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What Is White Witchcraft?

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Witches seem to be the new "it" thing in paranormal fiction and on television, but the average person knows very little about this ancient art and what is portrayed in books and television is far from reality.
There are terms such as "white witchcraft" and "black magic" being thrown around, but what do they really mean? Is there a difference between regular witchcraft and the so called "white witchcraft" that some claim to practice and where does the so called "black magic" fit into all of this? The idea of witches and witchcraft have been shaped by what we see in movies and television as well as what we read in children's stories as a child.
But is this really the truth? The term "witch" has many meanings and not all of them are negative.
In fact, in the past the term was applied to practitioners of folk medicine.
At one time, there were few doctors and those that did practice medicine were so expensive that only the very rich could afford their services.
It was because of this that people began to find their own cures in the herbs and plants that grew near their villages and in a meditation type of prayer.
Those that mastered this art, became practitioners of folk medicine.
It is from these practitioners that the references to "good" or "white" witches come from as well as the terms "dark", "black", or "evil" when their cures failed to work.
When a cure failed, it was thought that the healers "familiar" or "animal guide" had been demonized.
During the time of the witch trials across Europe, many healers were convicted of witchcraft.
In fact, over one half of the accused witches in Hungary seem to have been healers of some sort.
In France, many healers were also accused of witchcraft.
After the witch trials, there was a popular belief that there were witches that practiced true "white witchcraft".
It was believed that these witches strictly helped people and that there was never malicious intent or a desire to do harm to anyone.
White witchcraft, unlike malicious magic, was tolorated and even accepted by the people despite the churches still opposing it.
In contrast, the practice of dark or black witchcraft was strictly forbidden by law.
Today, many neopagan witches identify with the concept of "white witchcraft" and the idea of harming no one.
They dismiss the concept of "magic" in it's popular definition as fiction.
So, now that you have learned a little about white witchcraft, has it changed your perspective on witches and witchcraft in general?
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