When you feel alone in your practice, it helps to know some facts straight: there are many witches who practice witchcraft around the world.
Wherever you may be, know that witchcraft is practiced in Asia, Africa, North and South America, Europe, and Australia. In fact… the only continent where I couldn’t find any evidence of witchcraft is in Antarctica.
If you are a witch in Antarctica, please leave a comment below and be represented!
Let’s go around the world and find out the different names for witchcraft and how our brothers and sisters are faring out there.
Child Ritual Sacrifices
In the southern areas of Nepal, ritual sacrifices of more children have occurred at the hands of shaman trainees who need to shed the blood of children, as a form of sacrifice, to gain mystical knowledge!
Child sacrifices were perhaps little known also to locals in Nawalparasi until it took place in July 2016.
Kodai Harijan, 35, was trying to find a cure for his ailing teenage son. When nothing else would help, he called a witchdoctor who made an evil spirit who was living in his son speak and state its demands...
...the evil spirit declared that it could only be “pacified with human flesh.”
Kodai was desperate to save his son and to satisfy the evil spirit. Assisted by the witchdoctor and two relatives, he lured the neighbor’s son over and sacrificed him to the evil spirit.
It is scary, isn’t it?
Burning of Witches
Witchdoctors get burned in Nepal. Others get mobbed and stoned too (there are also reports of torture). There are also plenty of women also get wrongfully accused of practicing witchcraft.
Reportedly, there was a woman in Chitwan was attacked by a mob and stoned and burned alive in front of her ten-year-old daughter...
...and that’s just one of many.
Another woman was charged for being a witch in the village of Karahiya-1, Rupandehi.
A man around 30 usually of good behavior started to act mad.
The villagers started to think of the witches as the main cause. They decided to invite a witchdoctor for his cure.
He tied up the man using a leather cord and tortured him by inserting his fingers in both ears. He said the blood was not his but from the evil within.
The witchdoctor asked the man to point to the witch responsible for his madness…
...the man pointed to a woman in the crowd - a neighbor.
The woman accused for being the witch was close to the man. She wept. She was falsely accused of being a witch.
Since then, the community ostracized her and treated her badly.
Witches who practice black magick in the Philippines are called mangkukulam. “Kulam” means to curse or hex or bewitch.
It is a dark form of sorcery and the witches practicing this are feared by many. Some wear diamonds to make them immune to kulam.
Kulam flourishes in the rural areas of Philippines and co-exists with Catholicism. While the good witches use prayers to invoke the good spirits, the black witches are associated with evil and the devil.
Kulam as Revenge
Apart from casting spells on victims, the mangkukulam also offers services to the villagers to teach cheating spouses a lesson or to seek revenge on someone who has stolen from them or ruined their reputation.
This usually happens in areas where the people feel the justice system will just fail them or cannot be bothered with.
The mangkukulam can also function as a faith healer or witch doctor curing the people of illnesses they believe are brought about by the local spirits or wood nymphs.
But it’s not all dark. They also cast love spells to make someone fall in love with you.
Where can you find them?
Mangkukulams usually come from the islands of Samar and Siquijor, Western Samar and Sorsogon province.
Until now, natives from these areas are viewed suspiciously by people and are believed to practice or know a thing or two about kulam.
But, these places are also well known for their numerous “faith healers.” Some see these places as healing places, especially Siquijor.
Interview with Mangkukulam
In one interview with a mangkukulam, he explained to the purpose of kulam, which is to restore “balance” in the world.
He believes he is giving power to the victims of injustice and which also deters people from doing injustices. Mangkukulams help the oppressed and they will help cast spells on those people who oppress them.
He gave the example of an abused and battered wife who was abandoned by her husband for another woman; and another of a poor person wronged by someone rich and powerful.
He defends his witchcraft as a way of seeking redress for injustice. Anyone who is suffering because of the evil actions of others may seek their revenge through kulam. It is the great equalizer.
He says that the power to cast away or punish or direct evil spirits using unseen forces is accessible to mankind since time immemorial, and it’s nothing new.
To be clear, he says that a true mangkukulam will not use this power to hurt good people.
