Sorcery is the power to cast magic and is a subjective term. Sorcery has been called black magic, occultism, sex magic, and witchcraft. Sorcery is commonly associated with wizards and wizardry, but witches, Wicca, shamans, or solitary individuals not linked to any sect often practice sorcery.
In the legend of King Arthur, Merlin the wizard is depicted as toting a magic wand, casting spells among the unsuspecting. His wrathful vengeance directed toward his enemies and enemies of his king was strengthened by the spells he cast. While this is a legend, the concept of sorcery was valid and settled in deep Welsh folklore where the existence of wizards and sorcery was commonplace.
In Greek mythology, Circe, the sorceress turned Odysseus’s men into swine by the use of her magic herbs. She used her power of sorcery for evil furthering the connotation of the term.
In the Renaissance sorcery was seriously considered by some and considered foolish by others. The new open minded sought to combine science and ceremonial magic.
Sorcery has a negative connotation among Christian/Muslim cultures. The practice is deemed otherworldly and evil. A sorcerer is a pariah of the community and must be excommunicated. Sorcerers consort with the devil and promote his works. Santeria, voodoo, Palo, Hoodoo, Druidry, Kabalah, Reiki, or ceremonial magic are a shortlist of various non-Christian religions that practice sorcery. Anyone not adhering to the strict guidelines of the accepted religion is a heretic and their power comes from sorcery.
Sorcery has been linked with shenanigans and tomfoolery. Magicians using slight of hand were able to convince audiences that they were casting magic spells. The appearance of the spells were linked to practice of sorcery, but they did not actually cast a spell to derive at a supernatural result. The term became associated with underhanded practices by its association with con men and magicians, when in fact no magic was ever cast.
The term sorcery has suffered a bad reputation by its association with less than reputable sources, but it is a valid tool used by serious practitioners. Witches casting protection spells are using sorcery. They light candles, accumulate amulets, herbs, and incense and prepare them in a specific fashion in order to align the spiritual energy for protection. In doing so, they are achieving a supernatural result from a set ritual. The shaman that enacts a rain dance and calls to the gods of the sky to make it rain is practicing sorcery.
An example of a solitary practitioner of sorcery would be an individual that casts a spell not associated with a sect like Wicca, witchcraft or any other pagan religion. They may choose to light a candle, and individualize their protection spell, fire spell, or general well being spell.
Sorcery is a broad term with specific connotations. These connotations are mostly negative since sorcery has been a term in existence since biblical days. Sorcery has survived the witch trails, the renaissance, the Middle Ages, Ancient Greece and current trends of use.
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