Modern Witchcraft: Reality and Myths of the 21st Century

Modern Witchcraft: Reality and Myths of the 21st Century,

Modern witchcraft remains a reality in the 21st century, impacting various cultures around the world. From ancestral rituals to contemporary practices, its influence is palpable. We explore its evolution, manifestations, and consequences in today’s society.

Witchcraft Practices in the 21st Century: A Persistent Phenomenon

Witchcraft, a dark and mysterious phenomenon, is not confined to the Middle Ages. In the 21st century, it remains a tangible reality in various parts of the world. A tragic example is the case of a 22-year-old woman in the village of Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea, accused of killing a neighbor’s child through witchcraft.

This accusation resulted in her torture and subsequent burning with gasoline by the child’s family and other villagers.

Cases like this, which begin with an accusation of witchcraft and end in tragic outcomes, are a reality that repeats in many contemporary societies. Although witchcraft is surrounded by speculation, several studies indicate that the so-called religion of magic has thousands of followers worldwide, including in Latin America.

Half a century ago, Serge Raynaud, founder of the Great Universal Brotherhood, estimated that there were at least 200 million modern witches, fetishists, and tribal shamans on Earth. Today, determining the exact number of practitioners is as elusive as the practice of witchcraft itself.

Different Forms of Witchcraft in the Modern World

This phenomenon appears in different forms and degrees. From the santera in a market square to more profound and serious practices, such as those observed in Papua New Guinea. In the West, contemporary witchcraft is often associated with Wicca, a predominant neopagan religion. However, they are not necessarily the same.

An interesting case occurred in August 2012 when a group of British witches and wizards reported discrimination and social rejection. Myrdinn, the head of the Lancashire coven, explained that “their practices do not include devil worship or animal or human sacrifices, but honor and give thanks to nature, celebrating the seasons and the cycles of life and death.”

In Mexico, witchcraft is often seen as a “lucrative business” rather than an ancestral phenomenon. In the Sonora Market in Mexico City, witches and sorcerers sell various practices to “improve luck” for amounts sometimes exceeding 100 dollars.

Elio Masferrer Kan, an anthropologist of religions and president of the Latin American Association for the Study of Religions (ALER), estimates that for every 3,500 people there could be up to 100 witches and sorcerers in Mexico. This indicates that there are millions of witchcraft practitioners in Latin America, with various currents and levels crossing all social classes.

The Human Tragedy of Witchcraft

While some contemporary interpretations of witchcraft are reduced to cults and trivial practices, others involve complicated social realities. For example, UNICEF reported in 2010 that an increasing number of children in West and Central Africa are accused of practicing witchcraft, often leading to physical abuse and abandonment of these children.

In the African continent, witchcraft has extreme manifestations. There are frequent reports of mutilated bodies whose organs are used in magical practices. In northern Ghana, there is a refugee camp where at least 1,000 women accused of witchcraft live, suffering social stigmatization and forced to pay tributes to the man who runs the camp.

Magical practices and the accusations they bring can have tragic consequences. In September 2012, a Colombian woman was burned to death in Antioquia after being labeled a witch. These incidents demonstrate that beliefs in witchcraft transcend borders and generations, leaving a trail of violence and suffering.

The Influence of Witchcraft in Different Cultures and Its Current Practices

Magic has influenced different cultures throughout history, and its current practices reflect this influence. From ancestral rituals in African tribes to modern practices in Latin America and Europe, it continues to be a relevant and powerful force in the lives of many people.

Its ability to adapt and evolve over time shows that it remains a significant and, in some cases, dangerous practice.

The phenomenon of modern witchcraft is complex and spans from santería in markets to accusations that result in human tragedies. Across different cultures and eras, it has left an indelible mark on society, reflecting both the fascination and fear it continues to generate in the contemporary world.