What is the Difference Between Wicca and Pagan?

Are you interested in the Difference Between Wicca and Pagan? Then this guide is for you!

Pagan is an umbrella term that encompasses all spiritual practices – including Wicca.

The difference between Pagan and Wicca is not hard to understand when you consider that Wicca is a sub-class of Paganism.

Although they look the same in many aspects, you’ll realize that they have a difference that only someone that studies these terms closely can fully appreciate.

wicca vs pagan
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What’s the Meaning of Pagan?

As we’ve noted above, pagan is a blanket term used to cover various disciplines of spirituality. The dictionary defines the word pagan in two ways.

One, it refers to a member of a cultural, spiritual, or religious group that worships nature and the gods of the earth.

Two, a Pagan observes the practices of the polytheistic religions taken from our forefathers or the Greeks and Romans.

Pagan beliefs and spiritual practices have been around since the beginning of time.

However, its meaning and implication still confuse some members of the Abrahamic religions (Muslims and Christians).

To understand this better, take Paganism as a beautiful tapestry of spiritual practices outside of the Abrahamic faiths.

The modern definition of pagan has also been around for some time. It is believed to have been coined from the Latin word peganus, which describes a civilian who lives in rural districts.

With time, this term was taken up by Christian missionaries to refer to anyone who had not professed to be a soldier of Christ.

Most people misinterpret this as a worshiper of false gods – which is held to be true from a Christian or Muslim point of view.

Various forms and types of pagans are based on their demographic and geographic origins. For example, some are monotheistic (worshiping one God), while others are ditheistic (worshiping two gods).

We also have those who worship many gods and goddesses (polytheism). One thing that unites all these pagan sects is their reverence for nature.

Every decision they make must consider its impact on the natural world. Pagans believe more in the power of your action and its consequences than in divine providence.

Examples of neo-pagans include Druidism, Asatru, Heathenry, Reconstructionism, and Thelema.

What is the Meaning of Wicca?

You’ve already learned that Wicca is a sub-class of Paganism. This is to say that while all Wicca are pagans, not all pagans are Wicca.

The Wicca movement is relatively recent. It can be traced to Gerald Brousseau Gardner, who brought it up in a book he published in 1954.

According to Gardner, the doctrine of Wicca hinges on three critical pillars:

  • Respect for nature
  • Worship of the gods and goddesses of nature
  • Magic

Although the Wicca may be deeply involved in witchcraft and magic, they have no connection with Satan or Satanism.

Many who don’t understand the Wicca traditions link this movement to devil worship. They could not be more wrong.

Wicca follows a set of beliefs, rituals, magic, and traditions that were honored and revered before the Christianization of the Celtic lands.

By the 1760s and 70s, Wicca had started to establish itself in other lands outside of Europe. It was officially recognized as a religion by the US government in 1985.

Wicca is classified under Paganism because it follows pagan beliefs, practices, and rituals. For example, Wiccans believe in the concept of gods and goddesses.

What are the Origins of Wicca?

Wicca came into the public limelight in the 1950s, when people started joining a religion focused on nature and its powers.

This religion became known as Wicca, and its followers Wiccans.

Most people who belong to mainstream religions may not fully appreciate the concept of Wicca. They wonder, for example, how Wicca and Paganism are related.

Paganism is a spiritual or religious movement that reveres nature and the gods of nature.

On the other hand, Wicca is a religion that follows rituals and practices taken from the pre-existing religions before Christianity.

Wiccans practice magic, emphasizing witchcraft as an important aspect of their worship. However, they also have a lot of respect for the natural world. This qualifies Wicca to be a pagan sub-category.

As confusing as these terms may be, they are no different from the confusion an outsider may get trying to understand the tenets behind the Abrahamic faiths.

What is Witchcraft?

Witchcraft is the art of spiritually manipulating animate or inanimate objects to create a change in your environment.

The art of witchcraft is tricky, considering its bad publicity. Witchcraft got a negative reputation, especially during the witch-burning purges of the Middles Ages.

All the same, witchcraft has been practiced in almost all regions of the earth in one form or another.

