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Guest elmfire

Whats The Diff? - between wiccan and a witch

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Guest elmfire

ok this might be such a stupid question, and im not being rude but what is the difference between someone whos wiccan and someone whos a witch, is it because of covens ect ect?? , i have no idea and feel like a bit of a twat asking :P thanks for the time in answering,

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Pomona

In very simple (and broad terms) all Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccans.

 

Wicca is a belief system, I'll not go quite so far as to call it a religion, as that gets some people very het up! :P But it's a way of worshipping, honouring deity/deities and includes magick and witchcraft as part of the whole.

 

Witchcraft on the other hand can be done by someone of any religion, technically, or without a religion. Theoretically, you could have a Catholic witch (though there are the usual arguments over whether the bible actually permits this or not). It (witchcraft) is an art, a craft, a skill.

 

Hope that clarifies a bit?

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Guest Galena

Wicca is an initiatory tradition, following on from the practice of Gerald Gardner.

 

Witchcraft is a craft, in the UK mostly practiced by Pagans, but anyone with the knack can do Witchcraft, should they want to.

 

the confusion comes from the large numbers of books around that use the terms interchangeably, or use Wicca to describe something that probably should be given its own word.

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Cosmic_Fool

what they said. I could point you in the direction of my pages on Fool's Paradox (well its been a while since I mentioned it :P ) but it all burns down to what the ladies have said.

 

Witchcraft is a craft that can technically be practiced by someone of any religion or even none. Its probably been going on since the first time a human looked at the world and realised that there was something to learn and master besides picking berries and hunting mammoth. These type of witches never call them selves Wiccans, and you would probably be best not call them it either.

 

Wicca is a belief system that was launched (he may have also been the sole creator, he probably wasn't) in the 1950's by Gerald Gardner. It incorporates ideas and practices from many sources, some probably from witchcraft. To be a Wiccan you are initiated into a coven that can trace its linneage back to Gardner. Some Wiccans refer to themselves as witches

 

Lots of books tell you that you can be a Wiccan by reading its pages and perhaps the pages of its sequel and companion volumes. I am prepared to accept this if the reader is honest in their intentions and prepared to work at it. However many Wiccans take the POV that as they have had to study and prove themselves worthy of the title, then people who just read a book should find another name for themselves. To be honest they are probably quite justified but no-one seems to be re-titling their books (well ok except Buckland, he does call his path Saex-Wica after all)

 

Kev

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weatherwitch
ok this might be such a stupid question,

 

No such thing as a stupid question when it comes to the ins and outs and intricacies of magic and witchcraft, I'm glad you felt able to ask :)

 

And I agree with the previous replies too :)

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JohnMacintyre

Dear Pomona,

 

"In very simple (and broad terms) all Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccans."

 

Very true.

 

"Wicca is a belief system, I'll not go quite so far as to call it a religion, as that gets some people very het up! :D "

 

Some of us get het up much more easily than that! :( It's not a 'belief system' because all Wiccans do not hold the same beliefs, though it is a system in the sense that all Wiccans will have been 'introduced' to particular kinds of experiences of the sacred from which they will almost certainly have formed a range of different beliefs :) .

 

How about "It's an experiential religious tradition within Pagan Witchcraft"?

 

BB,

 

John Macintyre

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Cosmic_Fool

"Wicca is a belief system, I'll not go quite so far as to call it a religion, as that gets some people very het up!  :D  "

 

Some of us get het up much more easily than that!  :(  It's not a 'belief system' because all Wiccans do not hold the same beliefs, though it is a system in the sense that all Wiccans will have been 'introduced' to particular kinds of experiences of the sacred from which they will almost certainly have formed a range of different beliefs  :D .

 

How about "It's an experiential religious tradition within Pagan Witchcraft"?

 

BB,

 

John Macintyre

105644[/snapback]

 

 

hmmm in that case as people can get introduced to said experiences of the sacred from books and can then form their own beliefs based on their experiences doesn't that upset the applecart (sorry Pomona :)) on the whole Wicca vs wicca/linneage vs book learnt argument debate?

 

 

Kev

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JohnMacintyre

Hi Kev,

 

 

"hmmm in that case as people can get introduced to said experiences of the sacred from books and can then form their own beliefs based on their experiences doesn't that upset the applecart (sorry Pomona :lol:) on the whole Wicca vs wicca/linneage vs book learnt argument debate?"

