witch
Wicca Wic"ca (w[i^]k"k[.a]), prop. n. [OE. wicche wizard, AS. wicce, fem., wicca, masc.; see also {witch} and {wicked}.] 1. A religion derived from pre-Christian times, also called {Witchcraft}[4], which practices a benevolent reverence for nature, and recognizes two deities, variously viewed as Mother & Father, Goddess & God, Female & Male, etc.; its practitioners are called Wiccans, Wiccas, or witches. Since there is no central authority to propagate dogma, the beliefs and practices of Wiccans vary significantly. [PJC]

Encouraged by court rulings recognizing witchcraft as a legal religion, an increasing number of books related to the subject, and the continuing cultural concern for the environment, Wicca -- as contemporary witchcraft is often called -- has been growing in the United States and abroad. It is a major element in the expanding ``neo-pagan'' movement whose members regard nature itself as charged with divinity. --Gustav Niebuhr (N. Y. Times, Oct. 31, 1999, p. 1) [PJC]

``I don't worship Satan, who I don't think exists, but I do pray to the Goddess of Creation.'' said Margot S. Adler, a New York correspondent for National Public Radio and a Wiccan practitioner. ``Wicca is not anti-Christian or pro-Christian, it's pre-Christian.'' --Anthony Ramirez (N. Y. Times Aug. 22, 1999, p. wk 2) [PJC]

Note: Wicca is a ditheistic religion, also called Witchcraft, founded on the beliefs and doctrines of pre-Roman Celts, including the reverence for nature and the belief in a universal balance. Though frequently practiced in covens, solitary practitioners do exist. The modern form of the religion was popularized in 1954 by Gerald Gardener's Witchcraft Today. It is viewed as a form of neo-paganism. Wicca recognizes two deities, visualized as Mother & Father, Goddess & God, Female & Male, etc. These dieties are nameless, but many Wiccans adopt a name with which they refer to the two: Diana is a popular name for the Goddess to take, among others such as Artemis, Isis, Morrigan, etc. Some of her symbols are: the moon; the ocean; a cauldron; and the labrys (two-headed axe), among others. The God is of equal power to the Goddess, and takes on names such as Apollo, Odin, Lugh, etc. A small number of his symbols are: the sun; the sky; a horn (or two horns); and others. Witchcraft is not a Christian denomination; there is no devil in its mythos, thus the devil cannot be worshiped, and the medieval view of Witches as Satan-worshipers is erroneous. Satanists are not Witches and Witches are not Satanists. Both have a tendency to be offended when the two are confused. In the Wiccan religion male Witches are not ``Warlocks''. The term Warlock comes from Scottish, meaning 'oathbreaker', 'traitor', or 'devil'. Its application to male witches is of uncertain origin. The Wiccan Rede, ``An it harm none, do what thou wilt'' comes in many variations. All of them say the same thing, ``Do as you wish, just don't do anything to harm anyone.'' It is implied that 'anyone' includes one's self. Witches practice in groups called Covens or as solitary practitioners, and some practice ``magic'', which is to say, they pray. Since the one rule that Witches have requires that they can not do harm, harmful magic does not exist in Wicca. In Wicca, ``magic'' is simply subtly altering small things, to gain a desired effect. Wicca, sometimes called Neo-Witchcraft, was revived in the 1950s, when the last laws against Witchcraft were repealed. Gerald Gardner founded Gardnerian Wicca sometime after his book, Witchcraft Today, was published in 1954. Raymond Buckland, in America, did much the same that Gardner did in Europe -- stood up to the misconceptions about Witchcraft. Two other books describing the modern practice of Wicca are: Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, by Scott Cunningham, Llewellyn Publications, 1988. Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft, by Raymond Buckland, Llewellyn Publications, 1975. [PJC]

2. A practitioner of Wicca, also commonly called a {Wiccan}, {Wicca}, or {witch} . [PJC]

For at least one person who has seen ``The Blair Witch Project'', the surprise hit movie of the summer did not so much terrify as infuriate. One long slur against witches, said Selena Fox, a witch, or Wicca, as male and female American witches prefer to call themselves. --Anthony Ramirez (N. Y. Times, Aug. 22, 1999, p. wk 2) [PJC]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • Witch — Witch, n. [OE. wicche, AS. wicce, fem., wicca, masc.; perhaps the same word as AS. w[=i]tiga, w[=i]tga, a soothsayer (cf. {Wiseacre}); cf. Fries. wikke, a witch, LG. wikken to predict, Icel. vitki a wizard, vitka to bewitch.] [1913 Webster] 1.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • witch — O.E. wicce female magician, sorceress, in later use especially a woman supposed to have dealings with the devil or evil spirits and to be able by their cooperation to perform supernatural acts, fem. of O.E. wicca sorcerer, wizard, man who… …   Etymology dictionary

  • witch — witch, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {witched}; p. pr. & vb. n. {witching}.] [AS. wiccian.] To bewitch; to fascinate; to enchant. [1913 Webster] [I ll] witch sweet ladies with my words and looks. Shak. [1913 Webster] Whether within us or without The spell… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Witch — Witch, n. [Cf. {Wick} of a lamp.] A cone of paper which is placed in a vessel of lard or other fat, and used as a taper. [Prov. Eng.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • witch — [wıtʃ] n ↑broomstick [: Old English; Origin: wicca wizard and wicce witch ] 1.) a woman who is supposed to have magic powers, especially to do bad things →↑wizard 2.) informal an insulting word for a woman who is old or unpleasant …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • witch — [wich] n. [ME wicche < OE wicce, fem. of wicca, sorcerer, akin to MDu wicken, to use magic < IE base * weik , to separate (hence set aside for religious worship) > Goth weihs, holy, OE wig, idol] 1. a person, esp. a woman, having… …   English World dictionary

  • witch — [ wıtʃ ] noun count * 1. ) a woman in stories who has magic powers. A man with magic powers is usually called a wizard. a ) a real woman who claims she has magic powers 2. ) an insulting word for an unpleasant woman …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • witch — [n] person who casts spells over others conjurer, enchanter, magician, necromancer, occultist, sorcerer; concepts 361,412,415 …   New thesaurus

  • witch — ► NOUN 1) a woman thought to have evil magic powers. 2) a follower or practitioner of modern witchcraft. 3) informal an ugly or unpleasant old woman. ► VERB archaic 1) practise witchcraft. 2) cast an evil spell on …   English terms dictionary

  • Witch — Este artículo o sección sobre literatura necesita ser wikificado con un formato acorde a las convenciones de estilo. Por favor, edítalo para que las cumpla. Mientras tanto, no elimines este aviso puesto el 5 de marzo de 2011. También puedes… …   Wikipedia Español

  • witch — be·witch; be·witch·ery; be·witch·ing·ly; be·witch·ing·ness; be·witch·ment; car·ri·witch·et; un·witch; witch; witch·en; witch·ery; witch·es ; witch·et·ty; witch·hood; witch·man; witch·ing; witch·er; witch·ing·ly; …   English syllables

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