Regarding the conflict in the use of the word "Wicca."

I came across this article that I enjoyed reading, even if I do not agree with everything the author wrote, I especially do like her conclusion in regards to the conflict concerning the use of "Wicca" or "Wica" and how it relates to Gardner:


"Is it not slightly ironic that Gardner’s legacy should now be called ‘Wicca’, a term that was never used by him? Especially when one also considers that ‘Gardnerian’ was a term originally coined as a derogatory reference to Gardner’s initiates.[11]  These examples show us the ease with which words and their meanings can be skewed and also reclaimed. On the one hand, it doesn't really matter that 'Wica' has been transformed by many into 'Wicca'. We all know what we are talking about and surely that's what counts right? Words do have power and 'by names and images are all Powers awakened and reawakened.'[12]  The word 'Wica', tells us a story about a period in Craft history which helped to shape what we are today. 'Wicca' can never do that."

I think "Wicca," especially in America, has its own religion that is separate from Gerald Gardner's influence of the BTWs. I cannot speak for what it is like outside of the United States, although, I have not had any issues with relating to Witches/Wiccans from the British Isles. I do think that there is a type of "universality" to Wicca or Witchcraft that does not require any formal training. I have been working on a blog post concerning that.

I may simply just be "a Witch." I have all my life it seems being told what I am "allowed" or "not allowed" to call myself. I am told what I am "allowed" to believe or not to believe. I am told what I am "allowed" to say or not say.

I am over forty years old now; I have been Wiccan since I was sixteen. I am college educated, a scholar, and a historian. I have been formally Initiated by more than one form of magical tradition and/or religion. I have served in the Military. I have served my community. I have been in public relations, giving lectures at universities, having been on television interviews, and the radio concerning Wicca and Paganism. I have led both my own private Coven and was elected as the Director to lead our local Neo-Pagan church, serving on Interfaith Councils representing the Pagans in our community. I have read every single book I have been told I "should" read with  my own application of research and critical thinking to determine what is "factual" and what is not. I think for myself, yet I also will represent democratically the viewpoints of those I represent, even if those views are not personally my own. I feel protective of those younger than myself in both age and experience who are growing up in a more hostile environment from other Wiccans and Pagans than I did.

If I use the term "Witch" then the Satanic Witches take offense.

If I use the term "Wiccan," then the BTW take offense.

If I am equated with New Agers, I take offense.

If I say my training is Hereditary (which it is), then there is the whole debate of "Witch Blood" versus "Initiation."

I actually love this debate behind the scenes. In my family, you are either born this way or not. If you have to be Initiated to become a Witch, that means that you aren't a real Witch because the Power had to be given to you from an outside source, after you are an adult. That is a lot of years of training to lose compared to someone trained from birth.  I was Initiated into two family own family when I was very young, before going to school; and then when I joined my ex-husband's Coven when I was 19. So why would have chosen to Initiate with the BTW and take "Oaths of Secrecy" when I already belonged to a Tradition that my family had records of tracing back hundreds of years? I understand how my family already has a "magical" tradition in that they were able to read and write in times when this was a rare skill. It was considered "magical" to read and write, or to act as a Healer/physician. Gardner's lineage only traces back to what? The 1940s? 1950s? My grandmother was born in 1900 and lived to be over 100 years old. My great-aunt was born in the 1800s, and she was still alive when I was a child.

I have always done what I do. It was coming across the printed books that stated this or that about magic and Wicca. I was already doing it and discovered the term "Wicca" before I read books about it, or learned about the BTW. My first book I read, given to me by my mother when I decided to call myself Wiccan or a Witch were Sybli Leek's books. Not Llewellyn, though that came later. My second book was about Dianic Wicca before feminists adopted the term for their Tradition, when "Dianic" meant that the Goddess Diana was at the center of the worship as the Triple-Goddess. I didn't need to learn the Names of Deity from the BTW. I already knew them. (How did Latin Deities become incorporated into British Traditional Wicca? Does the BTW know now? They didn't when I was 19.) Me, my family, and my friends...who have karmic connections that draw us back to one another...did this, calling ourselves Witches and Wiccans before meeting BTWs who told us how we weren't "allowed" to...and this "being not allowed to" didn't  happen until after the year 2000.

It is somewhat amusing as it is offensive to be called by the BTW "ignorant" when such really have no idea what they are talking about simply because in "not being one of them" means I lack knowledge or experience. I would say that is hubris to do so.