 

I'm sure people can get introduced to experiences from books. I'm not at all sure that people can get introduced to the same experiences through books. Learning/experiencing something over the years within a living tradition wil inevitably be rather different from reading about something in a book and then experimenting on the basis of that. Either or both may be very valuable according to the aptitude and dedication of the person in question, but they don't strike me as the same.

 

BB,

 

John Macintyre

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Cosmic_Fool

Well I would say its down to the person and the effort they put in. You can get people who are self taught and better painters, writers or designers than those that have been to expensive schools and gained highfalutin diplomas.

 

Its what people do that should be judged rather than what they are taught IMO

 

Kev

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JohnMacintyre

Hi Kev,

 

"Well I would say its down to the person and the effort they put in. You can get people who are self taught and better painters, writers or designers than those that have been to expensive schools and gained highfalutin diplomas.

 

Its what people do that should be judged rather than what they are taught IMO"

 

I agree with that, but would also point out that process inevitably influences outcomes. With a solitary Wiccan, how they get on is down to their aptitude, dedication, and the will of the Gods and Goddesses they find a way to. With a coven, initiatory trad, Wiccan, how they get on is down to their aptitude and dedication, the aptitude, experience and dedication of the coven, and the will of the tutelary Gods and Goddesses.

 

Wiccan degrees do not equate to diplomas of any kind. Used as personal measures of development they are valuable within the covens and families of covens that award them. Waved about publicly as a claim to 'status' they are merely another mark of a fool - and not your kind of fool :lol:. I would still argue that learning as part of a group in what is a predominantly oral, experiential, living tradition, is significantly different from learning as a solitary - even though members of groups will inevitably also work alone for much of the time. I'm not saying it's 'better' and really, it would be hard to quantify this sort of thing in any case. There are people who have worked solitary all their lives and are true adepts with a deep connection with their Gods. And there are people who aren't. There are people with impeccable coven lineages who are not perhaps all that they would wish others to see them as, and there are folk from such backgrounds who impress regardless of whether or not anyone knows where they're coming from.

 

Is there a single measure by which this kind of thing can be judged anyway? I agree that what people do is what matters, rather than what they've been taught, but would qualify that with a further observation. Some covens I know of have elaborate curriculums of study that would put a middling university to shame. Others have no formal instruction at all and work by a mixture of example and osmosis. I think the latter actually works better because I don't think Wicca can really be taught. Only learned. And no single pattern for that is going to suit everybody.

 

BB,

 

John Macintyre

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Cosmic_Fool
Hi Kev,

 

"Well I would say its down to the person and the effort they put in. You can get people who are self taught and better painters, writers or designers than those that have been to expensive schools and gained highfalutin diplomas.

 

Its what people do that should be judged rather than what they are taught IMO"

 

I agree with that, but would also point out that process inevitably influences outcomes. With a solitary Wiccan, how they get on is down to their aptitude, dedication, and the will of the Gods and Goddesses they find a way to. With a coven, initiatory trad, Wiccan, how they get on is down to their aptitude and dedication, the aptitude, experience and dedication of the coven, and the will of the tutelary Gods and Goddesses.

 

 

There is no denying the suport of a coven, though what is achieved is down to personal effort (unless some covens use those flail type things (mental block at mo sorry) for more than just ritual... :lol: ) as they say you can lead a horse to water...

Wiccan degrees do not equate to diplomas of any kind. Used as personal measures of development they are valuable within the covens and families of covens that award them. Waved about publicly as a claim to 'status' they are merely another mark of a fool - and not your kind of fool  :).

 

I couldn't agree more and that is the biggest beef I have - that some Wiccans shove their degree in your face as soon as you try and justify your worth (or the worth of a book lead wiccan)

 

I would still argue that learning as part of a group in what is a predominantly oral, experiential, living tradition, is significantly different from learning as a solitary - even though members of groups will inevitably also work alone for much of the time. I'm not saying it's 'better' and really, it would be hard to quantify this sort of thing in any case. There are people who have worked solitary all their lives and are true adepts with a deep connection with their Gods. And there are people who aren't. There are people with impeccable coven lineages who are not perhaps all that they would wish others to see them as, and there are folk from such backgrounds who impress regardless of whether or not anyone knows where they're coming from.

