What is Wicca, Witch Craft and Paganism?
Before we get to involved in the subjects of this hub, I would like to take a moment to note that I can't cover everything in detail in one hub. More specifically, because there are three different topics to cover, I will try to keep things reasonably brief, so that everyone can come to an understanding about the multiple topics involved.
So because not everything can be covered here and now, I encourage you to continue your studies of wicca, witchcraft and paganism. Learn everything you can, as it will take at least half a lifetime for you to truly do so.
Paganism: What is it?
Paganism is very simple in it's direct form. Though when you add in the amount of meanings that we humans have added to the simple version, it can also become a very complex topic. The simplest answer:
Paganism is any Non-Abrahamic religion. So anyone that practices a juedo-christian religion, is not considered a pagan by any means. In another simple explanation, a pagan is a country dweller who worships the earth and it's bounty.
When you add in the complications of meanings attached to the word pagan, you might find yourself look at all sorts of definitions. Wiccan's can be considered pagans, but not all pagans are wiccans. Most pagans are not monotheist, though that does not mean that a monotheist cannot be a pagan, so long as they don't worship a male deity that belongs to an abrahamic or abraham-like religion. A pagan can practice witch craft, though not all craft practitioners are pagans.
NeoPaganism has come to add lots of new and more specific meanings to the word pagan, and usually encompasses the recent revival and transformation of many pre-abrahamic religions.
In short, Paganism is a word with to many meanings that is often used wrong - like the word Unique. Most people use it for a lack of a better describing word or for a lack of understanding for the term.
Wicca: What is it?
The Wicca experienced today is very much different from the old religion that was once followed. Though as many traditionalists have come to find out, wicca is an ever changing path that was never designed to stay the same. It is a belief system that changes as the world changes, and moves as the earth moves. So even though many try to adhere to traditional practices in their wiccan faith, there is no possible way to strictly adhere to pre-abrahamic practices completely.
On top of not being able to completely stick to traditional practices, most of the information pertaining to the Old Religion has been burned, destroyed or locked away by the abrahamic monopoly religions in the days of the crusades and burning times. Wicca wasn't the only religious path to suffer through these tribulations, though it was one of the few to make it through the ages, because it is mostly an oral religion. Like the druids, many wiccans feel that knowledge in writing is well to powerful for the average individual to handle. Which is why even with so much information circulating on the internet, you still won't find a ton of information that really gets to the heart of the wiccan path. If you truly want to know, then you'll have to seek out others who might be willing to tell you, if they feel you are trustworthy and pure enough to learn the ways.
To put things in a simple form, Wicca is a path of belief - a religion. There are many different denominations of wicca, though most share a common belief in the short Crede: As Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will.
Beyond that, wiccanism can expand a thousand different ways. There are some more well known practices, such as Gardnerian, Greco-Roman, Celtic or Dianic. Though none of these should be seen as the over all guide to wiccanism. They are only portions of the whole, and that is as it should be. You will find that most Wiccan's are actually eclectic, which means that their beliefs come from many different places, but mostly from their heart. They follow the paths that they are drawn to and no others.
Another thing that I would like to point out, is that not all wiccans practice witch craft. Even wikipedia makes this assumption to quickly. Some wiccans only worship the earth and her bounty. Some wiccans only go as far as making herbal remedies and gathering crystals. Some don't go anything further than a life of studying their chosen path.
Wicca is the faith of the Wise, and it's roots come from wica or witches - known as Wise Women, though it is not the same as it was. So we can never really hold an all encompassing description for it. It is always changing.
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Witch Craft: What is it?
This is probably the hardest topic of the three, to go into detail about, without getting complicated. Witch craft is nothing and everything all wrapped up into one huge package. It is something that anyone from any faith can practice. It is something that many lies, myths and misunderstandings have been formed from. It is a feeling, a knowing, a sense, a power, a connection.
Witch craft can also be a subjective term. For those that fear it, witch craft is the ability to bring about negative phenomenon that can't be explained through any scientific method. For those that practice witch craft, it is usually a term used to describe a form of manifestation through spell work, rituals and visualization. For still others, witch craft is simply a creation of fiction writers and hollywood film makers. Something that is just there for entertainment purposes and nothing more. So depending on who you talk to, witch craft (like paganism) can mean many different things.
For the purpose of informing others about the practice of witch craft, it is simply a form of manifesting. A way to bring about desires and necessities. It is neither good nor bad. It has no set rules or strings attached in it's basic form. It is simply an art of the will.