|Can such things be?|
|The Twilight Zone|
“”In the poison'd entrails throw.— Toad, that under cold stone, Days and nights has thirty-one; Swelter'd venom sleeping got, Boil thou first i' the charmed pot!
Witchcraft, formally defined by anthropologists and those who study religions is the use of rituals and magic to accomplish some kind of ends on this earth, most often curses. In modern lay idiom, it is largely associated with religions like Wicca and various neopagans such as Lucy Cavendish. In the American folk / entertainment world it is the evil wrought by women onto poor suffering men who cannot resist such temptations.
Though the pop world often assumes a witch is a female, both Wiccans and anthropologists use the term for male and female witches.
By definition, witches directly work upon the world though spells to do their own will.  This differs from priests, who are intercessors between a god or gods and the people. Priests pray or do rituals to ask the god to change the world. Witches also differ from herbalists in that they are invoking magic while the herbalist is just using the plant's own powers (though traditional people without knowledge of modern science may believe the power of the plant is a type of magic). There is no reason any particular witch cannot also be a priest or herbalist.
Virtually all religions have a role that anthropologists would call a "witch," and it almost always is a person dealing in darker or so-called "evil" or unsanctioned elements of the religion. Historically, many religions used the concept of witch to explain diseases, untimely death, droughts, and other unexplained negative circumstances that effect an individual or society. Socially deviant people are more frequently accused of witchcraft and this works as a social control. 
The modern neopagan religion, Wicca, is openly based on witchcraft and the practitioners call themselves witches. There are many schools of thought about witchcraft within the larger rubric of "Wicca". For example many Wiccans claim there is "white" (good) and "black" (evil) magic,  though other Wiccans claim this distinction of magic does not exist.  Some (fundamentalist) Christians claim the whole of Wicca is devil worship and bad.  Many Wiccans follow formal practices and have a set theology while others find their own path similar to Cafeteria Christians.
 Christianity and witchcraft
Christianity has often used Witchcraft to explain so-called "evil" in the world. Witchcraft was generally considered devil worship. Thomas Aquinas associated witchcraft with the corporeal enjoyments, including sex. Protestants and Roman Catholics both tortured and executed people, mostly women, accused of witchcraft. 
Modern western views of witches generally comes from the Christian view, where a society's undesirable women were tainted as "witches" and blamed for a community or individual's misfortunes. Simple herbalists, midwives, and the mentally ill were frequent targets of being "witches". The Black Death was largely blamed on witchcraft in the 14th Century; the Salem Witch Trials became an expedient way to eliminate political problems and blame women.
The Christian view that witchcraft is (as the song goes) "alive and kicking" is encountered far less often in the 21st century, but it still exists. In Africa, large portions of the population, including homosexuals and albinos are presumed to be witches, associates of witches, or cursed by witches. Witchcraft, and the Christian fight against it, is, in fact, practiced openly in many African nations today. The bible specifically states that witches must be put to death:
- "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." —Exodus 22:18
- "A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them." —Leviticus 20:27 (KJV)
Consequently, these witch hunts often end quite badly.
There are plenty of western Christians who still believe in witches, including some Roman Catholics  and Protestants.  And of course, any time a popular book or movie with witches or wizards comes out, there are always Christians protesting.
 See also
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Douglas Linder. A Brief History of Witchcraft Persecutions before Salem. University of Missouri-Kansas City. 2005.
- ↑ In ordinary English "witch" especially means a woman but in this article the term refers to both sexes.
- ↑ Of course, issues with translation, and cross-cultural identification can lead to problems. For example, in traditional Navajo culture, when using English, the "good" user of magic is a Singer, the "bad" user of magic is translated into English as a witch. In Navajo they are both types of ’ánt’įįhnii.
- ↑ Magic and Religion
- ↑ What is black magic?
- ↑ Black magick and White magick
- ↑ What does the Bible say about white magic?
- ↑ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/witch-hunt-africas-hidden-war-on-women-1642907.html
- ↑ Witchcraft
- ↑ All Witchcraft Is Satanic!