Yesterday, we covered some of the most popular types of witches that there are, today we are going to explore some other types of witches that may be lesser known or essentially just unheard of in today’s modern society. This will be in part 3. We decided to do this one a little earlier than expected due to the overwhelming positive feedback we had from yesterday’s post. We are trying to ensure that we provide the most accurate information as we can, with that being said, if you feel there is a witch we are missing or needs more information please do not hesitate to send us a message.
We will also be covering today two main branches of witchcraft, note these are not the only main practices as we have mentioned before in yesterday’s article, but they are the most common ones. We will give detailed examples of both and what they consist of. So, let’s jump right into this shall we. Starting off this article we will be talking about Wicca and Paganism and how they differ.
Wiccan Witches– Wiccan Witches are Pagan witches but not all pagan witches are Wiccan, keep that in mind as you are reading some of the information.
Intro into Wicca as provided by Wikipedia
Wicca, also termed Pagan Witchcraft, is a modern Pagan religion. Scholars of religion categorise it as both a new religious movement and as part of the occultist stream of Western esotericism. It was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant. Wicca draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan and 20th-century hermetic motifs for its theological structure and ritual practices.
Wicca has no central authority figure. Its traditional core beliefs, principles, and practices were originally outlined in the 1940s and 1950s by Gardner and Doreen Valiente, both in published books and in secret written and oral teachings passed along to their initiates. There are many variations on the core structure, and the religion grows and evolves over time. It is divided into a number of diverse lineages, sects and denominations, referred to as traditions, each with its own organisational structure and level of centralisation. Due to its decentralized nature, there is some disagreement over what actually constitutes Wicca. Some traditions, collectively referred to as British Traditional Wicca, strictly follow the initiatory lineage of Gardner and consider the term Wicca to apply only to similar traditions, but not to newer, eclectic traditions.
Wicca is typically duotheistic, worshipping, and/or working with a Goddess and a God. These are traditionally viewed as the Triple Goddess (Neopaganism) and the Horned God, respectively. These deities may be regarded in a henotheistic way, as having many different divine aspects which can in turn be identified with many diverse pagan deities from different historical pantheons. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as the “Great Goddess” and the “Great Horned God” , with the adjective “great” connoting a deity that contains many other deities within their own nature. (You can also find wiccans referring to the goddess deity as the “Lady” and the god deity as the “lord”. When used the adjectives “lord” and “lady” it is simply another way of referring to them as a divine figure.) These two deities are sometimes viewed as facets of a greater pantheistic divinity, which is regarded as an impersonal force or process rather than a personal deity. While duotheism or bitheism is traditional in Wicca, broader Wiccan beliefs range from polytheism to pantheism or monism, even to Goddess monotheism.
Wiccan celebrations encompass both the cycles of the Moon, known as Esbats and commonly associated with the Goddess (female deity), and the cycles of the Sun, seasonally based festivals known as Sabbats and commonly associated with the Horned God (male deity). An unattributed statement known as the Wiccan Rede is a popular expression of Wiccan morality, although it is not universally accepted by Wiccans. Wicca often involves the ritual practice of magic, though it is not always necessary.
More can be found here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicca
Within the witchcraft revival movement, the largest subset is Wicca. The 2008 American Religious Identification Survey estimated that in the United States there were about 600,000 neo-pagans, with about half identifying as Wiccan. Some estimates conclude that in 2017 there were more than 3 million practicing Wiccans.
The U.S. government first officially recognized Wicca as a religion in 1985. In a court case involving a prisoner (Dettmer v. Landon), the federal government argued that the doctrine of the Church of Wicca was not a religion because it is a “conglomeration” of “various aspects of the occult, such as faith healing, self-hypnosis, tarot card reading, and spell casting, none of which would be considered religious practices standing alone.” The court noted that the government was essentially arguing “that because it finds witchcraft to be illogical and internally inconsistent, witchcraft cannot be a religion.” The appeals court ruled that, “the Church of Wicca occupies a place in the lives of its members parallel to that of more conventional religions. Consequently, its doctrine must be considered a religion.”
Wicca centers on pre-Christian beliefs that Magic exists within the universe and is practiced in such a way that honors nature and the elements. Wicca is also a Neo-Pagan religion, and most of the beliefs of Wicca are the same as Pagan beliefs, except without the same deities as Paganism. There are only two deities within Wicca — the God and the Goddess. They are also sometimes referred to as the Horned God and the Moon Goddess.
