Witchology, the history of Wicca & Witchcraft
by Dr Leo Ruickbie
Study and learn the history of Witchcraft, Wicca, Paganism, Magic and the Occult with our courses and resources
Read Dr Ruickbie on witchcraft and magic in Paranormal magazine.
What is Witchcraft?
That's what this website is here to find out. Witchology.com is the website of WICA - the Witchcraft Information Centre and Archive - founded in 1999 by Dr Leo Ruickbie as a research and education provider specialising in the areas of Witchcraft, Wicca, Paganism, Magic (Magick) and the Occult. We have been online continuously since 2000.
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Spring Equinox (Eostre/Ostara)
From the anniversary of the Salem Witchcraft Trials to Mexico's Annual Witches' Congress we cover this month's pagan events. Find out what's on around the world.
March Events Guide
Always confirm place and date in advance. Most events will charge for your attendance. To have your event listed here contact us.
Up Helly Aa
It's time to don the horned helmet one last time and indulge in some sacrificial ship-burning and sun-worship. The last Up Helly Aa Viking festival of the season is held in Brae, Scotland.
Bertie Mowat revived the old custom in 1970. As a schoolteacher he set his pupils to work building the Viking longship in woodwork class. It took another ten years for the adults to decide to join in.
Preparations can take up to a year as the jarl (head Viking) and his warriors have to make their costumes of horned helmet, animal skin cloak, tunic (called a kirtl), leggings and boots. To complete the look a shield emblazoned with a Nordic design and a sword or axe are added.
Twenty to forty Vikings lead the procession with hundreds of torch-bearing guizers following. They march through the village and down to the shore and the waiting longship. The crowd through their burning torches onto the ship as it is pushed out to sea. Further processions, dances and songs complete the evening.
Rite of the Deer
Castelnuovo del Volturno in Italy is scene every year to an epic battle between the forces of good and evil called the rito del cervo, or 'rite of the deer'. Evil in this case is untamed nature, played by a local man wearing stag's antlers and animal furs.
The event begins as the beastman descends from the surrounding hills, wreaking symbolic havoc among the community's livestock, until confronted by St Martin, wearing a distinctly unorthodox conical 'fairy-hat'. St Martin captures the monster, but is unable to hold it for long. Finally, the creature is killed by a hunter. However, this is not the end of it. The hunter now blows his horn softly in the monster's ear and he awakes from death. The play represents a ritual purification and rebirth not only for the beast but also for the whole community, whose sins are personified in the monster. St Martin is clearly a late addition to this frankly pagan ritual, but its origins remain shrouded in mystery.
Festival of The Impaled
During the Christian Semana Santa (Holy Week) the village of Valverde de la Vera celebrates the strange tradition of Los Empalados (The Impaled) in which elements of barely suppressed heresy rise to the surface to disturb the orthodoxy of the Christian Church.
On Maundy Thursday penitents re-enact the procession to Calvary through the town. Later that night, a group known as Los Empalados (The Impaled) are led through the streets by a lantern-bearer. Each has two swords are tied to their backs forcing their arms out to form a crucifix, with a crown of thorns on their heads.
Annual Witches' Congress
Every year the town of Catemaco in Mexico hosts the Annual Witches' Congress (Congreso de Brujos), when traditional healers, witches and witchdoctors converge on the town to ply their trade.
Lake Catemaco has been associated with witchcraft since pre-Hispanic times, perhaps even as far back as the Olmec period some 2000 years ago. Today, many of the brujos have fallen pray to the temptation of easy tourist dollars and are little more than charlatans, but that is not to say that there are some who swear by their potions and charms.
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