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Pagan And Wicca


Guest Steff
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I know this is maybe going to sound a bit silly and I may just be being lazy and not reading everything before asking, but I want to know what is the difference between paganism and wicca. I have read some stuff about both but obviously not enough! I am just starting to learn more about things and have some books here on paganism and wicca etc but am not sure what the links/differences are. I will be doing a lot more reading when I have time to do so but this is a question I've had in my head the past few days.

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I know this is maybe going to sound a bit silly and I may just be being lazy and not reading everything before asking, but I want to know what is the difference between paganism and wicca. I have read some stuff about both but obviously not enough! I am just starting to learn more about things and have some books here on paganism and wicca etc but am not sure what the links/differences are. I will be doing a lot more reading when I have time to do so but this is a question I've had in my head the past few days.

 

Wicca is a religion within Contemporary Paganism. Contemporary Paganism can be describes as an umbrella term that includes amongst other things Wicca, Druidry, Heathenry, Pagan witchcraft and some forms of Western Shamanism. It can also itself be describes as a religion e.g. I describe my religion simply as Paganism. It’s kind of like (but still very different to) how Christianity includes Catholicism, Anglicanism, Mormonism, Evangelism etc. but you still get people who just describe themselves as Christian.

 

Wicca is more clearly circumscribed then Paganism but that’s not saying much. As the most prominent and perhaps oldest Contemporary Pagan tradition it has certainly had much influence with many Pagans who may not identify with any one tradition (or ‘Path’ as these thing are often describes)perhaps performing Wiccan rituals and adopting Wiccan concepts. What does happen, I think particularly in the USA, Wicca and Paganism are synonymous i.e. Wicca is another word for Paganism. I just can’t stand it when ever I see “Wicca/Paganism”; I remember reading an article on the internet the tiltle was something like ”what is Wicca/Paganism” it should have just be called “what is Wicca” because that is what it was about. Just remember: “Every Wiccan is a Pagan, but not every Pagan is a Wiccan”.

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What Yarrow says. Wicca is an initiatory tradition started by Gerald Gardner in the 1950's and with ritualistic elements honouring a God and a Goddess, following a yearly cycle of birth, death and rebirth that he called the Wheel of the Year.

 

Since then it's evolved into other paths that use that original Wicca as the core but diverge in some areas, eg, solitary Wicca which needs no coven participation etc.

 

Paganism encompasses Wicca in all its forms but also includes a myriad of other paths which are both defined and undefined. Heathenry, Druidry, Hellenic, Shinto etc etc, there might be some crossovers of belief (with each other and with Wicca) but most are pretty distinct from each other, primarily in the pantheon of deities honoured, or in whether the pagan in question is polytheistic, atheist, duo-theistic etc, and in terms of the celebrations and festivals.

 

A rule of thumb, when reading books or websites that talk about "Paganism" and the Lord and Lady, initiation, the Wheel of the Year, the Goddess and so on, is to note that that applies to Wicca, certainly, but probably doesn't apply to other forms of Paganism.

 

And Yarrow, I totally agree about the conflation of Wicca = Paganism: does my head in too. I was in Salem a few years ago and in one of the shops the shop-keeper was interviewing a prospective assistant and asked what her path was, "Druidry" was the response, to which the shop-keeper airily said "Well, it's all one and the same, we all worship The Goddess" - grrrrr.... <_<

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What Yarrow says. Wicca is an initiatory tradition started by Gerald Gardner in the 1950's and with ritualistic elements honouring a God and a Goddess, following a yearly cycle of birth, death and rebirth that he called the Wheel of the Year.

 

It's my understanding that Gardner took the wheel of the Year concept from Ross Nicolas.

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It's my understanding that Gardner took the wheel of the Year concept from Ross Nicolas.

 

Gardner and Nichols were good friends, I don't think it is possible to say who got what from whom, only that both Wicca and non-AOD Druidry used the same basic concept of the wheel of the year.

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What Yarrow says. Wicca is an initiatory tradition started by Gerald Gardner in the 1950's and with ritualistic elements honouring a God and a Goddess, following a yearly cycle of birth, death and rebirth that he called the Wheel of the Year.

 

It's my understanding that Gardner took the wheel of the Year concept from Ross Nicolas.

 

Gardner only worked with the "Big 4" Sabbats. It was his initiates that added the cross-quarter days to create the Wheel of the Year that we know today.

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It's my understanding that Gardner took the wheel of the Year concept from Ross Nicolas.

 

According to Carr-Gom (who got it from Nichols), Nichols and Gardner did it together.

 

Lutheneal is, I think, right, in that (IIRC) Gardner's early BOS, rites etc only mentioned the 4 festivals, and the cross quarters were later 'fill-ins'. In the same way, I think it was the Farrars who put together most of the ritual material outside the stuff Gardner sketched in.

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thankyou everyone for the responses. i agree about people saying pagan/wicca etc, it confuses me as i knew they werent the same but keep seeing them bein put together as if they are so had to ask.

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