4 Forms of Witchcraft and Black Magic You Should Know About
Crystals, tarot cards, hand readings – witchcraft has certainly been on the rise in recent years and made its way back into millennial and Gen Z pop culture. It’s widely seen on platforms like TikTok, where tarot readings can often be found on the live stream channel. But it wasn’t always celebrated; in fact, witchcraft was once demonised. Take, for example, the Salem witch trials of the 1600s when 19 people were hung for sorcery.
Aside from the more whitewashed celebrations of witchcraft online, various forms of magical rituals are widely practised – embraced, even – around the world today. These practices are often rooted in communities of colour and derive from different diasporic cultures. For example, in the district of Lomé, the capital of Togo in West Africa, lies the Fetish Market; an area where voodoo practitioners can buy goods – such as talismans, animal skulls and charms – for rituals. Voodoo itself is still well and truly alive as a practice across the African diaspora. There’s also been an embrace of modern day brujas, who practice casting spells through prayer.
Below, we’ve listed out four different forms of magic and witchcraft from around the world.
Brujería has frequently cropped up within pop culture. Remember when Azealia Banks stated she had been practicing brujería for three years, and sacrificed chickens in her closet for a ritual? Or remember the time Princess Nokia released the track Bruja – a nod to her Afro-Latina heritage? Brujería is a Spanish word and ‘bruja’ means ‘witch’. It refers to the spiritual and religious practices that exist within Latin American and Afro-Caribbean cultures, and has roots stemming from Indigenous cultures and the Aztecs. What’s distinctly unique about brujería is its focus on individual practice, rather than community-based gatherings or hierarchical initiations. Practices can take the form of meditation, spells, prayers, folk magic, rituals and more. Whilst it’s been heavily demonised, brujería thrives within the modern day and is well and truly alive.
Ancient Hindu Magic
In Hinduism, magic studies aren’t solely focused on black magic, but also on white magic, witchcraft and occultism. Black magic within Ancient Hinduism is connected to the Lord Shiva, and focuses on dark powers in particular – specifically on overpowering your enemy. Occult procedures are used to both dominate and defeat someone who’s wronged you, causing them to either argue with their family or friends, be driven away or have their flow of energy blocked in their body. Here, magical practices can include communication with ghosts or working with a Yogini.
The Mapuche are the largest Indigenous groups in south-central Chile, and within Mapuche mythology is the kalku – otherwise known as a sorcerer or witch. The kalku deals with black magic or negative powers.
Witches of Benevento
Benevento is commonly known as the town of the witches, and was home to some of the most prominent Italian witches and sorceresses during the Renaissance. According to folklore, every night the witches would gather together for meetings under the branches of a large walnut tree, hidden in the depths of Benevento’s foliage. These witches would anoint themselves before performing rituals and flying off on invisible broomsticks. Hoping to end these pagan practices, the tree was uprooted by the bishop of Benevento. Yet, legend has it that the tree reappeared on the nights of the witch’s sabbats, where there would be gatherings of supernatural beings.