Published on May 11, 2020

Witch Background Images

License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC
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Witchcraft (or witchery) is the practice of magical skills and abilities. Witchcraft is a broad term that varies culturally and societally, and thus can be difficult to define with precision; therefore, cross-cultural assumptions about the meaning or significance of the term should be applied with caution.

Historically, and currently in most traditional cultures worldwide – notably in Asia, South America, Africa, the African diaspora, and Indigenous communities – the term is commonly associated with those who use metaphysical means to cause harm to the innocent. In the modern era, primarily in western popular culture, the word may more commonly refer to benign, positive, or neutral practices of modern paganism, such as divination or spellcraft.

Belief in witchcraft is often present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view.

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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, and continue to have an important role in many cultures today.

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 misfortune), 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 by Christian fundamentalists) to non-belief, and even approval in some churches. 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 it is no longer practiced in secrecy.

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”). In these cultures beliefs that were related to witchcraft and magic were influenced by the prevailing Western concepts of the time. Witch-hunts, scapegoating, and the killing or shunning of suspected witches still occur in the modern era.

Witch Background images gallery for free download

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