 

Totally agree

 

Is there a single measure by which this kind of thing can be judged anyway? I agree that what people do is what matters, rather than what they've been taught, but would qualify that with a further observation. Some covens I know of have elaborate curriculums of study that would put a middling university to shame. Others have no formal instruction at all and work by a mixture of example and osmosis. I think the latter actually works better because I don't think Wicca can really be taught. Only learned. And no single pattern for that is going to suit everybody.

 

BB,

 

John Macintyre

105693[/snapback]

 

I also agree here - everyone learns things better in their own way and so what is taught might more easily be learnt by some by reading and vice versa. What is more important is what a person does with what they learn, whether by book or by mouth and practice.

 

kev

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Guest ladypenndragon

Blessings,

 

Yup. Good points all above.

 

Now for my two pence.

 

Wicca is learned. A person can "learn" to be a Witch,

but in my case, I was born a Witch..(called Herditary, coming from

a long line of them from My Mums side.)

This fact dosent make me any better or worse than anyone else.

 

Not to throw stones or look down upon people that simply call themselves

a Witch.

 

:(

 

 

Love, LadyP

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Guest Birka
Wicca is learned. A person can "learn" to be a Witch,

but in my case, I was born a Witch..(called Herditary, coming from

a long line of them from My Mums side.)

This fact dosent make me any better or worse than anyone else.

 

Not to throw stones or look down upon people that simply call themselves

a Witch.

 

I'm going to have to disagree on a few points (well, what's new? :o_bounce3:). I agree with what has been said so far about Wicca. And what you said too Wicca is learned. Now here's where the disagreement starts - but so's Witchcraft. I don't care what anyone says, even if you're a Hereditary you still have to learn.

 

As for simply calling yourself a Witch. What is wrong with that if you can do what it says on the tin? If you have the talent for it and can do Witchcraft then by definition you are a Witch.

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Guest ladypenndragon

Blessings,

 

I didnt say a Born Witch didnt have to learn. :o_bounce:

The question was...

Wicca....Witch...what the diff??

 

SOOOO

 

I anwsered in "my opinion". :o_bounce3:

 

Question....what is "the tin"?

 

Love, LadyP

 

Ps..wasent trying to start a debate. Just gave my opinion, take it or leave it...like with any ones replies here..i think thats the beauty of having the difference of opinion, every ones view point is valid...yes/no?

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Guest Birka

What is 'the tin'? It's an expression...you know, it does what it says on the tin?? In this case I was meaning it as a person who identifies as a Witch being able to do Witchcraft.

 

I was also answering according to my own opinion. :o_bounce3:

 

As for not meaning to start a debate - when you throw an opinion out there onto the web or to any group of people there will naturally be those who don't agree and then you get debate. Nothing wrong with that.

Edited by elswyth

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Guest ladypenndragon

Ohhh!!!

I get it...(bout the tin)

 

Yup...opinions will get variety of responses....

 

just add mine to the rest.

 

 

 

Love, LadyP

 

the wicked witch of the west.

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Guest maiden
In very simple (and broad terms) all Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccans.

 

Wicca is a belief system, I'll not go quite so far as to call it a religion, as that gets some people very het up!  :o  But it's a way of worshipping, honouring deity/deities and includes magick and witchcraft as part of the whole.

 

Witchcraft on the other hand can be done by someone of any religion, technically, or without a religion.

 

This is a great way of explaining it. As you can see your question is far from stupid, as from the amount of disagreement in definition. You see, there isn't one and confusion has spread from this and the terms are used interchangably, as prev mentioned, which they aren't.

 

There are points that I disagree with in the replies as I am a Wiccan, BUT each Wiccan's path is as personal as their thoughts so there will always be disagreements.

 

I didn't like the usage of Gardiner, I certainly don't follow some of his belief system, and I don't see him as the father of modern Wicca, more a facilitator to bring it into the public eye, he was certainly right place and right time.

 

Also didn't like the whole initiation bit, that makes Wiccans seem closed. I would not be at all offended by anyone who had not been initiated calling themselves Wiccan, you are what you are - you're not given it by your High Priest/ess. A lack of opportunity to work with others shouldn't be an obsticle in your path.

