Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Witch's Circle ~ Which Witch Are You?

The question often arises, what is the difference between Witches and Wiccans.

I am no authority on either but I can write from what I, myself, have read and experienced. I found Wicca to be a highly organized religion and that ceremonial group observances/worship are part of the practice. Gods and/or Goddesses are worshiped and celebrated in Wicca as are the various Sabbats and the Wheel of the Year. Magickal practices (spells) may or may not necessarily be a part of a Wiccans daily life. Many aspects of Wicca appear to be based on an older mythos like Witchcraft.

Witchcraft is a way of life. It is the act of incorporating Magick into the mundane and ordinary of every day. Witches may work with Gods/Goddesses or other Dieties/Spirits in their Magickal practices but they are not worshiped. Often, Witchcraft knowledge is passed along among family members. And that knowledge will be peculiar to the region of the world from whence the family originated. Witches will observe the Changing of the Seasons, the phases of the Moon, and utilize these aspects in their Magickal workings.

The main difference is the 'rule' that Wiccans abide by, The Wiccan Rede. In its simpler version it states, "An it harm none, do what ye will". Wiccans also believe in the threefold law, whatever is sent out will return to the sender threefold. And while I do believe in Karma (a person's actions will eventually catch up with them), I will perform a binding spell.

So, in a nutshell, a Wiccan may be a Witch and a Witch may be Wiccan but being Wiccan does not make one a Witch and being a Witch does not make one Wiccan.

Differences in any religion or belief system are minuscule in the Grander Scheme of things, in my opinion. What matters is who you are and what you do. Not what you believe or how you worship.

Please check out Aine of The Deepest Well for more insights and links into the debate about Witches and Wiccans.


Chris in the Emerald City said...

Good article! I have really never gotten on board with either! I prefer "pagany-flavored Buddhist" to describe myself. I do follow the Rede, but not the Law of Three. I go with, "every action has an equal and opposite reaction." (karma)


Aine said...

Thanks Jeanne! I agree that the differences don't matter in the grand scheme of things. I think that when one is exploring different paths they want to know all the particulars before jumping in, so this question keeps coming up.

For me, I like learning about various spiritual beliefs. I find it fascinating and enlightening. I also marvel all the time at the similarities! The only issue I have really with any other belief system is if/when members of that system try to recruit those of other faiths.

Witchcraft is a way of life. It is the act of incorporating Magick into the mundane and ordinary of every day. This a a great way to describe Witchcraft.

I also agree in regard to relationships with the Gods. I find this one of the biggest differences between Wiccans and Witches. I think that MAY be why so many witches are Wiccan first. It's hard to go from a god-based religion to what can be (but is not always) a god-less spirituality.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Wicca has too many friggin rules for my taste.

Jeanne said...

Debra ~ I so agree with you!

Aine ~ It is a good idea to learn about different religions/beliefs. And, yes, the more one learns, the more similarities between the various beliefs a person sees.

Chris ~ I LOVE the phrase, "paganry-flavored Buddhist"!

Danni said...

Well said! I agree with Debra, Wicca has always had too many 'rules' and expectations for my taste. I'm a free form 'do what moves you' sort of woman and therefore that leaks into my spiritual practice.

Jeanne said...

Danni ~ I think that 'freeform-individualism' is what makes Witchcraft special. While Magickal workings are all very basic, we all put our own special 'spin' on them to make them our own.

Heathen said...

Very well put! Wicca is just to much for me...it smacks of every other "organized religion". And ritual is definitely not my thing.

Poetry Dolls said...

Really interesting post. I didn't know much about the difference, and I concur, the more I know about the different beliefs, the more similarities I see.
Good post. Thanks :)