อาถรรพ์ /อาถัน/, อาถรรพณ์ /อาถับ/ หรือ อาถรรพณะ /อาถับพะนะ/ (อังกฤษ: witchcraft) หมายถึง การใช้เวทมนตร์ เสน่ห์ คุณไสย หรือประกอบพิธีกรรมเพื่อให้เกิดสิริมงคล นำโชค ป้องกันภยันตราย หรือทำอันตรายผู้อื่น ผู้กระทำอาถรรพณ์เรียก "มด" ถ้าเป็นชายเรียก "พ่อมด" ถ้าเป็นหญิงเรียก "แม่มด" หรือหญิงแก่เรียก "ยายมด" แต่ไม่ปรากฏว่าเคยมีการใช้คำว่า "ตามด" สำหรับชายแก่มาก่อน
ความเชื่อเรื่องอาถรรพณ์นี้นับว่าเป็นคตินิยมเชิงวัฒนธรรมประเภทหนึ่ง โดยผู้คนเมื่อประสบโชคร้ายบางประการก็มักโทษเป็นการบันดาลของอำนาจเหนือธรรมชาติ กระทั่งความเชื่อเช่นนี้แรงกล้าขึ้นและนำไปสู่การล่าแม่มด (อังกฤษ: witch hunt) อย่างกว้างขวาง โดยเฉพาะในยุโรปสมัยกลางอันเป็นการยัดเยียดข้อหาใส่บุคคลโดยไม่รับฟังคำแก้ตัว แล้วจับสำเร็จโทษอย่างเฉียบขาดในข้อหามีพฤติกรรมอันเป็นปฏิปักษ์ต่อคริสต์ศาสนา ซึ่งคำ "witch hunt" นี้ปัจจุบันเป็นสำนวนทางรัฐศาสตร์และนิติศาสตร์ มีความหมายว่า "การหาเรื่องใส่ความ" อีกด้วย
อนึ่ง คำว่า "มด" ในภาษาไทยนี้ ยังใช้เป็นคำประกอบกับคำ "หมอ" เป็น "มดหมอ" หมายความว่า หมอทั่ว ๆ ไป อีกด้วย
คำว่า "มด" นั้น เท่าที่ปรากฏเก่าแก่ที่สุด มีในวรรณกรรมลิลิตพระลอซึ่งสันนิษฐานกันว่าแต่งขึ้นในสมัยกรุงศรีอยุธยาตอนต้น ราว ๆ ระหว่าง พ.ศ. 1991−2026 โดยในตอนที่พระเพื่อนและพระแพงได้สดับคำร่ำลือเกี่ยวกับรูปโฉมของพระลอก็เกิดหลงรัก นางรื่นและนางโรยพระพี่เลี้ยงจึงอาสาไปติดต่อหายายมดมาทำเสน่ห์ให้พระลอหลงรักเจ้านายของตนบ้าง ซึ่งยายมดได้ปฏิเสธ อ้างว่าตนเคยทำใส่แต่สามัญชน ไม่อาจหาญไปทำเจ้าฟ้าเจ้าแผ่นดิน แต่ก็ได้แนะนำให้ไปหาปู่เจ้าสมิงพรายซึ่งเป็นผู้มีวิชาอาคมแกร่งกล้ากว่าตน ลิลิตพระลอว่า
จึงแสวงหายายมด ไปจรดผู้ยายำ จำเอาแต่ผู้สิทธิ์ รู้ชิดใช้กลคล่อง บอกทำนองทุกสิ่งอัน ครั้น ธ ช่วยลุไสร้ ตูจะให้ลาภจงครัน จะให้รางวัลจงพอ ครั้นพระลอสมสองแล้ว อยู่ช่างยายมดแก้ว อะคร้าวใดปาน เปรียบเลย ฯ
๏ ยายฟังสารยายสั่นหัว ยายเคยลองแต่ตัวชั่วตัวช้า ยายจักลองเจ้าหล้า บ่ได้หลานเอย ฯ
๏ ยายเคยใครอย่าไสร้ ยายช่วยยายชักให้ ถ่องแท้ จักไป ฯ
หมอว่าในใต้ฟ้า ทั่วแหล่งหล้าผู้ใด ใครจักเทียมจับคู่ ปู่เจ้าปู่สมิงพราย ธ ว่าให้ตายก็ตายทันเห็น ธ ว่าให้เป็นก็เป็นทันใจ จะลองใครใครก็มา จะหาใครใครก็ บ อยู่ จะไปสู่ท่านไสร้ ไว้ตูจะนำไป เฒ่าว่าทางไกลจรล่ำ วันนี้ค่ำสองนางเมือ พรุ่งเช้าเขือเขียวมา สองนางลาสองเฒ่า ไปบอกแก่สองเจ้า สองอ่อนท้าวยินดี ยิ่งนา ฯ
ทั้งนี้ มีข้อสังเกตจากลิลิตพระลอว่า สมัยนั้นคำว่า "หมอ" ยังใช้ในความหมายเดียวกับ "มด" คือ ผู้มีเวทมนตร์คาถาด้วย ซึ่งในปัจจุบันคำว่า "มดหมอ" มีความหมายถึง หมอทั่ว ๆ ไปเท่านั้น
ในภาษาไทยมีคำที่มีความหมายเข้าข่ายกับของ "witchcraft" (การใช้เวทมนตร์คาถา) อยู่หลายคำ เช่น
- กระทำ (คำกริยา) : ใช้เวทมนตร์ทำให้ผู้ใดผู้หนึ่งเป็นไปตามต้องการของตน มีให้รักหรือให้ป่วยเจ็บเป็นต้น เช่นว่า กระทำยําเยีย, การถูกเวทมนตร์เช่นนี้เรียกว่า ถูกกระทำ
- กฤตยา /กริดตะยา/ หรือ กฤติยา /กฺริดติยา/ (คำนาม) : การใช้เวทมนตร์ เสน่ห์ อาถรรพณ์, เช่น มนตร์กฤตยานั้นซั้น เสื่อมสิ้นทุกอัน (โคลงโลกนิติ), หาแม่มดถ้วนหน้า หมู่แก้ กฤติยา (ลิลิตพระลอ)
- คุณ (คำนาม) : อาถรรพณ์ คือ พิธีทำร้ายต่ออมิตร โดยเสกสิ่งใดสิ่งหนึ่งเข้าในตัวหรือฝังรูปฝังรอย เรียกกันว่า กระทำคุณ, ผู้ถูกกระทำ เรียกว่าถูกคุณ, "คุณไสย" ก็ว่า
