Wicca and Paganism Explained:
Wicca is not a 'new age religion' like some people assume. It is actually very old age if you consider it's roots in Paganism. Some people also assume it is Satanic in origin. It is not Satanic in the slightest. The difference between Paganism/Wicca is Paganism is actually an umbrella term. Paganism is used to describe any religions outside of Christianity, Judaism, or Judeo-Christian. Wicca is a form of Paganism, meaning it is a religion that falls under it.
Paganism describes a number of religions, such as: Wicca, Taoism, Satanism, Buddhism, Sikhism, etc. Wicca is just one particular religion that falls under this umbrella term. Wicca is derived from the word, "witchcraft". Because the word "witchcraft", has so much negativity attached to it, (because of Christianity and the Bible) the name "Wicca", was created to describe the religion of witchcraft.
There is a common misconception that all Pagans are witches, and that all Pagans are Wiccans. This is not true. As stated above, Wicca is just a religion, that falls under the term of Paganism. It is not the same. Not all Pagans are witches, and not all Pagans are Wiccans. There are some similarities in both Paganism and Wicca. For example, the symbol of Paganism and Wicca in particular, is the pentacle. The pentacle is a symbol for the five element: fire, water, earth, air and spirit. It is ALWAYS used in a positive way whereas the PentaGRAM (upside down pentacle with two points pointing up) can be used either way.
In Satanism, the inverted pentacle (aka Pentagram) is utilized. Satanism, though many Wiccans will disagree with this, is a form of Paganism. Wiccans do not believe in Satan, Lucifer, or the devil as he is often called in Christian religions. They believe that he is simply a Christian entity. However, Satanism does fall under Paganism, and Luciferianism is a form of Satanism, so therefore Satan, Lucifer, and the devil, is found in Paganism, though he is not found in Wicca. The term "Pagan" actually means "country dweller". The term "Wicca" means "witchcraft."
A person who considers themselves a Pagan, usually is polytheistic. Polytheistic means one believes in more than one deity, whether that is a god or a goddess. In Wicca, some believe in a just a God, some believe in just a Goddess, and some believe in both. There are even some who believe in a number of gods and/or goddesses, and some that are Atheists. So, Paganism and Wicca is one in the same, yet different.
So let us review: To consider oneself a Pagan, you do not have to be a Wiccan. That is the major difference between Paganism/Wicca. If you are any religion outside of Christianity, Judaism, or Judeo-Christian, you are a Pagan. If you follow the religion of Wicca, then you are a Wiccan. That is the major difference.
Paganism does not have a founder. Wicca does. The founder of Wicca is Gerald Gardner. There are many Sabbats and Esbats that are celebrated in Wicca. Most people believe that these holidays are only celebrated in Wicca. This is inaccurate. These holidays, Sabbats, and Esbats are Pagan holidays. The Christians stole these holidays from the Pagans, in order to convert Pagans to Christianity.
In Paganism, you do not have to practice witchcraft. In Wicca, witchcraft is usually practiced, because Wicca is the religion of witchcraft. That is another major difference between Paganism/Wicca.
Now, I realize some people are going to read this article and say 'Witchcraft?! Don't be ridiculous'. About a decade ago, I would have been one of them. For a long time I was too skeptical for my own good. It wasn't until I experienced my first astral projection that I realized there is far more to life than what meets the eye. Since then, I have learned some forms of Magick are VERY real. It is merely science some of us have yet to understand. While some people do undoubtedly use this knowledge to further their own agendas, you should know that true Magick is neither good nor evil, light nor dark. It's all about the intention you put behind it. We are often desensitized by movies and TV to assume that 'all magick' is pure mythology. I implore you to cast these mental restrictions aside and research this subject thoroughly. You will be amazed by what you learn. Especially if you put it into practice.
Here is a great resource for learning about this subject:
Wicca for Beginners:
PS: I figured I'd also mention 'The Occult' here too to ease any confusion. Occult means:
1. of or pertaining to magic, astrology, or any system claiming use or knowledge of secret or supernatural powers or agencies.
2. beyond the range of ordinary knowledge or understanding; mysterious.
3. secret; disclosed or communicated only to the initiated.
4. hidden from view.
The study of 'The Occult' is not evil either, although it has gotten a bad reputation over the past few centuries due to confusion and disinformation. As I said before, it is all about the intention you put behind it. There are many secret societies that have focused on 'The Occult' over the past few thousand years, and not all of them are 'evil' like the Illuminati. Keep in mind, some secret societies were originally formed not because they were doing evil deeds behind closed doors, but because they were in direct confrontation with the Vatican. Back in the day it used to be very dangerous to share ideas about things that went against the church. (Remember, over 10 MILLION 'witches', many of whom were just healers and herbalists, were burned at the stake) Luckily we aren't in those times anymore, so I hope you will take advantage and do some research into this subject.