I decided that I would sit and have a little chat about our witchy world and that invisible yet oh so annoying divide between the Witchcraft and Wicca Paths. This could be quite a touchy subject for some, and I definitely do not want to cause any offence by anything I write (they are only my own personal opinions after all) so please don't turn me into a toad! lol.
I don't know where this divide between the two paths originated from or why it even began in the first place but I have noticed across the years I have been practicing and studying witchcraft, that there is a clear divide between the two branches of the craft. It is like there has become this unwritten, unspoken rule that certain paths are not as 'real' as others and that certain traditions are better or more legitimate.
While this isn't necessarily a bad thing as lots of other religions etc out there all have 'set' ways of doing things and that all works fine for them and the people practicing, this divide does tend to cause friction within the magickal community. Sadly there are always people who use division as a way to make others feel inferior or make them question their own knowledge and practices. Something which in my opinion is just damn wrong on so many levels! Witchcraft, Wicca, Paganism, or any other name you want to give it, is NOT a path to prescribe how people should live their lives. Far from it actually, they encourage introspection so people can learn for themselves the path they are best suited to walk.
The only prescriptives associated with witchcraft come from the religion of Wicca. The Wiccan Rede is a long poem/piece of text that pretty much explains the basics of Wiccan magick and what is used to practice it. It also explains that there is one kind of 'rule' that Wiccans follow which is: 'An you Harm Non Do As You Will'. There are many different versions of this 8 word, shorter version, and there is also the Long version (well worth a read as it is actually a really nice piece of text). I am not specifically Wiccan, yet I have both versions in my witchy folders where I store all my information and the Wiccan Rede is a principle that I do genuinely believe in. (But only to a certain degree, as I am not adverse to some hexing/binding/banishing magick etc if somebody hurts me or my loved ones.) The general guidance that I have always taken from the Rede is that as long as my magick doesn't physically harm another or go against another's free will, then all is good!
Wiccans also follow the 'Rule of Three' which is the belief that anything put out into the universe will come back to them multiplied by three. So the thinking goes that if they put negative energies or castings out there it will come back on them but three times as bad. I get what they mean by this as a negative aspect, but in regards to positivity I don't really see how this would necessarily work, as I personally have put more positive and good deeds out into the Universe yet I have had more than my fair share of bad experiences in life so far, so I don't necessarily agree with Wiccans on this one.
Here is a bit of info I found about the difference between the two more well known paths, Wicca and Witchcraft.
The main difference between Witches and Wiccans is that Wicca is a religion and Witchcraft is a practice. This raises the question of what is a religion and what is a practice. A religion is a spiritual belief system, such as Christianity, Islam or Wicca. It is a sense of beliefs, based around observance to or worship of Deities and/or spirits. A practice is something that is done, such as prayer, meditation or magick. Simply put, magick is a practice and Paganism is a religion. Wicca is a subset of Paganism and Magick/Spell casting is the main goal of Witchcraft. It is of course possible to practice magick without being a Witch. There are other forms such as Ceremonial magick and magick can also be part of a religion as some argue that prayer is a version of magick and that the Wiccan Circle is enacted prayer. The difference between Wicca and Witchcraft comes with the differences in intent. The purpose of Wicca is to honour the Lord and the Lady, observe the turning of the Wheel of the Year and to pay attention to ones spirituality. Wicca is intimately tied to ones relationship with the divine, by whatever faces they choose to show to us. Witchcraft on the other hand, does not have to involve Deities, instead it uses Spells and Herbs to achieve a desired end - Healing, Love and protection etc.
Because Witchcraft is a practice and not a religion, it is possible to be a member of just about any other religion and also be a witch. The openness of Wiccans and other pagans towards magick and the unexplained makes it all the more likely that they could be drawn to witchcraft. But be aware that not all Wiccans are Witches. Many do not cast spells of any type, instead, they focus solely on their relationships with the divine and on their quest for spirituality. There are some Witches who will say that Witchcraft is also their religion. But it is possible to cast a spell without calling upon a Deity. (instead one focuses the power within themselves or within Nature) There are also Wiccans who claim, that all Wiccan are Witches. It is easy to become confused about the differences between Wicca and Witchcraft , many books aimed at beginners tend to use the terms Wiccan and Witchcraft interchangeably and focus just as much on religious holidays (such as Sabbats) as they do on magick and spells. Remember, Wicca is a religion and Witchcraft is a practice. Not all Witches are Wiccans, nor are all Wiccans Witches. The focus of Wicca is on the Lord and Lady, The Wheel of the Year and spirituality, the focus on Witchcraft is on the casting of spells and magick.
Even though both Wiccans and Witches essentially have very similar practices and beliefs etc.there is always a divide between them. There are Traditional Witches who criticise Wiccan witches for their structured beliefs and practises and Wiccan Witches who criticise Trad witches for being too focused on the past instead of moving forward with new ways of working as a witch in the modern age. I personally don't see why the magickal community gets so hung up on definitions. I mean part of the Wiccan Rede is all about doing as you will as long as it harms non...so why is it such a bad thing for somebody to want to be a Wiccan Witch? If witchcraft is a practise and not a faith then surely a person of any religion could also legitimately practise as a witch?