- ไสย /ไส/ (คำนาม) : ลัทธิอันเนื่องด้วยเวทมนตร์คาถาซึ่งเชื่อว่าได้มาจากพราหมณ์ เช่น ถูกคุณถูกไสย
การศึกษาเรื่องอาถรรพณ์ในทางสังคมมานุษยวิทยาเริ่มขึ้นโดยการบุกเบิกของเซอร์เอ็ดเวิร์ด อีแวน อีแวนส์-พริตชาร์ด (Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard) ในงานที่เขาศึกษาเกี่ยวกับอาถรรพณ์ของเผ่าอาซานเดของแอฟริกาเมื่อ พ.ศ. 2480 ซึ่งในทางสังคมมานุษยวิทยามองเรื่องอาถรรพณ์ว่าเป็นอุดมคติอย่างหนึ่งของมนุษย์ที่ใช้อธิบายเหตุที่ตนยากจะอธิบายได้ เช่น การโทษอำนาจเหนือธรรมชาติเป็นวิธีการที่มนุษย์ใช้อธิบายโชคร้ายบางประการที่เกิดขึ้นแก่ตน และใช้ควบคุมความขัดแย้งภายในชุมชน เป็นต้นว่า เมื่อเกิดภัยพิบัติก็จะมีการโทษบางคนซึ่งคนส่วนใหญ่เชื่อว่าเขาสามารถใช้อำนาจเหนือธรรมชาติสร้างความเสียหายได้ รูปแบบมโนทัศน์เช่นนี้ยังทำให้เห็นความเชื่อมโยงกันระหว่างผู้ร้าย หมอเสน่ห์ หมอเวทมนตร์ และหมอยาด้วย เฉพาะภาษาอังกฤษนั้นเรียกคนที่มีพฤติกรรมเป็นหมอเสน่ห์ว่า "sorcerer" (แปลเป็นไทยได้ว่า "อรหัน") มากกว่าที่จะใช้ว่า "witch" ("มด") จึงสรุปได้ว่า การศึกษาเรื่องนี้ในทางมานุษยวิทยามุ่งไปยังพฤติกรรมของมนุษย์ มากกว่าที่จะมุ่งเรื่องความเป็นมา
ทั้งนี้ อุดมคติดังกล่าวข้างต้นสามารถเทียบได้กับเหตุการณ์ในภาคอีสานของไทยซึ่งยังปรากฏอยู่ในปัจจุบัน คือ กรณีของผีปอบ ที่เมื่อมีเหตุการณ์ไม่ปรกติบางอย่างเกิดขึ้นในชุมชน ก็มักมีการกล่าวโทษบุคคลที่มีพฤติกรรมไม่เป็นที่ประสงค์หรือมีความพิเศษโดดเด่นกว่าชาวบ้านทั่วไป เช่น ร่ำรวยกว่าเพื่อน ไม่คบค้าสมาคมกับผู้ใด หรือชอบอยู่ลำพัง ฯลฯ ว่าเป็นปอบ และขับไล่ให้ไปอยู่ที่อื่น ซึ่งกรณีนี้เช่นนี้นับเป็นการขัดกันระหว่างความเชื่อส่วนท้องถิ่นกับสิทธิส่วนบุคคล และอาจมองได้หลายแง่มุม
ทางด้านนักวิชาการทางประวัติศาสตร์นั้นพบว่า การศึกษาเรื่องอาถรรพณ์อย่างทางมานุษยวิทยานั้นไม่เป็นค่อยลงรอยกับมโนทัศน์ทางประวัติศาสตร์ เพราะทางประวัติศาสตร์จะเน้นศึกษาประวัติความเป็นมาของอาถรรพณ์มากกว่าจะเน้นพฤติการณ์ของมนุษย์อย่างทางมานุษยวิทยา โดยประเด็นทางประวัติศาสตร์เกี่ยวกับอาถรรพณ์จะมุ่งไปที่การดำเนินคดีแม่มดมากกว่าเรื่องกลวิธีการกระทำอาถรรพณ์ นอกจากนี้ ทางมานุษยวิทยานั้นเริ่มศึกษาจากชนแอฟริกา ในขณะที่อาถรรพณ์ของฝั่งยุโรปกลับแตกต่างกันอย่างสิ้่นเชิง อย่างไรก็ดี ทางประวัติศาสตร์ก็มองเช่นเดียวกับทางมานุษยวิทยาว่า อาถรรพณ์เป็นอุดมคติย่างหนึ่งของมนุษย์ที่ใช้อธิบายเหตุที่ตนยากจะอธิบายได้ แต่อุคมคติเช่นนี้ย่อมมีความหลากหลายต่างกันไปตามแต่กรณี
As in anthropology, witchcraft is seen by historians as an ideology for explaining misfortune, however this ideology manifested in diverse ways. There were a few varieties of witch in popular belief, and a few types of people accused of witchcraft for different reasons. Richard Kieckhefer places the accused into three categories: Those caught in the act of positive or negative sorcery; well-meaning sorcerers or healers who lost their clients' or the authorities' trust; and those did nothing more than gain the enmity of their neighbours. To these Christina Larner adds a fourth category: those reputed to be witches and surrounded with an aura of witch-beliefs. Éva Pócs in turn identifies three varieties of witch in popular belief:
