Thanks to a meme with a tree, people talking about whether or not things are “witchcraft” vs “pagan.” It’s obvious that there are a lot of people who are confused as to the differences, and I feel that I have some sense of understanding of how this happened. It’s a complicated and lengthy topic with lots of history, background, subtopics, and more than a little bit of ranting about why so many terms became confused with each other, but I’ll do my best to explain it as succinctly as I can.
Let’s start by getting into the definitions and descriptions of these terms.
Witchcraft is types of magic practiced by witches. There are many, many different traditions and practices of witchcraft out there both in the modern day and historically. Pagan is both an adjective and a noun that very broadly describes (often too broadly imho) various spiritual practices which are either are, and/or inspired by, pre-Christian practices. You don’t have to be pagan in order to be a witch–or to practice magic in general. In fact, a lot of witches are either not pagan at all or don’t use the label for themselves. I’m personally one. I will default to it if I have to in order to be understood in certain circles, but it’s not a label I feel accurately describes me. I prefer to describe myself as either a polytheist or a polytheistic witch instead.
Now, about that label of “witchcraft”. Witches aren’t restricted from certain religions or beliefs, or a lack thereof. Witches can be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and/or atheist. To be a witch, you practice witchcraft. It’s a label best described as DOING vs belief… click here to read the rest of this article