Who Is a Wiccan and Who Is a Witch?

“I don’t understand,” my friend, John, said.

“What specifically is not clear?” I asked.

“What’s the difference between somebody who is Wiccan or somebody who is a witch?” he asked.

“To start off … Wiccans are witches. But not all witches are Wiccan,” I said.

My mentors have shared the following material with me:

In the United Kingdom, a traditional witch, Robert Cochrane, did not like how Gerald B. Gardner was so open about his practices. Gardner communicated a lot to people outside the faith.

Those whom Gardner initiated were called witches.

Gardner, like others, saw so much derision with the term, witches. It’s reported that he originated the term Wica. It’s said that Gardner claimed to have learned the term during his initiation into the New Forest coven in 1939.

As the years went by, the letter “c” was added, and we, then, had Wicca. Certainly, this was a chance to get away from the trouble with the “W-word”—witch.

Wiccan became a generic term. But it still referred to someone who was Gardnerian—or steeped in the Alexandrian tradition.

Many people saw Wiccan as a term that was strictly used for the hidden children of the Goddess (related to Gardnerian or Alexandrian traditions).

Wicca was not originally seen as a complimentary term in the United Kingdom because it defined you as someone who followed Gardner.

A witch is someone who practices the Craft, which means they practice spells and magick.

One might see witch as the umbrella term, and a portion of witches are Wiccan.

Some Thoughts on Definitions

To me, having definitions can help us clearly communicate.

If we can agree upon definitions, it supports real communication.

I acknowledge that there are controversies. And, if we could just hear each other out—that might help.

May these ideas be helpful to you.

Blessed Be,

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2 thoughts on “Who Is a Wiccan and Who Is a Witch?

  1. I regularly get into arguments with Wiccans who insist that in order to be a witch you MUST be a Wiccan, and I most certainly am NOT a Wiccan. It tends to especially be young witches or new witches around my age (twenty-seven) and younger that I run into this issue with. They tend to be misinformed on what a Wiccan is and say that it means witch. I’m part of the Asatru faith and am also a witch (as a lot of us tend to be) and I’ve been told by someone I thought was a friend that I can’t be a witch because I’m not Wiccan, they were grossly misinformed and wouldn’t listen to me and called me a liar and claimed I was trying to convert them to my faith (converting others is not something practiced within Asatru) and it made me very sad. It doesn’t help that most easily accessible witch content and books tend to be Wicca focused and they rarely make the distinction between Wicca and witches (as well as the whole gender issue, which being a transman is another thing I struggle with). Sadly the level of misinformation my friend had been fed mostly from her coven since she didn’t consume a lot of books or other content related to witchcraft, resulted in losing a friend.

    Sorry for the rambly comment!

    Liked by 1 person

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