- The 'neighbourhood witch' or 'social witch': a witch who curses a neighbour following some conflict.
- The 'magical' or 'sorcerer' witch: either a professional healer, sorcerer, seer or midwife, or a person who has through magic increased their fortune to the perceived detriment of a neighbouring household; due to neighbourly or community rivalries and the ambiguity between positive and negative magic, they can become labelled as 'witches'.
- The 'supernatural' or 'night' witch: portrayed in court narratives as a demon appearing in visions and dreams.
'Neighbourhood witches' are the product of neighbourhood tensions, and are found only in self-sufficient serf village communities where the inhabitants largely rely on each other. Such accusations follow the breaking of some social norm, such as the failure to return a borrowed item, and any person part of the normal social exchange could potentially fall under suspicion. Claims of 'sorcerer' witches and 'supernatural' witches could arise out of social tensions, but not necessarily; the supernatural witch in particular often had nothing to do with communal conflict, but expressed tensions between the human and supernatural worlds, and in Eastern and Southeastern Europe such supernatural witches became an ideology explaining calamities that befell entire communities.
Under the monotheistic religions of the Levant (namely, Christianity and Islam), sorcery came to be associated with heresy and apostasy. Among the Catholics, Protestants, and secular leadership of the European Late Medieval/Early Modern period, fears regarding witchcraft rose to fever pitch, and sometimes led to large-scale witch-hunts. Throughout this time, it was increasingly believed that Christianity was engaged in an apocalyptic battle against the Devil and his secret army of witches, who had entered into diabolical pact. In total, tens or hundreds of thousands of people were executed, and others were imprisoned, tortured, banished, and had lands and possessions confiscated. The majority of those accused were women, though in some regions the majority were men. Accusations of witchcraft were frequently combined with other charges of heresy against such groups as the Cathars and Waldensians.
The Malleus Maleficarum, a famous witch-hunting manual used by both Roman Catholics and Protestants, outlines how to identify a witch, what makes a woman more likely to be a witch, how to put a witch to trial and how to punish a witch. The book defines a witch as evil and typically female.
In the modern Western world, witchcraft accusations have often accompanied the satanic ritual abuse moral panic. Such accusations are a counterpart to blood libel of various kinds, which may be found throughout history across the globe.
