A Witch By Any Other Name – by Mike Nichols

I am posting here another link to another excellent article called A Witch By Any Other Name (The Great Wicca vs Witchcraft Debate) by Mike Nichols. He takes these two words and traces them back both to their etymology in the distant past and in modern usage and comes out with a balanced view. I highly recommend all those interested in the history of Witchcraft and Wicca to read the article in full at the link above.

Here is a quote from this article (used with permission from the author):

“It took more than twenty years before I first ran across the notion that Witchcraft and Wicca were not the same thing. I don’t remember where I first read it, but I do remember feeling bemused at such an assertion, and assumed the author had failed to do adequate research into the origins of the word “witch”. I also assumed I’d heard the last of it. I assumed wrong!

Over the years, I’ve seen this sentiment turning up more and more, in conversations, in online discussions and websites, and even in published works on Witchcraft. It is often stated with such conviction that one might conclude it is the very least one needs to know on the subject. The author is usually at pains to convey the distinction that Wicca designates a religion, whereas Witchcraft is merely the practice of magic. In recent years, I have come across three further amplifications: The first is that some groups identify themselves as practicing Wicca exclusively, as a religious or spiritual path. As such, they do not hold with the more “debased” practice of Witchcraft or other magic! The second is that some groups claim that Witchcraft predates Wicca (which they apparently believe was invented by Gerald Gardner) and is therefore more “authentic”. The third is that only practitioners who are in a lineal descent from Gardner or one of his covens may use the word Wicca to describe their tradition. All others would have to default to the word Witchcraft for their praxis…….”

(Note – the picture above is from an Israeli website and i could not find an artist to attribute it to.)

2 thoughts on “A Witch By Any Other Name – by Mike Nichols

  1. I’ve read that essay and it is truly excellent. Thanks for sharing it along so others can read it. By the way, the woodcut that tops this post, which I guess is from an Israel website, completely ROCKS!!

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