwen. Math the Ancient, who heard in the wind each word spoken on the Island was welsh too as was his nephew Gwydion, a maker of illusions. And toward the era's end came the greatest of enchanters and crown of wizardry, Merlin.
These wizards worked in silence off the stage, they were king makers and breakers so their deeds have come down in fragments of songs and tattered scraps of history. To serve their ends they harnessed winds and waters, when they wished could move the planets from their pathways, conjured vast concourses of people where none had been before and change their own and others shapes. They cured or inflicted disease or deformity . They saw into the future.
The legends of these and other magical elders like them came to become respected as almost gods and goddesses among the later people who practiced magical arts. Witches and wizards are in a sense ancestor worshippers, for lack of a better term.
As the times and attitudes changed toward the magical people , it seemed that the knowledge that the elders once knew had become lost in its purity. Wizard at its root means "one who is wise" while with the later titles that those who practiced magic such as sorcerers and magicians which meant having only the ability to see into the future. The humblest of these were called witches which meant "people set apart" or today "wise ones" as the elders had once been called.
The elder wizards and witches of long ago knew that magic existed, it was their way of life , a part of them that was as natural as breathing. They did not have to search for hidden meanings or mysteries as some of those who came later seemed to do. There have been many who have given us knowledge and lore of magic use through out history and many have paid dearly ,some even with their lives. Some of our newer teachers have been in our century, such as Crowley, Gardner, Leek, LaVey, Buckland, Silverravenwolf and Cunningham to name just a few. If you do not find these names familiar , it is suggested that some research is in order.
Magic and its people have roots , history and culture that can be traced into antiquity in almost every civilization.