The Name of the Path

I was browsing the site I write for this morning when I came across an article about Pagans vs. Wiccans.  If I had the link, I would link you to it, but I don’t have a lot of time – I have a quiz I have to study for in a little while.  Instead of joining the argument, I am going to work myself out of it, once and for all.

Everyone gets so choosy about their titles.  Pagans and Christians alike (along with, I’m sure, other religious groups) are so afraid to acknowledge people who walk similar, but not the same paths as themselves.  “Oh no, I’m not one of those people”  We all find ourselves saying.  Even I am guilty of it to a point.  when asked about my religion, I often find myself explaining, almost justifying the religion to others with, “I usually don’t socialize with others who call themselves (pagan, witch, wiccan)…I don’t like a lot of them.”  Which is true.

Sorry guys – but the majority of people who claim to follow the general path, I stay away from – because their knowledge is derived from RavenWolf and Buckland books.  But, keep in mind: the majority of people who claim to follow the path that I meet are in my peer group – between the ages of 14 and 24 or so.   And, as we all know about people in my age group, we are sentimental, insecure, and easily influenced.

Back to the point at hand.  Pagan, Wiccan.  What do they mean?  In the most general terms, I tend to think of people who are pagan as simply having a nature-based spiritual orientation, that does not tend towards monotheism, but instead towards animism or polytheism.  Guilt is not an essential part of pagan spirituality.

I am Pagan.

I tend to think of Wicca as a pagan spiritual path in which the follows adhere to the doctrines of the threefold law, the Wiccan Rede, and usually the teachings of a ‘specialization’ – be it Gardnerian, Alexandrian, COG, or coven-specific practices.

I am Wiccan.

I tend to think of Witchcraft as the actual carrying out of magic.  Witchcraft can occur in any religion, be it monotheistic, polytheistic, or something in between.  I like to think of the holy sacraments of Catholicism as Witchcraft – they are symbolically transforming their wine and crackers (grape juice if they’re cheap) into the body and blood of Christ.  How is that not magickal in nature?

I am a Witch.

The part that struck me as being annoying was the portion of the argument in the article mentioned above in which it said, “Some pagans absolutely hate Wiccans”.

How is hate part of any of these paths?

One last definition.  Magic.  Magick.  Some people differentiate between the terms, with magic being the stage show of Houdini, and Magick being the spiritual manipulation of energy to achieve a purpose.

I personally think that if you’re reading me, you’re smart enough to realize that ‘magic’ and ‘magick’ mean the same thing to me.  Its just whichever one comes out of my fingers.  “Magickal” just flows easier on the keyboard than “magical”.  There is more finger switching involved.  (Now you’re all going to try it yourself.  Type magickal vs. magical.  You know I’m right.)

So what is magic?  My high priest, upon reading this, will probably strike me upside the head for either a) defining it with one word incorrect or b) defining it all.  Part of his charm.  Anyway.  Magic is the art of manipulating energy to achieve a desired result.  It is controlling ourselves, to control our environment, to produce and predict results.

There are my definitions.  This weekend is a long one for my college, so in between papers and novel-writing, I may actually kick off some posts over the weekend.  Enjoy your days!

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