Seeing Through Symbols

Seeing Through Symbols

Author: Lady GoldenRaven

In my twenty-plus years of practicing, I have tried many forms of divination. Over these years, there are only four types of divination I use on a regular basis. These are: my pendulum, nature, my scrying mirror/bowl, and runes.

Before I continue though, I want to make it clear, that as Wytchs, shamans, and other holistic health workers: We are not allowed to diagnosis illness, etc. But after many years of experience, you can format your opinion and do what is needed. I have the ability to work in conjunction with many physicians who are open-minded about holistic health. Let them make a diagnosis, and go from there.

My pendulum is my goddess pendant which I wear around my neck. I use it more for healing practices. If the dis-ease of the person is unknown, I take my pendulum and hold it over the five points of the pentagram. Depending on the speed and direction of rotation of the pendulum over the five points, I determine what this person needs as far as treatment. As you know, the points represent Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and Spirit. Each of these rule specific systems of the body. When one is overabundant in or lacking in one or more areas, you can figure out what the problem is.

I also use it in my Reiki practice at times. I will hold the pendulum over each of the chakras. If it spins deosil, it means the person is either at normal “rotation” or possibly too fast, depending on the speed of the pendulum’s rotations. If it spins widdershins, this person is depleted in energy in that chakra. Although I am a Reiki Master/Teacher and do not need to do this, I will in cases of severe illness or certain “emergency” works. I have used it over poppits of those I am helping “in absentia” as well.

In both instances, I use it to “divine” the problem so that I may know what to utilize in their therapy. I also use it as any other would for divination. I have held it over parchment with questions written on it. I have held it over poppits in order to find answers to questions such as “Is this person faithful?” or “Is this person pregnant?” You get the idea. This is one of the most accurate forms for my purposes as far as divining for others.

I use the forces and critters of nature on a daily basis. I am not employed at the moment, so I have most of the day to watch and learn. Many times, I have no question to ask, but the powers that be will send signs which I note for future reference. Where I live, it is not uncommon to see eagles soaring on the wind. However, to have one swoop down to me, almost landing on my balcony, was a sign to me. I recently went through a period of major crises. This is when the eagle swooped down. I was literally on the edge of sanity. I am a very strong woman, but for some unknown reason, this time, I felt like I was losing my grip. I could not even bring myself to do Sabbats, Esbats, or other workings. After seeing the eagle, I knew things would be okay eventually. Within one week, three out of five of my crises were over.

I also have a hawk which will land on a tree branch right off from my balcony; we do communicate quite frequently, like old friends. She has also given me many words of wisdom for use at a later time.

I am so closely attuned with nature, it amazes even me. So, I took that to the next level. One day, I was standing in the middle of the woods, a beautiful sunny August day, no clouds, slight breeze. I decided to do a Drawing Down the Sun ritual. I stood there in the star position and did my thing. I also asked the Sun God a question. It was around my daddy’s birthday, who by now, had been on the other side for seven years. Did I ever get an answer! As I stood there, I felt a cold wet sensation on my left fingers. I slowly opened my eyes and turned my head. Was I surprised to see a doe and her fawn. She had touched my hand. They both stood there as I turned my head. Now this is rare for deer. Most of you know they are gone in a flash at the first notice of movement, and especially human scent. There we stood, eye to eye. It seemed like a lifetime that we stood together in the clearing. After a few seconds, though, they scampered on their way. I looked back to the Sun, thanked Him for His answer to my concerns. My ex-husband and his best friend watched in awe from camp. I was only back a few feet from the treeline, so they had a perfect view. My point: I took the signs given to me from the Sun God in the form of the doe and fawn as my answer. Now, why a doe and fawn and not a buck? Maybe due to the nature of my question.

It is not just animals from whom I seek answers. I also look to the winds, the flames of fire, and the trees as well. We all know what it means when the winds blow from a specific direction. The same with the flickering of a candle flame or campfire. You can also find answers from talking to the trees. Depending on which gift is given will determine the answer to your question. An acorn finds its way to you; a symbol of strength, the Mighty Oak. Also birch, willow, ash, all give answers in their own unique ways.

The scrying bowl/mirror and runes, I use for those people “seeking” answers. Similar to tarot readings, the answers can be found through the runes in the same manner. These I use more for mundane problems.

Over all, when I seek spiritual answers, I tend to look to nature and my pendulum first. When looking for answers to mundane questions, I use the other divination methods. Do I take the answers I receive and apply them to the question/problem at hand? The answer is: It depends. I will take the advice given, combined with knowledge of the subject already understood. Then I make my decision. For spiritual answers, yes I tend to act on the signs/omens received, but for mundane topics, no.