How the Mangkukulam works
The mangkukulam explained how he makes potions and casts spells. The potions are made from ingredients such as black candles, sea anemones, herbs, plants, sap of trees, powdered stones, bones, corals and oils.
The mangkukulam enhances the strength of the potion through prayers and incantations recited during certain days and under certain moon phases.
If America had its own witchcraft trials in Massachusetts, so did Europe - here we reference the Pendle witch trials of the same period.
Until now, the Pendle witch trials helps bring in over £85m to the local economy each year.
10 people being hanged for witchcraft in 1612.
Modern Day Witches in Pendle
A 38-year-old witch known as Myrddin is the head of a witches' coven in Chorley, Lancashire, a little more than 30 miles from Pendle.
They don't do anything sinister like Devil worship and they do not make human or animal sacrifices.
In his words: "We honour, revere and give thanks to nature. We celebrate the seasons. It's not all blood and gore. In spring, we celebrate life and rebirth then in the winter, decay and death to make way for new life."
According to Myrddin, even 400 years later, prejudice against witches stills exists. This is the reason why their practices are hidden and kept a secret. They do not practice in view of the public, neither do their celebrations.
Myrddin wears a cloak and heads up a magickal working group practicing traditional witchcraft which includes druidry, shamanism and wicca.
Myrddin has a day job, which does not interfere with his spiritualism. He honors every living thing and the world we live in.
Since he was a child, he’d always had an affinity with nature. From a very young age, he could feel the magick in Nature.
It was only when he got older that he knew what to call his beliefs - Paganism.
The coven celebrates eight Celtic festivals across the year and the moon cycles in the Lancashire countryside centred around a campfire.
What do they do? They eat, drink and be merry.
Hazel Woods, of the Pagan Federation, said there are witches of all social classes and occupations but many still fear expressing their beliefs.
Kathy Rowan-Drewitt, 51, hid her beliefs until she reached the age of 30 and divorced her husband. She then became free to follow her dreams and joined the Pagan Federation.
She now runs her own witch school and has taught more than 60 witches. She said: "We use spells to do good. We never do nasty spells. They're always so life takes a better turn like getting promotions or solving problems.”
According to her, many hide their beliefs from their families and friends for fear of being thought of as weird.
According to wiccan priestess, the times may have changed but we are still misrepresented and treated as a joke by the media. But most people have done spells without realizing it.
When you gather round a birthday cake and blow out candles and make a wish. You raise energy, focus and make a wish and don't tell anyone what it is - in essence it is magick.
Many witches are still in the broom closet
Many witches keep their magic lives quiet and prefer to remain in the broom closet, coming out only to friends and fellow believers for fear of losing their jobs and being ridiculed.
Especially those who live in predominantly Christian communities in the South or those who work with children.
Witches in the Bay Area
Morpheus is from the Bay Area and she is a witch who works for the government during the day, and at night, a priestess who sings to the moon.
She dragged crushingly heavy stones down dirt roads to build a henge to honor Morrigan, the Celtic goddess of war.
She and her husband oversaw the “Stone City,” one of the only major pagan sanctuaries in the Bay Area.
According to Morpheus, pagans, male and female, find the “craft” in many ways. She found hers while rebelling against an evangelical upbringing.
At a time when she was frustrated by the limitations of the Catholic Church, she wandered into a local occult bookstore…
….and nothing was ever the same since.
Witches in New York
Liz Pressman has been a witch for 42 years.
She was forthcoming about her beliefs and when she was working at an investment bank but when a colleague complained about her goddess pendant, she was let go from her job. “Listening to the human resources manager, I could hardly believe my ears,” Liz said.
The pain stayed with Liz for awhile. If that experience taught her anything, it’s to keep her faith under wraps, rather than risk losing relationships and jobs.
Two decades after the traumatizing experience, Liz became empowered to declare that she’s a Wiccan high priestess. Hiding was too painful for her to bear.
Plus, she sees Wicca and witchcraft entering the mainstream and reaching millennials. You see it in current movies and the sale of magickal items like crystal balls, pentacles, and tarot card decks in different shops in New York.
