Much of the mass produced whoredom passed off under the guise of "new age" encourages the erroneous belief that the words "witch", "Wiccan" and "pagan" are interchangeable. In reality, this is the equivalent of saying a Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim are the same thing. While witchcraft, Wicca, and paganism share many common characteristics, they are not multiple words for the same thing. To demand otherwise is at best simply lazy thinking, and at worse an attempt to legitimize the self-serving hogwash forced on us by would-be experts in the field.
Witchcraft refers to the practice of manipulating the energies of the natural world to secure a desired result. The practitioners of this craft are called witches. Witchcraft encourages reverence of the natural world and respect and achieving balance with nature. Black witchcraft refers to the corrupting manipulation of these energies for personal gain without regard to the balance. Witchcraft was taught through an oral tradition, and individual witches, or covens of like-minded witches, often practiced their craft very differently from one another. Witchcraft does not require formal initiation into a group, and most practicing witches are informally self-trained. Experienced witches may serve as mentors to younger witches, but again such training is normally informal and intuitive.
When witches do invoke divine beings, these beings tend to be aspects of nature, as opposed to literal deities. For example, a witch is more likely to invoke the spirits in a river than a specific god of the oceans such as Neptune.
Wicca borrows some general ideas from witchcraft, though is in fact very different. Gerald Gardener, who took his research into paganism and witchcraft and codified it into a formal written system, founded the religion than came to be called Wicca. Gardener's original vision of Wicca has since been reinterpreted by countless others, who have split off to form their own schools of Wiccan thought. Formal initiation is required to join most Wiccan faiths, and training is rather regimented. Wiccan schools tend to have hierarchies, and many award "ranks" to followers for completing different levels of training. While most schools outwardly acknowledge the validity of all forms of worship, the internal structures tend to require a rather literal following of doctrine in order to advance.
Wiccans worship the god/goddess figure prevalent to their particular school, but in general view all deities as different forms of the same divine being. They are more likely to invoke specific deities to enhance their spells than nature aspects. For example, Wiccans are more likely to invoke Ishtar than a wind spirit.
Paganism does not deal in matters of spell crafting. Instead, it refers to the practice of worshipping gods and spirits outside the realm of Judeo-Christian mythology. Paganism holds that each god or goddess worshipped in the pantheon is a unique being. The manipulation of energies, spell casting, or divination are not part of pure pagan worship, though most pagans do observe the rituals associated with their deities' holy days.
Much of the confusion comes from the fact that the three are not mutually exclusive. Many witches are also pagans, worshipping multiple gods as well as invoking aspects of nature. Other witches embrace the idea of the universal deity with multiple forms normally associated with Wicca. Some Wiccans decide that the different deities are actually individual beings and are therefore also pagans. So while it is possible to be both a witch and a Wiccan, one is not automatically a Wiccan because she is a witch.
It serves a grave injustice to continue the charade that the three beliefs are the same thing. If one is to truly develop their own spiritual path, they must first understand the paths available. Knowledge becomes twisted when it is based on a false foundation, and the only people who benefit from such continued mockeries of faith are those who seek to profit off of it.
About the author: Nicholas H. Parker is an English teacher with a huge experience. He likes using different methods of teaching such a CLIL. Besides, he writes articles at BuyEssayClub.com to share his knowledge with others. He tries to keep up with advancing technology. For example, he is highly interested in the web design sphere.