To me the main appeal about Witchcraft/ Paganism/Occult/Spirituality (whatever label you want to give it) is that you get to do things your way, and in a way that fits with who you are as a person and how you live your life. So, if it is in fact part of the Wiccan belief that you can't be a witch on any other path, alongside being a Wiccan, then for me personally, it would render the Wiccan Rede as obsolete. As the whole point of the Rede is about actualising yourself as an individual and following a path that fees true to you while all the time ensuring others are not harmed by your choices. I can't see why this doesn't apply to beliefs equally to how it does the casting of magick,.
This weird divide between paths makes it really hard for people who are practicing or just starting out as it can be confusing as hell and more than a little daunting. Especially in the online world, as people can be extremely judgemental. I have had it happen to myself, where I have been told I am "playing" at witchcraft, because I am too young to be a true witch (I turned 30 this year and have been practicing since I was about 10/11yrs old). I have also been told that 'real witches' practise as part of a coven and criticised for mixing parts from traditions together to make a path that works for me.
Where did this whole "Wicca v Witchcraft" feud even begin? And why? I came across the typical description of how Wicca and Witchcraft are different all together, and how one is classed as a religion and one a belief system (although to me my witchcraft is not just a belief system...its a way of life and to me it IS my religion.), and about how Wicca was founded back in the 1950's....but nothing on WHY. Why this strange divide exists and where it comes from. Or why people are so insistent that it is adhered to.
I personally don't subscribe to these divisions. To me people can believe/ practice whatever they wish. I have friends from all different kinds of religions and there have never been any issues between us, probably because we all accept that even though we may not necessarily follow the same religions, we all still have the right to live our lives the way we want.
Witchcraft was not always something that was so accepted, mainly due to the stigma attached to it from the past. People who practiced Witchcraft were said to worship the Devil (which is not even a concept in witchcraft) and any time any illness or negative incident befell anybody in the village/town, it was always blamed on the witches. So Witchcraft has always had a bit of hazy reputation and has only recently become more accepted and understood. It is a shame that just as society starts to understand and accept witches the magickal community starts to embrace these divides and divisions that stigmatise different types of witches all over again.
I class myself as a Wiccan as well as a Witch as I follow lots of different traditions/paths that I kind of scoop up and mix all together to make my own path (and I love it! It works perfectly for me and my life)....I also find it fascinating at the same time as it raises lots of other questions, and really gets me thinking about it all.
Being a Witch is not something to hide anymore and being a Wiccan witch shouldn't be either. Other witches don't discredit Egyptian Witches or Celtic Witches, or Gardnerian Witches....or any other tradition/path that is out there...so I seriously don't get why anybody that chooses to use the title Wiccan...should get shunned for it. For me that goes against what being a Witch or Wiccan or Pagan is all about! Acceptance of others....fully....no matter who they are or what they practice/believe.
Lots of Love & Bright Blessings!
I was speaking to a friend the other day about how I live as a witch and it got me thinking, so I thought I would write an article about all the different ways that we can bring magick into our lives. Whether you are just starting out on your journey along this path or if you have been practicing for many years, there are lots of ways to add a bit of a magickal touch to our lives. And seeing as it has just been a Full Moon, I thought that this would be the perfect time for this little chat....so grab yourself a nice hot drink, get yourself comfy and lets talk all things magickal and how we can add a little witchyness to our daily lives!
Living a Witchy life can be so very easy and simple to do! A lot of people think that there are lots of certain objects that you need and certain daily spells and rituals etc to follow to be a Witch, and whilst this can be true, this is also not always the case. You don't need all the fancy objects that are claimed to be needed like Athames, Cauldrons, fancy Book of Shadows etc. These items can be substituted for other things that you already have that will serve the exact same purpose. Take a Witch's tools for example, I technically have each item that is stated as 'needed' for our witchy practices...yet they are not the 'official' ones!
I use a lovely ivory handled butter knife in place of my Boline (white handled ceremonial dagger used for inscribing candles,runes etc), I use a lovely silver vintage style letter opener for my Athame (black handled ceremonial dagger used for directing energies during spell casting and rituals like Casting a Circle), My wand is a small part of a tree branch that I found on the floor whilst walking in my local woods, and my Altar is all made from things that I already had lying around my house.(I also have another altar in my kitchen that is made from things I already had too) and it works perfectly for me! I love how they not only cost me next to nothing,as the only things I actually paid any money for is my crystals and other bits like that, but that they also hold my own individual personality and style too (especially as they have a bit of a vintage edge to them) I use crystal wine glasses in place of the Chalice, little crystal bowls as offering bowls and I even found a gorgeous little crystal bell in a charity shop which only cost me 50p and is just perfect for my Altar!
I love coming across gorgeous little finds like in charity shops. I love going into them and having a look at what I can find and pretty much always coming out with something unexpected or something I never even thought of buying but which I find to be utterly perfect (like my crystal bell). Great for the environment too as things are getting reused and given a new purpose.
