Are real-life witches evil?
What is your opinion on witches? Are they evil? Is there such a thing as a good witch?
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Sorcery is the work of, not surprisingly, sorcerers! A sorcerer is "one who influences fate" (which is the derivation of the word).
The belief that one can influence the future goes back to prehistoric religion and continues to the present day. Much of our technology would be considered magic by primitive people and our scientists thought of as sorcerers. Indeed, to the Greeks, magic was considered a “proto-science.”
Many religious rituals and beliefs seem similar to, or identical to, magical thinking. Indeed, some people try to change their future by prayer to a supernatural being. However, there is is what is called "natural magic" which requires no supernatural forces. This includes astrology (proto-astronomy), alchemy (proto-chemistry), and herbology (botany).
One idea similar to that of "fate" is the idea of "karma", or cause and effect. Essentially, there is a belief that one can influence their future reincarnation or rebirth by doing good acts. Are those doing charitable work doing magic? Are they making use of malignant supernatural forces? Obviously not.
In these modern times, neo-paganism is rapidly gaining adherents. Wicca is a neo-pagan religion whose followers practice a form of witchcraft. (However not all witches are Wiccans). Most wiccans practice "natural magic" which requires no involvement of any supernatural being. Some do ask for the help of gods and goddesses . However, as pagans, Wiccans do not worship the Devil, Satan or any other Christian god.
Many forms of witchcraft, folk magic and sorcery exist within many cultures, with widely varying practices, some with ill intent, most with the aim of helping oneself or others, without doing harm. One of these is shamanism, possibly the world's oldest religion. Shamans were called upon to cure illness, remedy ill fortune, influence the weather or the availability of game, foretell the future, and so on.
The practices of yoga are derived from ancient shamanism. Some of these practices are said to give the yogi magical powers. However, these powers, or siddi, are largely understood to be a distraction from the ultimate goal of the yogi.
I still remember and am still guided by the words of a Hindu yogi that I read many years ago.
"The only true magic is knowing the ways of the world and conforming oneself to them."
Where did you find your definition of sorcery? My dictionary says "The supposed use of magic'.
Really, I do not need a lesson in the history of religion - I have read up on them extensively.
Astrology is unscientific. It is illogical to assume that the certain alignment of planets will change the proverbial fate of various people born within a certain set date.
Karma, also, is unscientific. It is equally illogical to believe that one negative action will result in a negative action against you. For such a causal relationship, a supernatural being must be in place to guide it.
Shamans, also often use rituals and chants to influence such outcomes. Those chants are often used to call upon 'spirits'.
I read about a yogi who claimed to have telekinetic powers. It greatly interested me; however, such powers are unnatural and unscientific. If they were true, there must be a supernatural medium(god, spirit, devil, whatever you wish to call it).
Most of the 'no' responses are people saying that witches don't exist.
1st of all, where's your proof? You made a definitive statement without any proof to back it up.
2nd of all, a witch is a user of dark arts. In this WHAT IF situation, I honestly can't see any good witches.
The only way that could be true is if the definition of witch is by nature evil which isn't the case. You would need to elaborate on your view of witches before this topic can be properly covered since you may see witches as mythical creatures huddling over cauldrons in the woods, whereas I see them as practitioners of an art. The differing viewpoint changes the ultimate goal of this debate drastically. Historically, cauldron witches with warts on their excessively long noses have filled an antagonistic role (with few exceptions [snow white or whichever it was]) while "wiccan"-type witches historically worshiped the natural planet and whatever dieties would be involved in maintaining natural order between organisms sharing in the symbiotic relationship we find ourselves surrounded by :)
2. There's no such thing
3. Wiccan call themselves witches even though they aren't.
3. I've met a few Wiccan, and they came off at least to me as much better people in general than most of the Christians I've met. (I mention Christians because that is the vast majority of the religious people I know so haven't had chance to form a generalized opinion of other religions)