A Conversation for The Five Elements in Relation to the Wiccan Religion
JediSlider Started conversation Oct 24, 1999
Not all wiccans consider themselves witches, and not all witches are wiccans. Little comment on the footnote...
the 'w' word
bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran Posted Oct 24, 1999
I know some do feel this way, so I am curious.
What distinction do you make between wiccans and witches? I know some do not like to refer to themselves as witches because of all the negative connections in the Christian world. But is not the practice of the craft the same?
In other words when is a wiccan not a witch, and vice versa?
And why is a raven like a writing desk?
Oops, that's another subject altogether.
the 'w' word
Contemplation (Zaphodista in a Cloak of Goo) Posted Oct 24, 1999
The use of the title "Witch" is a purely personal one. The term is not synonomous with Wicca, but rather a broad based name given to "pagans" by Christianity. In the middle ages, Jews were tried as witches, as were Muslems, midwives, and scientists. Older texts refer to witches or practitioners of withcraft as anyone dealing with infernal knowledge. Basicly, anybody that didn't want to play by Christian rules, and who looked outside what was condoned by the church for answers to life, the universe, and everything. Wearing make up, or women wearing mens clothing,for that matter, was grounds for being accused of witchcraft. Even Joan of Arc was tried as a witch, for doing what was considered a "men only" activity.
Witch can be considered to be on the same level as calling a person of African decent by the "N" word. Some hate it, consider it to be a form of branding and opression. Others take a certain strength from it. It is a matter of personal preference.
A practitioner of Wicca is a Wiccan. A Witch is just a name.
njan (afh) Posted Oct 24, 1999
Yes, I know, I didn't write that, the editor did. *smiles*
I'll have to hout at him, and get him to change it, if such an action is possible.
He did get me a nice pentagram and candle image made for it, tho, so he can't be all that bad. Smiley Ben, methinks his name is. Or is that someone else?
the 'w' word
bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran Posted Oct 25, 1999
Understand about the use of term 'witch' as an epithet, and reason some wiccans dont like to be called witch. They burn witches, but they really dont know what a wiccan is, and if you say you study shamanism you will really have them confused...hehehehehe
But, I am curions about Jedi's comment: 'Not all wiccans consider themselves witches, and not all witches are wiccans.'
Wondering what the difference between being a witch and being a wiccan is? Some consider wicca to be the modern form of witchcraft. That seems to be the definition in the Witchvox.com FAQ.
But Jedi's comment seems to imply that some are practicing what they would call 'witchcraft' today and that they would not consider themselves wiccan. And vice versa. Not talking about various traditions [Gardnerian, Alexandrian, etc., etc.] just what would be considered a basic difference between being a witch and being wiccan.
Jedi? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Anybody?
Wiccans and Witches, an opinion
Contemplation (Zaphodista in a Cloak of Goo) Posted Oct 26, 1999
Well, it has been a while since I really went into thinking about this particular item. Wicca and Wiccan, properly looked at, are the religion and its followers. Just as Christianity and Christians are the religion and its followers. Now, inside of Christianity, you have Catholics, Baptists, Methodists... and a slew of others. While each are technically 'Christian', they have there own factions. I think the same can be said of those who follow Wicca. It does involve the various sub-groupings. There is one 'group', if you can call them that, that tend to fall back on to the term 'witch' to describe themselves. They 'see' the what is, they 'know' the what is, but they cant explain what they are. They don't fit into any group they can find,... so they become a generic 'witch'. One who practices in some sort of knowledge that is considered to be of a supernatural origin... even if it is not.
These witches do turn to Wicca and other occult sciences to find guidence and answers to their questions. They are not Wiccans or Gardnerians, or Bhuddists or any of the others. They are unto themselves. And they are quite often without proper guidance in their practices. This can be a reason for the 'darker' public image conected with the modern witch... how many kids, in strict Christian areas, who develop abilities, are left looking towards modern film for guidance? I am sorry, but "Witchboard" is not a proper educational tool. "The Craft" is borderline. Modern culture brands all who practice as witches, so it is only natural for those who know no better to take on the title and call themselves practitioners of witchcraft.
Of course, this is my own personal opinion. Did this get anywhere near what you were looking for?
Wiccans and Witches, an opinion
Contemplation (Zaphodista in a Cloak of Goo) Posted Oct 26, 1999
That should read:
Stepping off the soap box...
