Traditional Witchcraft VS Wicca VS Paganism
What is a traditional witch and what is a wicca witch? Can you be a witch and a pagan, and why are not all pagans are witches? There is a lot of confusion on what it is that they practice and where it comes from. This is a question that a lot of people going into paganism and witchcraft look at.
Traditional witches are those that practiced magic and healing in the period up to the end of the middle ages, around 1600’s, that were classed as hedge witches, old crones and the medicine woman of the local village. These people, mainly women, healed people, arranged for spells to help crops to grow and to give people hexes against those that would hurt them.
They practiced spells and rituals at different days and times based on the seasons and moon/sun timings. Herbs were collected at different times depending on what was needed for the spell being prepared.
As these were generally poor people, they could not afford the parchment to write down their remedies and spells and would generally be passed down via an apprentice in the healing arts. Due to the Witch Trials approx. 1610 to 1730, witchcraft and hedge witches moved underground and ceased to use magic and spells openly.
Wicca is based on the works of Gerald Gardner, who first showed the world what wicca is in 1930’s. Throughout the 1930’s-1950’s Gardner expanded what it meant to be a witch through the use of spells, rituals and chants that he had made and adapted from many cultures such as native tribes, spiritualism, Buddhism and from his sometimes friend and mentor Aleister Crowley, who was an occultist and Golden Dawn member.
This was the start of ritualistic witchcraft, that was coven based. You could only be a member of a coven through initiation and had to spend a year and a day at each of the 3 levels before you could progress through the different learning's to become a High Priestess. Buckland, Cunningham, Farrar and Starhawk are authors that became popular from the 1980’s and modernised the wicca for the solitary practitioner and helped move it into the way of life that it is today.
It is the Gardnerian Wicca that brought about the Wiccan Rede and the saying “An ye harm none, do what ye will” and the belief of the three-fold lore, of what you send out comes back to you three-fold. Today wicca is a lot different, where there are no rules and the most popular style of witch is the eclectic who borrows from all types of wicca and not stay in the one rigid tradition.
Paganism was and still is a broad term for those that have a belief other than those of the three main religious beliefs of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Paganism is the belief of natural, spiritual and supernatural realities. Pagans believe in the order of nature and that everything has a balance, good/evil, light/dark and that the balance must be kept.
Paganism is completely different to wicca and witchcraft. Wicca and Witchcraft is the practice of rituals and spell work as a means to change something. Paganism is the religion of working with nature and its elements. It is about being one with nature, of using the elements of nature in a way that helps both the person and the world as a whole.
A pagan can be a druid, a psychic, a person who is spiritual or just someone who worships nature and higher realms. A pagan believes in multiple deities, or just one, they can be Roman, Greek, Celtic, Germanic or Viking deities, or even mythological beings such as fairies or dragons or unicorns.
Always believe in yourself and trust what your inner self is guiding you towards. There is no right or wrong belief system, just what is right for you in your present circumstances.