What is the difference between Wicca, Witchcraft & Paganism?
For those just learning about the world of magic Wicca, witchcraft, and paganism can be quite confusing. So may labels and words to identify with (or not?!) While these three different belief systems may all be related to magic, they are not the same.
Choose the Right Path for You
Paganism is an umbrella term for several different types of spiritual paths.
A few examples of paganism are:
Remember, there are many different pagan paths that people can follow. Paganism is a term first used by early Christians for rural people who practiced polytheism, nature worship, or other religions other than Judaism. Nature also plays a key part in paganism. pagan practices closely follow the phases of the sun and the moon as well as the changing of the seasons.
In addition, pagans look at the cycles of life as sacred, too. For example, birth and death hold deep spiritual meaning in a lot of pagan belief systems because of their unique cycles and connection to the earth.
It’s important to note that while some pagan religions incorporate magic into their practices, not all of them do. Each path has its own unique doctrine and set of beliefs, and this may include the use of magic.
Wicca is a faith that was founded by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s. The way that this came about was by basing his new faith on old, pagan traditions. As such, Wicca is a considered a 'pagan-based religion'. It follows some of the practices of witchcraft.
Since Wicca was a branch of paganism, many modern pagans chose to adopt these new practices. However, it's not for everyone.
While Wicca is a practice that anyone can adopt, sometimes it can help to learn more about it before choosing this path.
Wiccan belief says honor the Goddess and the God, and do your best to live a life of peace, tolerance, balance, and freedom. They encourage followers to live in respect and harmony with the earth and with nature.
Wiccans have several yearly festivals that they follow based around the seasons and the sun. These festivals are called Sabbats, there are eight of them on the wheel of the year.
Esbats are rituals usually celebrated and preformed with your coven. All Wiccan rituals and spells are complemented by the stars, sun, and moon.
Another important practice that Wiccans follow is avoiding dark magic or 'left handed' magic.
In fact, they have a motto in the Wiccan Rede "an it harm none; do what ye will”.
Wiccans work with a personal Book of Shadows. This book is a collection of witchcraft and wisdom that is used in the same way that prayer is used in several other modern religions.
Witchcraft is not the same as paganism and Wicca. The first thing to understand about witchcraft is that it is not a faith or a religion. Instead, it’s a working practice. While Pagans, Wiccans, and Witches may all practice witchcraft, they are not synonymous words.
Anyone who practices magic can be considered a witch. Different types of witchcraft include:
All of these workings fall under the category of witchcraft. However, just because a person practices one of these areas of witchcraft does not mean that he or she is a Pagan or a Wiccan.
Real magic is done by someone who understands how to connect with the universe.
A true witch uses his or her personal energy and the energy of the universe to manifest intentions and manifest their reality.
The Beliefs of Witchcraft
To understanding what witches believe, you need to know that witches follow their own path that is separate from that of paganism or Wicca. They don’t have a set of rules that they are required to follow. Instead, they do what feels right and use their instinct and intuition to do so.
Witches do not need to follow any particular religion. Witches choose the deity they follow, honor, or work with. They may also work with different deities at different times. Others choose to embrace the Christian God, the Wiccan goddess, or incorporate witchcraft into their other world religions. Some witches follow no religion at all, and the universe is their driving force and nature their altar. TO EACH THEIR OWN.
Witches are free to worship any deity that they choose, it’s not a requirement of being a witch. In fact, many witches are atheists and don’t follow any god or deity at all.
Types of Witches (just fun examples)
Witchcraft is different from Wicca and paganism is that there are several different types of witches. A witch can choose to follow his or her own magical path and perform specific workings. These paths usually align with a witch’s particular values and beliefs. Here are a few types of witchcraft that people follow:
1. Green Witches
Green witches are witches who connect with the earth and nature in a deep way. They tend to use herbs in their spellwork. Green witches also often use essential oils and other plants as part of their work.
2. Hearth/Kitchen Witches
Hearth witches, also sometimes called kitchen witches, use their magic in the home and in the kitchen. They can put their spellwork into oils, ointments, and remedies. As such, they’re often considered to be healing witches and can be experts in helping you recover from illness and maladies.
3. Hedge Witches
Hedge witches are witches who bridge the gap between the spiritual world and the physical world. These types of witches often use astral projection and mediumship as part of their spellwork. Hedge witches are quite similar to modern shamans.
4. Cosmic Witches
Cosmic witches tend to focus their magical work on astrology, the stars, the planets, the sun, and the moon. Sometimes, cosmic witches will choose to focus on a particular astrological body or planet for their work.
5. Sea Witches
Sea witches are witches who have strong connections with the ocean/water. They can practice using a pond, river, lake, or even a simple cup of water.
6. Eclectic Witches
Some witches don’t focus on one particular area of magic. Instead, they dabble in many different areas. These types of witches typically blend other religions and traditions with their spellwork. They create their own belief system and do whatever works best for them. They aren't afraid of trial and error and often learn as they go!
Choose the Right Path for You
Now that you understand the differences between Wicca, witchcraft, and paganism, you’ll be better able to choose which is the right path for you. Remember, everyone is different and you can choose the path that resonates most deeply with you. Even if you're only making decisions as you go and letting your intuition guide you, thats your path, one day you will look back and see the long road you've traveled. It's helpful to keep a spiritual journal documenting your learning and growth as you go, it will make it easier to look back and really realize how far you've come.