Wiccans and Witches, an opinion
bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran Posted Oct 26, 1999
I had the same problem in a forum a while ago. I put the whole entry in tags! Boy...did IT come out weird.
As to witches/wiccans: thanks for your input. What I was really curious about was what jedi meant by his/her/its comments. I have my own idea of who is a witch. [I am] and who is wiccan [I am that, too].
For me, the terms are mostly interchangeable. Although I do believe that 'wiccan' is a more recent term. I also do not consider wicca to be a 'branch' of paganism in the way Baptists, Presbyterians, etc. are branches of protestantism. There is no evolution of a 'pagan' religion the same way Christianity evolved.
Pagan is only a name given, by others, to certain types of religions that are not monotheistic, and that are earth-based in orientation of their belief system. Many religions would fall into this group that I would say have little or nothing to do with 'witchcraft'. Ancient Greek and Roman belief systems are examples. as is hinduism. I would say that, generally, pagans have a belief system that involves more than one god, which means they are NOT related to the Judeo-Christian tradition, but have developed from something far more ancient.
The term 'heathen' as far as I can see, is the product of the Christian world used to identify ANY believer who isn't Christian.
Now, back to wiccan/witch.
Witch is the older term. It has had various concepts attached throughout history; many negative. It is related to shammanism and similar studies of the use of the powers of the earth/spirits/universe.
Wicca is a term in use today by those who have attempted to reconstruct many ancient practices connected to witchcraft. Wiccan practices may or may not follow a specific Tradition [Gardnerian, Alexandrian, etc]. They have developed from the study of history, folklore and the ideas of their founders.
A wiccan may choose to call themself a witch, or may not choose to because of the 'bad press' attached to the word.
In short, witch is an ancient concept. Wicca is a modern application of the concept.
At least, that's my 'read' on it. It sounded to me as if Jedi had something further in mind, tho.
Technoyokel (muse of poetry) Posted Oct 26, 1999
Hi, I don't know much about the whole subject so here are some questions:
first- how does Wicca (or Witchcraft) differ from other religions - it's the whole ritual and rule thingies that put me off any religion (what and where do gods and godessess come into it all too?)
secondly- what does all the masculine and feminine stuff actually mean- there's only one element that's identified in the entry- but surely EVERYTHING is a mixture of both. I say this as a fairly masculine woman who does a "Man's" job but who is happily married...(This always puts me off the yin yang stuff- light and dark - bit obvious I reckon)
Hope this isn't TOO much to deal with!?
bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran Posted Oct 27, 1999
WARNING, WARNING--LONG POST
Here's my version of answers to some of your questions.
First, wicca isnt 'xactly what I would call an 'organized' religion, like some of the more formal ones. There are some things that are pretty much universally agreed upon, and many things that if you put 5 wiccans together you will get 6 different answers--maybe more! *G*
Wicca is a nature-based belief system. It is based in pre-monotheistic folklore and beliefs. The seasonal calendar and movements of moon, sun and stars are woven into this system. Holidays revolve about planting, fertility, harvest, and so on. Wiccans do not believe in one 'God' who runs everything. Note: just as we do not believe in 'one god' we do not believe that an evil opposite, or 'devil', exists. Accusations of witches as being devil worshippers is ridiculous, as we don't think such a being exists. This is nothing more than 'bad press' spread by Christianity during the Middle Ages when they were trying to eliminate as many of the ancient/pagan beliefs in Europe as possible.
We DO think there are various forces of the universe which are personified in a variety of ways. Some name specific gods and goddesses as part of this system. There are close ties to the beliefs of ancient peoples who gave figures of creation, fertility, etc., human names and attributes; Diana the hunter, Mars, the god of war, Bacchus the god of grapes, wine, etc. [my favorite]. That's where the ancient gods and goddesses come in.
In wicca, we acknowledge the spirit of things such as earth, air, fire, water, plus the personification of the male and female in creation [the God and Goddess].
In modern Wicca there are some who follow a specific 'tradition' and are initiated into a set of beliefs. They usually have set rituals and structure. There are others, however who practice alone and develop their own structure as they go. Sometimes these are called 'kitchen witches'. Wicca is wonderfully free of structure and rule. We DO have ethics, and a basic agreement: 'an it harm none, do as ye will'. We do NOT proseletize or encourage others to join us.[indeed, until very recently it was dangerous to admit connections to witchcraft--and it still is to some degree] We DO take seriously any questions about wicca, and always try to answer them carefully and wisely.
