Witchcraft is a mode of interacting with the spirit world. While the language we may use to describe our individual practices may vary, this is the one defining trait that we share. Truthfully, it is this work with (and sometimes within) the spirit world that, even historically, forms the basis of what we mean when we answer the question of what is witchcraft.
At a fundamental level, witchcraft is exactly as the name implies: it is the craft of the witch. That emphasis on the word “craft” must not be overlooked, for it is the doing that is also fundamentally important. There are no beliefs that are necessary in witchcraft, only the doing. One is a witch because they practice witchcraft -there are no other qualifiers.
However, that lack of common belief while professing to be a craft, a practice whose means and materials are spiritual in nature, can seem to be erroneous, if not contradictory. Furthermore, it can seemingly become more complicated when we take into account those differences in language. Very often, due to perspective, experiences, and background, we find ourselves talking about the same thing in seemingly very different terms and using different language to do so.
13 Purification Rites to Eliminate Ritual Pollution
In a continued effort to put Paganism in its rightful place as just another of countless religions found throughout the world, no different and certainly not any more "special" or "unique" than any other religion, this piece examines a common component of many religions, citing examples from various religions, as well as Paganism, to not only give further explanation of that concept but to give further credence to the idea that religion is a choice, with no religion nor its members being above any other religion or its members, and certainly not above in depth examination and criticism.
It is also important to note that while Paganism is not itself specifically a religion, rather it is a term referring to numerous modern religions with seemingly little in common other than shared history and inspiration, for ease of communication this distinction will not be made within this article, however, it is frequently addressed in other areas, such as the previous articles What is Paganism? and Whitewashing Paganism.
A common idea found in numerous religions is that of ritual pollution. This is the concept that there are certain activities, situations, actions, and biological functions that can leave one in a state of impurity, impacting one's ability to perform certain religious functions and rites. Often, there are certain prescriptions given to rectify this state, i.e. purification rites that must be performed or a certain time period that must pass for the state of ritual pollution to correct itself.
Throwing the Bones