The history of witchraft in Pennsylvania can be broken down into three general time periods:
The Early Modern Age is when religion was being brought to the region by boat, largely Christian Puritans who wanted freedom from the Church of England. The Puritans persecuted the Quakers, calling them heretics, which is what drove these decidedly open minded Christians into the PA state region. Witch hunts were uncommon in PA due to the liberalism of William Penn.
This time period can be characterized by a blending between traditions, some Native, as Native peoples were not made to convert to Christianity as much in PA as in other regions of the US, and German folk traditions. Isolated mining communities fostered unique blended traditions of Christian philosophy and a belief in magic, and Appalachian folk magic was born.
Witchcraft as a concept rose in prominence across the pond, then spreading into PA through the Free Love movement in America. Wiccan authors and students of authors brought their own covens and traditions to the new world, blending these older traditions with American culture. See what witches are doing throughout Pennsylvania today!
Pennsylvania, named for famed Quaker William Penn, is a state built upon the concept of religious liberty. Even today, Quaker Meetinghouses stand ready to host any sort of religious ritual or ceremony, offering a safe space for religious types of all kinds. They are at the foundation of open mindedness, and a personal inspiration to the authorship of this archive, an anonymous and solitary follower of the Open Minded Path philosophy. Join our authorship on a journey through history and learn the vibrant past of this great state.
State plants include the hemlock, the mountain laurel, and the fern, with many other herbs and flowers growing throughout the beautful region and across the many diverse bioms of Pennsylvania. The state animals are deers, great danes, trout, grouse, and fireflies. Pennsylvania is home to numerous state parks, from the stunning natural steps of Rickett's Glen to the open plain-style parks and small rolling hilly trails in and surrounding historic Lancaster, PA. Then there are the beautiful, large state forests, lush and wild, in which you can wonder off with a pack and get lost under the stars, no permits required (in most areas, be sure to see the primitive camping section for details on the regions within each state forest. Witches today still keep the land, with many large covensteads (like 4 Quarters Sanctuary) preserving and offering retreat services for those who need to get away and reset, find themselves within nature, and connect with the energy that unites all beings. Witchcraft and Wicca within PA, and many different forms of Pagan and occult traditions thrive within this spiritually alive region of the world.
Witchcraft in PA had a much easier time than in other colonies due to the idealogy of the Quakers, and then later the transcendentalists. PA is founded on a platform of religious progressivism, seen throughout many historical events. This website seeks to provide resources for anyone looking to learn about Wicca and witchcraft in an open minded and accepting way. There are many covens throughout Pennsylvania which offer resources for beginners, but never before the Coven of the Open Mind have those resources been made so widely and easily available for free to the general public. Their YouTube channel is especially full of great video resources for beginners, or those just interested in what witches and Pagans believe in the modern day.
Thanks to the hard work and tireless efforts of the Quakers, the idea of universalism has taken off and populated PA in many various forms. One of the aims of this website is to help those interested in more tolerant, accepting, and loving spaces find resources and connect with organizations in their religious path. For that purpose, remember that the legacy of the quakers lives on! Get in touch with your local Quaker Meetinghouses today to find out what kind of open minded Christianity there is in your area. Also consider looking for a Unitarian Universalist church near you!