Witchcraft (also called witchery or spellcraft) is the use of magical faculties, most commonly for religious, divinatory or medicinal purposes.
This may take many forms depending on cultural context. The belief in and the practice of magic has been present since the earliest human cultures and continues to have an important religious and medicinal role in many cultures today.
"Magic is central not only in 'primitive' societies but in 'high cultural' societies as well..."
The concept of witchcraft as harmful is often treated as a cultural ideology providing a scapegoat for human misfortune. This was particularly the case in the early modern period of Europe where witchcraft came to be seen as part of a vast diabolical conspiracy of individuals in league with the Devil undermining Christianity, eventually leading to large-scale witch-hunts, especially in Protestant Europe. Witch hunts continue to this day with tragic consequences.
Since the mid-20th century Witchcraft has become the designation of a branch of modern paganism. It is most notably practiced in the Wiccan traditions, some of whom claim to practice a revival of pre-Abrahamic spirituality.
Humans who practice magical powers are called "witches". The origin of witchcraft remains a mystery, however according to the quotes of Grandmother Harris, magic has existed longer than vampires, and dates back to the beginning of the Earth itself. Since then, witches have existed for many centuries, passing down their knowledge and skills through generations in family lines. Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of witches do not receive their powers from demons (the brujos being the exception) nor do any of them worship the Devil. Instead, many witches inherit their magic from nature and may practice their powers however they choose.