The Difference Between A Wiccan And A Witch  

vrec_dawn 41M
854 posts
6/7/2006 2:23 pm

Last Read:
10/22/2006 5:32 pm

The Difference Between A Wiccan And A Witch

I've seen these words used interchangeably so many times, and often by people who should know better. For some reason it’s just bugged me enough that I’m blogging about it today. Because there is a distinct difference between the two. But to understand that difference, you have to understand what they are, so that you can see why they are not mutually inclusive.

So what is a witch?

A witch is a cultural term with varying contexts depending upon the culture. Go figure. Typically a witch is connected deeply to nature. Typically a witch will work with ‘magic’ or even ‘cast spells’. These are generic terms that society has given to that which is not physically explainable. Yet that does not mean that in some aspect they do not exist.

Magic is simply working with the fundamental energies of the universe. We’ve even more or less proven that the absolute building blocks of matter are in fact energy, not really little bits and bobs of matter. So, ultimately, everything is energy. It is the differences in energy that define why this is this and that is that. We’ve even seen indications in quantum physics where the expectations of the observer have altered the outcome of a result on experiments at a quantum scale. So what I’m getting at is that ultimately some people can in fact influence energy. Even if we can’t explain it in terms of physics yet, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. At one point in time people didn’t even believe in atoms, but that doesn’t mean that they weren’t real. Magic is just tapping into those subtle energies around us. And this is what witches do.

To that end, and also because of their strong connections to nature, witches have also been the first people to learn fundaments of medicine. We laugh at the idea of some ugly ladies standing around a cauldron tossing in newt eyes. Yet before modern medicine began extracting chemical compounds from nature, how do you think medicine was made? You took the natural forms and brewed them into a tea or ‘potion’. Sometimes you would grind them down with a mortar and pestle first. Witches also helped people give birth, mended broken limbs, and so forth, because they devoted their lives to understanding the things that so many people were afraid to because of superstition. So alchemists became chemists, and witches became doctors.

Why would anyone want to be a witch today, instead of a doctor? Well, modern medicine, for all of its great advancements, has forgotten its roots. We forget that all things come from nature. The human body is designed to eat food, not to process highly concentrated extractions. And the human experience is one of social interactions and even often times spiritual beliefs. Medicine has forgotten the power of the mind and spirit. Witchcraft hasn’t. But also witchcraft isn’t just about medicine. It’s about life, our place in it, our communion with nature, and so forth.

Witches do not have set beliefs. They do necessarily not worship GodX. They do not have steadfast rules. They do not have a defined structure. There is no real connection between the beliefs of one witch and the next other than what I’ve already explained.

So what is a Wiccan?

A Wiccan is a practitioner of Wicca. Wicca is an arguably new religion theoretically founded on older religions. Wicca has set beliefs. Wicca traditionally believes in a Goddess and a God, otherwise called the Lord and the Lady. They have many names. Wicca is about the honor and/or worship of these deities. It is a religion. It even has holidays, which also typically explain the progression through the seasons by the byplay of the Lord and the Lady in their never-ending circle of love, death, rebirth, and so forth. And the one true fundamental rule of Wicca is the Wiccan Rede. Though there are many variations upon the Wiccan Rede, just as there are interpretations, it basically reads as, “An ye harm none, do as ye will.” The traditional holy symbol of Wicca is the pentacle, a five-pointed star, facing upwards, encased in a circle. These are the beliefs of Wicca.

Now, like most religions, it has its many sects that have slightly different beliefs from one another. In Wicca these are called Traditions. Also like any organized religion, there are groups who gather together to worship in an organized way. The primary two types of these groups are Covens and Circles.

Covens are highly controlled environments, are very organized, and will typically push their one and only ‘correct’ Tradition. Branches of covens are often called Hives. It is in covens that you see both the most amazing group achievements, but also the most abuses of power. Any organized religion runs into this.

Circles are usually open to all traditions, and are just an organized way for a group of differing practitioners to get together and celebrate their holidays together, as well as do other group activities. Being less organized, there is likewise often a greater feeling of comfort because there is much less control and abuse.

