"Traditional European witchcraft descends from shamanism, which is evident when we compare the abilities attributed to witches during the medieval witch trials with the powers of shamans. Witches healed the sick. They performed divination and augury. They conversed with spirits and kept familiar spirits as their servants, usually in the form of small animals such as cats. Witches were able to bewitch beasts, cause storms, and affect the growth of crops. Spirits instructed them in the technical details of their profession. Most significantly, it was believed that they had the power of flight. All these abilities are shamanic.
It is impossible to know how extensive the practice of witchcraft was in Europe prior to and during the Renaissance, when the persecution of witches by the Catholic and Protestant churches reached its height. The records of the witch interrogations and the literary works of witch finders, demonologists, and priests of the Inquisition certainly exaggerated their number outrageously, but when this exaggeration is discarded, it must be concluded that traditional shamanic skills passed from generation to generation as a cultural heritage of rural European communities formed the basis for the genuine practice of witchcraft.”
- Donald Tyson
Soul Flight: Astral Projection & the Magical Universe
Image Credit: Kindra Nikole