Wiccan or Witch?
So am I a Witch or a Wiccan? I guess the most accurate answer is Witch (with a little "this and
that" from other spiritual areas thrown into the mix). The
definitions can be pretty confusing, many use the terms interchangeably.
My belief and understanding is that many who practice
witchcraft call themselves Wicca, and this is often used as a modern term
for Witch, but it is in itself a religion.
Wicca draws from the
Old Traditions of Witchcraft. One can be a Witch, without being a Wiccan, just as a
person can be a Christian, without being a Baptist. This is because
Witchcraft in essence is a way of living, of revering and caring for the
natural world, and using knowledge and understanding of that world
(including the universe), to heal, protect, nurture, and attain
is a recognized religion, while Witchcraft itself is not considered a
religion. Even in the Pagan community there is a lot of confusion over
exactly what a Witch, and what a Wiccan is. Some say only certain traditions are truly
Witchcraft, some say you MUST have knowledge of traditional witchcraft
tools (eg. Tarot, Astrology, herbs etc.), to truly be a witch. I say, it
depends what type of witch you want to be. Knowledge is the ultimate
gift you can give to yourself, find out what works for you, so that you
can work harmoniously with yourself and the forces of nature. Witchcraft
for me therefore, is as unique to me as I am!
Wicca might best be described as a modern religion,
based on ancient Witchcraft traditions.
Many prefer to use the modern term as it is more socially acceptable,
and doesn’t carry the same stigma the word “Witch” does. Others are
happy to embrace all aspects of Witchcraft, and proudly wear the title
“Witch”. For many it is a more purist thing, believing the word “Wicca”
to be more whimsical in nature, and that “Witch” is the traditional,
more grounded term for what is in essence the oldest religion. I prefer
the term “Wiccan” for myself, as to me it is a softer sounding word,
eluding to a gentle way of life, but I also proudly call myself “Witch”.
That doesn't mean I consider myself religious, or belonging to the
Wiccan faith, it's just how I sort thing in my own head. To you it may
seem I'm a bit confused, but to me it makes perfect sense!
Although technically different, you will find the two terms
interchangeable for me throughout anything I write.
come under the broader banner of Pagan. There is a great variety of
beliefs and practices within the Pagan world, and it seems to be the
small number of branches that have harmful practices that give witches a
bad name. There are also many branches of Wiccan traditions too.
Witchcraft is a spiritual system that fosters the free thought and will
of the individual, encourages learning and an understanding of the earth
and nature thereby affirming the divinity in all living things. Most
importantly however, it teaches responsibility. We accept responsibility
for our actions and deeds as clearly a result of the choices we
make. We do not blame an exterior entity or being for our shortcomings,
weaknesses or mistakes. If we mess up or do something that brings harm
to another, we have no one but ourselves to blame and we must face the
consequences resulting from those actions. Witches
believe in doing the right thing, because it is the right thing to do;
not because it effects where you end up in the afterlife. Witches don’t
believe in Hell or Satan. If you do something evil, it is through your
choices, the same as if you do good. It’s called taking responsibility
for yourself! There is no “Devil made me do it” scenario that is popular
in most religions, any more that doing good is “god’s work”. It is my
firm belief that if people took more responsibility for their own
actions, instead of blaming others, we would have far less evil acts
forced on the world, than those committed “In the name of…….”.
acknowledge the cycles of nature, the lunar phases and the seasons to
celebrate our spirituality and to worship the divine. It is a belief
system that allows the Witch to work with, not in supplication to
deities, with the intent of living in harmony and achieving balance with
spells that we do involve healing, love, harmony, wisdom and
creativity. The potions that we stir might be a headache remedy, a
cold tonic, or a herbal flea bath for our pets. We strive to gain
knowledge of and use the natural remedies placed on this earth by the
divine for our benefit instead of using synthetic drugs unless
Witches believe in a resting place between lives called the “Summerlands”.
I believe that when you die your energy is transferred, (It’s basic
physics really, energy doesn’t just stop, it is always transferred or
converted); but I have made no conclusion as to where it is transferred
Calling oneself “Witch” does not make you a witch. A Witch is a person
who practices the gentle arts of healing, and caring for life - all
life. Witches work WITH nature, and follow the most fundamental rule
“And it harm none, do what you will”. Many call themselves witches, but
do things that are totally opposite the Witches rede. These people are
not witches, no matter what they call themselves. Contrary to popular
unenlightened beliefs, Witches to not worship the devil, in fact,
Witches don’t even believe in one all powerful evil entity. (Makes it
pretty hard to worship something you don’t believe in!).
To be a
Witch is to be a healer, a teacher, a seeker, a giver, and a protector
of all things. This is my path, I walk it with honour, light and
integrity. I am an individual, I make our own relationship with Deity,
and grow and love in my own way.
I believe any religion is essentially a spiritual search for
enlightenment, and what ever path you are on to that end goal is the
right one for you.
not look at my path as the only way to achieve spirituality, but as one
path among many to the same end.
It really bugs me when other religions insist their
way is the only way, and that they have so little respect for you as a
thinking person, to deny you the right to make informed decisions about
your own life!
Witches believe about death.
- Witches don't
believe in life after death so much as life after birth. The
emphasis of the Craft is on working to make this life good for as
many people as possible, oneself included.
- We do not
believe in a hell, sin, or redemption, but in the balance of all
things. (Evil is imbalance). We have no concept of original sin for
which we must be redeemed - indeed, that concept has been the source
of oppression and even killing of women for centuries, since
medieval Christian philosophy had it that woman was the source of
all sin and evil. Witches are reclaiming Eve (And many just as
strongly claiming Lilith - as the original
feminist), as the one who gave us self-knowledge through her courage
and curiosity. Nor, for that matter, do we believe in a heavenly
reward for good behavior. Spiritual bribery is not the way of the
Witch; the results of good or evil acts are felt in this lifetime.
No celestial carrot or infernal stick.
On the other
hand, Witches have quite a few opinions about what does happen after
death. Most believe in reincarnation of some sort or other. Some
have it that between death and rebirth the soul undergoes some sort
of transformation (for which there are a number of metaphors) to
prepare it for rebirth. Others believe that the dead join the
Blessed Ancestors, who watch over, protect and advise their
descendants. Still others have it that the souls of those who chose
pain or evil when they were alive may be trapped after death in a
state of suffering because that is all they can understand. Most
Witches are honest enough to say, "We don't really know, and there
isn't any way to know.
It may be a
difficult concept to grasp, but, in reality, there is no such thing as communication
with the "dead". We tend to see life in physical terms, but LIFE
is a SPIRITUAL reality which, for us, is presently housed in a
That doesn't mean
there is no communication with other spiritual beings not currently
housed physically, certainly not! It's just the way Witches see,
feel, connect to, and experience reality in general.
I leave you with
this final thought:
"To believe in God or in a guiding force because
someone tells you to is the height of stupidity. We are given
senses to receive our information within. With our own eyes we
see, and with our own skin we feel. With our intelligence, it is
intended that we understand. But each person must puzzle it out
for himself or herself".