BUT unlike most organized religions, Wicca also has a strong third category, which is the respected choice to practice in an unorganized way. Solitary practitioners are of course still not granted as much respect, especially in the more extremes of the organized aspects. However that they’re respected that much at all, and that there are so many choosing to follow the religion in this way, is highly impressive.

Typically solitary Wiccans are also eclectic. In other words, they don’t follow any one tradition, but instead follow the basic precepts of the religion itself and take what parts they like from other traditions, as well as at times making up their own.

So now do you see why these are not mutually inclusive?

Witchcraft is not a religion. Wicca is. Witches may also follow the Wiccan religion. Or they may not. Wiccans may practice aspects of Witchcraft. Or they may not. While it is true that in most cases the practice of both are mixed together, this does not make the two words synonymous.

TnWitchyWoman 57F
6852 posts
6/7/2006 4:19 pm

I'd like to add a few things if I's one of my favorite subjects. *grins*

Witchcraft vs. witchcraft - there are those who are not Wiccan who include deity in their "workings". They are often associated with the capital W and those who don't use any "religious" aspect usually use just the lower case w. It depends on what I'm doing whether I'm a Witch or witch.

And for those who think it's complete hogwash I often ask them. Do you believe in prayer? The power of positive thinking? The strength of your own will that something WILL be done? Then that's magick or spell crafting even if those who would call it "prayer" wouldn't be inclined to agree.

And for those who think we have no morals...I've come to LOOOOVE the people here who get scared off about my being listed as Pagan but list their religion as "Christian" while in the same breath they are seeking adulterous affairs and lying to their partner. My answer to them worry about your soul, I'll take care of mine. I'm making every attempt not to hurt my husband or family by being honest and up front, what are you doing by lying if you're caught? Even if you're not "caught" you have to look at yourself in the mirror every day and do you like that person looking back?

Didn't mean to horn in. Blessings to you and yours.

vrec_dawn replies on 6/8/2006 4:27 pm:
Hey, no worries. Horn away.

I don't think I've ever differentiated between W and w myself, since everyone is so different. (Paganism is cool that way. If ever there were a celebration of differences that could still respect one another.) But it's interesting to know. I always love learning new things like that. I could spend my lifetime purely in pursuit of knowledge on paganism alone and still not learn it all.

Blessed Be.

Becca53913 58F
131 posts
6/9/2006 10:22 pm

Vrec thanks for the education. I didn't really know that much about it.

TnWitchyWoman and vrec the belief in God is not always organized either. Churches are only as good as the people who go there and so like wicca can be different in every respect. Madison has a Satanic church. So church really does not always mean Christian. It is in the heart of the person.

Being a christian is excepting God and what he did for us when he died on the cross. He paid the price of sin and gives the free gift of ever lasting life to those that except his gift. We all sin/make bad choices and so on. God is unconditional love. You cannot earn it being the sinful people we are we would boast of our accomplishments. Human nature and all that.
being a christian can be organized or unorganized. It is not a church. I want to stress that as I have seen some boring poor examples of christian churches. Being a christian is inviting God into your heart and life. You give yourself over to him good and bad and with mercy and love he washes us clean.

When Jesus came he did many healings. The jewish people of that time had five main sects. Some did not even believe in life after death. They made hundreds of laws to live by where as God never sanctioned them. They were man made laws. They were suppose to be christians and they crusified Jesus Christ. They still lived in the darkness. God is love and light. He works through us to do good things in this world. He also grants gifts. You may get one or all seven. Many parts make a whole.

Man kind is human and will do as humans do. Sin of a christian is our humaness just like anyone else. If we admit our sin to God and ask forgiveness it is never remembered again by him. Hopefully people learn not to cause hurt and pain. Those that proclaim to be christian but lie and cheat have fallen away and only delude themselves unless they have asked for forgiveness. Just as an alcoholic goes on the wagon and falls off.

Good always verses evil. It has from the begining and always will. Each person has the free will to choose their path and I am not about to be the judge of that.

So misconceptions abound in every belief.Each has a personal walk. I do believe that God is life and goodness. I chose to follow him. I will sin for sure but where your heart is your soul is. My heart is with the light and I try not to sin, hurt people, and so on.It is a progression of learning. I am far from perfect and never will be. I try to be a good person and learn from God. That is the best I can do.

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