Your question about male/female is interesting. Much of the current resurgence of interest in paganism/wicca had it's roots in the feminist movement. A book called 'The Spiral Dance; a rebirth of the ancient religion of the Great Goddess' by Starhawk was an example. Women who were tired of the male-dominated tradition in organized religion found great appeal in a religion that celebrated the equality [or domination, even] of the female over the male. Many wiccan covens that were created at the time [early 1980s] were almost completely female.
The pendulum is swinging back toward center at this point and IMHO a more balanced view is that the male and female complement each other. Both are part of the balance of life and the powers of the universe. The ancient wiccan beliefs support both the Horned God and Triple Goddess in the wonderful dance of life.
This is a VERY long post, for which I apologize. I could add much more in answer to some of the excellent questions you have asked. but have restrained myself.
These are also MY interpretation of wicca. Others may wish to correct, enlarge, compliment, or even violently disagree with what I have written.
Contemplation (Zaphodista in a Cloak of Goo) Posted Oct 28, 1999
Hullo again, blu...
You have some interesting points. Not that I agree with all of them, but a lot of what is considered modern mysticism is largely up to personal interpetation.
I am myself one of those who have had to form my own beleifs and systems as I grew. Once, I did call myself a witch, but I sort of 'grew out of it', if you know what I mean. It no longer fit what I am. I don't call myself Wiccan, or anything else for that matter, because it just doesnt seem to be right... it kind of falls short of what I feel to be the nature of myself. I feel almost as if I am on the side lines, rooting for all the teams, but not really part of any one grouping. Thus, I am one of those that I talked about earlier. What you called a 'kitchen witch'(btw, I think that is an interesting description )
Have you had something of a more formal education in the arts, or are you also the home grown type? I noticed the reference to shamanism... I have always seen that as something seperate from Wicca, but following the same path.
I also am interested in Jedi's comment... a third opinion would be certainly of value, and the more the better. It has been a while since I have been able to hear differing veiws on these subjects. Most of the people I know that are also practitioners, I actually guided, so they are tainted to my veiws. New blood, new voices, new understanding.
Anyone else out there have an opinion?
bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran Posted Oct 28, 1999
Thanks for your comments. Yes, I have had a little 'formal' training. I learned sorta generic wiccan basics from a group [would not call it a coven] in my area several years ago. Not connected with any tradition or ritual. I made a formal committment [year-and-a-day] on Beltane of that year. A small number of us continued to meet at the full moon for a while after that, but it sorta tapered off. I never really did a formal rededication.
I found that I too operate best by myself. And as I have always been drawn to folklore, herbalism and so on, I naturally ended up a solitary and a 'kitchen witch'. I DO call myself wiccan and witch. And for the same reason you do not; it 'feels' right.
Until recently my practice has been somewhat erratic, but I anticipate a move to a cabin in the woods, and intend to focus more when the move is complete.
If Jedi, technoyokel, or anyone else would like to add to the original topic of this thread, I too would love to hear from them.
Or, if anyone would like to visit, there is a new 'Wiccan Forum' at
This is a place to discuss, ask questions and meet for friendly conversation. I created it for us.
JediSlider Posted Oct 30, 1999
*grins* I feel so popular!
What I meant was, that some wiccans I know don't see themselves as witches because either they don't like the negative assocaition or they simply do not do enough magickal workings and have enough experience with it to think they deserve to call themselves witches. My friend is a wiccan, but she is gaining experience with psychic working and other magick. She sees deserving to be called a witch as a goal. Her view is that 'wiccan' is more associated with the religious aspect, while 'witch' can be more close with the magickal workings side.
I've also have friends of non-wiccan pagan paths, shamanism, egyptian paths, draconic pagans, etc., and some consider themselves witches but not wiccans. It's basically about a person's perspective, but generally I know people who seperate the two. I also tend to use either term for myself. It's what makes a person comfortable, as was said.
bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran Posted Oct 30, 1999
your comment sure generated lots of interesting discussion!
I see the point about lots of non-wiccans using the term 'witch'. It certainly has a broader application that 'Wiccan'. In history as well as current usage.
