Witch – what is the earliest mention of the term?-Pickeyweedz

Witch – what is the earliest mention of the term?

     The earliest mention of the word Witch in relation to a practitioner of the magical arts seems to be biblical and is a reference to The Witch of Endor, whom King Saul summoned to help him by summoning the dead prophet Samuel to assist him in defeating the Philistine army. Do we believe that this is the earliest use of Witchcraft or even of its origin?

     Witches have been called many things over the centuries, and many have been called witches who would have never considered themselves a witch. Some of those “witchy” professions from the past were called by names like; Cunning Man, Cunning Woman, Wise Man, Wise Woman, Shaman, Medicine Man, Medicine Woman, Midwife, Nurse, Doctor, Nanny, Farmer, Priest, Priestess, the list could go on and on, but suffice it to say, it wasn’t good to have skills beyond the understanding of the locals in years past, even in some places today people are persecuted for the craft, oftentimes practicing your healing arts well, or making salient predictions based on observation can get the good folk chasing you round with pitchforks.  

     So, then you ask, what makes one’s practice Witchcraft? Well, if we look at what Aleister Crowley said about magic, "Magick is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will," then we would have to surmise that a Witch is one, who practices the art of causing change to occur in conformity with their will. While there are many pop definitions of the word out there, to weave or to bend comes from a religion called Wicca whose adherents may or may not practice magic, depending upon the branch of which they belong, or of personal choice. Those who don’t practice magic but rather adhere to the more religious aspects of Wicca see it as more of a point of view or life path rather than, something they “practice”. If we consult the search engines for our amusement, we find many different opinions of what the word means, let’s look at etymology instead.

The noun is from Middle English wicche, from Old English wiċċe (“witch (female), sorceress”) and wiċċa (“witch (male), sorcerer, warlock”), deverbative from wiċċian (“to practice sorcery”), from Proto-Germanic *wikkōną (compare West Frisian wikje, wikke (“to foretell, warn”), German Low German wicken (“to soothsay”), Dutch wikken, wichelen (“to dowse, divine”)), from Proto-Indo-European *wik-néh₂-, derivation of *weyk- (“to consecrate; separate”);[1] akin to Latin victima (“sacrificial victim”), Lithuanian viẽkas (“life-force”), Sanskrit विनक्ति (vinákti, “to set apart, separate out”). In its informal use as an insult for unpleasant women, sometimes parsed in the United States as a blend of white + bitch, with use restricted to that race. Possibly related to wicked; see that entry for more.


The verb is from the noun.[2]

1 - https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=witch

2 - https://www.oed.com/search/dictionary/?scope=Entries&q=witch

3 - https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/witch

4 - https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/witch#English  ^

5 - https://www.history.com/topics/folklore/history-of-witches



    So, as you can there are few differing opinions even amongst ‘the learned’ as to what the underlying meaning of the word Witch is, or from where and what form it derives. All that having been said, our opinion of what a Witch is differs greatly, especially since we are in the daily practice of the arts. We align our practice to the agrarian calendar, to the seasons and the cycles, the rhythms of nature, its movements, and phases. We honor our ancestors and maintain a space in our homes for them, often spoken of as an altar, but in our house, the whole of the home is sacred space, open only to the few and maintained as sacred space as you would a temple, it is cleansed both physically and spiritually regularly, offerings are made to both gods and ancestors regularly not simply on the high days. Ours is a practice of remembrance, of love, loyalty and dedication to those who gave us life, whose hopes and dreams live on with us, which were made manifest in us by them, so everything we do, every thought call it intention if you will, is with them in mind, how it would be received by them, is it worthy of them, work becomes honoring, pain and sacrifice a way of experiencing them more deeply in our daily lives. We see suffering not as failure but as repayment on the loan of the gift given by our ancestors, we see it as the gift of life, without suffering and pain you could not discern joy.

     So, tell us, what does witchcraft mean in your life, how does it enrich you, expand you, fill your cup so to speak? We’d love to hear from you!


John & Tay

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