I am a Witch, not a Wiccan.

Before we start, can I just say that I am not anti ‘Wiccans’.  So prior to people getting their knickers in a twist (ouch!) please read the whole post before commenting. Thanks!

pentWhen I tell people I am a Witch, about 95% of the replies I receive say “So you’re Wiccan?”….No.

I am a Witch, because I use magic, therefore I practise Witchcraft.  This means, I do whatever I need to, when I need to.

Witchcraft dates back thousands of years to it’s roots in folk magic/village wise women, where as Wicca was created in the 1950’s.   A witch does not follow a doctrine or rulebook, where as Wiccans have the Wiccan Rede  ‘an ye harm none, do what ye will’.  Witches believe that you do what is necessary and take responsibility for our actions.

Wiccans follow deities or a divine source, Traditional Witches do not.  Wicca is a faith or a belief system, Witchcraft is a way of life.  You can be both of course, you can believe in Wicca and practise Witchcraft so you are a Wiccan Witch, but Traditional Witches have no ‘faith’.  We just are.

Now all that being said, I have many friends that are Wiccan.  I totally respect their choice, it works for them and that is great, they know I’m not Wiccan and they wish me well too.  I have many (many, many lol) Wiccan books and I love to read about all cultures.  But my friends and I don’t sit there debating which way is the best because life is too short.  We are different but also share some common ground.  If we were all the same, the world would be a very boring place.

I don’t need to cast circles to work, where as most Wiccan’s do. I don’t plan spells or anything like it, if something needs doing I get it done and there is a little bit magic in everything I do. I don’t do any chanting/wailing/ throwing my arms up in the air and dancing naked around my garden (oh what a sight that would be!) because I don’t feel the need to, and it’s bloody cold most of the time in England.   Although to be fair, I don’t know many Wiccans that do that either but some do chant and if it works for them, then good, it just doesn’t work for me.

I don’t need to wear ‘witchy’ clothes or act ‘witchy’ to get something done.  I am a Witch, it’s there all the time.  I don’t have a magical name, I am just Astrid (or my friends call me Sal) because that is who I am.  Being a Witch is something that is in me, I know no different, it’s just me.

The great thing about Wicca which I think all Traditional Witches should be happy about (and if they are not, they are just being stubborn), it allowed us to be more open about practising Witchcraft and that can only be a good thing.

I hope this post helps you to understand the difference, if only in a small way.  I am not saying either way is better than the other, I just want to explain who I am and why.

I have a good sense of humour and love to have a laugh, my website as you can see is light, open and very retro, because I think it brings a smile to people’s faces.  I love to cook, hence the recipes on here.  Cooking is the something I do, everyday, with intent, with magic.  We don’t all have black cats and wear pointy hats 😉

I am a Witch.

(See, not anti-Wiccan at all eh? 🙂 )

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48 Responses to I am a Witch, not a Wiccan.

  1. Nik says:

    I agree. I don’t identify myself as a Wiccan either. I am a sea witch… I do honor the brightest Star (Goddess).. but I see she and I as divine spiritual beings occupying two different spiritual planes.. obviously she has more spiritual knowledge and energy than me, so I like to tap into that knowledge and energy and absorb it into myself… if that makes any sense at all.

  2. Sue says:

    Amen to that 😉

  3. Saga Parva says:

    It’s interesting that you post this because I have been struggling with my pagan identity. I have been a practicing Wiccan since I was 13, but over the last year I have been asking my self if the Wiccan religion is really the right path for me. I’m more of a witch then a Wiccan these days because I have been so put off by the dogmatic laws of Wicca. I don’t really adhere to any coven laws and I have also begun to question the necessity of a circle to practice witchcraft. I don’t feel threatened when I practice and certainly don’t believe that any negative spirit or energy can influence my will.

  4. Very well put. I personally have come to describe myself as a Wiccan influenced Witch when people ask if I’m Wiccan. Those that need more info from there get the nutshell version of my 25 years as a Witch all boiling down to yes, I’ve practiced and trained as a Wiccan, I enjoy many aspects of Wicca, however certain parts don’t work for me in the day to day aspect of things. I have some issues with the Rede, I don’t feel I need to make a big spectacle of every moon phase or other astronomical event that happens, and I don’t cast circles for everything I do. I also tend to be of the mind that with all the books on eclectic Wicca, neo-Paganism, and modern spellcraft that there are a great deal of misconceptions being created and perpetuated about Witches and the Craft.

    Being Wiccan doesn’t make you a Witch, living the life of a Witch and practicing the art of magick does. It always amazes me when I meet Wiccans that call themselves Witches but they don’t practice magick because they have read books that make them afraid to even try.

