Witchcraft is known as the "Old Religion" and is an ancient
practice dating back to biblical times. Witchcraft can be defined as the
performance of magic forbidden by God for non-biblical ends. The word
witchcraft is related to the old English word (wiccian),
"practice of magical arts."
It was during the Middle Ages that witchcraft experienced a great
revival. It was an age where everyone believed in the supernatural and
If someone wanted to become a witch, there was an initiation
process. Some of the techniques were simple and some were complicated, but
there were usually two requirements. The first requirement was that the
would-be witch must join of his or her own free will. The second requirement
was that the prospective witch must be willing to worship the devil.
One writer decsribed a witch in the following manner:
Witches are those who, because of the magnitude of their crimes, are
commonly called (malefici) or evil doers. These Witches, by the permission
of God, agitate the elements, and disturb the minds of men less trusting in
God. Without administering any poison, they kill by the great potency of
their charms....For they summon devils and dare to rouse them so that
everyone kills his enemies by evil stratagems. For these witches make use of
the blood of victims, and often defile the corpses of the dead....For the
devils are said to love blood, and so when the witches practice the black
arts, they mingle blood with water, so that by the color of blood they can
more easily conjure up the devils (Gratian, Decretum).
The modern witch does not fit the stereotype of the old hag, for
many people who are practicing this art are in the mainstream of society.
The question is why? Why a renewed interest in this ancient art among both
the educated and the ignorant? Daniel Cohen list a couple of possible
First, there is the eternal appeal of magic, the promise, however
muted, that there are secrets available that will give a person power,
money, love, and all those things he or she desires but cannot seem to
obtain. Second, witchcraft is a put-down and a revolt against some of the
establishment beliefs in organized religion, science, and rational thinking.
The historic connection between witchcraft and drugs and sex also has
undoubted appeal. Here is a set of beliefs that claim to be part of an
extremely ancient religion. Yet this is a religion in which drugs and free
sexuality are not condemned, but might be encouraged. (Daniel Cohen, A
Natural History of Unnatural Things, New York; McCall Pub. Co., 1971, pp.
Modern witchcraft bears little resemblance to the witchcraft of
the Middle Ages or to witchcraft in still primitive, preliterate
societies. Modern witchcraft is a relatively recent development (the last
200 years), embraces hundreds of beliefs and practices and has hundreds of
thousands of adherents. The one common theme running through modern
witchcraft is the practice of and belief in things forbidden by God in the
Bible as occultic.
Today, in a massive spin-off from the culture-wide interest in the
occult, this has changed. Tens of thousands across America - some of them
with university degrees - are dabbling in witchcraft, Satanism, voodoo, and
other forms of black and white magic. Witches sppear openly on television.
Every high school is said to have its own witch. In Cleveland you can rent a
witch to liven up a party. There are some 80,000 persons practicing white
magic in the United States, with 6,000 in Chicago alone. (George Vandeman,
Psychic Roulette, Nashville TN}}}, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1973, pp. 99,
Witchcraft is not dead today as can be observed by an article
appearing in the Los Angeles Times concerning the goddess movement:
.....Eerie monotones...reverberated on the UC Santa Cruz camous.
Cheers and whoops went up for the goddesses of yore - Isis, Astara,
Demeter, Artemis, etc.
...The event was indicative of a burgeoning spiritual dimension to
the women's liberation movement in America....
Christine Downing, head of San Diego State University's religious
studies department, estimates that many - if not most - spiritually
sensitive women in the women's movement are willing to replace the biblical
God with a frankly pagan and polytheistic approach.
Witchcraft is aiding the women in their search for roots and
rituals - without the connotations of evil usually associated with
A Santa Cruz woman...said, "Some of the women think of themselves
as witches, but not all."
A brief, unscheduled appearance - met with enthusiastic applause -
was made by Z Budapest. A self-described witch...the goddess movement
knows her more as a leader of the Susan B Anthony Coven No. 1 in Los Angeles
and a chrismatic spokeswoman for a feminist brand of Wicca, an ancient
women's religion (witchcraft).
