Today, in the early 21st century, attitudes towards the beliefs and practices of Witchcraft have changed somewhat, even over the last ten years or so. Now, witches are a lot less likely to be verbally or physically abused in the street, have their windows broken or all manner of disgusting things posted through their letterboxes. I believe that a lot of this misundertanding is borne of fear- people often fear that which they have little or no understanding of- so I shall attempt to put right some of the misunderstanding with the following:

Witches are Satanists- witches don't believe in Satan or any being of that nature whose soul purpose is to be blamed for our individual, or indeed worldwide, transgressions. They believe that we are each responsible for our own actions be they good or bad, and the consequences that come with them. This is based on The Law Of Threefold Return- that which is sent out: thought, action, spell etc, and whether it is with good or bad intention- it will return to the sender times three.

Witches practice black magic - If any of you have seen the film 'The Craft', there is a line in that film that goes like this: 'true magic is neither black nor white, it's both because nature is both loving and cruel. The only black or white is in the heart of the witch.' That couldn't be more true when applied to Witchcraft in real life, and it largely depends on the individual witch as to what purpose their workings are used for, but remember, there is good and bad in EVERY religion and belief system!

Witches sacrifice small children and animals- Nothing could be further from the truth, as witches have great respect for ALL life and in no way do they think they have power over other beings, paticularly children of all ages.

Witches are obsessed with sex and dancing naked in the moonlight-Witchcraft is based around the old fertility religions which focus on the union of the Goddess and the God and the fruitfulness of the land at certain times of the year. True, some covens do work skyclad (naked), but not all, and it is certainly not compulsory to do so when working alone-it's more to do with individual choice and what feels comfortable. Obviously, decency and legality must be taken into account when working outdoors, but there is certainly nothing obsessive, sordid or perverse about it!!

All witches are old ladies with warts on their noses- like everybody else, witches come in all shapes, sizes and ages, and some are men! They can be afflicted with the same skin conditions as everybody else including warts, but this is not a sure fire way to 'spot' a witch! This myth may stem back from medieval times when elderly spinsters were often tried and executed for the 'crime' of witchcraft.

All witches wear black- SOME witches wear black, but not all, and this is again a personal individual choice. However, when within a coven or working group, it can be practical to wear black as it makes it easier to blend into surroundings without being disturbed, particularly at night.

Witches fly on brooms- whilst the besom (broom) is used within witchcraft for workings and rituals, it is merely symbolic, especially in fertility rituals, and it is also used in a witches wedding (handfasting) ceremony for the bride and groom to leap over-symbolising their leap from their old life into their new as husband and wife. If witches want to fly, they have to buy a plane ticket like everybody else!!

Witches brew potions in cauldrons- this is in fact partly true, although it may not be what you're thinking! conjure up the image of a witch and a cauldron, and most people with come up with 'eye of toad', 'wing of bat', 'leg of spider' etc.., but what happens in reality is that herbs will be used along with essential oils, incense or maybe just vegetables and stock on their own to create lotions, ointments or even soups to help certain conditions. For example, a french onion soup may be made to help a cold sufferer or a lavendar and chamomile lotion to aid a restful sleep. Any sensible witch will tell you though, that if a problem is persistant or medically urgent, you must seek medical advice!

Well, I do hope you've enjoyed reading this, and that it has dispelled some of the popular myths surrounding witchcraft. It just goes to show that witches are ordinary people with a different belief system, just like many other people in our diverse and interesting world, and that maybe we should try to understand their beliefs as opposed to judging them.