    Being a Witch comes down to who you are at the core, what you do, and how you live your life.

  5. Lyn says:

    I agree with everything you say here, Astrid. Especially the bit about being naked in England. Really, who does that? Ok, perhaps it’s best not to know 😉

  6. jo says:

    i love this 🙂 i’m witch too i wear short skirts love to laugh and am definitely Witch i practice the craft get told i’m wiccan most of the time it doesn’t bother me because i think it helps people deal with it better but i’m witch by name and witch by nature all my family and friends except it so that’s all that matters. i’m proud to be witch 🙂

  7. Rhea says:

    I came here for the Practical Magic Party, and I know this is an old post, but can I say, you are awesome! I am from a family of witches, and we aren’t Wiccans. I just tell people I’m “old school”. I’m so thankful for the Wiccans, so I can be out, unlike my ancestors who had to keep their craft on the down low!

  8. Sophia Burns says:

    Thank you for posting this. I now have the terms to use to explain to others. Eventhough I have been part of a Wiccan coven It was not always a perfect fit.

  9. Thank you very much, Astrid. Your simple, easy to understand post is perfect. I am 45 years old and just figuring out I’m a witch, I think. I’ve just started to seriously read about Witches and Wicca. You have given me some clarity. ~Lori

  10. Penny says:

    I have never seen it more beautifully put ever! Thank you!

    IiiI

  11. Deborah Mattsson says:

    This facebook community page owner ripped your blog and signed his name to it: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1012474666133.2001936.1053005045&type=3#!/pages/Witches-underground/270662126337890

  12. AlmiraG says:

    The important thing is for Pagans of all ‘denominations’ to stand together and not to become overly concerned by names and systems.
    Every Witch has their own magical ‘DNA’,and there could never be one definitive path suited to all.

  13. Jen W!~ says:

    WOW you said exactly what I have been feeling just didn’t have the words to go with it. I have never felt comfortable trying to rituals with the chanting and circle casting. It’s nice to know that others out there feel the same as I do. ThANK YOU for a wonderful post.

  14. Arden says:

    I agree, I am a shamanic witch. I get asked all the time if I am wiccan and it irritates me because then people feel I have to explain myself for not fitting into the “accepted pagan path” lol… Everything I have ever practiced was passed down through generations of women in my family. I do know several wiccans and they don’t seem to understand the difference either.. but the solitary witches I know understand completely. I have never been in a circle, or a coven. I don’t chant, and I don’t do ritual.

  15. Cynthia M. says:

    To add to the many voices here already, I whole-heartedly agree with what you’ve posted, Astrid. There are several aspects of Wicca that don’t work for me (mostly the ones you’ve already pointed out), but I will say that I practice Witchcraft as both a way of life, and a spiritual following.

    Like you, it is important to me to be ‘out’ about my faith and practices. But when I’m sitting at the doctor’s office, or hospital, and they ask me what my religion is, I actually find myself saing Wicca more often than not. I say this because it is becoming well understood (here in the US, at least) that Wicca is, in fact, a faith. Witchcraft is not at all seen that way, and to say ‘Witchcraft’ when asked my religion would really confuse most of the non-pagan folk out there (and really, I just want to get on with my day, not sit and have to explain myself to the confused data-entrant taking my info!).

    I’ve wondered if any other Witches out there have ever found themselves in a similar situation. I’m glad Wicca is becoming more and more accepted as a spiritual practice, and I do hope that Witchcraft follows.

  16. Cari Hall says:

    when people find out that i am a witch i have never been asked if i am wiccan, but as for form filling i just put Pagan as this is acceptable to most. I too had troubles with the whole Goddess/God thing but got over it and practice magic quite happily my own way, its great to find others doing the same

  17. David says:

    I stumbled across this site by chance and so very glad i did.
    Being brought up since childhood in the Craft has given me insight and knowledge that for many years had me very confused and dare i say was made to feel ashamed by outsiders for the beliefs i hold. As a result, i never mentioned my family background. Then some years ago, the UK law changed and i took a chance to speak openly about what was important to me and what i believed in. Many of my friends dropped me, saying i had lost the plot and a male can not be a Witch. Some who were a more worldly, claimed i had become Wiccan.
    Since then, i have checked up much of what has been written on Wicca, and compared it to what i learned growing up with the Craft.
    As others have mentioned here, many who have grown up with it, do not belong to covens, dress as Gandolf or have much displaying their beliefs. In fact i only have a small Pentacle which for the most part is hidden by clothes. The one thing that should be mentioned though is how attitudes have changed over the past 20 years. In many ways,Wicca has helped in bringing about a change and acceptance to alternative beliefs, and for that, i’m very grateful. Whatever system is yours, if you believe in it and it harms no one, and that includes yourself, then follow it and be happy.