The goddess movement, also called the women-spirit movement,
apparently considers its first major gathering to have been a conference
attended by about 1,200 women at the University of Massachusetts in late
The ancient Mediterranean world, pagan Europe, Native America and
Hindu tradition are all sources for goddess imagery....
A religious phenomenon virtually unknown outside feminist circles,
"goddess consciousness" will be widely known in three to five years
(Los Angeles Times, April 10, 1978).
THE BIBLE AND WITCHCRAFT
Both the Old and New Testament make repeated references to the
practice of witchcraft and sorcery, and whenever these practices are
referred to they are always condemned by God. The Bible condemns all forms
of witchcraft, including sorcery, astrology and reading human and animal
entrils. The following passages describe the various forms of witchcraft
which are condemned by God. You shall not allow a sorceress to live (Exodus
You shall not eat anything with blood, nor practice divination or
soothsaying (Leviticus 19:26, NASB).
Do not turn to mediums or spiritist; do not seek them out to be
defiled by them. I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19;31, NASB).
Now a man or a woman who is a medium or spiritist shall surely be
put to death. They shall be stoned with stones, their bloodguiltiness is
upon them (Leviticus 20:27, NASB).
You shall not behave thus toward the Lord your God, for every
abominable act which the Lord hates they have done for their gods; for
they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods
(Deuteronomy 12:31, NASB).
There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his
daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices
witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a
spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead....For
those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice
witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not
allowed you to do so (Deuteronomy 18:10,11,14, NASB).
For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is
as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He has also rejected you from being king (1 Samuel 15:23, NASB)
Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the
fire, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do
evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him (2 Kings 17:17, NASB).
And he made his son pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft
and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritist. He did much
evil in the sight of the Lord provoking Him to anger (2 Kings 21:6, NASB).
Moreover, Josiah removed the mediums, and the spiritist and
teraphim and the idols and all the abominations that were seen in the land
of Judah and in Jerusalem. that he might confirm the words of the law which
were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the
Lord (2 Kings 23:24, NASB).
So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord,
because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he
asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the
Lord. Therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom to David the son of
Jesse (1 Chronicles 10:13, NASB).
And when they say to you, "Consult the mediums and the spiritist
who whisper and mutter," should not a people concult their God? Should
they consult the dead on behalf of the living? (Isaiah 8:19, NASB).
Then the spirit of the Egyptians will be demoralized within them;
and I will confound their strategy, so that they will resort to idols and
ghosts of the dead, and to mediums and spiritist (Isaiah 19:3, NASB).
Stand fast now in your spells and in your many sorceries with
which you have labored from your youth; perhaps you will be able to
profit, perhaps you may cause trembling. You are wearied with your many
counsels; let now the astrologers, those who prophesy by the stars, those
who predict by the new moons, stand up and save you from what will come upon
you (Isaiah 47:12,13, NASB).
But as for you, do not listen to your prophets, your diviners,
your dreamers, your soothsayers, or your sorcerers, who speak to you
saying, "You shall not serve the king of Babylon." For they prophesy a lie
to you, in order to remove you far from your land; and I will drive you out,
and you will perish (Jeremiah 27:9,10, NASB).
"Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift
witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those
who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his
wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien, and do
not fear Me." says the Lord of Hosts (Malachi 3:5, NASB).
And when they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos,
they found a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet whose name was
Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of
intelligence. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the
word of God. But Elymas the magician (for thus his name is translated) was
opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul,
who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze upon
him , and said, "You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the
devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked
the streight ways of the Lord?" (Acts 13:6-10, NASB).
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality,
impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy,
outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness,
carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have
forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the
kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21, NASB).
But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers
and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part
will be in the Lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second
death (Revelations 21:8, NASB).