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What's the Difference in a Wiccan and a Witch?

Dear Starwitch,

Being a wiccan is like being a witch? You want the same outcome which is greater good, correct? I've read that wicca can be both good and evil. I chose good so I guess I'm not understanding why there's a difference between being wiccan and a witch? Can you help me because I see them both as being good.

Merry Meet Rhiannon,

A witch is anyone who casts spells. Even Satanists and Christians could be considered witches if they cast spells and do magic, but they aren't Wiccan because they follow a different religion than Wiccans. A Wiccan is someone who follows the religion of Wicca, which is an officially recognized religion just like Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. If you get nothing else from this, remember that "Wicca" is the name of the religion and "Wiccans" are the followers of Wicca. So you wouldn't say, "I have a friend who is Wicca." Instead, you would say that your friend is Wiccan.

According to the Wiccan Rede, which are the rules that Wiccans abide by, Wiccans are not supposed cast harmful spells. The Wiccan Rede says, "And ye harm none, do what ye will."

Someone who claims to be a "witch" but who is not "Wiccan" is not following the religion of Wicca. Therefore, they do not have to follow the rede. So they can throw curses at you from across the room.

If you think you want to be Wiccan, or you want to know the difference in Wicca and witchcraft, here are some useful pages to read that explain the difference:

The Difference Between Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism


The Wiccan Rede
(Full Version)

Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust.
Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give.

For tread the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out.
To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme.

Light of eye and soft of touch, speak you little, listen much.
Honor the Old Ones in deed and name,
let love and light be our guides again.

Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the joyful tune.
Widdershins go when the moon doth wane,
and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane.

When the Lady's moon is new, kiss the hand to Her times two.
When the moon rides at Her peak then your heart's desire seek.

Heed the North winds mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.
When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.

When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth.
When the wind whispers from the West, all hearts will find peace and rest.

Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows.

Oak in the forest towers with might, in the fire it brings the God's
insight. Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower.

Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye.

Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning adds its strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility.

Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen.

Elder is the Lady's tree burn it not or cursed you'll be.
Four times the Major Sabbats mark in the light and in the dark.

As the old year starts to wane the new begins, it's now Samhain.
When the time for Imbolc shows watch for flowers through the snows.

When the wheel begins to turn soon the Beltane fires will burn.
As the wheel turns to Lamas night power is brought to magick rite.

Four times the Minor Sabbats fall use the Sun to mark them all.
When the wheel has turned to Yule light the log the Horned One rules.

In the spring, when night equals day time for Ostara to come our way.
When the Sun has reached it's height time for Oak and Holly to fight.

Harvesting comes to one and all when the Autumn Equinox does fall.
Heed the flower, bush, and tree by the Lady blessed you'll be.

Where the rippling waters go cast a stone, the truth you'll know.
When you have and hold a need, harken not to others greed.

With a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend.
Merry Meet and Merry Part bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

Mind the Three-fold Laws you should three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow wear the star upon your brow.

Be true in love this you must do unless your love is false to you.

These Eight words the Rede fulfill:

"An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will"

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