Please remember this is just my own feelings and thoughts. I am in NO way proclaiming to be an expert. This is just from my own experience and study. I encourage anyone seeking to do some research themselves to gain a better perspective.

*this page is a work in progress. More to come soon!

1. Pagan/paganism:
The word pagan comes from the Latin word "paganus", meaning country dweller. It referred to those who lived in the rural areas, worshiped the old gods and practiced old religious customs and traditions that were not practiced by the greater society.

Over time pagan became to mean anyone who was not a part of the more common religions, Christianity, Judaism, Islam and those who were atheist or without God.

Today paganism holds different meanings for different people. The first meaning is like that before, anyone who doesn't follow the major religions Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. I do not believe though that most, if any pagans consider themselves pagan for that reason alone. There are also many who do not follow those religions & do not consider themselves pagan at all. Many Buddhists and Hindus would probably not consider themselves pagan. Many Satanists and Witches also do not though many do. Some people just don't like the term.

Paganism has come to be an umbrella term for many different earth religions, polytheistic religions and/or religions and traditions which have been revived from many different cultures. Such as Native American Spirituality, Goddess Worship, Druids & the Celtic spirituality, also Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Norse, etc...

It can vary widely from tradition and path. Many being earth centered spirituality, rooted and inspired by old religious practices and the traditions that surround them.

Paganism is a very broad term covering many different religions, traditions and spiritual paths. There is not one set of basic Gods, Dogma, beliefs, rituals, etc... for all of paganism.

Which Witch is Which?
Alot of confusion arises in the pagan community over terminology and labels. Labels are easy to give oneself, as in anyone can claim any title they want in their own mind. While others may attempt to define some labels and other labels grow and change adapting as people use them and change.

It can be a huge confusing mess for sure. I will attempt to explain some of the differences but remember as I said within the community as a whole there are disagreements on the specific terms usage.

2. Wicca
Wicca is a branch of Paganism. Not all pagans are Wiccans but all Wiccans are pagan. To kindof explain you could say all Catholics are Christian but not all Christians are Catholic. Or even simpler- all dalmations are dogs but not all dogs are dalmations.

Wicca was created in the 1940s-1950s by a man named Gerald Gardner. Wicca is probably the most widely known pagan path these days. It is very popular and many paths have been inspired and branched out from it. There is a lot of disagreement on what makes someone a Wiccan, with many believing that you must be initiated into a tradition and others believing in a more eclectic path and allowing solitary Wiccans.

There are key points within Wicca that most agree on. 
  • A dualistic view of the divine- a God & a Goddess that are viewed as a balance of the masculine & feminine forces. This can be expanded on between Wiccans though with some being hard or soft polytheists or pantheists.
  • A focus on nature and the changing seasons. They celebrate the Sabbats and follow the wheel of the year. And usually follow the changing phases of the moon as well.
  • Most, if not all Wiccans believe in some type of magic and practice witchcraft. Either ceremonial, folk, candle, kitchen, green, etc…
I think it is important to say that I am not Wiccan myself. There is nothing wrong with Wicca, it is a lovely path just not the right fit for me. I do not consider my Dianic path part of Wicca. The reason I define Wiccan is to clarify the next point....

3. Witchcraft

Witchcraft is the study and practice of magic. Witchcraft is not a religion in itself; it is a craft, a practice.  Wicca does not equal Witch. Some (I would actually say most) Wiccans do practice witchcraft and use the term witch. But not all and probably few overall witches are Wiccan. You can be a witch and be any religion, not even always pagan.

Many people use witch & Wiccan interchangeably. This can cause much confusion and be irritating for us all. You might think so what, what does it matter? When you are trying to have a discussion, trying to explain yourself, trying to teach and give advice to new people then words are all you have and without clear definitions there is just a mess of confusion and chaos with two people talking about very different things but using the same words.

I am a Witch but I am not Wiccan.

So what is Witchcraft? That is not quite such a simple question or answer. The dictionary defines it as:
The practice of magic, esp. black magic; the use of spells and the invocation of spirits.”

I would agree with that definition (perhaps not the black magic part as I think magic is beyond black or white) but it doesn’t really explain much. 

Witchcraft is a sacred craft mixing new experiences with old traditions, symbolism, superstitions, folk lore, myth, intuition, divination, ancient rites (well the best we can piece together of them) & sometimes even religion. Most witchcraft is deeply rooted within nature. There are many different types of magic and no two witches practice exactly the same. There is folk magic, Green/nature/herbs, kitchen witchery, candle magick, elemental, cultural, high or ceremonial magick as well sometimes.

Witches often hold rituals, cast spells, make charms, the specifics are endless and as unique as each witch.

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