Celebrating the “cycle of the year and the duality of divinity,” Wicca is a religion that pays homage to the earth and nature. With a history that traces back to the mid-20th century, some often refers to this belief system as ‘witchcraft’. However, there are differences to take notice of when it comes to defining Wicca, witchcraft and even neo-paganism. In this article, we will touch upon this topic and more.
It is thought that Wicca was made popular or possibly even invented in the middle of the 20th century with a man by the name of Gerald Gardner at the forefront. In 1954, Gardner published a book titled “Witchcraft Today,” which centered on his claim that he had stumbled upon a surviving ancient pagan religion that was still practiced to this very day. However, the majority of pagans still practicing today will denounce his claims of a survival, and shift terms to illustrate a ‘revival’ instead.
Wiccans are known to practice their religion in a group in what is called a coven. Those who choose to follow the religion on their own are called ‘solitaries.’ When it comes to the authoritative voice of Wiccans, each group or solitary are not bound to. As far as informative books showcasing the ins and outs of Wicca, many view Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham one of the best accounts of the religion.
In regards to the business of worshipping the Devil, many people are under the assumption that Wiccans follow this practice. However, this religion doesn’t even believe in the Devil , contrary to popular belief. This is because Wicca does not acknowledge any personification of evil. Some of this misconception is due to people who wear black clothing and call themselves Satanists, wearing pentacles , a symbol associated with the Wiccan religion.
Knowing the Difference
When someone refers to themselves as a Neo-Paganist, they are using the broad definition used to refer to any religion that is centered on nature or earth. Some of the beliefs and traditions are molded from ancient western pagan religions, and Wicca is one of these religions that derive from similar realms of thought. Overall, Neo-Paganism is becoming an increasingly popular belief system that places emphasis on ancient pagan ways and strong connection to nature.
What it all boils down to is Wiccans belonging to the movement of Neopaganism, making them all Neopagans (or Pagans in some circles). It is important to also make the distinction that not all Pagans are Wiccan. A glowing difference between the two is that Wiccans practice witchcraft and magic, and refer to themselves as being a Wiccan.
On the same hand, just because a Wiccan practices witchcraft, does not mean the two subjects mean the same thing. A lot of confused individuals will lump Wicca, witchcraft, and Neo-Paganism into the same boat, but each offer their own set of rules, traditions, beliefs, and identity. This mislabeling is to be expected, especially when all practitioners of Wicca and those that practice witchcraft are referred to as witches. Once again, keep in mind that all followers of Wicca are witches, but not all witches call themselves Wiccan or follow Wicca. Remember that Wicca is a religion.