The millennials who grew up on Harry Potter became interested in witchcraft and learned about the feminist pagan religion that worships Mother Earth and uses plants and trees to heal our bodies and souls.
Liz now proudly wears pentacles around her neck, puts on sacred oils and openly talk about her beliefs. But it’s not all fun. In the process, she lost two of her best friends from high school and a college friend gave her a book about finding Jesus and wished her the best.
While casting a circle in Inwood Park, they were disturbed by rangers concerned because I was drawing a pentacle in the air with a dagger. To which she claimed her First Amendment rights while adding: “This is my religion and I need to do this.”
Her group was told to leave the park.
Like a true Wiccan, Liz only uses her powers for good, performing love, healing, money, and luck spells; followed by banishing spells and blessings.
Plenty suspect witchcraft to be behind negative events like death, disease, mental illness, bad harvest, or loss of livestock.
For decades, Ghanaian women are suspected of practicing witchcraft have been banished to live in segregated camps.
The Gambaga witch camp is one of the most famous in northern Ghana. Most of its residents are females, especially older ones who do not have the protection of men.
The Witchcraft Test
The ritual through which the chief determines whether a woman is a witch or not involves a chicken being thrown up in the air. And the contortions of the chicken determine whether the person is a witch or not.
If the chicken falls with its head down and its feet in the air, the woman is guilty of witchcraft and must spend the rest of her days in the camp. And if the chicken collapses feet down and she's declared innocent of witchcraft, she must still spend her remaining years in the camp, because some villagers don't believe in her innocence.
According to the oldest witch in the village, who also serves as their leader, they are actually free to go whenever they like, but that they choose not to because they fear the backlash of the community.
A lot of witchcraft accusations actually stem from women who don't get along and see the others as obstacles in the way of their children's well being. For example, a woman might be one of many wives and so she accuses another of witchcraft. Some also stem from false accusations like someone getting sick accusing someone of making him or her sick through dark magic or curses.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the 2011 census recorded approximately 40,000 people who identified their religious beliefs as 'pagan', 'Wicca' or 'witchcraft'.
One internet directory of Australian witch societies lists a total of 58 groups. The Celtic Barbarians, Temple of the Silver Oak, Lightningbird, Witches Downunder, Order of the Fringe Dwellers, Circle of Elders and Symposium Illuminatum are only some of the witchcraft groups in Australia.
Australia is the country of Fiona Horne, Wendy Rule, and Lizzy Rose, celebrity witches in their own right.
Sisters of the Equinox
If you came across Sarah Holloway on the street, you wouldn't expect her to be a witch.
She wears a flower crown, has long brunette hair and wouldn't look out of place partying at popular summer festivals.
But Ms Holloway also runs Sisters of the Equinox, a witch collective based in Melbourne. The collective meets regularly, and also attends festivals and events to read tarot cards and teach people about witches.
We meet every full and new moon
“We're a group of women who need time with other women, and we meet every full moon and new moon,” said Ms. Holloway.
There is an altar in the center of meetings, where a feather, plants and crystals would be placed.
The new moon is a time for setting goals and intentions for the next month and the full moon is for celebrating what has been accomplished and letting go of past hurts and things that do not help us grow.
We cast spells and do readings
They also do spells and casts spells for friends like wealth, prosperity, love, and negativity-banishing. Sometimes, it’s as simple as placing a bay leaf under your pillow to dream of love.
Ms. Holloway says she believes strongly in the power of crystals as well, which she uses to bring in different energies to her life.
She also reads tarot cards and palms, giving people an insight into their future.
“Most often people want to know about their love lives when they have their cards read,” according to Ms. Holloway.
Stereotypes scare people off
Stereotypes about witches still scare people off. Men, especially, are scared of them.
“Some of my ex boyfriends got freaked out,” Ms Holloway said.
Her advice for any women who want to learn more about witches and join a circle it to do some research online first.
There are lots of pages and groups on Facebook. If you cannot find a coven in your area, there are lots of groups to find online, as there are plenty of witch communities all over.
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