Pagan vs Witch

Centerpiece of my altar

You will have noticed that I refer to myself as a Pagan and a witch. Some may wonder why I separate the two, they’re the same thing after all, aren’t they?

Well, no they’re not.

Pagan come from the Latin word Paganus and was used in a derogatory manner by the Romans to refer to someone who didn’t live within the urban centers. The modern equivalent of calling someone a hick. In general terms today, a Pagan refers to anyone who does not follow one of the major 3 monotheistic world religions (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity).

Pagan, and Paganism, are very much used as umbrella terms. The word Christian is used in much the same way.

I’ll explain. All Catholics are Christians, but not all Christians are Catholic. Christian is an umbrella term which includes all the different branches and denominations within that religion.

In the same way, Pagan includes all polytheistic religions within its definition. Wiccans are Pagan, but not all Pagans are Wiccan.

Witch is in a different category altogether. Witchcraft is not a religion, it is a craft. You will find witches of every possible religious belief system, and witches who hold no religion at all. Over the years I have met and known of Pagan witches, Jewish witches, Christian witches, and atheist witches.

Some witches are also Wiccan, and there is some mixing between the two. The important thing here to remember is not every Wiccan practices witchcraft. And not every witch considers herself to be a Wiccan.

Besom, candles, and guardian stones

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One thought on “Pagan vs Witch

  1. Hey Nan! Glad to have found your writings- so glad that you joined the Witch Mom community on blog frog!

    I wanted to add to this blog post that some Witchcraft traditions (like mine- Feri Witchcraft) are BOTH a religion (with its own specific gods, mighty dead, and beings) and a Craft.

    Feri is a uniquely American Witchcraft tradition, as it has been influenced by so many cultures (The US has so many people, from so many places, all mixing and sharing!)
    In Feri, the influences include Celtic ones from your way (and their decendants in the US- Applachian Craft), Brujeria (Mexican Craft), Ho’oMana (Hawaiian Craft), VouDou (African American Craft), and Santeria, to name a few. Feri and Gardenarian folks started to “go public” around the same time, just on different continents.

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