People have started saying they are “spiritual and not religious” more frequently recently, erroneously believing that spirituality and religion are inherently opposed concepts.
It has also been noted that the terms “magick” and “witchcraft” are frequently used to refer to what people refer to as “occult practices,” despite the fact that they are actually spiritual practices that are no longer kept a secret in today’s society.
Also, I frequently hear individuals use the terms witchcraft and Wicca interchangeably, despite the fact that there is a distinction between the two.
To further compound the confusion, many people, particularly witches, refer to paganism as their religion in the western world, despite the fact that this term refers to a vast spectrum of many spiritual traditions and not just one particular religion.
Spirituality is the conviction that everything and everyone in the world is governed by a subtle energy known as “spirit.” A “spiritual” person is someone who holds the belief that all physical or material objects and persons in the universe are supported by an unseen “force” or energy.
Those who do not believe in spirituality or any form of supernatural power are said to be atheists. The majority of atheists are materialists who solely consider the visible or physical universe to be a mechanical construct devoid of any kind of spirit or other forms of intangible energy. They identify as “rationalists,” and they believe that spiritual energy belief is superstition or an unscientific belief. They contend that science is strictly restricted to what can be observed using only the finite set of human senses.
On the other hand, religion is a term used to describe a wide variety of spiritual beliefs. Religion is a term used by groups of people who believe in some sort of divine power or spiritual power (theism); some call it The God (monotheism), while others believe in many gods and goddesses (polytheism). Any spiritual belief that has a sizable following is considered to be a religion.
After witnessing examples of fundamentalism and religious politics, those who are turned off by the name “religion” and assume that spirituality is something “better” than religion need to keep one thing in mind. The term “religion” is not only used to refer to conversion-based religions, narrow-minded ideologies, strict rites and rituals, or divided ideologies that demand allegiance to one or the other but not to both. You can believe in and select one or more religious faiths or beliefs based on how many open-minded, spiritually liberating, and adaptable religions there are in the world. Thus, please do not limit your imagination when using the word “religion” to merely Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other common faiths. Any spiritual view that gains popularity has the potential to become a religion, and these beliefs can be endless and diverse. Even spirituality starts to resemble religion as more people become aware of the spiritual reality.
The word “magick” simply refers to spiritual force. Thus, to be spiritual is to think there is magick in everything. Magick is the force on which spirituality is built, whereas spirituality is the belief in magick. The word “magick” is distinguished from the word “magic,” which is occasionally used to refer to staged illusions or tricks, by the letter “k.” The term “magick” is most frequently used to describe the deliberate use of magical power, such as spells. Yet, magickal energy is continually present all around us, whether we are aware of it or not.
Practically everyone in the world conducts witchcraft in addition to believing in it, even those who identify as “atheists.” And that too nearly every day! For instance, when we say “good morning,” “good luck,” or “bless you,” when you cut your birthday cake, or when you “touch wood.”
You are engaging in magick if you make a wish, pray for something, or think you can influence events by a supernatural force or the strength of your mind. Hence, magick is the foundation of all spiritual beliefs and religions, not only witchcraft, paganism, or Wicca.
Witchcraft is an activity centered on the intelligent application of magical force, often known as spiritual energy. Witches and wizards, practitioners of the “craft,” are associated with the words “wit,” which refers to mental acuity, and “wiz,” which refers to wisdom. Witchcraft then refers to “creating your life with wisdom.” Given that it is a beneficial use of spiritual force or magick, you may also refer to this as “spiritual healing.” Nowadays, the majority of witches and wizards refer to themselves as “spiritual healers” instead of witches or wizards because the term “witchcraft” has become derogatory due to decades of widespread discrimination. Finding the genuine meaning of witchcraft requires removing the false stigma. Many healers nowadays are glad to identify as witches.
Witchcraft is a universal or international activity. Witches, often known as shamans, medicine people, or spiritual healers in many languages, were wise men and women of pagan or indigenous civilizations all over the ancient globe.
Paganism is a term for ancient spirituality that can refer to a variety of old or native spiritual practices and beliefs, including natural folk medicine and faith in the divinity of nature or the elements of nature in different civilizations all over the world. Native American, Native Chinese, Native African, and Ancient Hindu or Vedic faiths, Celtic Druidry, Nordic Asatru or Heathenry, Egyptian Kemitism, and others are among the ancient religions that fall under this category.
These pagan belief systems evolved naturally in every region of the planet and are NOT typically based on conversion, adhering to the teachings of any one particular book or institution, or following a central figure.
Several ancient traditions are being practiced today, including as the Vedic or Hindu faith of India, which has existed for thousands of years before the advent of conversion-based faiths and is profoundly spiritual as well as religious. Several of these old beliefs have been superseded by conversion-based religions that emerged much later, such as Christianity or Islam, particularly in the western world.
Most of the pagan faiths are currently being revived or rebuilt as neo-paganism as more and more people are “reverting” to old or ancient spiritual beliefs, particularly global paganism based on nature worship and pan-theism (belief in divinity in everything).
One such emerging religion is Wicca, whose adherents are brought together by the Wiccan Rede, which declares, “An Ye Harm None Do What Ye Will.” This can be stated simply as “using our will power so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.” Wicca is not another name for a broad range of ritualistic or pagan ceremonies or general occult practices. It is a spiritual belief system with an emphasis on ethics that directs us to treat the environment and ourselves with respect.
Witchcraft is a practice, whereas Wicca is a belief system based on the Wiccan Rede. This is the key distinction between the two. While not all witches identify as Wiccan, many do choose to embrace Wicca as a religion into which to incorporate their rituals.
Wicca features a lot of rituals, just like other religions that have complex ceremonies and rituals including weddings, burials, and worship. The distinction is that Wiccans hold that the deity or higher power being invoked is not an external deity who governs nature but rather nature or the cosmos itself in all of its manifestations, which can be referred to by any name of a god or goddess from around the world. Hence, Wicca appeals to contemporary spiritualists who desire to be accepting and sympathetic toward the natural world in their activities.
Wicca is based on paganism, hence there is no central authority or governing organization. Similarly, there is no conversion required to become a Wiccan; you can just pick your religion based on your own convictions. A few Wiccans choose to learn from a particular Wiccan tradition or teacher in order to become initiated as professional witches or healers. Being initiated as a witch or priest/ess is not required to be a Wiccan; rather, becoming a Wiccan is all about mastering spiritual practices. Like being initiated into any other paganism or indigenous religion’s priesthood, it is frequently done ceremonially.
Wicca is essentially a scientific religion that also practices spiritual worship because Wiccans believe in using rituals to celebrate the earth’s seasonal changes and cycles. Wiccans reject following any one personality or pre-established views in favor of an inner intuition or natural direction that uses nature as its teacher. Wicca is a spirituality that emphasizes being kind to the environment, loving it, and seeing the divinity in all of nature while maintaining an open mind. Being children of nature, it brings us all together. creatures from one earth.
Some books on the subject of Wicca:
Wicca for Beginners: Fundamentals of Philosophy & Practice
Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner