Wicca vs Witchcraft


 There are a lot of terms that are sometimes used interchangeably when they shouldn’t be. Wicca and witchcraft, although similar in some facets, are very different things. Wicca is a relatively new religion, introduced to the public in the 1950’s and started by Gerald Gardner. Witchcraft, on the other hand, is not a religion, but a spiritual practice. Most witches are pagan, but a witch can have any religion – or none at all.

 Wicca combines some elements of traditional witchcraft with other ancient pagan rituals, ceremonial magic and even some Eastern philosophies.  Over the years, different ideas have been added onto it by many people.  Although there are central ideas that are prevalent, Wicca itself has no specific central structure. There is no “Wiccan Bible” or equivalent.

 Wicca is a duo-theistic religion, with a belief in both the God and Goddess. Many view it in a more pantheistic way – God, as an all-encompassing power, with both masculine and feminine archetype characteristics. Both the masculine and feminine are equally required for the whole of creation to be possible. Wiccans focus on their connection with the divine and their own spirituality.Image

 Wicca relies heavily on ceremonial magic. There is typically a hierarchal structure in place, where initiates are given a degree or work into covens. There are some solitary Wiccan practitioners, but it is usually practiced more formally within a coven or group. The coven will adhere to core principles, but are flexible in many of their own ideas.  Every coven is a bit different.  For the most part, all Wiccans worship the god/goddess and celebrate the Sabbats and Esbats.

 Witchcraft is different. It is not a religion, but a spiritual practice that does not require the belief in specific deities.  Although some Wiccans do incorporate witchcraft into their practice, it is an independent thing. Not all Wiccans are witches, and vice versa. Not all witches use ceremonial magic and many who do cast spells do so without a lot of tools and ritualistic items more common to Wicca.

 Witchcraft is a very personal spiritual path for every individual. It hails from old traditions, but is vastly different in how it is practiced depending on the person you talk to.  Many witches are solitary practitioners, although some do practice their craft within a coven.

 It is easy to become confused about the differences between Witchcraft and Wicca. Many books, especially aimed at beginners, will refer to Wiccans as “witches” for example. This makes the terms seemingly interchangeable, of course leading to even further misunderstanding.  Many Wiccans also practice witchcraft and many witches have no interest at all in Wicca. So, if you’ve been confused, hopefully this clears things up for you a bit. 

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  1. says

    Nice post, I’d be tempted to emphasise the difference between british traditional Wicca and what passes for ‘wicca’ elsewhere – eclectic wicca has by far overtaken the original existing Initiatory path simply because there are far more people out there who want to learn than there are covens able to take them. It’s also worth noting that in his original vision, and that of Doreen Valiente and all the other founders there was no difference between their version of Wicca and Witchcraft, many of the old folk lore practices were used along with Gerald’s influence from the far east, and his studies into all forms of the Occult. It’s only since the trad witches got up in arms about Wicca claiming to be ‘witchcraft’ that this argument has come forward. Much of what we do in our coven is good old trad witchcraft, handed down along the initiatory path, what is additional is the in depth study, the understanding of ‘how’ and the dieties we use. It’s a fascinating study. Lol what is also a fascinating study is getting a few trad witches, trad Wiccans and eclectic wiccans together for a discussion!


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