On a very basic level, these two deities represent the masculine and feminine forces of nature and the universe. The relatively simple nature of the Wiccan deities is what allows for the practice to overlap with deities of other religions. When it comes down to it, Wicca is different from Paganism in that it allows for more religious freedom depending on the preferences of the practitioner. Paganism has strict deities that one must worship to be a Pagan. In Wicca, however, the deities need not be worshipped in such a way — they simply exist as the opposing forces of nature. No matter the deities, the practicing Witch must always follow the Wiccan Rede, “As it harms none, do as thou wilt.”
To learn more about Wicca as a religion and as a whole we suggest you further your reading and your knowledge, there is so much information out there on wicca as a whole, too much for us to condense it down into one centralized/generalized post.
Pagan Witches- Pagan traditions have a strong focus on ritual, and practitioners may draw from multiple sources or follow a single contemporary Pagan tradition.Pagan rituals commonly focus on honoring a deity or deities; observing natural cycles, such as seasonal changes or the waxing and waning of the moon; or celebrating rites of passage, such as birth, transitioning into adulthood, marriage, and death. Although the form of ritual varies by tradition, Pagan rituals tend to engage the participants physically. Rituals often include drumming, chanting, and dancing. Some Pagans offer food or drink to their gods or ancestors; these offerings may be shared by the participants as part of a feast, or sometimes disposed of ritually. Representations of earth, air, fire, and water may also be employed for cleansing and consecration; for instance, participants might anoint themselves with salt water (earth and water) and burn incense (air and fire) as part of ritual preparation.
Although some Pagans still practice regularly in either small private or large public groups, many are “solitaries,” meaning they practice alone and may only gather with a group for special occasions. Sociologist Helen Berger reports that as many as 79% of American Pagans today may identify as solitary. Most do not celebrate within a specific temple or building, though there are a few Pagan temple buildings in the United States. On the whole, Pagans prefer to worship out of doors, or else in private homes and rented halls.
Building an altar—a place for divinity, and a sacred workplace for performing rituals—is one of the first ways many Pagans begin spiritual practice. Pagans often have altars in their homes, sometimes tucked in a corner of the bedroom. Pagans with yards, or those who live in rural settings, may build altars outdoors. The altar may contain natural objects, photographs of the beloved dead, ritual tools, and objects of beauty or personal power. At the altar, one might leave an offering for a deity, enter into meditation, create an herbal charm, or undertake a personal cleansing or healing ritual. Gazing at an altar is a reminder of one’s spiritual life, and meditating there can lead to spiritual insight.
Pagans might perform a wide variety of spiritual exercises on a daily basis, though probably no two Pagans practice their faith exactly the same way. Pagan personal practice can be as simple as lighting a candle at the dark of the moon and meditating on the flame, or pouring a fresh cup of water for one’s ancestors and saying a prayer. Spoken intention is thought to be very powerful: Pagans often believe that verbalizing their desires is the first step toward bringing change into their lives. Respect for this principle leads many Pagans to choose their words carefully, lest a habit of self-deprecation or pessimism interfere with achieving life goals.
One important form of daily practice for many Pagans is “grounding” meditation, which connects the individual with the energy of the Earth and helps to maintain physical and emotional balance. Another is the practice of divination, which may take the simple form of asking about the day ahead, or inquiring about a specific question. Some Pagans consult astrology, while others use Tarot cards, runes, or pendulums to access sources of spiritual knowledge. Others look to movements in the natural world—interactions with animals, plants, wind, and water—to gain intuitions about patterns in the local environment. The sense of connection gained through these practices helps Pagans live out their belief that divinity is present in the world around them.
You can learn more about Paganism as whole, just like Wiccan there is too much information out there for us to simply put it all into one post, so continued reading and education is suggested.
Now that we have those basic understandings of the two main branches out of the way, here is where it can get very complicated for people. All Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccans. All Wiccans are Pagans, but not all Pagans are Wiccans. Finally, some witches are Pagans, but some are not – and some Pagans practice witchcraft, while others choose not to.
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.
And while we are at this let’s toss this out there too:
“Pagan” is an umbrella term that includes many different spiritual belief systems – Wicca is just one of many.https://www.learnreligions.com/wicca-witchcraft-or-paganism-2562823
Abrahamic Religions > Christians or Lutherans or Methodists or Jehovah’s Witnesses
Pagans > Wiccans or Asatrus or Dianics 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.
It can be confusing, to say the least, when trying to figure out where you fit in the world of witchcraft. But as we have said before, there is no right or wrong way to practice your craft, you have to do what feels right to you.
We will further our posts on different types of witches in a part three and introduce some lesser know, talked about, and sometimes rare witches in today’s modern society.
We hope you enjoy this post and as always, please feel free to come visit us on facebook, instagram, or even leave us a comment below.
Until next time!
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