“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.
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