The term witchcraft is connected with religion, mythology and anthropology. The process can be explained as a method in which people utilised magical or supernatural powers for certain purposes. Witchcraft has been used for bad purposes as well as good purposes. People who practise witchcraft are known as witches. When talking about the origin of witchcraft, its widespread usage during the earlier times should be mentioned. Several cultures worldwide utilised the supernatural and magical powers for various purposes. The origin of witchcraft can be traced back to the origin of human civilization. It had resulted from the need to improve or make changes in the life of a person or others with help from unknown forces that are believed to exist in this world. Mostly, witchcraft was practised by old women but there have been instances of men using the concept. Experienced witches were given priority since they had good knowledge of all the aspects of the process. They worked by acting as mediators between unknown powers and human beings. The process was inclusive of certain rituals and it was often impossible to explain the methods and the entire process by means of the existing logical analysis. The rituals and the steps involved in the process were varied according to the beliefs of different cultures or communities.
It is known that witchcraft had been popular during the time period between 14th and 18th century in the so called “early modern Europe”. During that time witchcraft was considered to be against Christianity and had to face severe consequences. This phenomenon was seen mainly in the so called “Germanic Europe”. The theory known as, “witch-cult hypothesis “is of importance when talking about the origin of witchcraft. According to this theory the European Witchcraft processes were considered to be an underlying pagan religion. This theory gained popularity during the Nineteenth and the early years of twentieth century.
The witchcraft scholars have hinted at the existence of the concept during the Palaeolithic Period. In this way, the origin of witchcraft occurred about 40,000 years ago. They also say that the process was subject to several changes and the system used today has many differences from what existed at the time of the origin. This is an important point when talking about witchcraft since there are archaeological evidences that suggest the existence of witchcraft during this Palaeolithic era. It has been discovered that the fertility goddess and hunter god were worshipped during that time. What led archaeologists to this conclusion was the unearthing of certain cave paintings. This era was an important period in the origin of witchcraft and its evolution. During the ancient days, witchcraft was regarded as the “craft of the wise”. This term arose because that time the wise people were assumed to be directly connected with the nature and the forces of nature. Besides, they had good knowledge on the various natural medicine types and were given much respect. They were aware of the external natural forces that existed in the world.
As time passed, the witchcraft was changed considerably since then. There was a time when the concept was believed to be associated with unrighteousness, heathenism and evil. Fortunately, modern people have understood the exact meaning of witchcraft and is a significant development in the evolution of witchcraft starting from the origin. More and more people are becoming interested in the concept and the various possible ways in which the concept can be used are being explored.