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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. 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. 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. Belief in witchcraft is often present within societies and groups whose cultural framework includes a magical world view. 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. But this reversal in nomenclature is primarily a modern, Western, and pop culture phenomenon, most prevalent among Western youth and adherents of modern Pagan traditions like Wicca. Concept The concept of witchcraft and the belief in its existence have persisted throughout recorded history. They have been present or central at various times and in many diverse forms among cultures and religions worldwide, including both primitive and highly advanced cultures, and continue to have an important role in many cultures today. Historically, the predominant concept of witchcraft in the Western world derives from Old Testament laws against witchcraft, and entered the mainstream when belief in witchcraft gained Church approval in the Early Modern Period. It is a theosophical conflict between good and evil, where witchcraft was generally evil and often associated with the Devil and Devil worship. This culminated in deaths, torture and scapegoating (casting blame for misfortune), and many years of large scale witch-trials and witch hunts, especially in Protestant Europe, before largely ceasing during the European Age of Enlightenment. Christian views in the modern day are diverse and cover the gamut of views from intense belief and opposition (especially by Christian fundamentalists) to non-belief, and even approval in some churches.
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