The History of Witchcraft

The history of real life witches comes from many places, spanning thousands of years of history. Almost every ancient civilization had witches of some kind. Seeing into the future was a big deal in ancient times. You have those who believed the Dreams foretold ones future, the infamous Greek Oracle at Delphi, The Indians, The Romans, even the ancient Egyptians … who in fact provided us our first written account of various Divination methods. Some of those documents date back more than 5,000-7,000 years. But more than just seeing into the future you also had witchcraft practices like protection spells and curses.

Different Civilizations used witchcraft for different things. Greece undoubtedly had the most famous witches of all. They often would use witchcraft to see into the future. They would call their witches Oracles. These Oracles would stand in a room within a temple. From within the floor of the room would seep fumes from the lava bed below. The fumes were so intoxicating that the Oracles were famous for saying the most unusual things. Her advice was never specific but almost always came true. Kind of like with your horoscope. For example, a soldier would ask “Will we win the war against the Barbarians” and the Oracle might respond “The strong at heart will wield an iron fist”. The person receiving the reading might take that in any way they want and if they read it wrong the Oracle could always fall back on the fact that she was never specific in giving her answer. I mean who is to say the other side wasn’t stronger at heart.

Here is an actual story from ancient records from about 3260 BC in Egypt where an Oracle from the temple of Hathor saves the day using witchcraft.

A man had two articles of clothing stolen from him. The only person around at the time was his neighbor who reports not seeing anything suspicious or unusual. He has always gotten along with his neighbor and doesn’t suspect it was him but clothing is missing and wasn’t sure what to do. The clothing stolen was a gift from his recently departed mother so he makes the long journey to Dendra, to visit with the Oracle at Hathor’s temple. He tells the Oracle the story, while standing along side a beautifully decorated statue of the Goddess herself. The Oracle listens quietly without saying a word while the man speaks. After which she turns to Hathor, almost as if they were having some sort of silent communication. The Oracle goes into her office, then writes down the name of the thief on a piece of Papyrus, rolls it up and seals it. She hands the Papyrus (which is what they called paper in ancient Egypt) to the man and tells him not to look at it until he returns home and does so in the presence of his wife.

On the long journey home the man began to get worried. All sorts of thoughts were going through his head. Why couldn’t he look at the Papyrus until he got back home and why did he have to be with his wife while doing so? The temptation to peak was strong but his fear of what might happen if he did, was even stronger. He arrived home late at night, woke up his wife and told her the story. They quickly and carefully opened the scroll which revealed two things, the name of the neighbors dog and a short message telling the man that his wife is with child and that the child and not to be to hard on the dog because one day the dog may save the child’s life. The next day they retrieve the clothing from the dog. And sure enough one day the wife has the baby and the dog who stole the man’s clothes saves the boy from getting bit by a snake.

In more recent times we have the very famous story of the witches of Salem. They were actually more popular for their death than anything any deed a witch might have actually done. The Salem witch trials took place in 1692 and during which time 20 men and woman were put to death for being found guilty of witchcraft.  Hundreds more were sent to jail for months over allegations of being witches.