It is an integral part of the traditions and rituals of Australians, Europeans, Africans, and Americans.

The practice of Witchcraft among the Wicca varies depending on the geographic and demographic region.

One can control spiritual energies through herbalism, spellcasting, and divination in witching sessions. However, not everyone has this ability.

Most proficient witches today have to undergo years of training in the hands of master witches. They are taught to use special tools to power up their abilities and achieve the desired results.

This means you can’t join Wicca today and hope to be an accomplished witch tomorrow. It takes time, patience, and lots of hard work.

Which is Closer to Witchcraft: Wicca or Paganism?

Both Wicca and Paganism are nature-based ways of expressing one’s spirituality. However, because of the diversity of its rituals and practices, Wicca is more closely tied to witchcraft than Paganism.

According to some experts, the term Wicca was initially used to describe witchcraft being practiced as a religion.

The main difference between pagans and Wiccans is that the latter employ more rituals and materials in their practice.

This means that a Wiccan is likely to honor the gods and goddesses of pagans, while following the traditions of pre-Christian religions.

Wiccans have a lot of respect for feminine energy found in the natural world. For this reason, covens usually meet at night to harvest this energy from the moon.

They hold their meetings during the sensitive times of the solar equinoxes, Summer solstice, and Winter solstice.

Wiccans believe that through magic and witchcraft, they can control the natural world and influence what happens to humans.

To become an effective witch, one has to undergo the process of rigorous induction. First, you must be taught how to summon energy from the natural world and direct it successfully to your target.

New converts are also introduced to the concept of familiars – using animal agents or helpers to carry out witchcraft.

Notably, almost all Wicca covens incorporate witchcraft as part of their practice. Pagans, on the other hand, do not have witchcraft as part of their rituals.

Being a witch is not required to practice good pagan spirituality.

Do Pagans and Wiccans Use Similar materials in Their Rituals?

Pagan rituals can be performed for various reasons, either on your own or with your group of practicing members.

The rituals can be carried out to bring you closer to nature, celebrate the coming of a season or the end of one, and give tribute to your chosen deity.

Some pagan rituals are known to provide incredible healing power against all forms of ailments – physical, mental, and emotional.

Pagans believe that by participating in these rituals regularly, they tap into the hidden power and energy of nature and the earth.

This is the core essence of Paganism: to tune oneself to nature.

To effectively carry out their rituals, pagans do not need elaborate tools and materials. Instead, they will make do with a few objects connected with nature and the deities of nature.

They must use drawn symbols that depict the purpose and importance of the ritual.

On the other hand, Wiccans require more elaborate tools and materials. These include an athame (a ritual knife), tarot cards, an altar, candles, incense, a wince, a chalice, and a wand.

You must also have five special tools representing the five elements of Fire, Water, Earth, Air, and the Self.

Wicca traditions require cleaning and cleaning these tools before you put them to work.

What are the Main Differences Between Wicca and Paganism?

  • Pagan is a broad spiritual movement that incorporates all spiritual practices and disciplines. Wicca is part of this movement.
  • A Wiccan is a Pagan, while a Pagan is not necessary a Wiccan.
  • Pagan was introduced centuries ago – we don’t have an exact date when this happened, and neither do we know who did it.

On the other hand, Wicca was introduced by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s. Gardner’s first published work on Wicca came out in 1954.

  • Paganism does not feature witchcraft so much in its rituals and practices. But, on the other hand, Wicca emphasizes the importance of witchcraft as a central pillar of its traditions and practices.
  • Wiccans generally follow two deities: the Horned God and the Mother Goddess. Unfortunately, there’s no rule on this one when it comes to pagans.

While some Pagans worship one God, others worship two or several gods.

Conclusion…

Wicca and Paganism can be quite confusing to the outsider. This is because while the two have a lot of similarities, they have their differences.

Both Wiccans and Pagans employ magickal tools to express their worship. These include candles, brooms, wine, chalices, and others to carry out their rituals and spiritual practices.

All the same, don’t forget this: all Wiccans are Pagans, while not all Pagans are Wiccans. Wicca is a sub-category of Paganism.

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