So I get asked all the time…

Are you a wiccan, satanist, witch or a pagan? Are they all the same thing?

And my answer confuses the hell out of them all.

I am a witch, and an atheist witch who practices magic but does not follow a deity.

Confused?

So, in a nutshell, here’s what’s going on.

 

Wicca

……is a modern pagan, witchcraft religion. Wicca is typically duotheistic, worshipping a god and goddess traditionally viewed as a mother goddess and horned god. These two deities are sometimes viewed as facets of a greater pantheistic godhead. However, beliefs range from hard polytheism to even monotheism. Wiccan celebration follows approximately eight seasonally based festivals known as Sabbats. An unattributed statement known as the Wiccan Rede is the traditional basis of Wiccan morality. Wicca often involves the ritual practice of magic, though it is not always necessary.

Pagans

– A polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion. Pagans may be trained in particular traditions or they may follow their own inspiration. Paganism is not dogmatic. Pagans pursue their own vision of the Divine as a direct and personal experience. Please bear in mind that there are dozens of different traditions that fall under the umbrella title of “Paganism”. While one group may have a certain practice, not everyone will follow the same criteria.

Not All Pagans are Wiccans

Just to make sure everyone’s on the same page, let’s clear up one thing right off the bat: not all Pagans are Wiccans. The term “Pagan” (derived from the Latin paganus, which translates roughly to “hick from the sticks”) was originally used to describe people who lived in rural areas. As time progressed and Christianity spread, those same country folk were often the last holdouts clinging to their old religions. Thus, “Pagan” came to mean people who didn’t worship the god of Abraham.

In the 1950s, Gerald Gardner brought Wicca to the public, and many contemporary Pagans embraced the practice. Although Wicca itself was founded by Gardner, he based it upon old traditions. However, a lot of Witches and Pagans were perfectly happy to continue practicing their own spiritual path without converting to Wicca.

Therefore, “Pagan” is an umbrella term that includes many different spiritual belief systems – Wicca is just one of many.

Think of it this way:

Christian > Lutheran or Methodist or Jehovah’s Witness

Pagan > Wiccan or Asatru or Dianic or Eclectic Witchcraft

As if that wasn’t confusing enough, not all people who practice witchcraft are Wiccans, or even Pagans. There are a few witches who embrace the Christian god as well as a Wiccan goddess – the Christian Witch movement is alive and well! There are also people out there who practice Jewish mysticism, or “Jewitchery”, and atheist witches who practice magic but do not follow a deity – like me!

Witches

…broadly means the practice of, and belief in, magical skills and abilities that are able to be exercised individually, by designated social groups, or by persons with the necessary esoteric secret knowledge. The concept of witchcraft and the belief in its existence has existed since the dawn of human history. It has been present or central at various times, and in many diverse forms, among cultures and religions worldwide, including both “primitive” and “highly advanced” cultures, and continues to have an important role in many cultures today. 

There are a number of people who consider themselves Witches, but who are not necessarily Wiccan or even Pagan. Typically, these are people who use the term “eclectic Witch” or to apply to themselves. In many cases, Witchcraft is seen as a skill set in addition to or instead of a religious system. A Witch may practice magic in a manner completely separate from their spirituality; in other words, one does not have to interact with the Divine to be a Witch.

There are many Witches who are not Wiccans. Some are Pagans, but some consider themselves something else entirely.

Satanism

…..is a broad term referring to diverse beliefs that share a symbolic association with, or admiration for, Satan, who is seen as a liberating figure. While it is heir to the same historical period and pre-Enlightenment beliefs that gave rise to modern witchcraft, it is generally seen as completely separate from modern witchcraft and Wicca, and has little or no connection to them.

Modern witchcraft considers Satanism to be the “dark side of Christianity” rather than a branch of Wicca: – the character of Satan referenced in Satanism exists only in the theology of the three Abrahamic religions, and Satanism arose as, and occupies the role of, a rebellious counterpart to Christianity, in which all is permitted and the self is central.

This is why I personally could never be a satanist, as I don’t believe in Gods & Devils. I call to the elements in nature – you know – the energy in the universe that created EVERYTHING, and the dark matter that holds the universe together.

So, where do you stand now? At the end of the day, enjoy yourself, respect others views, and create a little magick in your life.

BWS


 

Source:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witchcraft
  2. http://www.paganfederation.org/what-is-paganism/