A person who practices witchcraft, popularly believed to have supernatural powers and to also perform sorcery, and often believed to be aided by spirits or a familiar. Also a believer or follower of Wicca; a Wiccan.
The witch is usually depicted as a female sorcerer or magician ― an enchantress, the Devil's consort ― and has haunted the human consciousness and captured our imagination for thousands of years. Known for her ability to harness the hidden powers of nature herself ― she was the caster of magical spells and the brewer of healing potions.
The quintessential witch of popular imagination was an old rag, bent upon evil and deriving pleasure from inflicting pain and misfortune upon others in the name of her diabolical master.
According to the Malleus Maleficarum, witches, women or men who have entered into pacts with Satan, are capable of changing themselves into other creatures, raising storms, bringing sickness to human and animals, causing sterility, and flying. They consort carnally with demons and even with Satan himself.
Whether or not this diabolical form of witchcraft was ever practiced by actual people is debated among historians. Some say that it never was or that if there were isolated pockets of Devil worshipers, they were probably extremely rare.
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Sources: (1) Spence, Lewis, An Encyclopedia of Occultism, Carol Publishing Group; (2) Pickering, David, Cassell Dictionary of Witchcraft, Cassell Academic; (3) The Encyclopaedia Britannica Eleventh Edition Handy Volume Edition, Oxford University Press; (4) Bailey, Nancy (editor), The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Spells and Magic, Sterling Publishing.
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