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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Witchcraft (from Old English wiccecræft "sorcery, necromancy"), in various historical, anthropological, religious and mythological contexts, is the use of certain kinds of alleged supernatural or magical powers. A witch (from Old English masculine wicca is a practitioner of witchcraft. While mythological witches are often supernatural creatures, historically many people have been accused of witchcraft, or have claimed to be witches. Witchcraft still exists in a number of belief systems, and indeed there are many today who self-identify with the term "witch".

While the term "witchcraft" can have positive or negative connotations depending on cultural context (for instance, in post-Christian European cultures it has historically been associated with evil and the Devil), most contemporary people who self-identify as witches see it as beneficent and morally positive.

The majority of people identified as practitioners of witchcraft in history were women. Likewise, in myth the stereotype is female. The term witch is typically feminine, masculine equivalents include wizard, sorcerer, warlock and magician.

Witches have been a popular subject in the visual arts, some notable treatments include works by Grien and Francisco de Goya.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Witchcraft" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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