In England, the term 'witch' wasแม่แบบ:Clarifyme not used exclusively to describe malevolent magicians, but could also indicate cunning folk. "There were a number of interchangeable terms for these practitioners, ‘white’, ‘good’, or ‘unbinding’ witches, blessers, wizards, sorcerers, however ‘cunning-man’ and ‘wise-man’ were the most frequent." The contemporary Reginald Scott noted “At this day it is indifferent to say in the English tongue, ‘she is a witch’ or ‘she is a wise woman’”. While cunning-folk could command a lot of respect, public perceptions of them were often ambivalent and a little fearful, for many were deemed just as capable of harming as of healing. Throughout Europe many such healers and wise men and women were convicted of witchcraft (Éva Pócs' 'sorcerer witches'): many English 'witches' convicted of consorting with demons seem to have been cunning folk whose fairy familiars had been demonised; many French devins-guerisseurs were accused of witchcraft; and over half the accused witches in Hungary seem to have been healers.
Some of the healers and diviners historically accused of witchcraft have considered themselves mediators between the mundane and spiritual worlds, roughly equivalent to shamans. Such people described their contacts with fairies, spirits or the dead, often involving out-of-body experiences and travelling through the realms of an 'other-world'. Beliefs of this nature are implied in the folklore of much of Europe, and were explicitly described by accused witches in central and southern Europe. Repeated themes include participation in processions of the dead or large feasts, often presided over by a female divinity who teaches magic and gives prophecies; and participation in battles against evil spirits, 'vampires' or 'witches' to win fertility and prosperity for the community.
Practices to which the witchcraft label have historically been applied are those which influence another person's mind, body or property against his or her will, or which are believed, by the person doing the labelling, to undermine the social or religious order. Some modern commentators consider the malefic nature of witchcraft to be a Christian projection. The concept of a magic-worker influencing another person's body or property against his or her will was clearly present in many cultures, as there are traditions in both folk magic and religious magic that have the purpose of countering malicious magic or identifying malicious magic users. Many examples can be found in ancient texts, such as those from Egypt and Babylonia, where malicious magic is believed to have the power to influence the mind, body or possessions, malicious magic users can become a credible cause for disease, sickness in animals, bad luck, sudden death, impotence and other such misfortunes. Witchcraft of a more benign and socially acceptable sort may then be employed to turn the malevolence aside, or identify the supposed evil-doer so that punishment may be carried out. The folk magic used to identify or protect against malicious magic users is often indistinguishable from that used by the witches themselves.
There has also existed in popular belief the concept of white witches and white witchcraft, which is strictly benevolent. Many neopagan witches strongly identify with this concept, and profess ethical codes that prevent them from performing magic on a person without their request..
Where belief in malicious magic practices exists, such practitioners are typically forbidden by law as well as hated and feared by the general populace, while beneficial magic is tolerated or even accepted wholesale by the people – even if the orthodox establishment objects to it.
Probably the most obvious characteristic of a witch was the ability to cast a spell, a "spell" being the word used to signify the means employed to accomplish a magical action. A spell could consist of a set of words, a formula or verse, or a ritual action, or any combination of these.  The most important part of a spell is of course the energy the practitioner puts into it; this being done in a variety of ways by many different people.[ต้องการอ้างอิง] Spells traditionally were cast by many methods, such as by the inscription of runes or sigils on an object to give it magical powers, by the immolation or binding of a wax or clay image (poppet) of a person to affect him or her magically, by the recitation of incantations, by the performance of physical rituals, by the employment of magical herbs as amulets or potions, by gazing at mirrors, swords or other specula (scrying) for purposes of divination, and by many other means.
Strictly speaking, "necromancy" is the practice of conjuring the spirits of the dead for divination or prophecy - although the term has also been applied to raising the dead for other purposes. The Biblical Witch of Endor is supposed to have performed it (1 Sam. 28), and it is among the witchcraft practices condemned by Ælfric of Eynsham:
"Witches still go to cross-roads and to heathen burials with their delusive magic and call to the devil; and he comes to them in the likeness of the man that is buried there, as if he arise from death."
In Early Modern European tradition, witches have stereotypically, though not exclusively, been women. European pagan belief in witchcraft was associated with the goddess Diana and dismissed as "diabolical fantasies" by medieval Christian authors.
Early converts to Christianity looked to Christian clergy to work magic more effectively than the old methods under Roman paganism, and Christianity provided a methodology involving saints and relics, similar to the gods and amulets of the Pagan world. As Christianity became the dominant religion in Europe its concern with magic lessened.
The Protestant Christian explanation for witchcraft, such as those typified in the confessions of the Pendle Witches, commonly involve a diabolical pact or at least an appeal to the intervention of the spirits of evil. The witches or wizards addicted to such practices were alleged to reject Jesus and the sacraments, observe "the witches' sabbath" (performing infernal rites which often parodied the Mass or other sacraments of the Church), pay Divine honour to the Prince of Darkness, and, in return, receive from him preternatural powers. It was a folkloric belief that a Devil's Mark, like the brand on cattle, was placed upon a witches skin by the devil to signify that this pact had been made.  Witches were most often characterized as women. Witches disrupted the societal institutions, and more specifically, marriage. It was believed that a witch often joined a pact with the devil to gain powers to deal with infertility, immense fear for her children's well-being, or revenge against a lover.
