Traditional Witchcraft: How Was It Practiced During the Last Millenium?

In Traditional Witchcraft, the full moon celebrations were the Sabbats. The days now celebrated by Wiccans as Sabbats, were Festivals. There weren’t necessarily eight Festivals celebrated by Witches. Many only celebrated the Equinoxes, the Solstices and Samhain. The Sabbats were considered to be of greater importance than the festivals.

Whilst it is true that celebrating in Nature is a very rewarding and special experience, Traditional Witches rarely had that luxury. Sabbats and Festivals were celebrated inside their homes, behind closed doors and drawn curtains – even in cellars and attics – so as to avoid the scrutiny of inquisitive, malicious neighbors.


Traditional Witches practiced a simple, yet powerful form of practical folk Magick, drawing heavily on the use of herbs and other materials freely available in Nature. Magick in the Traditional Witchcraft sense was neither black nor white, neither good nor bad and neither left nor right. It would heal and it would cause illness, it would curse and it would bless. Witches had to use their own sense of what is right or wrong in deciding which Magick should be used. There was no ‘Law’ governing Magick at all, except the universal law that each person is solely responsible for his or her own actions.

The mere fact that witches could choose to cause suffering does not necessarily imply that they did! Witches did strive for balance, harmony and wisdom, so hexes and curses would have been reserved to defend and protect home and hearth, amongst others.

They did not cast circles, call on guardians or invoked goddesses and gods. These are all neo-pagan practices that have been influenced by ritual high Magick.

Attitude to Sex

Witches respected sex as a blessing from nature and used the energy generated by the act to lend power to spells. At the same time, nudity during Festivals and Sabbats were considered taboo as it was seen to be disrespectful towards the Universe / Nature.


There are only a small amount of traditional witches remaining today and, like their ancestors, they keep both themselves and their practices very private. For this very reason, the Traditional Craft is still a mystery to pagan and non-pagan alike.

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Rose Ariadne: Providing “Magickal” answers to your Pagan, Wiccan, Witchcraft spell casting questions since 2006.

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