The explosive growth of witches, Wiccans, and Pagans in the US — Quartzy

On Tuesdays and Fridays Italian witches gather earth from people’s footprints, and with this can do great harm. [164]

Other acquantinces may say that a witch is a person having psychic powers. It is true that most witches claim psychic powers, but possession of such powers does not make one a witch.  There is much more to witchcraft than that.  Others may think that witches practice Voodoo, which is a misunderstanding of both witchcraft and Voodoo.  Voodoo is a religion combining Christianity and African paganism: its rites are designed to protect against witchcraft and other evils.  More accurate and helpful answers are: (1) a witch is a sorcerer: this is the anthropological approach; (2) a witch is a Satanist: this is the historical approach; (3) a witch worships the ancient gods and practices magic: this is the approach favoured by modern witches.  Each approach can be justified.[165]

          But what really is a witch?  One answer rlies in the roots and development of words.  ‘Witch’ derives from the Old English wicca (pronounced ‘witcha’ and meanling ‘male witch’) and wicce (‘female witch’, pronounced ‘witcheh’) and from the verb wiccian, meaning ‘to cast a spell’.  Contrary to common belief among modern witches, it is not Celtic in derivation, and it has nothing to do with the Old English witan, ‘to know’, or any other word relating to ‘wisdom’. The explanation that witchcraft means ‘craft of the wise’is false.

The term ‘warlock’ derives from Old English waer, ‘truth’, and leogan, ‘to lie’. Originally it meant any oath-breaker or traitor.  About 1460 the term was equated with ‘witch’.  It always applied to female as well as male witches, and there is no justification for using ‘warlock’ as the male equivalent of female ‘witch’. ‘Witch’ is applied to both sexes. ‘Wizard’, unlike ‘witch;, really does derive from Middle English wis, ‘wise’.  The word first appears about 1440, meaning a ‘wise man or woman’; in the 16th and 17th centuries it designated a high magician, and only after 1825 was it used as the equivalent of ‘witch’.

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https://qz.com/quartzy/1411909/the-explosive-growth-of-witches-wiccans-and-pagans-in-the-us/

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