The dictionary defines witchcraft as “the art or exercise of magical powers, the effect or influence of magical powers, or an alluring or seductive charm or influence.” God’s Word goes even further to identify witchcraft as the universal, primeval religion of fallen humanity. When the human race turned from God in rebellion, the power that moved in was witchcraft. Different people groups practice distinctive forms of witchcraft, but certain elements are common to almost all of them.
In many parts of the world, the open practice of witchcraft has continued unchanged for centuries. In nations with a Christian history (primarily in the West), witchcraft has adapted itself to the culture and takes certain special forms. One purpose common to all forms of witchcraft is control. Whenever any religious activity seeks to control other people, the influence of witchcraft is probably at work.
The primitive practice of witchcraft normally contains a priesthood (witch doctor, medicine man, shaman), a ritual or liturgy (which may take various forms), a sacrifice (animal or human), some characteristic form of rhythm (incantation or drumbeats), and some form of covenant binding the participants to one another and to whatever satanic being is the focus of their activity. The word coven (a gathering of witches) is derived from the same root as covenant.
There are four main objectives of witchcraft:
• To propitiate a higher spiritual being, often regarded as capricious or malevolent
• To control the forces of nature, such as rain or good weather for harvest
• To ward off sickness and infertility, as in Africa, where almost every barren woman will go to the witch doctor for a potion or charm
• To control other human beings, to terrify enemies in battle or to produce sexual desire in one person toward another.
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