The origin of the word witch predates the Anglo-Saxon period. Etymologically, the word has been derived from an Old English masculine noun wicca, the feminine being wicce. The word ‘wicker’ in old German also stood for a soothsayer.
In routine usage, a witch is a feminine noun for wizard or sorcerer, but the former has different functional connotations from its masculine counterpart. While a wizard or a sorcerer may have some element of manipulativeness in their craft, a witch, though a practitioner of witchcraft, is far from being a crafty person. A witch is essentially a very noble and deeply religious person whose purity of heart combined with spiritual and meditation practices bestow her with a deeply religious and mysterious aura. A witch does not act with any ulterior motives, not to mention any machinations in her pursuits. A witch is a very compassionate person, gifted with supernatural powers and works for the alleviation of pain and suffering of her fellow human beings and brings them the much needed solace and succor.
A highly misunderstood, deeply suspected, much maligned and doggedly hounded person especially during the middle ages, a witch has regained lost ground and has acquired a respectable position in the society. Colloquially, the term witch, applied most often to a female, also includes male practitioners of witchcraft, especially Wicca. Witches believe in certain ethical codes and strictly adhere to them.
A witch engaged in her witchcraft practices spells developed by worshiping many deities primarily the supreme Goddess and sometimes her consort the God. The craft or workings of a witch are used for healing the acute health problems. For curing these problems, she uses the personal powers in combination with energies within candles, stones, herbs and other natural items. Witch practices witchcraft to help better the world and mankind. A witch certainly is not ugly, nefarious, dreadful hag who worships the devil or hurts the people as the stereotype image presents her to be.
A witch derives her strength from Paganism, which is influenced by ancient, primarily pre-Christian and sometimes pre-Judaic religion. A witch has deep faith in the elements of Nature such as earth, fire, nature, air, and water. Fire cleanses and has an aura that transports her into the astral world and enables her to view this world with psychic clarity. Water purifies.connects with the Goddess herself. The air is an all-enveloping blanket of gods. It wraps around the witch and lifts her to the divine immenseness and freedom of the skies. The spirit of the witch gets united with the air and floats freely in the sky. The witch achieves this uplifted state through meditation, perseverance and sometimes she is blissfully born with these talents.
A witch is just as ordinary looking person as any one in your neighborhood. She can be a housewife with kids doing her daily domestic chores. She too has her share of emotions, but they function more at a macro level than at personal. So if she is feeling sad, the sadness is not just due to some personal vested interest, but it is born out of the suffering of the world around her. Another difference between a witch and an ordinary woman is that a witch can commune with her goddess. The commune is just meant to bare her soul reaching a complete state of oneness. A witch may even cry before the alter of her goddess whenever she feels a spiritual vacuum and wants to replenish it with godliness.
A witch performs her craft using many rituals such as worshiping alone or in covens in the alter room. She lights candles, incense, chants incantations and worships her deities or goddesses. She meditates while staring into the candle flames and in the course of meditation, she feels her spirit leaving her body and enters into trance. A witch gets lost in the awesome power of the Fire with her mind dancing with the flames of the candles. Insightful images deluge her head and become a permanent part of her psyche.
Witches also practice necromancy and summon spirits of the dead to gain knowledge of the future events from them. These spirits are called Operative Spirits or the Spirits of divination.