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African, Latino and Native American Witchcraft

By Yona Williams    1/20/06

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There are various paths followed throughout the international witchcraft community, including African, Latino, as well as Native American beliefs. In this article, brief tidbits of information can be found regarding witches, witchcraft and various beliefs. 

 

African Witchcraft and Witches

 

Usually in the African witchcraft community, the magic and powers associated with this sort of belief are not practiced by those called witches, but are referred to as “witch-doctors” instead. This type of witchcraft deals with the supernatural and often produces fear in those who do not fully understand.

 

Various names for witchcraft have been created depending on the different African tribes. Within the Pondo tribe, witchcraft is referred to as the “shake of the women.” The Xhosa tribe feels that witchcraft comes in the form of a large beast with hair, often associated with the baboon. Another reference to African witchcraft includes “python in the belly.”

 

In regards to the Tswana tribe, believers feel there are two categories of witches, which are referred to as “night witches” and “day sorcerers.” Night witches tend to be older females that travel in small groups, preying on the unlucky. It is said that they cover themselves with white ash or with the blood of the dead. They do not wear any pieces of clothing. Day sorcerers are said to cause harm to others through the magic they conjure up from various herbs and other medicinal items. Between the two types of witches, the day sorcerers are feared more than the night witches.

 

Latin American Witchcraft and Witches

 

When dealing with Latin American witchcraft, the magic of their ways is combined with their religious beliefs. Some of the elements associated with this type of witchcraft include science variables, human sacrifice, the worship of various Gods, as well as monuments. Today, the sorcery and witchcraft associated with Latin American practice deal with protection, as well as shaman healing. 

 

Spanish Witchcraft and Witches: The Zugarramurdi Witchcraft Trials

 

The inquisition and head inquisitor, Don Juan Valle Alvarado, was responsible for the Zugarramurdi witchcraft trials. Alvarado gathered loads of testimonies over the course of numerous months. As a result, almost 300 individuals were accused of crimes related to witchcraft. This number doesn’t even include the accusations that were brought upon children. The unfortunate practice during this time was that the testimonies that were taken into consideration were never investigated any further to see whether or not there was merit to these statements.

 

From these testimonies, more than 40 suspects were arrested. A trial was held in front of three judges. Out of the 40 or so accused, 18 of them confessed their guilt and begged for mercy. The church eventually took them back. During the trial, of the remaining accused: 6 were burned at the stake; 5 passed away and 11 were not convicted or found not guilty.

 

Native American Witchcraft and Witches

 

Within Native American culture, each region or tribe holds beliefs and rituals specific to them. One of the things that believers do is to create various charms and amulets. Others participate in rituals made to create visions; sometimes costumes and masks are used during these sessions. Additional practices include various ceremonies, as well as the creation of totem poles or carvings. The most prominent theme between the majority of these rituals deal with an appreciation of their surrounding land, plants and other living things.

 

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