Drawing Down the Power of the Sun Goddess or God

Drawing Down The Power of the Sun Goddess or God

 

In witchcraft, as you know, there is a ceremony known as ‘drawing down the moon’ in which the High Priestess takes into herself the power and wisdom of the Moon. In some traditions the power of the Sun is called down by the High Priest at the beginning of the Esbat or monthly celebration and on other major seasonal ceremonies into the Priestess. There is another ceremony where Sun power is called down into the Priest by the High Priestess or into herself, especially at seasonal solar change points such as the Equinoxes or Solstices.

However, in both cases, whether you work alone as a witch or in a coven or practice less formally, you can at any time of the day or year call into yourself the strength, fertility and joy of your chosen Sun God or Goddess.

At dawn:  Draw down the powers of the rising Sun for a new beginning or for a fresh approach or for optimism or inspiration

At noon:  Plug into the rush of pure life and light force for a make or break situation or to spur yourself on if you are tired or dispirited – or for sudden illumination.

At dusk.  The Sun consoles, heals and harmonizes desperate demands or people and draws gentle abundance to you.

A Little Humor – Learning your ABC’s for Witches and Pagans

Learning your ABC’s for Witches and Pagans

To learn your letters you must start With a clever mind and a willing heart Each one is special, just like you And you will learn them all by the time we are through!

  • A is Athame, the knife that we use
  • B is for Beltane, when partners we choose
  • C is for Circle where we all are one.
  • D is for Deosil, path of the Sun.
  • E is for Esbat, when we gather round
  • F is for Fire and its crackling sound
  • G is the Goddess in beauty and love.
  • H is the Horned One, our Father above.
  • I is for Imbolg, candles light the way,
  • J is for June when it’s Midsummer’s Day
  • K is for Karma, the things that we do
  • L is for Lammas, harvest’s almost through!
  • M is for Moon, riding way up so high,
  • N is for Nighttime, which darkens the sky
  • O is for Ostara, when we hunt for eggs,
  • P is for Pan, with hairy goat legs
  • Q is the Quarters and there are just four,
  • R for the Rites when we open the Door
  • S is for Samhain, end of the year,
  • T is for Tarot cards, futures to hear
  • U is Undines from the watery West
  • V is Vervain for protection and rest
  • W’s Widdershins, the path of the moon.
  • X is the sign that’s the sign of the God
  • Y is for Yule and the sun’s return
  • Z is the Zodiac, 12 signs to learn

To learn them all you will have to try And now it is time to say goodbye Merry have we met, and Merry have we been Merry shall we part and Merry meet again!

What is Wicca?

What is Wicca?

by AmberSkyfire

 

Contrary to popular belief, Wicca is not evil. Wiccans do not follow the devil. Wiccans do not even believe in the devil. Wicca is a nature oriented religion which centers around a single deity (known as the All) which encompasses all things in the universe and without. This All is divided into two equal halves much the same way as the universe is divided into two halves. There is light and dark, male and female, good and evil, etc. These are often evident in the two deities called the Lord and the Lady. Each represents a perfect and equal half and complement each other much like the yin and the yang. The Lord is a father figure. He represents animals, the soul, fathering, passion and the wild. He is symbolized by the color gold, air, fire, and by the Sun. The Lady or Goddess represents the earth mother, motherhood, nurturing, femininity, and that which we can touch. She is symbolized by water, earth and the moon. Wiccans believe in honoring their deities and in living in harmony with nature and the universe. Witches sometimes practice in groups of up to thirteen called covens. Covens are used to bring different people of a faith together so that they may learn from each other’s experiences. Witches can also work alone. They are called solitaries. Wiccans are generally considered witches because they practice the art of magick. Not al witches, however, are Wiccans. Wicca is a religion and witchcraft is simply the practice of the magickal arts. Because Wiccans worship nature, their holidays coincide with significant days of the year. All of the four seasons are celebrated as well as four other holidays which fall between each. All of the eight holidays are spaced at exactly the same number of days apart and do not always fall on the same day each year. Most of these holidays coincide with Christian holidays such as Christmas (Yule) and Easter (Ostara). These holidays are called the Sabbats or Sabbaths. Witches also may or may not celebrate what are called Esbats. Esbats are specific lunar dates that are of major importance. These are the new moons and the full moons. There are 13 full moons during the year, each representing one month. Thus, the pagan calendar has thirteen months and not twelve. Most today represent these lost days in the thirteenth month to leap year. These holidays are meant to celebrate the earth and her cycles of nature. Wiccans follow one basic fundamental rule: “harm none.” The Wiccan Rede or “Law” states: “Abide the Wiccan law ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust. Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: ‘An’ it harm none, do what ye will.’ And ever mind the rule of three: what ye send out comes back to thee. Follow this with mind and heart, and merry meet and merry part.” The main goal of Wicca is to harm none. Wiccans base their lives on self discipline and helping others. Most spells are done for healing, love, friendship and to help others. You will not find Wiccan spells for harming others or spells which are destructive in any way.