 

I'm not bothered either way, a name placed on you doesn't define you just helps others to understand, but be warned, this sort of debate can get heated!!

 

Love and Light, Litha x

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Cosmic_Fool
I didn't like the usage of Gardiner, I certainly don't follow some of his belief system, and I don't see him as the father of modern Wicca, more a facilitator to bring it into the public eye, he was certainly right place and right time.

Thing is you can't ignore Gardner. Whether he was the author or simply a facilitator he set out the rules by which Wicca was originally judged and run....

Also didn't like the whole initiation bit, that makes Wiccans seem closed. I would not be at all offended by anyone who had not been initiated calling themselves Wiccan, you are what you are - you're not given it by your High Priest/ess. A lack of opportunity to work with others shouldn't be an obsticle in your path.

... and that included the rigid coven system with initiation and degrees/grades. These covens hold secrets that have not been revealed in any of the books (or so I'm assured - I'm also told its much more important than where the HP keeps his slippers) and hold a line back to Gardner with the history and accumalation of knowledge it contains. Books only go as far back as the author and often (if they have the smarts) bleed into a series of sequels and accessory books.

I'm not bothered either way, a name placed on you doesn't define you just helps others to understand, but be warned, this sort of debate can get heated!!

 

Love and Light, Litha x

121205[/snapback]

 

What causes the heat in the debate tends to be those who have worked within a coven, studying Wicca as it was originally set out (or a form that can trace its evolution back to the start) and have achieved set grades finding that some person who has read one or maybe a few books on the subject and now expects to be considered their equal - or even superior if they style themselves as a hp/hps.

 

Personally (as you'll see from further up the thread) I believe that a book learnt Wiccan can be the equal of a coven learnt Wiccan - it just requires them to have done as much work and reached a comparable stage on their path. True they may not have the background available to the coven taught traditional but they also have the additional benefit of seeking knowledge from open avenues.

 

like it or not though, to the majority of lineaged coven traditions, these people will be nowt but cowans and considered at best pretenders.

 

This is but one of the reasons my foray into Wicca found another path (after stealing borrowing some of the useful ideas I found there.)

 

Kev

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Guest very

You know I think its important to mention that not all Wiccans consider themselves witches either, in that not all practise witchcraft.

 

Similarly I practise witchcraft but I don't honour/worship or whatever else you might want to call it, any deities. Sometimes I may nod to a particular deity but that's it and non have knocked so hard on my door that I've felt compelled to say Hi.

 

It is frustating that Wicca and Witchcraft are used so interchangably these days, I'm probably just a miserable old bag, but I do find it highly irritating when I do choose to reveal I'm a Witch and I get the "Oh Wiccan" response.. grrrrr. Similarly, the "Oh are you a White Witch then".. even more frustrating.. whoever came up with that label wants to be hung, drawn and quartered. White witch indeed. :D

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Cosmic_Fool

its as bad with Wicca being used to mean Pagan. Everytime someone says to me so you're Wiccan then I get the urge to point them in the direction of a rather grumpy Heathen and tell them to ask them the same question.... :D

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Guest maiden

What Kev says about the coven trained and self taught is right. I have been trained in a tradition with the strict degree system and before that I tried to teach myself. I could not believe the speed of my personal development within a tradition. Although mine is very open, I still hate limitations. I don't know how people learn to work with energy, learn to trust their intuitiveness, etc without the help of some kind of a teacher, but that may be my own personal weaknesses.

 

The Gardiner thing does knarl at me, people do put too much emphasis on him, don't get me wrong I realise you can't ignore him. Many of his ideas were not his, and the ones that were are obvious. I don't practice ritualist magick as he set out, I can do as have been trained to, but I prefer to work in a way more natural to me. I think its a shame that too many people only realise the ceremonial side of Wicca, so called "High Magick", what, so I am a "Low Wiccan", not likely.

 

A name also means different things to the one who holds it and the one who calls it. Some people on this site are very similar to my beliefs and practices would not call themselves Wiccan in a million years, sometimes I read posts that make Wicca seem to be only a starting point, or not particularly worthy religion/belief system. It may not be to them and this is where I have to find the strength within to not take offence and be content in the knowledge that I am happy in my chosen path.

 

As before, as the essence of most Paganism is personal preference, I don't think that you will find a definition that all Witches and Wiccans will be entirely happy with.

