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Witchcraft 101


Witchcraft is an ancient spiritual tradition found in various cultures around the world. There is the Inyanga and Isangoma in South Africa who are consulted by their people for various health and spiritual problems. And in Chile, there is the Machi whose primary duty is to treat sick people. And in the Philippines we have the Babaylan, who serves as intermediaries to the spirit world.

But this inherent assimilation in their respective cultures changed from the 16th to the 18th centuries, when witchcraft became largely demonized in early modern Europe. This huge turnaround orchestrated by the Roman Catholic Church resulted in thousands of people being killed because they were accused of using magic. The most popular witch trials were the Scottish North Berwick witch trials, Swedish Torsåker witch trials and the American Salem witch trials.

Many of our own ancestors were also punished and killed because they denounced Spanish authorities and they failed to accept Christianity. However, the practice of witchcraft was preserved in our culture with the help of Babaylans who fought hard against the foreign invaders.

What is witchcraft?

Witchcraft is the practice of using herbs, crystals and materials found in nature to bring about a change in a situation or one’s life.

There are many ways in which it is practiced in different parts of the world. There are witches who call various deities depending on their needs (e.g. someone calls Venus when they ask for love). And there are witches who have a monotheistic belief as well as those who worship nature. Some cast spells whenever they need to effect change, but there are also witches who only do so as a last resort. There are those who only use magic to do good and there are also those who do not find it incongruous to use magic even if it hurts others.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Is witchcraft bad?

A: The use of witchcraft is not inherently wrong, bad or evil. Whether it is bad or good depends on the user's intentions. To illustrate this, let us compare it to using a knife. If you use the knife to hurt others, who is bad, the knife or you?


Q: Is Witchcraft a religion?

A: We do not consider it as a religion. It is a spiritual tradition that anyone can adopt no matter what religion he/she belongs to.


Q: Do witches worship Satan?

A: No, we do not worship Satan. Satan is not a part of this tradition because he is a character found in Abrahamic religions. Witchcraft existed before the establishment of these religions.


Q: Do witches sacrifices animals?

A: As mentioned earlier, witchcraft is practiced and were developed by people from various places. There are witches who have a tradition of offering animals to fulfill their needs and that's where the Babaylans fall under.


Q: Why are witches using Pentagram? Is it a Satanic symbol?

A: Not every witch uses a pentagram. We can not connect that symbol to Satan because it is a Christian symbol that represents the 5 wounds of Jesus. And for your enlightenment, some witches use the Pentagram to represent the 5 elements, that is: spirit, water, fire, earth and air; and not Satan.


Q: How can one consider himself or herself to be a witch?

A: There are people who consider themselves as a witch just because they read books about witchcraft or cast spells they found in books or online. Personally, I don’t consider them as witches because to become a witch, one must be equipped with knowledge, skills and wisdom through years of experience in the craft.


Q: Do witches believe in God?

A: Not all witches have a belief in God. There are witches who are atheists and there are also those who are believers in the one God from whom everything in the world originates. I am of the latter, as I believe in one God.


Q: If I were a witch, can I also do the wonderful things I can see on movies and on TV?

A: No. Actually, witches can not fly, teleport, or undergo resurrection. If your only goal to delve into this world of witchcraft is that, then you're just wasting your time.


Q: How to become a witch?

A: The first thing you need to do is to acquire knowledge about it. You can do that by reading reliable books. But still, you need to have an experienced mentor.

I started as a solitary witch when I was in high school and the only source of information I had was our school library. Of course, this was limited knowledge. What kind of information can you read about witchcraft from an encyclopedia? It naturally presented the concept as pure evil, that witches have pacts with Satan in exchange for magical powers, etc. the situation did not get better for me as someone gave me a book full of harmful and manipulative spells. So I was initially mislead. This made me used witchcraft to do acts which were harmful or evil. And because of this, I suffered greatly for not complying with the law of karma.

When I became part of a coven (a closely-knit group of witches) I received guidance. The coven led me to correct my practice to veer towards doing good. Because of them, I became wise in using magic.

In my next blog post, I will share with you the things I learned along my journey to becoming a witch so stay tuned!


Babaylan Tata Adlaw
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