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The Differences Between Wicca & Witchcraft
"What is the Difference between Wicca and Witchcraft?"
This is a question I get all the time (almost on daily basis) and so I figured I'd better add it to my website! First I would like to say that most of the confusion lies in the term Witchcraft itself. Most people tend to think of spellcraft when they hear Witchcraft, but Witchcraft has developed into a religion unto itself that may include the practice of spellcraft within it. Spellcraft is a collective term for magickal systems, folklore, etc. It is not synonymous with Witchcraft. Of course, some Witches take offence at calling Witchcraft a religion. I have no hang-ups about the term religion. I look directly at the roots of the word, which mean "to re-link." I consider religion a personal experience between the practitionar and the Divine, as well as a means for social celebration and growth. It is also a profession, lifestyle, and spiritual system all rolled into one.

Please also note that I do make several generalizations below, that may not apply to any other Traditions, and are often a quick description of what we do and believe...Iin other words, this is for you to get a general idea, but it's not the detailed, nitty-gritty low-down, word of the Fates.

(most of below is taken from a brief article I wrote to the Daily
Goddess News back in 2000)
Now, for the difference between Wicca and Witchcraft. Wicca is the faith made public by Gerald Gardner (firstly), which combines supposed traditional Witchcraft with ceremonial magic, Eastern philosophies, and many of the ideas
and thoughts of the Freemasons and Rosicrucians (basicly more ceremonial magic). It was then added to by many people, from Sanders, the Farrars, and Starhawk to nowadays Silver Ravenwolf, Scott Cunningham, Buckland and many more. The ceremonial magic aspect is still heavily present, even though many people have had their hands in making it something else. You have very formal ideas, and certain ways of doing things (not uncommon in anything actually), which leads up to a fairly collected system. Not uncommon is the hierarchical structure of degrees and covens, heavy use of magickal tools and formal casting of circles...also very prevalent, the focus on the "Lord and Lady". This is a rough generalization of modern day Wicca.

Now, for me, my own tradition that we lovingly call "Modern Traditional" is of the religion of Witchcraft. You will rarely find ceremonial magic in my circle, if I am casting a circle at all. We usually cast a large informal circle for groups to create sacred space, but you won't find longwinded rhymed speeches and the parading around of tools and such. I do have magickal tools, but I collect them because I think they are beautiful works of art, not because I use them for magick. Magick that I do on my own is done almost always without any tools, or simply very nature-natural oriented. We sometimes do more spellcraft-oriented exercises in circle, but you won't see us making a super big deal about what exactly is needed herb-wise, oil-wise, what colors the candle should be, is it the right day of the week yadda yadda yadda. You use what you have, and you do it when you need to. Within any group, meeting (of the Tradition or public), one is respected for your behavior, input, and knowledge, not for how long you've been doing something or what fancy paperwork you may possess from some snazzy namesake. We are very pantheistic (all things divine) and recognize "the God and Goddess in all things", naming them as we wish and feel the need to do so, for all the deities are distinct aspects of the same force, as well as being mindful of the traditions of our personal ancestry. We are not dictated to by the deities, nor vice-versa.

So that's my definition of Witchcraft. Some define Witchcraft as the continuation of the native cultural beliefs and practices of the ancient Europeans as named after the advent of the Christian religion. Basically, this is the same idea as the ramble above, just less personal. We're looking at a more naturally oriented faith, than one with the rigidity of ceremonial magic and hodge-podge of New Age input.

One last thing I'd like to note is that some people use the word Wicca because they think it has a better connotation for today's society. Most of these same people would also be surprised to find out that wicca is the masculine form of the word...wicce is the feminine (pronounced "witchy")). I proudly call myself a Witch---I reclaim this word for its true meaning (wise one, one who bends...) and as a woman, I assert my power and make a statement about who I am.

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