Western Culture - Sample Essay
Witchcraft has had a revival in the second half of the 20th century. Some of today’s witches still claim to exercise supernatural power of evil through the aid of the devil or evil spirits. The majority, however, differ from the traditional concept of the witch in two ways—they claim to obtain supernatural power from pagan deities, not evil spirits; and they to use this power for good purposes, not evil ones. This form of witchcraft has a number of followers in both Great Britain and the United States. Some meet regularly in covens for worship of their deities. Several groups maintain museums of witchcraft (Marwick, 2001).
a) In Primitive Cultures In many primitive societies, people attribute misfortune, disease, and death to supernatural means, such as witchcraft, when they cannot explain the trouble by natural means. In some societies witches may be either men or women; in others male witches or female witches predominate (Valiente, 2003). Attitudes toward witches vary from one society to another; so do attempts made to detect them and counteract their witchcraft. Many primitive societies have a tribal specialist, a shaman or a witch doctor, whose job is to detect and overcome witchcraft, especially when it causes illness.
He usually has a good knowledge of medicinal herbs, and of his patients’ personal problems, and his patients generally have complete confidence in his ability to cure (Bird, 2003). This background enables him to treat many ailments successfully. The person who acted in this capacity for American Indians was known as a medicine man. Primitive witchcraft has both negative and positive aspects. In places where human hearts and other body parts are regarded as charm against witchcraft, people have been murdered to obtain them. Belief in witchcraft has often impeded the spread of modern medical treatment among primitive people.
On the other hand, many anthropologists say that witchcraft beliefs serve a useful purpose, giving people a definite scapegoat—the witch—to blame for trouble. The procedures for countering witchcraft give people the feeling that they are doing something to combat misfortune, thus making misfortune easier to bear (Valiente, 2003). a. Shaman Shaman, in anthropology, in its broadest sense is a man or woman who is a part-time religious leader in a primitive society. A shaman is distinguished from fulltime religious leader, usually called a priest by anthropologist.
Shamans are the only religious leaders in the simpler primitive societies; more advanced cultures have priests, sometimes in addition to shamans. American Indian shamans have often been called medicine men; African shamans, witch doctors (Harrison, 2000). The shamans in primitive societies conduct rituals to contact or influence supernatural spirits. Unlike most priests, the shaman has the alleged ability to communicate directly with these spirits, calling on them to enter his body or send him supernatural power (Krensky, 1998).
This ability supposedly enables the shaman to cure illness and—in many tribes—control the weather, disclose future or hidden matters, and bring bad or good luck. Unlike priests, who usually conduct ceremonies according to a ritual schedule, shamans conduct ceremonies whenever their help is requested. Shamanistic rituals are usually performed for one person or a small group, whereas priestly rituals are normally conducted for a whole community. Shamans—in contrast to priests—generally receive no formal training; they usually acquire their special ability in a dream and enter a trance whenever using it (Erikson, 1999).
Conclusion Witch has the ability to do spell. Witchcraft is a supernatural power that is been present in the past and up to the present. Many testimonies that witch really exist. If there are some calamities or phenomenal activities that cannot be explained by natural minds, they always use the reason that it is being bewitched. In a biblical perspective, witchcraft displeases and is an abomination before God (Leviticus 20:6-7). It is a sin to practice such supernatural activities for these are not come from God and fort hose people who practice it will be cast down to the lake of fire. References:
1. Alderman, C. L. (2001). Witchcraft in America (Messner, 1999). 2. Bird, M. (2003). The Witch’s Handbook (Macmillan, 1998). 3. Erikson, K. T. (1999). Notes on the Sociology of deviance. Social Problems, 9, 307- 314. 4. Guiley, R. E. (1999). The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft (Facts on File, 1992). 5. Harrison, M. (2000). Scolding Tongues: the Persecution of Witches (Dufour, 1989). 6. Krensky, S. (1998). Witch Hunt: it happened in Salem Village (Random House, 1989). 7. Marwick, M. G. , editor. (2001). Witchcraft and Sorcery (Penguin Books, 1987). 8. Valiente, D. (2003). An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present (Phoenix, 1994).