For the purposes of keeping things simple, we are using the words “occult” or “occult groups” to describe those groups of people who study “secret,” esoteric knowledge. While we recognize that not everyone who studies and practices the arcane would all use the same term to describe their individual belief systems or values, it is easier for the sake of this book to use the same word to describe a large, varied group of people who study and practice the esoteric.
About the Definition of “Witchcraft”
There’s a strange trend we’ve noticed lately, in particular with self-proclaimed Christians who are practicing witchcraft. They tend to define the word “witchcraft” as meaning “control or manipulation.” The result of this is that when someone comes along and points out that they are in error because they are engaged in occult activities, the Christian witch then accuses that person of trying to control and manipulate, and labels that person a “witch.”
Not only is this is a gross misapplication of the definition of the words “witch” and “witchcraft,” but one word for this type of false finger-pointing is “projection.”1 It is a common defense mechanism, and the Christian witch who uses this defense either doesn’t see their behavior as being occult, or simply refuses to acknowledge it. But this false finger-pointing is so obvious, any parent of the average three-year old will see through the feeble attempts to distract the attention away from the fact that the Christian witch was just caught doing something that is outside of Scripture.
However, even though the definition of witchcraft is not “control or manipulation,” certainly those Christians operating under the spirit of witchcraft are attempting to control and manipulate God to their own will. So the words “control and manipulate” can be descriptive of the intent and reason for practicing witchcraft. Furthermore, “controlling and manipulative” can also describe two of the character flaws of the Christian witch.
So for review of what particular words mean, here are some definitions.2
Witchcraft: the use of sorcery or magic; the use of spells and the invocation of spirits. Synonyms and related words: occultism, sorcery, magic, witching, spells, incantations, conjuring, divination.
Sorcery: the use of power gained from the assistance or control of evil spirits especially for divining.
Invoke: to call on (a deity or spirit) in prayer or for supplication; to summon (a spirit) by charms or incantation.
Conjure (in the context of witchcraft): to affect or influence by or as if by invocation or spell; to summon by or as if by invocation or incantation.
Incantation: a use of spells or verbal charms spoken or sung as a part of a ritual of magic; a spell or charm.
Divination: the practice of attempting to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge by occult or supernatural means. Etymological meaning: to be inspired by a god.
Necromancy: the practice of talking to the spirits of the dead; black art; conjuration of the spirits of the dead for purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the course of events.
Occult: of or relating to magic, astrology, or any system claiming use or knowledge of secret or supernatural powers or agencies. Etymological meaning: the study and practice of the hidden or secret.
1Projection: a psychological defense mechanism in which individuals attribute characteristics they find unacceptable in themselves to another person. (source: http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/projection) For more research about common defense mechanisms, see: https://psychcentral.com/lib/15-common-defense-mechanisms/?all=1