Wicca is a recognized religion worldwide and is protected by the United States Constitution. Contrary to popular belief, Wicca is not an ancient religion. Some of the ideas and rituals follow what is believed to have been practiced by the early Nordic tribes, but the religion was founded in the early 1960’s and was at the time considered a “New Age Religion.” Many unseasoned Wiccans will often refer to their following as “The Olde Ways.” This is often the result of misinformation from other witches either on the internet or in books who claim that they follow ancient traditions. Some will even claim that their beliefs were handed down from century to century and guarded against Christians and others who might seek to waylay witches and traditional witchcraft. Unfortunately, virtually no information has survived to this day and we must rely on skepticism to learn how ancient peoples worshiped.

LUNAR PHASES AND MAGICKAL WORK

LUNAR PHASES AND MAGICKAL WORK  

  
Moon Myths
When people lived with Nature, the changing seasons had a great impact on religious    ceremonies. The Moon was seen as a symbol of the Goddess. Because of this, the light of the Moon was considered magical, and a source of energy. Wiccans    often practice magic at a Full Moon to tap into this energy thought to exist at this time. Plutarch once said “Egyptian priests called the Moon the    “Mother of the Universe,” because the moon, “having the light which makes moist and pregnant, is promotive of the generation of living    beings..” The Gnostic sect of Naassians believed in a primordial being known a “the heavenly horn of the moon.” The Moon was the Great Mother. Menos meant “Moon” and “power” to the Greeks. To the Romans, the morality of the Moon Goddess was above that of the Sun God. In many cultures the Moon Goddess and the Creatress were the same. Polynesians called the Creatress Hina, “Moon.” She was the first woman, and every    woman is a wahine, made in the image of Hina. Scandinavians sometimes called the Creatress Mardoll, “Moon Shining Over the Sea. Ashanti people had a    generic term used for all their deities, Boshun, meaning Moon. Sioux Native Americans call the moon The Old Woman Who Never Dies. Iroquois call her    “Eternal One.” Rulers in the Eritrean zone of South Africa held the Goddesses name “Moon.” The Gaelic name of the Moon, gealach, came    form Gala or Galata, the original Moon-Mother of Gaelic and Gaulish tribes. Britain used to be called Albion, the milk-white Moon-Goddess. The Moon was    called Metra, which means Mother , “whose love penetrated everywhere.” In the Basque language, the words for deity and moon are the same. The    root word for both “moon” and “mind” was the Indo-European manas, mana, or men, representing the Great Mother’s “wise    blood” in women, governed by the Moon. The derivative mania used to mean ecstatic revelation, like lunacy used to mean possession by spirit of Luna, the Moon.
To be Moon-Touched or Moon-Struck meant to be chosen by the Goddess. When patriarchal thinkers belittled the Goddess, these words came to mean    craziness. Orphic and Pythagorean sect viewed the Moon as the home of the dead, a female gate known as Yoni. Souls passed through on the way to the    paradise fields of the stars. Greeks often located the Elysian Fields, home of the blessed dead, in the moon. The shoes of Toman senators were decorated    with ivory crescents to show that after death they would inhabit the Moon. Roman religion taught that “the souls of the just are purified in the Moon.” Wearing the crescent was “visual worship” of the Goddess. That was why the prophet Isaiah denounced the women of Zion for wearing    lunar amulets. Because the moon was the holder of souls between reincarnations, it sheltered both the dead and unborn, who were one in the same. If a man    dreams of his own image in the Moon, he would become the father of a son. If a woman dreamed of her own image in the Moon, she would have a daughter. The    Moon Goddess created time, with all its cycles of creation, growth, decline, and destruction. This is why ancient calendars were based on phases of the    moon and menstrual cycles. The Moon still determines agricultural work in some parts of India. Indonesian moon priestesses were responsible for finding the    right phase of the moon for every undertaking. The Moon was to have been the receptacle of menstrual blood by which each mother forme the life of her    child. This sacer, taboo moon-fluid kept even the Gods alive. The moon was “the cup of the fluid of life immortal, quickening the vegetable realm and    whatsoever grows in the sub-lunar sphere, quickening also the immortals on high.” The Moon was supposed to rule life and death as well as the tides. People living on the shores were convinced that a baby could only be born on an incoming tide and a person could not die until the tide went out. It was often said birth at a full tide or a full moon means a lucky life. Girls in Scotland refused to wed on anything but a Full Moon. Witches invoked their    Goddess by “drawing down the Moon.” It is said to be a rite dating back to moon worship in Thessaly, centuries before the Christian era.
Esbats   
Lunar holidays are also known as Esbats, but any Wiccan ritual held at any time other than a Sabbat is an Esbat. Due to the rotation of the earth, the Wiccan calendar contains 13 Full Moons and 8 Sabbats, also known as Days of Power. A full moon happens every 28 1/4 days. Full Moon energy is used for banishing unwanted influences, protection and divination. A Full Moon is also a good time for planning, releasing and working backwards in time. Full Moon Magic can be done for seven days, three days before the full moon and three days after the full moon.
There are thirteen Full Moons. Each has a traditional name.
Wolf Moon January
Storm Moon February
Chaste Moon March
Seed Moon April
Hare Moon May
Dyad Moon June
Mead Moon July
Wyrt Moon August
Barley Moon   
September Blood Moon
October Snow Moon
November Oak Moon
December Blue Moon variable
The New Moon is used for personal growth, healing, the blessing of a new project etc. Between the New Moon and Full Moon is the phase called Waxing Moon. Magic for this phase includes attraction magic, increasing, growth, and gain. Between the Full Moon and New Moon is the phase called the Waning Moon. Magic for this phase includes banishing magic, such a loosing negative emotions, bad habits etc. Three days before the New Moon is known as the Dark Moon, as it is not visible in the sky. Traditionally, no magic is performed    at this time. It is a time for rest.