 

Love and Light, Litha x

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Guest very
sometimes I read posts that make Wicca seem to be only a starting point, or not particularly worthy religion/belief system.  It may not be to them and this is where I have to find the strength within to not take offence and be content in the knowledge that I am happy in my chosen path.

 

As before, as the essence of most Paganism is personal preference, I don't think that you will find a definition that all Witches and Wiccans will be entirely happy with.

 

Love and Light, Litha x

121373[/snapback]

 

 

I was going to use the royal "we" but intead I'll write for myself only.

 

Speaking for myself I don't discount Wicca as a viable and worthwhile path that people may choose to follow and find real spiritual and personal benefit from. I guess I, perhaps like many others, can sometimes fall into the generalisation of Wicca. I do find the "read two books and I'm a Wiccan High Priestess" wannabe's very very frustrating. Similarly, I find it very frustrating to be told I'm a bad bad witch, or can't possibly be a witch because I don't follow the Wiccan Rede. That sort of thing I find highly frustrating and irritating.

 

It's not Wicca's fault of course, just that its become very popular and authors have jumped on the bandwagon to make a buck and produced Wicca 101 books which make people think they can self iniated after reading it and hey presto they are wiccan... that is more down to the immaturity to the person. And admittedly the academic in me screams blue murder when false historical claims are made for Wicca, and indeed for any pagan path.. drives me batty that does.

 

Thinking about it thought, perhaps you are right and I and perhaps others, do sometimes give the impression that we consider Wicca to be an introductory path that one grows out of. I have no problem to admitting I've read most of the fluffy american wicca books, nor that wicca has influenced me to a degree, be it either that I've totally rejected a philosophy (and thus explored personally why I reject it) or found areas of interest... it isn't that I outgrew Wicca, its simply didn't fit for me - and I will confess things like learning the Wiccan Rune, Charge of the Goddess, Wiccan Rede and so forth rather put me off too.

 

Anyway, I'm loosing the thread of my point... being, wicca more than any pagan path attracts the wannabes, the read a book or two and they become self proclaimed experts who will trash anyone who dares to question their narrow minded views and opinions. That is the side of the wiccan culture I dislike intensley and irriates me horrendously. ;) Perhaps we need to come up with a term for wannabe, self proclaimed high preistessy wiccans.

 

But yeah, anyway.. I guess my main beef, so speak is with the wannabes and being told I can't be a witch because I don't follow the wiccan rede.. it doesn't bring out my complimentary side.

 

I guess it's equally frustrating for "real" wiccans.

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Guest maiden

Thank you Very, that makes more sense. And I am not so good at divination that I know that I will die Wiccan. It is an easier path to start on I suppose as there is so much information readiliy available, good and bad.

 

I work in a holistic centre/shop so I meet many of the two books and "taa daa" people. I try and point them in the right direction but I have to let them make their own choices. Its hard sometimes, I have a specific boy in mind who plays with things he shouldn't so I try to help him understand the wealth of knowledge out there by doing simple things such as charging crystals so he can feel the difference when he tells me he accidently blows up wands(!?)

 

There are problems with the Rede, the most important part which should never be deviated from is if it harms no one, do what you will...... I think everyone should remember to live by this, whatever their belief system/religion/preference. It helps me when I remember that I am included in this, I can do it if it doesn't harm me.

 

BUT, how exactly do you live without hurting anyone/thing? If anyone has a clue to this please let me know. I'm not a vegetarian so does that mean I am not following the Rede? To some yes, and others no. Sometimes in life a situation is presented where the best you can do is to try to cause as little harm as possible.

 

In fact, I'm going to start a thread on this as I would be really interested to see others views, witches, wiccans and everyone else for some perspective.

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Guest arctic wolf
sometimes I read posts that make Wicca seem to be only a starting point, or not particularly worthy religion/belief system.  It may not be to them and this is where I have to find the strength within to not take offence and be content in the knowledge that I am happy in my chosen path.

 

As before, as the essence of most Paganism is personal preference, I don't think that you will find a definition that all Witches and Wiccans will be entirely happy with.

 

Love and Light, Litha x

121373[/snapback]

 

 

I was going to use the royal "we" but intead I'll write for myself only.