  18. holmehag says:

    It was a joy to read……I get asked what do you do…when I answer what ever is needed on the day…I just get…oh ..so are you a healer or what..what do you do.
    My memories as a toddler where based on the craft..I know what I am and it is be me whatever that is on the day. No religion or dogma…just flow.

  19. grey wolf says:

    Hi Astrid…..I found your post so enlightening! It’s made me realise, that i can be myself & not have to feel i have to be “Wiccan”. I’ve recently been through an experience, where i thought it was necessary to join a coven, but after reading your story, i realise that what i have, i must go with & know in my heart, that i don’t have to prove myself to anyone! I’ve been doing ok on my own for quite a while & now i’ve got a renewed sense of purpose.
    I’d love to hear from any of you, who can give me more moral support too!!!!!

  20. Peridot11 says:

    It is so lovely to read something that somebody else has written that sums me up completely! X

  21. pixie says:

    I have been very slow at getting round to reading your blog Astrid (typical me 😉 ), now that I have read it all I can say is ‘Thank you’ for writing it.
    It has made me feel free of the chains that go along with casting circles and chants, I have never thought that a spell needed all of these things and as my garden is overlooked I dread to think about going naked, I think anyone overlooking would either roll on the floor laughing or they might even up roots and move 🙂 I can’t say I am a pretty sight to behold.
    Thank you for your blog it has brightened my day.
    Blessings to you. x

  22. Mistletoeoak says:

    Just spotted this and added a link to my blog hope you do not mind! It is so hard getting across the difference, Radio Kent the other night had a quiz and it was what is Wicca, they basically said its if you are a witch or do witchcraft NOOOOOOO!!!!! xx

  23. Hazel says:

    LOVE this Astrid! And all I can say is…”Yeah! Me too!” (although I do have a black cat…well, 2 actually!) LOL. Much love & huge crystal blessings to you Sister xx <3 xx

  24. Chris Collins says:

    I have just found your website by complete accident and it is fabulous. Just off out but just had to let you know, and I shall be returning to it upon my return. Thank you so much – BB x)O(x

  25. margaret says:

    Hi found your site by chance it is great to read this because i haven’t been feeling comfortable to do a circle as i couldn’t visualize the blue light and kept thinking i was useless and it kept putting me off doing the spells butnow i know that i dont need to do it and the nakedness put me off to. Many thanks for your site it has given me a lot of encouragement. what a great idea thankyou Astrid.

  26. Vicky says:

    Thank you for making me smile & making my heart sing 😉
    Light & Love to you

  27. Sarah says:

    I’m a recently come out of the closet solitary witch and Iam not sure if I’m a regular witch or Wiccan witch?
    I do do spells, I also work with crystals and also am a holistic therapist in my day work!
    I have a BOS and an altar. I meditate and help friends to see things clearly. I feel a little lost as to wherein fit in.

  28. elizabeth says:

    Thankyou for describing the difference between wicca and witchcraft so clearly – I know now that I can be defined as a witch. What I feel is a very deep connection to something old; something ancient, natural and – to me – perfectly logical. A connection to the earth and everything that grows – also to all animal life. Everything is divine in it’s own special way, and everything is spiritual. I try to look for the beauty in everything.
    I love your website -I’m learning all the time, and your site is so informative and everything is so clear. You definitely have a gift for words and would make a wonderful teacher!
    I wish you a rainbow of blessings, love and light.

  29. perlaflora says:

    Oh, happy day! I’ve been trying to find “people” that are closer to my ideology of witches. My thought is that crafting is a natural ability in all of us: tapping into our divinity in whatever way is natural for the individual to create magic without all the costumes and dancing. (That’s great if it feels right for you, but it’s just not me.) Witchcraft is normal.

    The real problem arises when trying to learn. Learning from books is great and experimenting on your own is good, too, but sometimes I just would like to talk to another person who shares my interest and, um, perceptions of how to go about crafting. A mentor would be great, but I can’t seem to find one. (It seems all the local witches are of the costume, dancing, drawing down the moon type.)

    Anyway, if I’m ever in England, I’m definitely stopping by your shop.

    You can thank EveryMagicalDay (Storybook and Pyper) for turning me on to your site. (Talk about prayers being answered….first I found their site, then yours in less than 24 hours.)

  30. Gemma says:

    Thank You for writting this artical! I have had to explain this so many times to people now I can point them this way. 🙂 Love Your site .