The Wicca Book of Days for July 15 – The Moon’s Moon

The Wicca Book of Days for July 15

The Moon’s Moon

 

If July’s full moon rises on a Cancerian date, both the event and the Esbat that celebrates it are truly special, for the zodiacal Crab, and the days that it encompasses, are governed by the moon itself. This lunar coincidence may inspire you when it comes to naming your Esbat, but it may be that you prefer to emphasize a different aspect of this time of year. Some Wiccans refer to the “mead moon,” highlighting the home brewed, honey-based drink that was enjoyed in earlier eras, while others talk of the “hay moon,” referring to the harvesting that traditionally takes place around now.

 

Saint Swithin’s

According to English lore, how the weather is on July 15 is how it will remain for forty days. Swithin, Bishop of Winchester had his requested church-yard burial in 862, but when it was decided to move his remains inside on July 15, 891, forty days of rain followed.

 

The Wicca Book of Days for June 15 – The June Moon

The Wicca Book of Days for June 15th

The June Moon

 

Wiccans honor the Full Moon under a variety of names during their June Esbats, depending on which of its powers they wish to highlight. Some term it the “Mead Moon,” in which case “mead” may refer to either England’s fermented-honey drink, or “meadow,” this name speaks of natural sweetness and fertility. Others call it the “Dryad Moon,” denoting the nymph that the ancient Greeks believed lived within every tree. Another name is the “Lover’s Moon,” signifying the nature of the relationship between the Goddess and Horned God at this time of year.

 

Magna Carta Day

 

June 15 marks the anniversary of the signing in England, in 1215, of the Magna Carta, the “great charter” guaranteeing certain human rights that is regarded as one of the first democratic documents. Give thanks that you live in a democratic society today, and resolve to use your vote in November.

Beliefs and practice Of Wicca

Beliefs and practice Of Wicca

Its is commonly understood that Wiccans worship two deities, the Goddess and the God sometimes known as the Horned God. Some traditions such as the Dianic Wiccans mainly worship the Goddess; the God plays either no role, or a diminished role, in Dianism. Many Gardnerian Wiccans do not claim to be duotheistic, but rather, may practice some form of polytheism, often with particular reference to the Celtic pantheons; they may also be animists, pantheists, agnostics or indeed any of the other spectacular range of possibilities.