The Church and European society were not always so zealous in hunting witches or blaming them for bad occurrences. Saint Boniface declared in the 8th century that belief in the existence of witches was un-Christian. The emperor Charlemagne decreed that the burning of supposed witches was a pagan custom that would be punished by the death penalty. In 820 the Bishop of Lyon and others repudiated the belief that witches could make bad weather, fly in the night, and change their shape. This denial was accepted into Canon law until it was reversed in later centuries as the witch-hunt gained force. In 1307 the trial of the Knights Templar shows close parallels to accusations of witchcraft, maleficium, and sorcery and may have been the beginning of the great European witch-hunt. Other rulers such as King Coloman of Hungary declared that witch-hunts should cease because witches (more specifically, strigas) do not exist.
The Church did not invent the idea of witchcraft as a potentially harmful force whose practitioners should be put to death. This idea is commonplace in pre-Christian religions. According to the scholar Max Dashu, the concept of medieval witchcraft contained many of its elements even before the emergence of Christianity. These can be found in Bacchanalias, especially in the time when they were led by priestess Paculla Annia (188-186).
However, even at a later date, not all witches were assumed to be harmful practicers of the craft. In England, the provision of this curative magic was the job of a witch doctor, also known as a cunning man, white witch, or wiseman. The term "witch doctor" was in use in England before it came to be associated with Africa. Toad doctors were also credited with the ability to undo evil witchcraft. (Other folk magicians had their own purviews. Girdle-measurers specialised in diagnosing ailments caused by fairies, while magical cures for more mundane ailments, such as burns or toothache, could be had from charmers.)
- "In the north of England, the superstition lingers to an almost inconceivable extent. Lancashire abounds with witch-doctors, a set of quacks, who pretend to cure diseases inflicted by the devil... The witch-doctor alluded to is better known by the name of the cunning man, and has a large practice in the counties of Lincoln and Nottingham."
Such "cunning-folk" did not refer to themselves as witches and objected to the accusation that they were such. Records from the Middle Ages, however, make it appear that it was, quite often, not entirely clear to the populace whether a given practitioner of magic was a witch or one of the cunning-folk. In addition, it appears that much of the populace was willing to approach either of these groups for healing magic and divination. When a person was known to be a witch, the populace would still seek to employ their healing skills; however, as was not the case with cunning-folk, members of the general population would also hire witches to curse their enemies. The important distinction is that there are records of the populace reporting alleged witches to the authorities as such, whereas cunning-folk were not so incriminated; they were more commonly prosecuted for accusing the innocent or defrauding people of money.
The long-term result of this amalgamation of distinct types of magic-worker into one is the considerable present-day confusion as to what witches actually did, whether they harmed or healed, what role (if any) they had in the community, whether they can be identified with the "witches" of other cultures and even whether they existed as anything other than a projection. Present-day beliefs about the witches of history attribute to them elements of the folklore witch, the charmer, the cunning man or wise woman, the diviner and the astrologer.
Powers typically attributed to European witches include turning food poisonous or inedible, flying on broomsticks or pitchforks, casting spells, cursing people, making livestock ill and crops fail, and creating fear and local chaos.
The most famous witchcraft incident In the British North America were the witch trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts. The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings before local magistrates followed by county court trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex Counties of colonial Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693. Over 150 people were arrested and imprisoned, with even more accused who were not formally pursued by the authorities. The two courts convicted twenty-nine people of the capital felony of witchcraft. Nineteen of the accused, fourteen women and five men, were hanged. One man who refused to enter a plea was crushed to death under heavy stones in an attempt to force him to do so. At least five more of the accused died in prison. Despite being generally known as the "Salem" witch trials, the preliminary hearings in 1692 were conducted in a variety of towns across the province: Salem Village, Ipswich, Andover, as well as Salem Town, Massachusetts. The best-known trials were conducted by the Court of Oyer and Terminer in 1692 in Salem Town. All twenty-six who went to trial before this court were convicted. The four sessions of the Superior Court of Judicature in 1693, held in Salem Town, but also in Ipswich, Boston, and Charlestown, produced only three convictions in the thirty-one witchcraft trials it conducted. Likewise, alleged witchcraft was not isolated to New England. In 1706 Grace Sherwood the "Witch of Pungo" was imprisoned for the crime in Princess Anne County, Virginia.
