Definition of the word and concept of Witchcraft
I would like to define the concept of Witchcraft, as it is used in modern time, to you. A witch is a wise man or woman, and craft is the art of making changes in the here and now through the use of magic. The word witchcraft has very negative condensations to most people, but to neo-pagans who follow this belief system being called a witch is a symbol of honor and respect.
Witchcraft is not a religion, unlike Wicca (a neo-pagan religion made by Gerald Gardner in the 1950's,) but a way of life.
Witchcraft is unique in western culture by the fact that it is not dualistic. That means that there is no black or white magic, there is no polarity between good and evil, no race is more important than the next, and being an animal like a cat is just as purposeful as being a human being. Nature is revered as the awesome power and beauty that it contains. Some witches believe in Gods of ancient and new times, while some just work with spirits (like nature spirits, angels, demoins) and some are atheistic.
What people who “do” witchcraft have in common is that they actively try to make beneficial changes to their own personal lives. They do this by magic of course, but also by the choices they make and by the way they view the universe/world we live in. They recognize that every living thing has a personal power, and that this power can be harbored and centered to make their lives take the direction they seek.
While Witchcraft in itself is not spiritual, many witches add spiritual believes to their lives.
Eclecticism is very popular, where you take what you like from different world religions and incorporate it into your personal believe system. Every witch is free to believe in what he or she may choose, as no one should have the right to tell you what you should and shouldn't believe in.
Many think of witchcraft as old European Shamanism, or that witchcraft is watered down spiritual beliefs from priests and priestesses from old European religions. It is true that most witches descend from a European background. Witchcraft, especially with eclecticism, is one of the fastest growing belief systems in the western world.
I choose to separate witchcraft from religion, as I think that is what gives individuals the most freedom to live their lives according to their own beliefs and needs. The goal of witchcraft is to harmonize with the ever changing, and always the same, universe.