ANSWER – Not a stupid question at all. It’s a question that probably causes more controversy on Pagan based social media sites than any other and my only surprise is that we’ve been running Witch Path Forward for nearly four years now and this is the first time it has been asked!
The straightforward answer is that Witch and a Wiccan are terms relating to different things. “Witch” is a descriptor of somebody who practises witchcraft and “Wiccan” relates to a person who follows the Wiccan religion. A witch can be a Wiccan and a Wiccan can be a witch. Not all witches are Wiccan but all Wiccans tend to be classed as witches as the practise of witchcraft is a part of what it is to follow Wicca.
Clear as mud?
I think you will find this article on Traditional Witchcraft and this article on Wicca helpful as they go into greater detail in relation to the two terms.
It is important to remember that witchcraft per se is a secular craft and does not involve any aspect of religion. The practise of witchcraft can be combined with a belief in religion – most commonly Wicca - but it can equally be practised by an atheist or non believer. However a Wiccan will always believe in deity as a belief in the God and Goddess is one of the core beliefs of the Wiccan faith.
Wicca tends to be the more widely practised, especially in America and has enjoyed a lot of positive publicity over the last twenty years or so. However Traditional Witches tend to be more secretive and private about their practises so for this reason it would be hard to estimate the number of witches practising independently of Wicca.
Traditional Witchcraft is considerably older than Wicca which was established in the 1950s. Wicca does draw on some older influences but the religion itself did not come into being until the middle half of the twentieth century. Any “Wiccan” claiming a longevity of their faith that goes beyond this is probably confusing “Wicca” with the older practise of witchcraft which dates back to Medieval times and beyond.
In terms of a good starting point for you and your daughter I have popped a few links below to questions we’ve covered on the site before on this subject. I hope you find them helpful and wish both of you the very best of luck in starting on your journey.
Can you recommend some books on witchcraft please?
How do you know that you are a witch?
What is the simplest way to become a witch?
How do I become a witch?
Suggestions for a lone witch just starting out?