Wiccans celebrate eight main holidays (or Sabbats): four cross-quarter days called Samhain, Beltane (or Beltaine), Imbolc (also called Imbolg, Oimelc, or Candlemas) and Lammas (or Lughnasadh), as well as the solstices, Litha and Yule, and equinoxes, Ostara (or Eostar or Eostre) and Mabon (see Wheel of the Year). They also hold Esbats, which are rituals held at the full and new moon.

Generally, the names are of ancient Germanic or Celtic holidays held around the same time, although two do not have any historical precedent. Ritual observations may include mixtures of those holidays as well as others celebrated at the same time in other cultures; there are several ways to celebrate the holidays.

Some Wiccans join groups called covens, though others work alone and are called “solitaries”. Some solitaries do, however, attend “gatherings” and other community events, but reserve their spiritual practices (Sabbats, Esbats, spell-casting, worship, magical work, etc.) for when they are alone. Some Wiccans work with a community without being part of a coven.Many beliefs hold that the ideal number of members for a coven is thirteen. When a coven grows beyond their ideal number of members, they often split into multiple covens, yet remain together as a group. A grouping of multiple covens is known as a grove.Wiccans weddings can be called “bondings”, “joinings”, or “eclipses” but are most commonly called “handfastings”.

Some Wiccans observe an ancient Celtic practice of a trial marriage for a year and a day, which some Traditions hold should be contracted on Lammas (Lughnasadh), although this is far from universal. When someone is being initiated into a coven, it is also traditional to study with the coven for a year and a day before their actual initiation into to the religion, and some Solitary Wicca choose to study for a year and a day before dedicating themselves to the religion.

A much sensationalized aspect of Wicca, particularly in Gardnerian Wicca, is that some Wiccans practice skyclad (naked). Though many Wiccans do this, many others do not. Some Wiccans wear a pure cotton robe, to symbolise bodily purity, and a cord, to symbolise interdependence and which is often used during rituals.

Others wear normal clothes or whatever they think is appropriate. Robes and even Renaissance-Faire-type clothing are not uncommon.In usual rites the Wiccans assemble inside a magic circle, which is drawn out in a ritual manner followed by a cleansing and then blessing of the space. Prayers to the God and Goddess are said, and spells are sometimes worked. Traditionally, the circle is followed by a meal. Before entering the circle, some Traditions fast for the day, and have a thorough wash.

Many Wiccans use a special set of altar tools in their rituals; these can include a broom (besom), cauldron, Chalice (goblet), wand, Book of Shadows, altar cloth, athame (personal knife), altar knife, boline, candles, and/or incense. Representations of the God/Goddess are often also used, which may be direct, representative, or abstract. The tools themselves are just that–tools, and have no innate powers of their own, though they are usually dedicated or charged with a particular purpose, and used only in that context. It is considered rude to touch another’s tools without permission.

There are different thoughts in Wicca regarding the Elements. Some hold to the earlier Greek conception of the classical elements (air, fire, water, earth), while others recognize five elements: earth, air, water, fire, and spirit (akasha). It has been claimed that the points of the frequently worn pentagram symbol, the five pointed star, symbolise five elements.

The pentacle (a pentagram (five-pointed star) inside of a circle) is most often shown with its point facing upward. Alexandrian Wicca believe that the upper point represents spirit, and the four remaining points symbolise earth, air, fire, and water. This symbolism has slowly worked itself into other traditions such as Solitary Wicca and Seax-Wica, but most Gardnarian Wicca will deny that the points of the pentagram or pentacle actually represent anything at all.

Some people believe that the top point of the pentacle was chosen to represent the spirit as it is often recognized as being more important than the four elements. When, in Satanism for example, the pentacle is usually inverted, the point representing spirit faces downward, and it is often taken that this symbolises that it is less important than physical things.

Another much less common view on the symbolism of the pentacle is that the upright pentacle is a protective charm which protects its wearer through passive energies, such as good will or pleasing emotions, and that the inverted pentacle protects its wearer using aggressive energies, such as curses or angry emotions.

In either case, these are the elements of nature that symbolize different places, emotions, objects, and natural energies and forces. For instance, crystals and stones are objects of the element earth, and seashells are objects of the water element. Each of the four cardinal elements, air, fire, water and earth, are commonly assigned a direction and a color. The following list is not true for all traditions, or branches of Wicca:

  • Air: east, yellow
  • Fire: south, red
  • Water: west, blue
  • Earth: north, green

Elemental, directional correspondences, and colors may vary between traditions. It is common in the southern hemisphere, for instance, to associate the element fire with north (the direction of the equator) and earth with south (the direction of the nearest polar area.) Some Wiccan groups also modify the religious calendar to reflect local seasonal changes; for instance, in Australia Samhain might be celebrated on April 30th, and Beltane on October 31st to reflect the southern hemisphere’s autumn and spring seasons.