- ดูบทความหลักที่ อาถรรพณ์แบบเอเชีย
The belief in sorcery and its practice seem to have been widespread in the past. Both in ancient Egypt and in Babylonia it played a conspicuous part, as existing records plainly show. It will be sufficient to quote a short section from the Code of Hammurabi (about 2000 B.C.). It is there prescribed,
- If a man has put a spell upon another man and it is not justified, he upon whom the spell is laid shall go to the holy river; into the holy river shall he plunge. If the holy river overcome him and he is drowned, the man who put the spell upon him shall take possession of his house. If the holy river declares him innocent and he remains unharmed the man who laid the spell shall be put to death. He that plunged into the river shall take possession of the house of him who laid the spell upon him.
In the Hebrew Bible references to sorcery are frequent, and the strong condemnations of such practices found there do not seem to be based so much upon the supposition of fraud as upon the abomination of the magic in itself. In the King James Bible the Hebrew words כשף (kashaph or kesheph) and קסם (qesem) and the Greek φαρμακεια (pharmakeia) are translated 'witch', 'witchcraft' or 'witchcrafts'.
Verses such as Deuteronomy 18:11-12 and Exodus 22:18 "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" provided scriptural justification for Christian witch hunters in the early Modern Age (see Christian views on witchcraft). The word "witch" is a translation of the Hebrew kashaph, "sorcerer". As such a closer translation would be "one who uses magic to harm others". The Bible provides some evidence that these commandments were enforced under the Hebrew kings:
"And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?" (The Hebrew verb "Hichrit" (הכרית) translated in the King James as "cut off", can also be translated as "kill wholesale" or "exterminate")
- ดูเพิ่มที่ มุมมองของชาวคริสต์ต่อเรื่องอาถรรพณ์
The New Testament condemns the practice as an abomination, just as the Old Testament had (Galatians 5:20, compared with Revelation 21:8; 22:15; and Acts 8:9; 13:6). The word in most New Testament translations is "sorcerer"/"sorcery" rather than "witch"/"witchcraft".
Jewish law views the practice of witchcraft as being laden with idolatry and/or necromancy; both being serious theological and practical offenses in Judaism. According to Traditional Judaism, it is acknowledged that while magic exists, it is forbidden to practice it on the basis that it usually involves the worship of other gods. Rabbis of the Talmud also condemned magic when it produced something other than illusion, giving the example of two men who use magic to pick cucumbers (Sanhedrin 67a). The one who creates the illusion of picking cucumbers should not be condemned, only the one who actually picks the cucumbers through magic. However, some of the Rabbis practiced "magic" themselves. For instance, Rabbah created a person and sent him to Rabbi Zera, and Rabbi Hanina and Rabbi Oshaia studied every Sabbath evening together and created a small calf to eat (Sanhedrin 65b). In these cases, the "magic" was seen more as divine miracles (i.e., coming from God rather than pagan gods) than as witchcraft.
Divination and Magic in Islam encompass a wide range of practices, including black magic, warding off the evil eye, the production of amulets and other magical equipment, conjuring, casting lots, astrology and physiognomy. Muslims do commonly believe in magic (Sihr) and explicitly forbid its practice. Sihr translates from Arabic as sorcery or black magic. The best known reference to magic in Islam is the Surah Al-Falaq (meaning dawn or daybreak), which is a prayer to ward off black magic.
Say: I seek refuge with the Lord of the Dawn From the mischief of created things; From the mischief of Darkness as it overspreads; From the mischief of those who practise secret arts; And from the mischief of the envious one as he practises envy. (Quran 113:1-5, translation by YusufAli)
Also according to the Quran:
And they follow that which the devils falsely related against the kingdom of Solomon. Solomon disbelieved not; but the devils disbelieved, teaching mankind sorcery and that which was revealed to the two angels in Babel, Harut and Marut.... And surely they do know that he who trafficketh therein will have no (happy) portion in the Hereafter; and surely evil is the price for which they sell their souls, if they but knew. (al-Qur'an 2:102)
However, whereas performing miracles in Islamic thought and belief is reserved for only Messengers and Prophets; supernatural acts are also believed to be performed by Awliyaa - the spiritually accomplished. Disbelief in the miracles of the Prophets is considered an act of disbelief; belief in the miracles of any given pious individual is not. Neither are regarded as magic, but as signs of Allah at the hands of those close to Him that occur by His will and His alone.
The belief in jinn is part of the Muslim faith. Imam Muslim narrated the Prophet said: "Allah created the angels from light, created the jinn from the pure flame of fire, and Adam from that which was described to you (i.e., the clay.)".
Also in the Quran, chapter of Jinn:
"And persons from among men used to seek refuge with persons from among the jinn, so they increased them in evil doing " (The Holy Qur'an (Maulana Muhammad Ali) 72:6)
To cast off the jinn from the body of the possessed, the "ruqya," which is from the Prophet's sunnah is used. The ruqya contains verses of the Qur'an as well as prayers which are specifically targeted against demons. The knowledge of which verses of the Qur'an to use in what way is what is considered "magic knowledge".
