Witchcraft

Witchcraft is the practice of what the practitioner ("witch") believes to be supernatural skills and abilities, such as the casting of spells and the performance of magical rituals. Witchcraft is a broad term that varies culturally and societally, and this can be difficult to define with precision.[1] Historically, the most common meaning among non-practitioners is the use of supernatural means to cause harm to the innocent; this remains the meaning in most traditional cultures worldwide, notably the Indigenous cultures of Africa and the African diaspora, Asia, Latin America, and Indigenous Nations in the Americas.[2][3][4][5][6]

The Witches' Sabbath by Hans Baldung (woodcut), 1508

In the Philippines, as in many of these cultures, witches are viewed as those opposed to the sacred. In contrast, anthropologists writing about the healers in Indigenous Philippine folk religions either use the traditional terminology of these cultures, or broad anthropological terms like shaman.[7]

Belief in witchcraft is often present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view.[1][2]

In the modern era, some may use witchcraft to refer to benign, positive, or neutral metaphysical practices, such as divination, meditation, or self-help techniques found in the modern Pagan and New Age movements.[8][9] But this reversal in nomenclature is primarily a modern, Western, and pop culture phenomenon,[10][11] most prevalent among Western youth and adherents of modern Pagan traditions like Wicca.[8][9]