There are many myths and superstitions about witches, witchcraft, and Paganism that are largely based on misinformation stemming from early Christian propaganda. Unfortunately, some movies, TV shows, and novels use these myths in their story lines, leading people to believe that fiction is somehow fact. Below are some of the more common myths as well as the truths regarding them.
- Paganism, with its many paths, is not a real faith. Paganism is a peaceful polytheistic nature-based spirituality and is one of the fastest growing faiths in the world. There are indeed many Pagan traditions and paths but this is certainly not unique to Paganism. For example, Christianity has many denominations, each with its own set of beliefs and rituals, including Anglican, Baptist, Mormon, and Roman Catholic, to name but a few. Having several paths or denominations doesn’t make one faith any less “real” than any other.
- Witches are devil worshippers who hold black masses. Satan is a construct of Abrahamic faiths, particularly Catholicism. Witches don’t even believe that satan exists, let alone worship it. Also, witches do not hold masses, black or otherwise. Masses are a type of worship service held by some Christian faiths.
- But isn’t a pentacle is a symbol of satanists? A pentacle is a Pagan symbol that represents the soul or spirit of the witch using it as well as the four elements of magick: air, earth, fire, and water. There is nothing evil or sinister about it. That said, though, an inverted pentacle has unfortunately been misappropriated by some satanists who clearly don’t understand the true spiritual meaning of it. However, that has nothing whatsoever to do with witches and witchcraft.
- Witches have no morals or ethics. Witches are as ethical and moral as anyone of any other faith. Paganism principles stress the importance of harming no one, oneself included, as well as accepting responsibility for one’s own behaviours, actions and reactions.
- Witches are promiscuous and regularly have orgies. Witches are no more or no less likely to have multiple sex partners or indulge in any less-mainstream sexual practices than anyone else. Sexual practices are a matter of personal preference and desires, not religious affiliation.
- Witches sacrifice animals. Witches do not sacrifice animals or any other living beings. In fact, the dagger used in magick, an athame, is ceremonial only. It is used for casting circles and otherwise directing energy but never for killing.
- Magick is evil. Neither “good” nor “bad”, magick simply is. It’s how magick is used that can may be positive or negative.
Other Myths About Witches & Witchcraft
- All witches are women. As with any other religion, witches are of either sex and any gender identity. Male witches are not warlocks or sorcerers. Both male and female witches are witches.
- Witches can only inherit their magick. Some witches have a family tree ripe with ancestral witches but it isn’t true that only hereditary witches are “real” witches. Everyone has magick in them which can be developed. More powerful witches will have more magickal practice, experience, understanding and confidence than novice witches.
- Witches must belong to a coven. There are probably more witches who do not belong to a coven than those who do. In the same way as one can be a Christian without belonging to a congregation, you may choose to be a solitary witch or belong to a small informal group, rather than a formal coven.
- Witches must be formally initiated into Paganism. If you are joining a coven, there would typically be a formal initiation ceremony but solitary witches can self-dedicate, as casually or as formally as personal preference dictates.
- Witches must be formally trained. Perhaps at one time, this was true but with reputable books and internet sites, solitary witches can learn the craft on their own. Of course, having a more experienced witch as a guide is certainly helpful.
- Witches perform witchcraft in the nude. Some witches perform some rituals or ceremonies naked or skyclad. However, most don’t, wearing what’s comfortable, whether it’s day-to-day clothes or a special loose-fitting robe used only for crafting magick. Once again, it is a matter of personal beliefs, comfort, and preference.