The fox witch is by far the most commonly seen witch figure in Japan. Differing regional beliefs set those who use foxes into two separate types: the kitsune-mochi, and the tsukimono-suji. The first of these, the kitsune-mochi, is a solitary figure who gains his fox familiar by bribing it with its favourite foods. The kitsune-mochi then strikes up a deal with the fox, typically promising food and daily care in return for the fox's magical services. The fox of Japanese folklore is a powerful trickster in and of itself, imbued with powers of shape changing, possession, and illusion. These creatures can be either nefarious; disguising themselves as women in order to trap men, or they can be benign forces as in the story of 'The Grateful foxes'. However, once a fox enters the employ of a human it almost exclusively becomes a force of evil to be feared. A fox under the employ of a human can provide him with many services. The fox can turn invisible and be set out to find any secrets its master desires and it still retains its many powers of illusion which its master will often put to use in order to trick and deceive his enemies. The most feared power the kitsuni-mochi possess is the ability to command his fox to possess other humans. This process of possession is called Kitsunetsuki.
By far the most commonly reported cases of Fox Employment in modern Japan are enacted bytsukimono-suji families,or "hereditary witches". The Tsukimono-suji is traditionally a family who is reported to have foxes under their employ. These foxes serve the family and are passed down through the generations, typically through the female line. tsukimono-suji foxes are able to supply much in the way of the same mystical aide that the foxes under the employ of a kitsune-mochi can provide its more solitary master with. In addition to these powers, if the foxes are kept happy and well taken care of, they will bring great fortune and prosperity to the Tsukimono-suji house. However, the aid in which these foxes give is often overshadowed by the social and mystical implications of being a member of such a family. In many villages, the status of local families as tsukimono-suji is often common, everyday knowledge. Such families are respected and feared, but are also openly shunned. Due to its hereditary nature, the status of being Tsukimono-suji is considered contagious. Because of this, it is often impossible for members of such a family to sell land or other properties, due to fear that the possession of such items will cause foxes to inundate ones own home. In addition to this, because the foxes are believed to be passed down through the female line, it is often nearly impossible for women of such families to find a husband whose family will agree to have him married to a tsukimono-suji family. in such a union the woman's status as a Tsukimono-suji would transfer to any man who married her.
Africans have a wide range of views of traditional religions. African Christians typically accept Christian dogma as do their counterparts in Latin America and Asia. The term witch doctor, often attributed to Zulu inyanga, has been misconstrued to mean "a healer who uses witchcraft" rather than its original meaning of "one who diagnoses and cures maladies caused by witches". Combining Roman Catholic beliefs and practices and traditional West African religious beliefs and practices are several syncretic religions in the Americas, including Vodou, Obeah, Candomblé, Quimbanda and Santería.
In Southern African traditions, there are three classifications of somebody who uses magic. The thakathi is usually improperly translated into English as "witch", and is a spiteful person who operates in secret to harm others. The sangoma is a diviner, somewhere on a par with a fortune teller, and is employed in detecting illness, predicting a person's future (or advising them on which path to take), or identifying the guilty party in a crime. She also practices some degree of medicine. The inyanga is often translated as "witch doctor" (though many Southern Africans resent this implication, as it perpetuates the mistaken belief that a "witch doctor" is in some sense a practitioner of malicious magic). The inyanga's job is to heal illness and injury and provide customers with magical items for everyday use. Of these three categories the thakatha is almost exclusively female, the sangoma is usually female, and the inyanga is almost exclusively male.
In some Central African areas, malicious magic users are believed by locals to be the source of terminal illness such as AIDS and cancer. In such cases, various methods are used to rid the person from the bewitching spirit, occasionally Physical abuse and Psychological abuse. Children may be accused of being witches, for example a young niece may be blamed for the illness of a relative. Most of these cases of abuse go unreported since the members of the society that witness such abuse are too afraid of being accused of being accomplices. It is also believed that witchcraft can be transmitted to children by feeding. Parents discourage their children from interacting with people believed to be witches.
As of 2006, between 25,000 and 50,000 children in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, had been accused of witchcraft and thrown out of their homes. On April, 2008, Kinshasa, the police arrested 14 suspected victims (of penis snatching) and sorcerers accused of using black magic or witchcraft to steal (make disappear) or shrink men's penises to extort cash for cure, amid a wave of panic. Arrests were made in an effort to avoid bloodshed seen in Ghana a decade ago, when 12 alleged penis snatchers were beaten to death by mobs. It was reported on May 21, 2008 that in Kenya a mob had burnt to death at least 11 people accused of witchcraft. In Tanzania in 2008, President Kikwete publicly condemned witchdoctors for killing albinos for their body parts which are thought to bring good luck. 25 albinos have been murdered since March 2007.
