Witchology, the history of Wicca & Witchcraft
by Dr Leo Ruickbie

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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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About Leo Ruickbie's Books:

The Supernatural"The Supernatural is the perfect introduction to the world of all things eerie, inexplicable and otherworldly." - Jason Karl, Most Haunted
Coming in 2012!

Witchcraft out of the Shadows: A Complete History"Witchcraft out of the Shadows: A Complete History is an engaging book which deserves to be the benchmark for all future analyses of the Craft." More

Faustus: The Life and Times of a Renaissance Magician"Dr Ruickbie has re-evaluated the Faust tradition from a position of authority. A work of meticulous scholarship that can be read as a gripping page-turner." More


Open Source WiccaHistories of the Barbarians: Vandals, Goths and FranksBeowulf in Anglo-Saxon and English Translation


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Spring Equinox

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.

Europe

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.

  • Dates: 3rd Friday of March.
  • Location: Brae, Shetland, Scotland.
  • Contact: Shetland Tourist Office, Market Cross, Lerwick, Shetland, ZE1 OLU. Telephone +44 (0) 1595 693 434. E-mail shetland.tourism@zetnet.co.uk.
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.

  • Dates: Last Sunday of Carnival.
  • Location: Castelnuovo del Volturno, Molise, Italy.
  • Contact: Ente Nazionale Italiano per il Turismo (ENIT), Via Marghera 2/ 6 00185 Roma. Telephone +39 06 49 711. E-mail sedecentrale.enit@interbusiness.it.
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.

  • Dates: Maundy Thursday, Holy Week [Christian calendar].
  • Location: Valverde de la Vera, Extramadura, Spain.
  • Contact: Cáceres Provincial Tourist Office, C/Gómez Becerra, 21 10001 Cáceres, Spain. Telephone +34 927 21 19 20. E-mail secturcc@bme.es.

South America

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.

  • Dates: 1st Friday in March.
  • Location: Catemaco, Veracruz, Mexico.
  • Contact: Mexico Tourist Office, 22nd Floor, Insurgentes sur 800, Colonia del Valle, 03100 Mexico DF, Mexico. Telehone +52 (01) 5 687 0567 or +44 (0) 20 7488 9392 (UK). E-mail info@mexicotravel.co.uk.

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