Practices throughout Asia
The “Atharvaveda”, the fourth of the sacred “Vedas” of Hinduism, is a collection of charms and spells classically associated with witchcraft with purposes such as harming an enemy or winning someone’s love. Belief in the supernatural is still strong in certain parts of India, but unfortunately many are still persecuted for witchcraft. Around 200 reports are made each year reporting lynchings for witchcraft. The India state or Orissa enacted a Witch Prohibition Act in 1999, which allows cruel treatment of suspected witches.
In Japan, the shamanistic religion of Shinto has been widely accepted along with Buddhism, so there are no negative connotations to witchcraft. The word “witch” may often be used with a positive connotation in the Japanese language. Many across Japan are proud fo call themselves an asian witch, allowing the practice to become more well-known within popular culture across the country.
Chinese witchcraft is deeply connected with many elements of mysticism, religion and art. Chinese literature on magic, herbalism, clairvoyance and astrology is vast. Chinese witchcraft employs books, staffs and other tools such as rabbits, which were traditionally associated with the moon and with occult matters. “Villain-hitting” or demon-exorcism is a type of folk sorcery popular in the Guangdong area of China, including Hong Kong. It is used to curse one’s enemy. Villain-hitting is often considered a humble career and the ceremony is often performed by older women.
In parts of the Philippines, Kulam (a Tagalog word meaning “magic spell”, “curse” or “witchcraft”) is a popular tradition. Witches from this region who perform spells and use and brew potions are known as the Mangkukulam or the Kulam. Some people blame the Kulam for illness or disease, especially in areas where people are treated by herbal doctors. You can also find other practitioners and asian witches from the Philippines known a the Mambabarang (who are typically male) and the Mamalarang (who are typically female). The Mamabarang keeps beetles in a bottle or section of bamboo, using them during dark arts and in prayer rituals. The beetles are set free to seek out the victim and gain entry into the body, who will infect the victim with manifestation depending on the area of entry. The resulting illness is supposedly resistant to conventional medical treatment and only reveals its true nature when the victim succumbs and flying insects come from the victim.
Australia & New Zealand
The Aboriginal people of Australia, one of the oldest continuous cultures on Earth, have their own tradition of witchcraft. Which includes some of the more chilling methods of magical execution, as well as the concept of “the dreaming” or “dreamtime”, when ancestral Totemic Spirit Beings traveled across the country during the era of the creation of the features of the land.
“Makutu” is a New Zealand Maori word meaning witchcraft, sorcery, or a spell or incantation. The practice was prominent in pre-European times, although there have been modern references to Makutu curses and exorcism. Historically, it substituted for civil law in Maori communities, as the secretiveness and the element of uncertainty induced caution on the part of those who might otherwise transgress the laws of the community. The training undergone by a Makutu practictioner is long and difficult.