All the tools needed to practice witchcraft can be made from scratch by yourself (if you are lucky enough to be gifted with the ability to make beautiful things)). Others can be bought from specialist occult/spiritual stores or online stores (Ebay is my favourite online place to find bits and bobs for relatively cheap prices). Alternatively you can do what myself and many other people do and use things already around the home that will serve the purpose of what you need them for. Just because we are witches doesn't mean that we have to pay a fortune to have all the things that we need!
As well as the different tools used to practice our daily witchcraft, another way of bringing a bit of magick into our lives is through Manifestation. 'The Law of Attraction' is the process of putting out into the Universe what we desire and giving it the opportunity to come to us. In a way this is kind of like making a wish and waiting for it to come true. Ways to manifest things into our lives are talked about all over the internet and in books and magazines. The well known book The Secret is all about manifesting the things we want into our lives to make our lives more authentic to our true purposes/desires. Manifesting can be easy once you get the hang of it. It is not as simple as lighting a candle and making a wish but it can work well for people who follow the path.
Manifesting is all about putting out into the Universe what you truly want in your life. Happiness? Love? Money? A new home? Career? Whatever it is you are seeking for in your life, manifesting can help bring it into reality for you. This is done by not just wishing for it, or praying to the Universe to send you what you want...but by already visualising yourself with it. So if you are wanting love, visualise yourself already in the relationship and happy - imagine feeling the way it would do and thinking the way you would within that relationship. If it is a new home you are wanting, then visualise yourself already having that home, picture where all your furniture would go and see yourself wandering about in the house doing your daily life just as you are now, but in your new home!
Manifestation works by 'seeing' yourself already living your life with whatever it is you are asking for. By doing this, the Universe knows what to send you. Focus only on the positive things you want within your life. The Law of Attraction can work both ways, so if you are constantly focusing on all the negative things you have happening in your life, like debts, failing relationships, an unfulfilling job etc...then you will continue to be stuck in that negative cycle. Like attracts like... So keep your visualisations and thoughts as positive as you can and you will soon begin to notice the difference.
You can also add a magickal touch to your daily life by bringing in some regular witchy practices. like daily protection spells for yourself, your loved ones and your homes. These can be as simple as closing your eyes and asking the Universe/Angels/deities to watch over and protect you or lighting a white candle and focusing on the flame for a few minutes. You can use Daily Affirmations to help you keep your thoughts and moods in check. Nothing can get you in a good mood more than repeating a positive affirmation to help with all sorts...from confidence issues right to specific topics like finding love, changing your career or self love etc. Affirmations can be used at any time during the day (or night) and can be as long or short as you want them to be. You can use ready-made ones you have found online or in books or you can go ahead and make up your own.
Crystals are also a fun and very easy way to add a touch of magick to our everyday lives. They are especially good for people who are just starting out or who are uncertain what to do in a particular situation. There are literally hundreds of different crystals with all sorts of uses. the main crystals that tend to pop up everywhere are ones like Rose Quartz, Clear Quartz, Amethyst, Tigers Eye, Selenite, Obsidian, Hematite, etc. These are all really simple and easy to use too, so you can easily incorporate them into your daily lives.. Crystals are a subtle way of making changes in our lives or within ourselves as we can pick the crystal most suited to our need and either use it within a simple spell or carry it with us. Some people like to use crystals within special 'spell pouches' where they add the relevant crystal (or crystals) along with herbs, spices and other objects like Rune stones or Sigils.
Crystals are very versatile. There are literally hundreds of ways that you can use them within your lives, from things like Healing, and peace baths to spells and rituals. You can also put certain crystals around your home, for things like protection, dispelling negativity or adding calming energies to each room. I have a black obsidian crystal hanging over the doorway of every room, I have Tiger's Eye and Clear Quartz crystals on each window sill and I also have a selection of assorted crystals on my mantleplace. I keep crystals on my bedroom and kitchen altars and also just generally dotted all around the home for decoration (I have a slight obsession with crystals..and books. I have them all over my house! A girl can never have too many of either!)
Another way of bringing a bit of magick into our lives other than crystals, spell work and home decorations, are Tarot Cards/Oracle Cards. These can be used in lots of ways, from full multiple card spreads, to simple one card readings. There are lots of different types of cards, from traditional Tarot decks, Angel oracle cards and unusual more bespoke decks like the Gothic Faerie deck. The cards can be used to gain insights into situations currently happening within our lives and to find out what the Universe has in store for us. I absolutely love using my Decks.(I have lots and more are on my wish list) I do daily card readings each morning, where I sit and shuffle the Tarot deck I am drawn to, pick the cards that call to me that day and turn them over to see what the message/advice for that day is. I also like to do this with Angel Oracle cards, as I like to tune in and see what message or piece of advice the Angels would like me to know for that day/week/situation.
There are literally hundreds of other ways to bring magick into our lives. But the most important thing with any magickal practice is to do what feels right for you. Find your passion for something that you can do daily and do it! Magick is all about finding your own way and finding whats perfect for you and your life. If you can dust yourself off, laugh at your mistakes and try it all over again...you are certainly cut out for a magickal life!
So go have some fun creating one!
Lots of Love and Bright Blessings!
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