Tuesday, October 30, 2018

I'm a Gonna Gett'cha When Goblins Come out to Play

Witchcraft or witchery broadly means the practice of and belief in magical skills and abilities exercised by solitary practitioners and groups. Witchcraft is a broad term that varies culturally and societally, and thus can be difficult to define with precision,[1] and cross-cultural assumptions about the meaning or significance of the term should be applied with caution. Witchcraft often occupies a religious divinatory or medicinal role,[2] and is often present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view.[1]



















The concept of witchcraft and the belief in its existence have persisted throughout recorded history. They have been present or central at various times and in many diverse forms among cultures and religions worldwide, including both "primitive" and "highly advanced" cultures,[3] and continue to have an important role in many cultures today.[2] Scientifically, the existence of magical powers and witchcraft are generally believed to lack credence and to be unsupported by high-quality experimental testing, although individual witchcraft practices and effects may be open to scientific explanation or explained via mentalism and psychology.

Historically, the predominant concept of witchcraft in the Western world derives from Old Testament laws against witchcraft, and entered the mainstream when belief in witchcraft gained Church approval in the Early Modern Period. It posits a theosophical conflict between good and evil, where witchcraft was generally evil and often associated with the Devil and Devil worship. This culminated in deaths, torture and scapegoating (casting blame for human misfortune),[4][5] and many years of large scale witch-trials and witch hunts, especially in Protestant Europe, before largely ceasing during the European Age of Enlightenment. Christian views in the modern day are diverse and cover the gamut of views from intense belief and opposition (especially from Christian fundamentalists) to non-belief, and in some churches even approval. From the mid-20th century, witchcraft – sometimes called contemporary witchcraft to clearly distinguish it from older beliefs – became the name of a branch of modern paganism. It is most notably practiced in the Wiccan and modern witchcraft traditions, and no longer practices in secrecy.[6]

The Western mainstream Christian view is far from the only societal perspective about witchcraft. Many cultures worldwide continue to have widespread practices and cultural beliefs that are loosely translated into English as "witchcraft", although the English translation masks a very great diversity in their forms, magical beliefs, practices, and place in their societies. During the Age of Colonialism, many cultures across the globe were exposed to the modern Western world via colonialism, usually accompanied and often preceded by intensive Christian missionary activity (see "Christianization"). Beliefs related to witchcraft and magic in these cultures were at times influenced by the prevailing Western concepts. Witch hunts, scapegoating, and killing or shunning of suspected witches still occurs in the modern era,[7] with killings both of victims for their supposedly magical body parts, and of suspected witchcraft practitioners.


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