Basic Philosophy of Wicca

Wicca, or Witchcraft, is an earth religion — a re-linking (re-ligion) with the life-force of nature, both on this planet and in the stars and space beyond. In city apartments, in suburban backyards, in country glades, groups of women and men meet on the new and full moons (Esbats) and at festival times (Sabbats) to raise energy and put themselves in tune with these natural forces. They honor the old Goddesses and Gods, including the Triple Goddess of the waxing, full, and waning moon, and the Horned God of the sun and animal life, as visualizations of immanent nature.

Our religion is not a series of precepts or beliefs, rather we believe that we each have within ourselves the capacity to reach out and experience the mystery — that feeling of ineffable oneness with all Life. Those who wish to experience this transcendence must work, and create, and participate in their individual religious lives. For this reason, our congregations, called covens, are small groups which give room for each individual to contribute to the efforts of the group by self-knowledge and creative experimentation within the agreed-upon group structure or tradition.

Not all practisioners are in Covens, Some prefer to follow a Solitary path, sometimes refered to as Solitry Wicca. Most who practice solitary Wicca follow more of an Eclectic path, There are some who still follow the same traits as covens.

There are many traditions or sects within the Craft. Different groups take their inspiration from the pre-Christian religions of certain ethnic groups (e.g. Celtic, Greek, Norse, Finno-Ugric); in the liturgical works of some modern Witch poet or scholar (e.g. Gerald Gardner, Z Budapest, Alex Saunders, Starhawk); or by seeking within themselves for inspiration and direction. Many feminists have turned to Wicca and the role of priestess for healing and strength after the patriarchal oppression and lack of voice for women in the major world religions.

There are many paths to spiritual growth. Wicca is a participatory revelation, a celebratory action leading to greater understand of oneself and the universe. We believe there is much to learn by studying our past, through myth, through ritual drama, through poetry and music, through love and through living in harmony with the Earth.

Wicca

Wicca

 
Wicca is a Neopagan religion that can be found in many English-speaking countries. Originally founded by the British civil servant Gerald Gardner, probably in the 1940s, although it was first openly revealed in 1954. Since its founding, various related Wiccan traditions have evolved, the original being Gardnerian Wicca, which is the name of the tradition that follows the specific beliefs and practices established by Gerald Gardner.repeatedly in his published work of 1954. The spelling “Wicca” is now used almost exclusively, (Seax-Wica being the only major use of the four-letter spelling).

In Old English, wicca meant necromancer or male witch. Some contend that the term wicca is related to Old English witan, meaning wise man or counselor, but this is widely rejected by language scholars as false etymology. Nonetheless, Wicca is often called the “Craft of the wise” as a result of this misconception.It appears that the word may be untraceable beyond the Old English period. Derivation from the Indo-European roots ‘wic’ or ‘weik’ is seemingly incorrect by phonological understanding.Though sometimes used interchangeably, “Wicca” and “Witchcraft” are not the same thing. The confusion comes, understandably, because both practitioners of Wicca and practitioners of witchcraft are often called witches. In addition, not all practitioners of Wicca are witches, and not all witches are practitioners of Wicca.

Wicca refers to the religion. This can be a reference to both the initiatory tradition, where initiates are assigned a degree and generally work in covens, and to Solitary Wicca, where practitioners self-dedicate themselves to the tradition and generally practice on their own. Both Initiates and Solitary Wiccans worship the Goddess, with most also choosing to worship the God, and both celebrate the Sabbats and Esbats.

Witchcraft, or as it is sometimes called “The Craft?, on the other hand, requires no belief in specific gods or goddesses and is not a specific spiritual path. Thus, there are Witches who practise a variety of religions besides Pagan ones, such as Judaism and Christianity. It is considered to be a learned skill, referring to the casting of spells and the practice of magic or magick (the use of the “k” is to ‘in order to distinguish the Science of the Magi from all its counterfeits’ (or perhaps just to make it sound better), and was coined as a spelling by Aleister Crowley). To add to the confusion the term witchcraft in popular older usage, or in a modern historical or anthropological context, means the use of black or evil magic, not something Wicca encourages at all.