Identfying Between Paganism and Wicca
A common ignorance today is the misuse of labels, Hoodoo; voodoo, punk; pop-punk, thick; fat etc. It’s important to know what you’re talking about, ESPECIALLY when it comes to religions! Paganism versus Wicca to be exact.
A HISTORY LESSON:
The term pagan which comes from the Latin word paganus was originally used in ancient times as a derogatory term to define anyone living in rural towns. Eventually, as Christianity came into play and spread throughout the roman empire, the term evolved to be used as a slur for all outsiders to the Christian faith. In biblical times when one was referred to as a pagan it meant one of two things, either the people in question believed in other gods, or such people believed in no god whatsoever. The term atheist was not yet coined to expose a distinction between the two. Now, we use three terms: We have atheism, meaning without god/ religion, which we attribute to those who oppose the belief in any deity. We have satanists, derived from ancient Hebrew meaning opposer. A satanist recognizes the possibilities of a god but opposes the hypocritical dogma of the the holy church and all it’s teachings. Thirdly, we have pagan which is now attributed to any religion based upon the worship of nature to any extent, anyone with an earth-based faith is pagan, though the array of different pagan religions are not interchangeable.
Wicca is one of many pagan faiths. Brought to attention in 1954 by one Gerald Gardner as a branch of witchcraft -though arguably not the same witchcraft that the ancients put into practice- Wicca is a set of practices which promote oneness with nature, ourselves, and each other which originated in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Wicca and Witchcraft are NOT the same thing. Wicca is a TYPE of witchcraft, not the whole thing.
No matter what you believe, whether it be a branch of Christianity, or a branch of Paganism, Animism, Pantheism, Shamanism, or Polytheism, it does not dispute the fact that we are all entitled to our beliefs and should be respected and understood. We can only be understood if we teach each other and learn from each other with open minds and compassionate hearts.
I say this but it is common for myself and others to use these words interchangeably. It depends as all things with your audience, if you are in the company of some people who identify with one rather than the other, then please respect their wishes. Otherwise, use whatever words you are the most comfortable with, never fear unnecessary judgement. 🙂