Sorry, this entry is only available in French.
Sorcerers and witches: beings that fascinate us… or scare!
Like the author S-P Decroix, I would like us to look at fascinating beings: sorcerers and witches. Why did I choose to distinguish between sorcerers and witches? When one evokes the witches, we imagine unconsciously an old madman on his broom flying or around an immense cauldron. Conversely, for sorcerers, it is more difficult to get an idea. For my part, I visualize a rather young being, all dressed in black, casting any spell with a magic wand or just by simple thought.
Curious, isn’t it?
What is a sorcerer or a witch?
From the popular Latin “sortiarius”, derived from “fate,” originally designating a process of divination, then “destiny, fate.”
A sorcerer or a witch is a witchcraft practitioner. It’s a mortal being, like you and me, with powers we called supernatural and very close to Nature and entities. A sorcerer is a being with knowledge of the occult sciences, it’s an intermediary between the world of the visible and the invisible. It’s said that their powers would be hereditary from generation to generation and they would even be formally forbidden to fall in love so as not to be disturbed by their emotions during magical practices that they would sometimes realize in total nudity.
Some would want to help human beings, protect the planet and living beings and others, having yielded to their desire for revenge or thirst for power, would want to make their lives hard and use their gifts to satisfy their every desire.
Witchcraft is a magic, typically drawn from plant energy, lunar cycles, seasons, entities and essentially practiced in the form of rituals, magic formulas, prayers and spells. It should be noted that the term witchcraft is perceived very pejoratively and applies in a very different way from one society to another, according to beliefs, traditions, religions and rites.
Long associated with the Devil by religions, they suffer from a bad image due to their ability to defy space, time and matter, predict the future, modify events, change the destiny of people, Influencing and manipulating others solely by their thoughts… gifts that would be lent more to the work of the Devil than to that of God…
It is also necessary to distinguish different magic: white magic (only for the purpose of helping man and to cure his ills), red magic (magic called love, thanks to spells, love philters .. .), dark magic (obscure, for revenge, harm, hurt, or even kill), elemental magic (appealing to the spirits of nature, controlling fire, air, water and land, in particular) and there are other appellations to categorize practices (psychic, natural, invocative, etc.).
Witchcraft in History
From antiquity, sorcerers and witches appear in the Bible, and are condemned by Moses. They are also mentioned in some texts dating back to ancient Egypt, and evoked in Homer’s Odyssey. Apart from these references, it is complicated to know more, as witchcraft was already firmly repressed at that time (the practice was forbidden and condemned to death).
At the beginning of the Middle Ages, in France, Clovis promulgated a law (the “Lex Salica“) which condemns those practicing sorcery to pay heavy fines. For Charlemagne, they deserve rather imprisonment. In 1326, Pope John XXII defined witchcraft as a heresy. The first witch hunts took place in 1484, on the orders of Pope Innocent VIII. In 1486 is published the Malleus Maleficarum (the “hammer of the witches”). This treatise, which describes the witches, their practices, how to capture them and eliminate them, was immensely successful, so that he knew thirty-four re-editions between 1487 and 1669.
Waves of arrests were taking place throughout Europe, mainly in France, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Italy. The victims, 80% women (sometimes teenage girls), are tortured to confess their sins, and very often sent to the stake.
The number of process is estimated between 100 and 200 000 between 1480 and 1650. The number of executions remains difficult to quantify, however, some historians estimate between 40 000 and 100 000.
In England, the witch-hunt was less severe, but peaked in 1645.
One of the best known tests to detect a witch was to tie her to a chair and throw her in the water, then wait to see if she came to the surface! If she drowned: they thought she was not, but she would die anyway, and if she did not drown (which never happened) she was considered a witch and was going to be burned afterwards . In any case, these women ended up drowned…
Practices attributed to witches:
- Pact with the Devil;
- Sabbath (nocturnal assemblies of witches)
- Flying on a broom (especially at night);
- Use of Dark Magic;
- Animal metamorphoses;
- Cannibal meals of children.
The witch-hunt mainly ended in the 1680s. In the United States, precisely in Salem, a famous trial led to the death of twenty-five people and the imprisonment of many others in 1692. The law against Witchcraft in England was abolished in 1736. However, some women are still accused of practicing sorcery and sentenced to death. Anna Göldin will be one of the last in Europe (in Switzerland, 18 June 1782).
In addition to two isolated cases, in 1826 and 1856, witch-hunt will no longer be talked about in France.
Since the mid-twentieth century, witchcraft has developed in the Western world, through the practice of certain neo-traditional religions (the best known being Wicca). Today, witchcraft is widely practiced in Africa by three types of people:
- The Thakatha (seeking to harm others);
- The Sangoma (divine);
- The Inyanga (conjures the evil spell). (In contrast to Thakatha and Sangoma, it is almost always a man).
