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Pagan, Witch, Wiccan – What’s the Difference?

What IS the differance?

Aren’t they the same thing?

It seems like there has been a ground swell in people coming to these paths in the last few years, and it’s not surprising given everything that is going on in the world today.  While  popular media often uses these names interchangeably they are all as different as they are similar.

You can be a Witch and also be Pagan, you can be a Witch and have no religion at all.  Witches are often referred to as Wiccan but not all Witches are Wiccan.  You can be Pagan and not consider yourself to be Witch nor Wiccan.  It can be confusing if you are new to all of this or even if you’ve been walking any of these paths for years.

They are all similar in that they honor nature in some form or fashion.  I am going to break it down to the best of my knowledge and ability.

Pagan Pagan

Websters defines Pagan as:

“An unconverted member of a people or nation who does not practice Christianity, Judaism, or Islam

especially: a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome)”

A quick internet search will show that there is much written about how the word Pagan came about and what it originally meant. For our purposes in this article, I am referring to modern use of the word.

Pagan and Paganism are overarching umbrella terms that are used today to describe people who believe and practice a great number of spiritual systems, far too many to name in this article, however some of the most popular belief systems that may come to mind when one mentions Paganism could be; Norse Paganism (Odinism), Druidism (Celtic), Hellenism (Greek). Wicca does fall under this umbrella as well, but we will cover that in moment.

To boil it down, a Pagan is someone who doesn’t follow the Abrahamic religions.

Wicca

Wicca

First and foremost, Wicca is a recognized religion based around nature and uses magic.  It was first given the name in 1954 by Gerald Garnder in his book “Witchcraft Today”.  It is a religion that includes the practice of witchcraft (but not all witches are Wiccans, more on that in a moment).

In addition to honoring nature, Wicca is a duotheistic religion, believing in and worshiping the God and Goddess.  The religion of Wicca has changed and grown since inception in the mid-20th century. Since there are no official and authoritative writings that specifically lay out how to practice the religion and because I personally am not Wiccan, it’s out of respect that I don’t want to generalize their beliefs.

Suffice it to say that Wicca is a recognized nature-based religion in which magic is used.

Witch

Witch

Oh the witch!  Once feared and vilified to the point of being hunted and killed. Today things are a bit different for those who call themselves witches.

I want to try to clear up a few of misconceptions that I have heard.

  •          Not all witches are Wiccan
  •          Not all witches work with Deities
  •          Not all witches believe in a higher power
  •          YES, Men can be Witches too

If you ask 100 witches what it means to be a witch, I bet you would get 100 different answers. There are so many different forms of witchcraft. There are Witches that walk the left-hand path, there are grey Witches, those that believe witches should only practice benevolent magic. There are Green Witches, Kitchen Witches, Hedge Witches and the list goes on and on and on.

There are Pagan Witches even Christian Witches (yes, it’s true) and there are Witches that don’t work with or believe in gods and /or goddesses at all.  I am going to give you my point of view as I am a Witch.

I am what is called a Hekatean Witch.  I am a Witch that works with and honors the Greek Goddess Hekate.  Hekate being the Mother of Witches among a great many other things.  I work magic, I do spells for various things, mostly to better myself. I work with the elements, herbs, with color, with my spirit guides and my ancestors asking them to assist in whatever it is that I am trying to accomplish.

Because I am a devotee of Hekate and don’t a follow an Abrahamic religion, I am Pagan.  Because I believe in magic and work with magic (magic is energy), I call myself a Witch.  I am not, however, a Wiccan as I do not follow that religion either.

I hope this helps even a little bit.  If you have any questions or if I got something wrong, please drop a comment below and let’s start a conversation.

Fierce Love,

R.Morgan

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