The fear of witches or Wiccaphobia means fear of witches or fear of witchcraft and is derived from the combination of the old English word Wicca, which means witch (wicce is a female witch), and the Greek word Phobos which means deep aversion or fear. Wiccaphobia is a relatively common phobia that has great historical significance. This article will study the different causes, symptoms, and treatment options for this phobia.
Causes of Wiccaphobia
- Wiccaphobia, as already mentioned, has great historical significance. Its roots go back to the time between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries (known as The Times of Burning) when witches were burned, mainly in the English colonies of northeastern America.
- Famous places where witches were burned were Salem, Virginia, etc.
- The Burn Times can be seen as mass hysteria. Plagues, droughts, and other natural disasters during these times were often attributed to witchcraft, further fueling the fear of witches.
- Witchcraft was considered an unforgivable crime that resulted in capital punishment.
- Many innocent women were also convicted for it.
- Today, people can be much more tolerant of witches and wizards thanks to pop culture fiction like Harry Potter.
- However, many schools and libraries continue to ban such literature because it promotes interest in witchcraft.
- All this has led to a proliferation in the cults of people who claim to be worshipers or followers of Wicca, groups that worship certain gods and goddesses but not Satan.
- If the statistics are to be believed, there are almost 700,000 self-proclaimed witches and wizards today! These consist of pagans who believe in land-based spirituality and participate in rituals and traditions, often using herbs and other symbolic relics.
- In reality, heathens are no more dangerous than a lot of people. However, the fear of witches exists today thanks to cinemas and literature.
Here are some quotes about witches and witchcraft made by famous people and popular writers:
- “It is now the very witchy hour of the night when cemeteries yawn and hell itself breathes contagion into this world” – Shakespeare in Macbeth.
- “When I was a child, there were many witches who bewitched cattle and men, especially children” – Martin Luther.
Like xenophobia (fear of foreigners), wiccaphobia is rooted in fear of the unknown.
- It fears what the mind cannot perceive or what it considers unusual.
- The root cause of fear of witches can also be prejudice and stereotypes.
- The mind unknowingly conjures images of dark, ugly women with sharp, dirty nails and warts on their crooked noses.
- Historically, witches are believed to ‘prevent cows from giving milk’ or ‘prevent women from getting pregnant’ or ‘make handsome men fall in love with the witch.’
- Hence, witchcraft has negative connotations like black magic or the dark arts over which “normal” people have no powers.
In short: witches represent everything threatening. Religious beliefs and legends further fuel this fear. Many popular childhood stories have often reinforced the idea that witches are evil. Today, many Churches continue to teach their members that witches are wicked. The traumatic childhood experience associated with witches could also be responsible for fear of witches.
You may also be interested in School Fear: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments.
Symptoms of fear of witch phobia
The fear of witches is more dangerous to witches and wizards than the wiccaphobe himself. Here are some symptoms of wiccaphobia:
- Shortness of breath, increased heart rate, sweaty palms at the thought of witches.
- Fear of death or dying.
- Irrational thoughts of being a witch.
- Avoid places where witches are supposed to be.
Treatment of Wiccaphobia
- Talk therapy is the best treatment for Wiccaphobia.
- Your therapist may ask you many questions about your religious beliefs.
- If spirituality or religion is the leading cause of your phobia, your therapist may recommend talking to a spiritual leader or pastor.
- Another treatment option for wiccaphobia is cognitive-behavioral therapy.
- This is a scientific process that helps overcome anxiety and stress disorders based on behavior.
- The principle behind CBT is that people can change their behavior by gradually coping with something they have been avoiding.
- Such exposure therapy has shown excellent results and has helped many Wiccaphobes cope with the problem.
Medication is another option for treating wiccaphobia but should be viewed as a last resort.
- Tranquilizers and anxiolytics quickly lead to addiction, and their beneficial effects often wear off after just a few doses.
- Alternative remedies for fear of witches, including acupressure, homeopathy, and Ayurveda, have helped people due to their placebo effect.
- However, there is no research evidence to prove them, and most of these natural remedies are not regulated in the United States.
- Psychotherapy is the traditional treatment for Wiccaphobia and is based on the principle that, like all other phobias, this fear is also the product of an underlying conflict in childhood.
- However, a good psychotherapist should not overlook the biological foundations and the social factors behind the fear of witch phobia.
Self-help is another central approach that can help eradicate wiccaphobia once and for all.
- You can join established support groups for people with panic attacks, OCD, or anxiety. Talking in a group often helps, and sharing stories is a great way to connect with others who have similar fears.
- Many online and offline support groups offer a wide variety of services in literature, audiotapes, and DVDs.
- They can also help you connect with therapists by phone or email.
- As a sufferer of wiccaphobia, your first port of call should be to your physician, who can connect you with a psychiatrist.
- Whichever option you choose to treat the fear of witch phobia, try it for at least three months to see results.
Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.