I have been fascinated with all things metaphysical since my mid-teens. I can recall trying to do candle magic to find a boyfriend when I was about 16! A friend introduced me to Astrology, which I also found fascinating. I had my Birth Chart done and interpreted by a pro astrologer and I was hooked. Suddenly it was also about astrological characteristics, rising and moon signs. “Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs” became my astro-bible, used until it was yellowed and dog-eared.
In the 70s I learned about Tarot, crystals, pyramid energy and Rosicrucianism. There was a local branch of The Theosophical Society and I would go to read books about world religions, philosophy, science, and the arts in order to understand the wisdom of the ages, respect the unity of all life, and help people explore spiritual self-transformation.
I was searching but did not know for what. Tarot became a true love, which I continued to study, but other than crystals, my interest in the other things waned.
Then in the early 90s I became friends with an intelligent, fun, little bit crazy woman of Chilean descent. She called herself a Witch. What?! My ears perked up and my curiosity exploded. I peppered her with questions, she lent me some books, taught me the basics and my journey into Wicca and Witchcraft began. Toni and I drifted apart as our lives changed but my study of the Craft continued as a Solitary (meaning I did not join a Coven). I am still a Solitary today, albeit I do have a community of witchy friends who sometimes get together for rituals or camaraderie.
A question I am often asked is “Do you have to be Wiccan to be a Witch?”
The difference between Wicca and Witchcraft can be summarized simply: Wicca is a religion whereas Witchcraft is a practice. A religion is a spiritual belief system, such as Christianity, Islam, or Wicca. It is a series of beliefs, based around observance to or worship of deities and/or spirits. A practice is something that is done, such as prayer, meditation, or magic. Simply put, magic is a practice and Paganism is a religion. Wicca is a subset of Paganism, and magic/spell casting is the main goal of Witchcraft.
It is, of course, possible to practice magic without being a Witch. There are other forms, such as Ceremonial Magic. And magic can also be part of a religion–some argue that prayer is a version of magic, and that the Wiccan Circle is enacted prayer.
The main differences between Wicca and Witchcraft come with the differences in intent. The purpose of Wicca is to honor the God and Goddess, observe the turns of the Wheel of the Year, and to pay attention to one’s spirituality. Wicca is intimately tied to one’s relationship with the divine, by whatever faces They choose to show to us.
Witchcraft, on the other hand, does not have to involve deities. Instead, it is concerned with the use of spells and herbs to achieve a desired end–healing, love, protection, etc.
Because Witchcraft is a practice and not a religion, it is possible to be a member of just about any religion and be a Witch. (Of course, different religions have different opinions about the morals of being a Witch, but that is neither here nor there.) The openness of Wiccans and other Pagans toward magic and the unexplained makes it more likely that these people will be drawn to Witchcraft.
But be aware that not all Wiccans are Witches. Many do not cast spells of any kind.
There are hundreds of books for those interested in witchcraft, from newbies to crones.
PLEASE NOTE THESE ARE NOT AFFILIATE LINKS AND I DO NOT PROFIT IF YOU PURCHASE ANY OF THEIR WORK. THE LINKS ARE PROVIDED FOR EASE OF FINDING.
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