Article Info

published: 4/16/05
update: 2/10/14

Terminology: Neopaganism, Wicca, Witchcraft




This article provides a brief guide to the difference between the related systems of Wicca, witchcraft, and Neopaganism.

Neopaganism vs Wicca

Neopaganism (or Neo-Paganism or Paganism) is a broad designation that refers to any nature-based or earth-based religion, most of which pattern themselves on ancient western pagan religions.

Wicca is one form of Neopaganism. Thus all Wiccans are Neopagans (or Pagans), but not all Pagans are Wiccans. The main difference between Pagans who refer to themselves as such and Wiccans is that Wiccans practice magic and witchcraft.

Wicca vs. Witchcraft

Though sometimes used interchangeably, "Wicca" and "Witchcraft" are not the same thing. The confusion comes, understandably, because both practitioners of Wicca and practitioners of witchcraft are called witches. All practitioners of Wicca are witches, but not all witches are practitioners of Wicca.





"Wicca" refers to a religion. The term can refer to the initiatory tradition, where initiates are assigned a degree and generally work in covens, or to Solitary Wicca, where practitioners self-dedicate themselves to the tradition and generally practice on their own. Both Initiates and Solitary Wiccans worship the Goddess and/or the God, and both celebrate the Sabbats and Esbats.

"Witchcraft," or "The Craft," on the other hand, requires no belief in specific gods or goddesses and is not a specific spiritual path. Thus, there are witches who adhere to a variety of beliefs and religious systems besides Wiccan ones. Witchcraft, the casting of spells and the practice of magic, is considered to be a learned skill that can be separated from religious beliefs.


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