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Witchcraft (also called witchery or spellcraft) is the use of magical faculties, most commonly for religious, divinatory or medicinal purposes. This may take many forms depending on cultural context.

The belief in and the practice of magic has been present since the earliest human cultures and continues to have an important religious and medicinal role in many cultures today.

The concept of witchcraft as harmful is often treated as a cultural ideology providing a scapegoat for human misfortune. This was particularly the case in the early modern period of Europe where witchcraft came to be seen as part of a vast diabolical conspiracy of individuals in league with the Devil undermining Christianity, eventually leading to large-scale witch-hunts, especially in Protestant Europe. Witch hunts continue to this day with tragic consequences.

Since the mid-20th century Witchcraft has become the designation of a branch of modern paganism. It is most notably practiced in the Wiccan and witchcraft traditions, some of whom claim to practice a revival of pre-Abrahamic spirituality.

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Practices

  • Divination
  • The Occult
  • Satanism
  • Shamanism
  • Spiritualism

Types

  • Santería
  • Voodoo
  • Wicca

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