Complementary remarks about witchcraft by a native Congolese initiate : "From witchcraft ... may be developed the remedy (kimbuki) that will do most to raise up our country." "Witchcraft ... deserves respect ... it can embellish or redeem (ketula evo vuukisa)." "The ancestors were equipped with the protective witchcraft of the clan (kindoki kiandundila kanda). ... They could also gather the power of animals into their hands ... whenever they needed. ... If we could make use of these kinds of witchcraft, our country would rapidly progress in knowledge of every kind." "You witches (zindoki) too, bring your science into the light to be written down so that ... the benefits in it ... endow our race."
Among the Mende (of Sierra Leone), trial and conviction for witchcraft has a beneficial effect for those convicted. "The witchfinder had warned the whole village to ensure the relative prosperity of the accused and sentenced ... old people. ... Six months later all of the people ... accused, were secure, well-fed and arguably happier than at any [previous] time; they had hardly to beckon and people would come with food or whatever was needful. ... Instead of such old and widowed people being left helpless or (as in Western society) institutionalized in old people’s homes, these were reintegrated into society and left secure in their old age ... . ... Old people are 'suitable' candidates for this kind of accusation in the sense that they are isolated and vulnerable, and they are 'suitable' candidates for 'social security' for precisely the same reasons."
Modern practices identified by their practitioners as "witchcraft" have arisen in the twentieth century which may be broadly subsumed under the heading of Neopaganism. However, as forms of Neopaganism can be quite different and have very different origins, these representations can vary considerably despite the shared name.
Contemporary witchcraft often involves the use of divination, magic, and working with the classical elements and unseen forces such as spirits and the forces of nature. The practice of natural medicine, folk medicine, and spiritual healing is also common, as are alternative medical and New Age healing practices. Some schools of modern witchcraft, such as traditional forms of Wicca, are secretive and operate as initiatory secret societies. There have been a number of pagan practitioners such as Paul Huson claiming inheritance to non-Gardnerian traditions as well.
During the 20th century interest in witchcraft in English-speaking and European countries began to increase, inspired particularly by Margaret Murray's theory of a pan-European witch-cult originally published in 1921, since discredited by further careful historical research. Interest was intensified, however, by Gerald Gardner's claim in 1954 in Witchcraft Today that a form of witchcraft still existed in England. The truth of Gardner's claim is now disputed too, with different historians offering evidence for or against the religion's existence prior to Gardner.
The Wicca that Gardner initially taught was a witchcraft religion having a lot in common with Margaret Murray's hypothetically posited cult of the 1920s. Indeed Murray wrote an introduction to Gardner's Witchcraft Today, in effect putting her stamp of approval on it. Wicca is now practised as a religion of an initiatory secret society nature with positive ethical principles, organised into autonomous covens and led by a High Priesthood. There is also a large "Eclectic Wiccan" movement of individuals and groups who share key Wiccan beliefs but have no initiatory connection or affiliation with traditional Wicca. Wiccan writings and ritual show borrowings from a number of sources including 19th and 20th century ceremonial magic, the medieval grimoire known as the Key of Solomon, Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis and pre-Christian religions. Both men and women are equally termed "witches." They practice a form of duotheistic universalism.
Since Gardner's death in 1964 the Wicca that he claimed he was initiated into has attracted many initiates, becoming the largest of the various witchcraft traditions in the Western world, and has influenced other Neopagan and occult movements.
Stregheria is an Italian witchcraft religion popularised in the 1980s by Raven Grimassi, who claims that it evolved within the ancient Etruscan religion of Italian peasants who worked under the Catholic upper classes.
Leland's account depicts the followers of Italian witchcraft as worshipping the Goddess Diana, along with her brother Dianus/Lucifer, and their (alleged) daughter Aradia (a claim which makes little sense, as Diana is said to be perpetually virginal). Leland's witches do not see Lucifer as the evil Satan of Christian myth, but a benevolent god of the sun and moon.
The ritual format of contemporary Stregheria is roughly similar to that of other Neo-Pagan witchcraft religions such as Wicca. The pentagram is the most common symbol of religious identity. Most followers celebrate a series of eight festivals equivalent to the Wiccan Wheel of the Year, though others follow the ancient Roman festivals. An emphasis is placed on ancestor worship.
The Feri Tradition is a modern witchcraft practice founded by Victor Anderson and his wife Cora. It is an ecstatic tradition with strong emphasis is placed on sensual experience and awareness, including sexual mysticism, which is not limited to heterosexual expression.
Most practitioners worship three main deities; the Star Goddess, and two divine twins, one of whom is the blue God. They believe that there are three parts to the human soul, a belief taken from the Hawaiian religion of Huna as described by Max Freedom Long.
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