Many countries in Africa and the Middle East still punish the practice of witchcraft, from simple fines to the death penalty!
The voodoo doll, a doll depicting a person’s mind using several needles to cast a spell, is the most widely known and popular magic practice object.
The image of sorcerers and witches has nevertheless been revived in many works of fiction. Whether with the nice and pretty sisters Halliwell (Charmed series) or with the heroic Harry Potter (literary saga)…
The New Sorcerers
In reality, sorcerers and witches have always existed at all times, but they are nevertheless very discreet, speak little of their activities, adapt perfectly to society, express themselves freely without being considered demented and are much less associated with the Devil as in ancient times.
Today, many trades that are freely and legally practiced would have been prohibited at the time and these people imprisoned or sentenced to death, such as psychics, psychics, hypnotists, mentalists, NLP specialists. They do not practice witchcraft, but they also act as intermediaries between this world and the afterlife, between the conscious and the unconscious, between the rational and the irrational, or they use scientific techniques using the psyche Or techniques not yet explained by science and beyond the understanding of most people, such as magnetizers, healers and other people with extraordinary abilities. Sorcerers are no longer just those marginalized who are excluded from society, they can hide from everywhere, especially in secret societies that are well known for practicing the occult sciences and other mysterious rituals that are not brought to our knowledge!
Moreover, the practice of witchcraft is no longer considered as heresy, but as an activity that is part of folklore, in traditions, beliefs; It is tolerated and is no longer the object of persecutions or witch hunts, at least in the majority of the terrestrial globe!
The image of the sorcerer or evil witch is far behind us, henceforth the “new” sorcerer or witch is more assimilated to the divine, the beyond and Nature. They aspire to show us that everyone can connect to the Source who created life and who is called magic! And they themselves say it today: each of us has the capacity to exploit his extrasensory gifts and to communicate with his share of divinity! To do this, we must get closer to Mother Nature!
Some people who would not call themselves “sorcerers” (although they might have been called this way) would today insist on the need to “live in full consciousness“, and is not this a desire Reconnect with that magic and those faculties that these sorcerers and wizards of yesteryear seemed to manifest and wanted to share? Mindfulness invites us to see life differently and encourages us to exploit more our intuition, our psyche, to believe in miracles, to live new experiences by refocusing on the importance of our thoughts and actions that could transform considerably our reality! Music, books and any work of the spirit also invites us to this opening… (Coincidence?) Hmm… it looks like magic… in French, the word magic, “magie” also rymes with the words “l’âme agit” wich means: the soul acts… (with special effects in Less, I grant you, but emotion and influence are there!) Perhaps it is just our definition of magic that is to be reviewed … Anyway:
Sorcerer has become a profession, whether challenged or not, is recognized by law (in France, perhaps in other countries too?) And there is no barrier to the practice of witchcraft. Witchcraft is considered as a domain of belief (a sorcerer can act as a priest, for example)! Free to everyone to believe or not in magic, however, there are still sorcerers and their condition has evolved since those times… just like mentalities!
In the literature (best known works – non exhaustive list):
- The witch of the Closet with the brooms (Pierre Gripari);
- The Harry Potter saga (J.K.Rowling);
- The saga of the Pays d’Oz (Lyman Franck Baum);
- Saga of the Witches (Anne Rice);
- At the crossroads of the worlds (Philip Pullman).
You will have noticed that the McBowen brothers of Nayra are special wizards! Here is a short summary about sorcery described in the saga:
Transformation into Wizards or Witches:
- Drink the blood of a sorcerer so that the magic energy circulates in the soon mutated body;
- Cast a spell on a full moon evening (which is a call to the dark and demonic forces);
- To commit a sacrifice (the obligation to do evil in order to receive powers from dark forces).
Capacity / powers:
- Immortality (sorcerers can, however, kill each other, a human being can also achieve this by showing intolerable cruelty);
- Influencing people through thought;
- Appearance and instantaneous disappearance;
- The share of blackness inherent in each one is multiplied tenfold;
- Cast spells, hear from afar, telekinesis and read in minds (reserved for wizards and high-level witches).
Everyone is free to create their magical beings, to remodel them according to their desires, to believe or not to the impossible, sorcerers or witches… Because after all, in matters of magic and imagination, freedom Is total and infinite… just like the power of our mind!
Perhaps the new sorcerers and witches are all those beings who aspire to fill our world with magic, no matter what rituals they use to improve our daily lives, as long as the soul acts for our own Great good! The new wizards are much closer to life than to death… So don’t be afraid by their spells!
Article written by Maud Wlek (author of Nayra) and Leandro De Carvalho (author of Living In Harmony).