And I can see why some wiccans do not want to be labeled 'witch'. Sorta like being called an 'Amway salesman' as a term of derision. But then they never burned Amway salesmen at the stake -- even though some may have wanted to. [kidding, only kidding...I was one myself at one point in my life --Amway salesman, I mean]
As far as your friend who sees being called a witch as a goal; that is an interesting and thoughtful distinction. She may have more ability than she realizes, with that type of insight.
bright blessings to you both
Loki Posted Oct 31, 1999
I am a Wiccan, and proud to be called a "witch". Mostly because I want to dispell the adverse publicity we have gotten over the past few hundred years. But, I would rather like to make a comment on the term "pagan". Now, we all know that the term in it's current usage is refering to wiccans. However, the term actually refers to one who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew; a heathen.1
In that case, there are a lot of religions that can be considered paganistic. I'm not trying to start another long list of replies to this, I just wanted to voice my personal objection to the current use of the word in relation to wiccans and witches.
1 The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from INSO Corporation; further reproduction and distribution restricted in accordance with the Copyright Law of the United States. All rights reserved.
Contemplation (Zaphodista in a Cloak of Goo) Posted Oct 31, 1999
Another new voice. This is wonderful...
I just wanted to make a comment on the definition you used for "pagan". I was raised with the understanding that the current version refered to any beleif system that was not dominant, i.e. in a Christian dominated area, any (and all) non-Christian religions were considered pagan, in a Muslim dominated area, any (and all) non-Muslims were consider pagans, and so forth. In the ancient Roman Empire, Christians were considered pagans, because they were not the "ruling" religion. Pagan had nothing to do with one particular religion, but instead defined a political and theological boundry of power.
I feel that much of what we use to interpet these issues has been politically charged over the course of time. Those in control, control how we see and what we see... however minute.
Who controls the past, controls the future.
Who controls the present, controls the past.
- George Orwell, 1984
Okay... end of paranoid babbling
Any other opinions?
Technoyokel (muse of poetry) Posted Oct 31, 1999
Thanks bludragon Lots to think about there...
back to the definitions..
If its dictionary definitions you're after, mine says Pagan is a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.
Wicca is defined as the modern practice of witchcraft.
Witchcraft is the practice of magic especially the use of spells and the invocation of evil spirits. Well that's what the Oxford dictionary says...
njan (afh) Posted Oct 31, 1999
Oh dear, someone's treading on thin ground. Although, yes, witchcraft can involve evil-ness in any form, most people stck to 'white magic' because of something called the threefold rule which I don't feel like going into. On the whole, witches are nice, friendly people, and don't like being associated with the small minority of witches who use black magic, and get everyone else given a bad name...
Technoyokel (muse of poetry) Posted Oct 31, 1999
JediSlider Posted Nov 1, 1999
White magick is a term I never understood. Or black magick. Maybe it's the result of hanging out with a good mix of wiccans, witches, new-agers, draconic magick practitioners, chaos magicians... yeah. Anyway, everything we do causes some effect, no matter how minute. How can something be strictly good or evil? I mean, good can come from bad and vice versa. Isn't it all gray in the cosmic spectrum?
On too much cold medication... ignore me....
Key: Complain about this post
- 1: JediSlider (Oct 24, 1999)
- 2: bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran (Oct 24, 1999)
- 3: Contemplation (Zaphodista in a Cloak of Goo) (Oct 24, 1999)
- 4: njan (afh) (Oct 24, 1999)
- 5: bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran (Oct 25, 1999)
- 6: Contemplation (Zaphodista in a Cloak of Goo) (Oct 26, 1999)
- 7: Contemplation (Zaphodista in a Cloak of Goo) (Oct 26, 1999)
- 8: bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran (Oct 26, 1999)
- 9: Technoyokel (muse of poetry) (Oct 26, 1999)
- 10: bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran (Oct 27, 1999)
- 11: Contemplation (Zaphodista in a Cloak of Goo) (Oct 28, 1999)
- 12: bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran (Oct 28, 1999)
- 13: JediSlider (Oct 30, 1999)
- 14: bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran (Oct 30, 1999)
- 15: Loki (Oct 31, 1999)
- 16: Contemplation (Zaphodista in a Cloak of Goo) (Oct 31, 1999)
- 17: Technoyokel (muse of poetry) (Oct 31, 1999)
- 18: njan (afh) (Oct 31, 1999)
- 19: Technoyokel (muse of poetry) (Oct 31, 1999)
- 20: JediSlider (Nov 1, 1999)