What is the difference?
Yes, this is the topic I decided to tackle as my first blog post and if you groaned at the title maybe I’m not the blogger you are looking for. I decided to take on the task of explaining the difference between a Wiccan and a Witch as my first post not because it is so overdone but so my readers get a good first taste on how I view our world. I know this topic is breached in every beginner’s book on the New Age shelf today, and there is a tone of Wicca beginners books out there. There is a reason for this, you have to start somewhere! I’m not writing a book but I do have to outline some of the basics. If not because there may be one newbie reading my posts, but for thous of us who already know how we feel about this topic and need to be on the same page going forward.
I am one who believes Wicca and Witchcraft are not the same thing. These words cannot be interchanged, and for the life of this blog, I will be diligent in not using one in place of the other. With that promise being slapped to my forehead on day one let us get down to defining Wicca vs Witchcraft. Starting with the easier of the two. Wicca has been defined by every author to ever write just a little bit differently. To sum up all these different definitions into the one that I use, Wicca is a religion that respects the earth as not just the third planet from the sun, but a living and breathing source of life. Deity is intimate, meaning present in all things, and thus all things are sacred. Wiccans believe that to tap into the sacred or communion with Deity they can use magick. Since deity is present in all things and all things are sacred, the power of magick comes from within.
If your still following, Witchcraft, or simply the craft, is the system and practice of magick. Now, your wondering why after three sentences Wicca was easier to define. Sit back for me and think of all the instances you have heard the word witch. Take all these preconceived notions of what a witch is and go back to that sentence “Witchcraft is the system and practice of magick”. Simple, no worship of evil, no green skin, or contract with an all evil source required. Just the want to work with the forces inside of yourself and all around you. Yeah sure every little witch wishes they could just wiggle their nose and everything falls into place but we understand that magick (not magic) doesn’t work like that.
Now your wondering, if Wicca is a religion that believes to tap into the sacred they can use magick, and the craft is the system and practice of magick; how is Wicca and Witchcraft not the same? Simple, just because Wiccans hold a belief about magick does not mean they have to practice magick; furthermore Witchcraft has no concept of deity and belief other then magic is real and can be used. So a Wiccan does not need to be a witch to fulfill their religious needs and a witch can easily have any religious belief they want and practice their craft.
These words get so mixed up because most Wiccans also practice the craft. You will hear many Wiccans describe the craft as how they practice their religion. They will also tell you how mainstream religion didn’t fit their needs. Wicca in conjunction with the craft put the power back in their hands and made them feel empowered. However, there are just as many Witches that hold other religious beliefs or none at all. In fact, there is a growing movement with craft practitioners who feel the craft is fulfilling in of its self and consider it their religion. This is how we get Catholic Witches and Wiccans who have never performed a spell.
So, how I define myself is I am first a Wiccan, who practices Witchcraft. I will call myself a witch but to tend to ascribe to Wiccan more strongly. This is not to distance myself from the negative stereotypes, or to legitimize my religion over the practice of other. I make this distinction because I practice magick and am a witch as a consequence of being an active Wiccan. I don’t use consequence in a negative way, I am a witch because the working of magick deepens my spirituality and assists me in communing with my deities. This is a good thing. A blessed thing to be able to learn and grow spiritually and magickly at the same time. Yes, my description of this blog in One Witch. I am describing myself as a witch up there because this is a blog for all pagans and magick users. Where I will have plenty of posts about Wicca, I will mostly speak from an overall pagan standpoint. The better to include everyone, my dear.
In the end, I define Wicca and Witchcraft as two very different labels one can use to describe where they fall in Paganism. One does not mean the other, and both can thrive separately from each other. It is up to the individual to decide what works best for them. So as my reader I implore you to decide if you agree with my explanation and flesh out what you prefer to call yourself. If you have any topic request feel free to suggest them!
This week I suggest reading: The Complete Idiots Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft by Denise Zimmerman and Katherine A. Gleason
Blessed Be, Autumn Wolfe