Wicca Versus Witchcraft
There are a number of incorrect assumptions of Wicca that many people are not aware of. Wicca and Witchcraft are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, although it is incorrect to do so.
The confusion stems from the fact that those practicing Wicca call themselves Witches, so when people hear Wicca they think witchcraft and think back to the entire negative stigma associated with witches from our history. An easier way to put it would be that all Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccans.
Wicca refers to a religion whereas witchcraft refers to witchcraft. Wiccans usually work in covens when in a Wiccan group but there are also Solitary Wiccans. Solitary practitioners of Wicca dedicate themselves to the tradition of Wicca and practice spells and divination and other rituals on their own. They worship the God and Goddess and celebrate Shabbats and Esbats.
Witchcraft on the other hand, is not a religion and doesn’t require a belief in a specific God or Goddess. Witchcraft is the art of casting spells and practicing magic, and is separate from religious beliefs.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that Wicca is an old religion that pre-dates Christianity, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Wicca is a relatively new religion, coming to light and gaining prominence only recently. It was started by a man named Gerald Gardner who published many of his Wiccan related literature in the 50s. This didn’t gain much attention until the last 10-20 years.
Wicca advocates a balance of deities, so you may not only pray to a God, but a God and a Goddess. Usually when performing a ritual a Wiccan would call upon the God first to protect the Goddess, and then release the God from the ritual last. This is because they believe that all life comes from the female so the female deity must be divine and worshipped more.
Wiccans believe that there are many religions that teach male dominance and the lower social status of women, and that witches need not subscribe to such outdated beliefs.
Wiccans also believe in the karmic Rule of Three, which states that if you do something morally reprehensible, you will receive such negative energy back threefold. This is similar in nature to the Golden Rule of Christianity.
Witches believe in free will and doing what serves their interests, long as it hurts no one else. Though they may call themselves Witches, they are unfairly persecuted for using a term which doesn’t mean what everyone believes it means.