Why are some Native beliefs so similar to some witchcraft beliefs? I've been trying to find info about this topic but I can't find any good answers.
I'm not sure I can comment from an educated position, I don't know much about the various native spiritual beliefs, but I can suggest this: At one point, Europe was tribal as well. European cultures were dependent on the tribe and village system for survival. European societies believed in spirits, relied on nature, hunted and gathered, and were largely products of their environment. Witchcraft derived from the beliefs and practices of these tribes. It stands to reason that similar practices would develope when similar conditions for survival, as well as similar outlooks on life, existed. I would suggest, though, that a great many forms of modern witchcraft bear little to no resemblence to native tribal beliefs and methods. There's a great deal of diversity and history for both.
Ya got a good point here Woad.
isnt the main similarity the love and respect for the earth and all creatures living here? christianity has tried to wipe out both sets of beliefs (but failed).
I can only speak of what I have been taught and what I know of from my own experiences in this life.
As I grew up, pagans and natives were two different things. The definition that everyday people put on pagans was those that believed in the old gods of Europe or any gods from across the oceans. Natives were just natives. Pretty well into taking care of the earth and their spiritual side was kept quiet, I mean after the whole boarding school thing because the Christians seen native spirituality as something from their devil was enough reason just to keep such a personal thing as your spirituality quiet. I mean you don’t poke a bear with a stick unless you want a fight for your life on your hands.
Now witches were just witches, some liked them, some didn’t. Really didn’t matter whether you were pagan, native or Christian. Witchcraft just wasn’t something that was spoken about. That whole keep silent thing and it also gave those that practiced the craft a bit of protection from the general public because it kept them away from you. I tell you this so you can understand the general knowledge of the people back in early 20th century, late 19th century in the middle of the United States.
Now in the late 1960’s early 70’s the Wiccan movement hit the United States, well at least it went public at that time; it was here before then actually. But like I said folks just didn’t speak of it. Well the folks that were pagan, (remember my definition at the beginning) really got into this movement and those that were labeled hippy also got into the whole freedom of the Wiccan way. Well some of them folks realized that the natives followed a similar way, in as taking care of the earth and living in harmony as much as possible. So they invaded the reservations looking for medicine men and shamans to teach them of our spirituality.
But like always, these folks took away what they seen as relevant to their way of thinking and changed what didn’t fit their ideas and forgot what they didn’t want to be a part of this “new” way of thinking, now known as neo-paganism. So, on the surface I guess paganism and native spirituality is a lot alike now days as far as most people see it.
Now when you come to witchcraft and Native Spirituality, you get into some of the societies of different tribes. In my tribe they are known as Midewiwin which was a society of healers and spiritual leaders and also the Waabanowin which was a society of spiritual leaders and visionaries. By the way the Waabanowin society went pretty well underground in the earliest part of the 20th century because they got tired of the white folks sticking them in mental institutions and to set the record straight, the Midewiwin and the Waabanowin are not the same things, even if they do share some of the same practices they are as different as day and night, in as they both share the same sky, but different aspects of it.
This is exactly how I remember these times Kixs and how it happened... I am always skeptical when I hear white people claim they are a Shaman and it's usually combined with I'm also a Druid, Wiccan-witch, with a Christian twist on the side etc... absolutely not.. and as a bear yes it pokes me with a stick when I hear these claims.. Of course the societies you mentioned went underground.. and so did Wiccan Elders.. :)