  31. Crystal says:

    Hi ya =), crystal here and yes its my real name and not a witch (as i get asked da alot) I am so glad you put this up cause I was starting to feel like, i was getting this whole thing wrong. i couldnt get my head round why things from both witch and wiccan felt rite for me and now i understand, its cause im a pagan wiccan witch =)
    ta babes and ya ireland not to good for the naked dancing too lmao xxxx

  32. Craftybabe says:

    So glad I came across this, I am new to crafting but don’t feel comfortable with the whole circle casting and rede thing, I am the type of person to do what needs to be done, now I feel more affinity with being a witch rather than a wiccan.

  33. Mel says:

    This is just absolutely wonderful. I feel as though you are speaking for me here! I respect Wiccans and their beliefs and can totally relate to their religion and the aspects of their faith but I personally identify as just a Witch. I practice Witchcraft. I am a Witch. It is not my faith or my practice of religion, it is just what I do. Reading this helped me realize exactly how I identify so I must thank you for putting this out there for people like me to relate to and help simplify who/what I am into words! 🙂
    Blessings and best wishes to you, I am so glad I’ve discovered this website!

  34. bronni says:

    Thank you for your honesty and making me smile your beautiful energy is from the heart blessed bex

  35. wolverine says:

    Hi nice to say hello hope to speak soon and have a great day by

  36. Jennyf says:

    Thank you for your article. It has helped me clarify for myself where on the spectrum of Wicca/The Craft I might be at the moment and where I might go in the future. Because of a ‘seeing’ I had some years ago, I do identify with a Goddess and feel that She has power in my life but She is also more simply the Earth beneath my feet and deserving of universal respect and care for our environment. Living as I do, close to the sea, its tides and moon phases are in my blood and I rarely have to look up a High Water or Full Moon date or time. I don’t worry too much about what other people need to label me. It is people of other faiths who seem to feel the need to tie us all down to an exact set of rules, rituals etc. and they find it hard to understand that what I do, think and believe can’t be put in boxes like that.. On forms, I usually put Pagan or ‘Other’ or just leave it blank if I can.. No-one else’s business anyway.

  37. Stan says:

    Thank You for sharing this. I’m fairly new to this, but have to say, the” theatrical” side of the Pagan Community seems un-natural for me to follow. However, the path You follow, makes me think that I’ve just arrived home. Blessed Be.

  38. sharyn says:

    Hi Sal, I just came across your website. I really like what you wrote here and I look forward to exploring your website further. I’m in Australia and always had an interest in witchcraft. I’m returning to those roots that sprouted many years ago, feels like coming home now : )

  39. Jasmin says:

    I’m holding back tears as I write. I thought for so long I was the only person in the world who felt this way. Thank you thank you thank you!!

  40. ray21473716 says:

    Hi i’m ray, i like what you said about how your not a wiccan your a
    witch, thats the orginal way, i like that, i’ve been reading a coven book for three and a half years now, i always wanted to become a witch since i was little,
    and the way you explained everything about you being a witch, i respect the honesty about
    Wiccan and being a Witch, thats why i ask, can you teach me
    I would love to have you as my teacher

  41. Aly says:

    Same 🙂

  42. Rob Webb says:

    I have found your comments very helpfull.After coming out of a very dogmatic religious belief system the last thing I want is another one to follow.I’ve found myself getting bogged down with my wiccan journey.I’m sure its right for many but I’m becoming drawn to the practice of witchcraft solely.

  43. Vicky says:

    ?? so happy I found this page u sound like ur talking about me Iv dabbled in different practises but none of them seemed right for me it’s always just been there I am a witch I to don’t need to cast circles or partake in rituals I just have a profound connection to the earth and the animals who dwell here it’s so refreshing to see someone the same ✌️?

  44. Gabi Iannacone says:

    Thank you for this….

  45. James says:

    I’m like you. Since I was a child I always been in tune with the natural world. I summoned my first familiar at 14 – no ritual just the will and the knowledge that I could. Within the week, a kitten came to my house directly to me from several houses down the street and never left once she saw me. Through the years, I’ve done the same when I was ready to accept a new friend(familiar).

    I’ve done some healing, a little weather magic and so on. I do what I feel is needed, when I need to … just like you do. But, I just can’t get into the Wiccan philosophical religious thought it just not how I’m. May God(which ever one it is) bless you and yours. 🙂

  46. Susanna says:

    I have identified as a solitary pagan witch for some time now. I agree with everything you’ve written. Thanks so much for such a well-written post.

  47. chris says:

    well said I too am a witch I read a lot books and I love the saxon tradition but I follow my own path

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