First of all, what is a Witch? Despite what some people seem to think, witches are most often no different than you or I, except for the fact that, for some strange reason, they seem to be healthier than a lot of 'regular' people! As Çhristians ( of whatever denomination ), we have been taught to shun them, even to fear them, because their works are 'of the devil', 'they're in league with Satan', or some other such nonsense. To be honest, yes, there are no doubt some out there that call themselves 'witches', who use their 'powers', their 'craft' for evil purposes, but is this really any different than others who work craftily for their own selfish purposes, including many so-called religious people?
An interesting fact discovered during research for this post was that, in only a handful of versions ( including the KJV ) does the term 'witch' even appear & that one or two times, at the most ( Exodus 22:18, Deuteronomy 18:10 ) 'Witchcraft' appears 6 times in the NKJV. Interesting as well, is that, though Exodus 22:18, in the KJV anyway, reads, 'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live'; the context of these words tells us that it is written for the Israelites under that first [ covenant ]. Secondly, this passage is telling them ( NOT us ) that they should have 'no other gods before Me' ( that is, before Yahweh- Exodus 20:3 ); In other words, the word 'witch' is transliterated from a word referring to worship ( apparently there was a problem with worshipping 'the creature rather than the Creator' ( Romans 1:25 ).
The word itself, which, as far as I can tell, is rooted wholly in the English language, according to most of our modern dictionaries, means something like, 'a woman thought to have evil magic powers. Witches are popularly depicted as wearing a black cloak and pointed hat, and flying on a broomstick.' Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary has this primary definition; 'one that is credited with usually malignant supernatural powers; especially :a woman practicing usually black witchcraft often with the aid of a devil or familiar :sorceress — compare warlock'. A 'witch', in this day & age, can also be anything from a spiteful woman to one who is particularly beautiful & charming.
The point is, that because of our Anglicization of Scripture, true witches, or those described as 'keepers of the Old Ways of Love for the Earth and all Her creatures', have been given an evil name! Are there witches out there who are worthy of the stigma that is usually attached to the term? Sure; just as there are 'Christians', as well as Muslims or pretty much any other 'religion' out there, who act contrarily to their stated beliefs, people make choices, for good or evil ( as we see it ) & therefore, some 'witches' truly are Satan-worshippers ( self-serving ). The same, however, may be said of certain people who Claim the Name, as well as the Pagan who serves only their own interests!
One might ask if certain 'Christian' rituals, especially those involving the use of 'blood', are really any different than those employed by certain witches! Now, before the Sign of the Cross is automatically deployed against me, please hear me out. I'm simply pointing out the fact that any ritual can be practiced with good or bad intentions. It is therefore not the ritual itself that is necessarily wrong, but the intention of the one practicing the ritual. Most Christians, as many religions do, believe that theirs is the Only Way to relationship with the Creator. Witches, as far as this blogger can tell, believe this can be accomplished, not just by living in harmony with humanity, but with the rest of the material, as well as immaterial creation.
'Love for the Earth and all Her creatures' sounds like a good goal to me! Actually, it sounds like one that Jesus Himself wouldn't have been averse to. The One who, from the beginning, pronounced all these things 'good' was therefore very arguably NOT referring to what we in America call 'witches' when He denounced 'kashaph' as 'evil'. To have a relationship in this way, with the Creator, should be the Goal of humanity. Because this is NOT the Goal, however, we have what we have; wars & rumors of wars. We are a people divided, because 'our way is the only ( or simply 'best' ) Way'. Everyone seems to think that, because they place their Faith in a Book that was admittedly translated over thousands of years by biased translators, 'witches' should be condemned. As we have seen, yes, there are some 'witches' who use their knowledge for their own purposes, rather than for the Glory & Honor of the Creator & His Creation ( read 'God & Goddess' ), but, though these give the rest a bad name, we must remember that there are other religions in which this is the case as well!
The etymology of the word in question, though admittedly not researched to a great extent by this blogger, can therefore be noted as one of those words, like 'judgment', even 'love', or 'hate', whose meaning, or perception anyway, has been altered. If we can begin to look at 'witches' as ''keepers of the Old Ways', as fellow humans to be embraced, rather than an evil to be shunned, or even killed, then maybe we too, even as Christians, as Keepers of the Divine Principle, will see Peace on Earth, not through force of arms, as some religions seem to teach, but through an all-encompassing 'Love for the Earth and all Her creatures'!
A witch, then, is no different than a Christian! Let that sink in. Witches simply follow a different religion; in fact, one far more ancient than Christianity. As opposed to most Christians, though, witches do not seem to think that their way is the only way. ( I may be mistaken in this matter, but I'm pretty sure that this is not a 'blanket' statement, either, but would depend on the witch. ) Not all witches are bad, just as not all Christians are good, or all Muslims are evil. Everyone of us has a choice, as a human being, whether to act in Love, or to act in Fear, of which our own Scriptures say 'There is no fear in love ( I John 4:18 ). Witch or not, Pagan or Christian, Buddhist ( Hindu ) or Muslim, we are in this together & humanly speaking, if we can't learn to live & love together, there will never be Peace on Earth!
Charles Haddon Shank