 

Speaking for myself I don't discount Wicca as a viable and worthwhile path that people may choose to follow and find real spiritual and personal benefit from. I guess I, perhaps like many others, can sometimes fall into the generalisation of Wicca. I do find the "read two books and I'm a Wiccan High Priestess" wannabe's very very frustrating. Similarly, I find it very frustrating to be told I'm a bad bad witch, or can't possibly be a witch because I don't follow the Wiccan Rede. That sort of thing I find highly frustrating and irritating.

 

It's not Wicca's fault of course, just that its become very popular and authors have jumped on the bandwagon to make a buck and produced Wicca 101 books which make people think they can self iniated after reading it and hey presto they are wiccan... that is more down to the immaturity to the person. And admittedly the academic in me screams blue murder when false historical claims are made for Wicca, and indeed for any pagan path.. drives me batty that does.

 

Thinking about it thought, perhaps you are right and I and perhaps others, do sometimes give the impression that we consider Wicca to be an introductory path that one grows out of. I have no problem to admitting I've read most of the fluffy american wicca books, nor that wicca has influenced me to a degree, be it either that I've totally rejected a philosophy (and thus explored personally why I reject it) or found areas of interest... it isn't that I outgrew Wicca, its simply didn't fit for me - and I will confess things like learning the Wiccan Rune, Charge of the Goddess, Wiccan Rede and so forth rather put me off too.

 

Anyway, I'm loosing the thread of my point... being, wicca more than any pagan path attracts the wannabes, the read a book or two and they become self proclaimed experts who will trash anyone who dares to question their narrow minded views and opinions. That is the side of the wiccan culture I dislike intensley and irriates me horrendously. :) Perhaps we need to come up with a term for wannabe, self proclaimed high preistessy wiccans.

 

But yeah, anyway.. I guess my main beef, so speak is with the wannabes and being told I can't be a witch because I don't follow the wiccan rede.. it doesn't bring out my complimentary side.

 

I guess it's equally frustrating for "real" wiccans.

121444[/snapback]

 

 

I thought that was what a 'wanna blessed be' was

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Guest CrystalArianhod

I was wondering one other thing between the term differences of a witch and a Wiccan. Where I have found online only reccently that...

Wicca;

An initiatory mystery tradition.

 

Wiccan;

Someone who is an initiate of Wicca.

 

wiccan;

Used to refer to non-initiates who insist on using the term wiccan to describe themselves. Neo-wiccan is also used for this.

 

Pagan;

One who follows a nature based religion, often pantheistic and/or polytheistic. One who is neither Christian, Muslim nor Jew.

 

witchcraft;

The practise of magic, not pop psychology.

 

witch;

One who practises witchcraft of one variety or another be it solitary, traditional or Wicca.

Can someone please tell me where the difference of Wiccan (whom is initiated) and the witch (whom dose not have to be initiated) first started. I had read a fair amount of literature (I have 72'ish wicca/witchcraft related books in my libary according to my last record keeping check) and i have not ever seen this difference ever officially recognised. Are these term differences official and if so can someone pin point to me where this has been proclaimed as official? Is there any literature or confferance minutes stating this?

 

Thanx

Edited by CrystalArianhod

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Guest Mel

probably happened when Gardner decided to launch Wicca :D

good article from his own official site Here and there are many reputable sites which state the differences between Wiccan's and Witchs and I believe Cosmic has already given a pretty good summery of this elsewhere :D

as for anything being 'officially' recognised .... according to the PF (found here[/url) Paganism is officially recognised

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Guest CrystalArianhod
probably happened when Gardner decided to launch Wicca  :D

good article from his own official site Here and there are many reputable sites which state the differences between Wiccan's and Witchs and I believe Cosmic has already given a pretty good summery of this elsewhere :D

as for anything being 'officially' recognised .... according to the PF (found here[/url) Paganism is officially recognised

 

Whoops sorry mel, my fault with the poor wording. I was looking for the original reference for the term Wiccan as a initiate and a Witch as not necessarily an initiate; rather than paganism. Thank you anyway. Though ta for the useful links.

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Guest adds

Thanks you lot, one of my Questions as-well

Thanks elmfire for asking it...

 

so have i got it right then

 

-I am a Wiccan of the Wicca tradition-

 

is that the right way of saying it?

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Pomona

I think so, yes.

 

So - are you? :)

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