The Fear of Witchcraft is Known as Wiccaphobia, Is It Real?
Did you know that Wiccaphobia or the fear of witchcraft can be deadly at least to some?
In 1692, the infamous Salem Witch Trials led to the execution of 15 people.
That’s barely scratching the surface, as hundreds of suspected witches were burned at the stake in the centuries before that. While witchcraft is no longer a death sentence, a phobia of witches persists. Do you find pointy hats and broomsticks terrifying?
Do you constantly worry about someone putting a hex or curse on you? You could have a Wiccaphobia or a fear of witches. When this goes beyond discomfort and starts to affect your life, you need help. Good thing the fear of witchcraft is treatable.
What Is Wiccaphobia?
Wiccaphobia is an irrational fear of witches and witchcraft. The name comes from two words:
● Old English “wicca” meaning male witch
● Greek “phobos” meaning fear
Take note that “Wicca” is now used to refer to the Pagan religion practiced today. The phobia of witches is different from other phobias. Although irrational, this fear of witches has adverse effects on a phobic person. In a world of science, it can be frustrating to explain your fear of supernatural powers.
Why Are Witches Scary?
Some religions have strict rules against practicing witchcraft. As a result, witches were routinely tortured and killed in Europe and North America between the 14th and 17th centuries. Witches were often blamed for natural disasters, droughts, and failed harvests. While wise women and herbalists were known for healing, they could easily be accused of casting spells on villagers.
There is no definite cause for the phobia of witches. The possible causes of your fear can range from genetic factors to external influences.
Is there a history of phobia in your family? If so, you are more likely to develop Wiccaphobia. Certain traits are passed on from a parent to a child. While there’s no gene for phobias, you do inherit a predisposition to them.
Stereotypes and Prejudices
Stereotypes refer to expectations and beliefs that people have about a particular group of people. Prejudices have everything to do with how society responds to these people emotionally. Both lead to discrimination. What comes to mind when you hear the word “witch?” You probably pictured a hag with long crooked nails dressed in black stirring a cauldron. Much of what we know now about witchcraft is from pop culture, literature, and films. Keep in mind that these promote stereotypes for witches. Witches are rarely presented as heroic. Instead, they are believed to use their powers to bring misfortunes and bad luck.
You may have watched a horror movie as a child that depicted a hideous and evil witch. Perhaps your caregivers used to threaten that a witch would take you away if you misbehaved. You may have gotten seriously ill and overheard a relative say that it was caused by a witch’s curse. It is also possible that during trick or treat, someone dressed as a witch terrified you.
These negative memories may lead to Wiccaphobia.
Keep an eye out for these manifestations of this common phobia:
● Shortness of breath
● Sweating, especially at night
● Trembling in fear
● Dry mouth
● Butterflies in the stomach
● Avoiding going out
● Being disoriented
● Increased heart rate
● Avoiding places where you might encounter witches
● Excessive anxiety when you think about witches
● Persistent thoughts about witches
● Panic attacks
● Fearing that you might become a witch yourself
Self-Help for Wiccaphobia
Before you reach out to a professional, here are some strategies you can do at home:
Knowledge is Power
To deal with this phobia, gather as much information as you can about the existence of witches, what they do, and the danger they pose. Look for facts, not just opinions or unsubstantiated claims. Do you know why society no longer burns witches today? Thanks to scientific research, we now have a better understanding of natural phenomena. A modern child has a better grasp of how and why people get sick than someone who lived 400 years ago. This knowledge has made Wiccaphobia less common and intense. Modern witches are still viewed with skepticism, but they are no longer killed or jailed for their beliefs.
Speak to a trustworthy person about your fears. Being quiet about your worries won’t solve anything, so let someone else know what you go through. This person must be close so that they can help you in the journey to recovery. Emphasize that you need them to listen, not provide criticism or judgment.
Join a Support Group
In these support groups, you will get an opportunity to hear from others and tell your own story. Sharing your experiences can be cathartic. Not only that, but you can also discover how other phobia sufferers deal with their condition. The best thing about these groups is the fact that they are also available online. You don’t need to attend physical sessions if you don’t want people seeing you in person. Online sessions also tend to be more affordable than in-person meetings.
Getting Professional Wiccaphobia Treatment
A licensed therapist will recommend these methods to help alleviate your phobia.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or CBT is an effective treatment for phobias and other mental conditions. In CBT, the idea is to replace irrational thoughts with more logical ones. A therapist will ask you to keep a thought diary with four columns labeled A, B, C, and D. ABCD stands for Antecedents, Beliefs, Consequences, and Disputes.
● Antecedents are triggering events that create beliefs
● Beliefs refer to what you accept as true, which then guide your actions.
● Consequences come from these beliefs. The therapist will help you cancel out any harmful or misleading beliefs by bringing a dispute.
● A dispute is a positive approach. The dispute is what brings the solution.
In talk therapy, you will be required to express yourself fully. You will answer questions concerning your beliefs, family background, and opinions about witches. The therapist will then advise you based on the information gathered. If spiritual matters cause your fear, the therapist may refer you to a spiritual leader, say a pastor, priest, or rabbi.
Meditation can help you manage anxiety disorder. There are many forms of meditation, but the most common is mindfulness meditation. In mindfulness meditation, a phobic person’s attention is shifted to something else. Instead of wallowing in fearful thoughts, you may be asked to concentrate on your breathing. Afterward, your therapist will ask you to describe what you noticed. You may also be instructed to go home, practice meditation, then come back and report during the following session.
How to Avoid It Altogether
You may be tempted to rely on safety or evasive behavior. After all, witches are not exactly popular or mainstream. They ought to be easy to avoid altogether. But keep in mind that ignoring a problem will just make it worse. There’s no medicine specifically for phobias, but do not worry. These treatment options have helped alleviate symptoms of Wiccaphobia and similar conditions. You may have to try several before you find one that works for you. The most important thing is that you get out of this pit of fear.
A fear of the unknown is at the heart of why witches were so feared in the past. The more you know, the more you can reject irrational beliefs. Don’t allow Wiccaphobia to get in the way of your everyday life. Witches can be scary, but they don’t have to take over your thoughts. Once you find a treatment that works for you, practice it. Soon, you can wear a Halloween witch costume for fun.