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Comment by Willow-Key on October 3, 2013 at 5:28pm

Thank you for reading, and taking the time to comment. :) I am happy that you found it helpful.

Some Witches are evil, actually. There are all kinds of Witches. Witches are people, and just like people in general, some are good, some are bad, and some are mediocre. There are Satanic Witches, Thelemetic, Luciferian...definitely not Wiccan nor will have anything to do with the concept of the Rede. (which is another topic altogether)

I have no doubt that the reputation for being evil was somehow earned along the way. To some people's definition, some witches definitely would be considered evil. "Good" and "evil" are defined by our perceptions, and what we personally believe. To Witches who do not believe in the Rede, for someone to believe in it is a type of "evil" to them. It is best when you are new to this to learn there is no black or white in is all just shades of grey. Later on, you may experience "colors" in magic to behold...or learn there is really no such thing as black or white, even in art. As you learn, grow, practice - your perception of things will change. This is why keeping a personal diary of your growth is so important. You will learn a lot from your misconceptions and mistakes along the way. I described it like this to myself when I was new to the Craft and noted the changes: we start off by seeing the world sharply defined by "black/bad/evil" and "white/good/light." Day and Night. And there is definitely a Truth to that. There is a daytime and a nighttime. Then it is like watching the world on a black and white television or an old's black and white, but really it is made up of shades of grey. Then the world is color tv! Then instead of watching a flat screen, it is like a hologram, with colors you can't even duplicate. But these evolutions in perception take a long time to change, and you have to be willing to change, to work hard to learn something, unlearn it, learn something new, relearn the old stuff in a new's hard!

You learn to decide what kind of Witch you would like to be as you learn about yourself and  your own personal, unique beliefs. You, as an individual, by your words and deeds will determine what kind of Witch you are. You will know by how people react to you. No matter what, you will piss someone off. It can be hard to accept people will both hate and love you, some will see you as good and some as evil. You will then understand, it is only their perception, too. :)

I wish you all the luck in your Journey! Blessings.

Comment by Willow-Key on October 5, 2013 at 8:19pm

Rose, the article is showing that "Trad Wicca" as being an Initiation Tradition specifically as descended from Gerald Gardner - that Gardner NEVER used the term Wicca! At the most, he referenced the word "Wica." Note, the one "C" and pronounced with the soft "ch" sound, not hard "k." Wicca and Wicce are Old English terms adopted by those who practice a RELIGION of WITCHCRAFT. This does not mean that Gardner started it, or that only those descended from him are recognized as practicing a religion.

That was the whole point of my blog post. If you want to cling to the concept that "Only those who have a lineage to Gardner can be called Wiccan" then, honestly, you are not going to accept any proof to the contrary. You are entitled to your beliefs, and I am entitled to mine. The argument has always been: there is no proof of a religion of Wicca prior to Gardner. I am showing that this statement is false. :) I think that the BTW needs to be the ones to stop using the term "Wicca" - as it did not pertain to them in the first place. Wicca is a term that was sought to separate an Eclectic and even Solitary practice from those who are Initiatory. This was widely accepted when I was training in a BTW coven.

They are not spelled the same. They are not pronounced the same. Gardner never referenced using the word "Wicca" in any of his writings or in speaking. So - yes, exactly...why is there a problem?!

Comment by Willow-Key on October 7, 2013 at 4:33pm

Back in the 1980s, even among Trad Wiccans, the words Witch and Wiccan were used interchangeably. This is pre-Scott Cunningham and the so called "NeoWiccan" movement. Back then, the conflict of who was "the real Wiccan" was between Hereditary Witches and what is now termed the BTWs...the old argument on if you are born a Witch or if you have to be Initiated. Back then, as I do now, I side with the concept of it being in the in it is a genetic memory. I think eventually science will prove that natural psychic abilities is something genetic and hereditary, which is why it skips generations at times. If you have not experienced this for yourself, how is it possible to prove it to you? For me, I have a niece who was NOT raised in our family sister chose to completely cut off our "weird family" and focus on being normal. And yet, my niece states she is a "Witch" and follows the family traditions anyway...without having any contact with anyone. It's like the twins separated at's a genetic "memory," imo.

Anyway, as Witches/Wiccans were trying to separate themselves publicly, going on television for interviews and the like, stating that "Witches are not Satanic and do not have anything to do with the worship of Satan," the Church of Satan Witches took offense. In Satanism, all woman are Witches who DO worship Satan, and so they, also going public, wanted to state that there WERE Witches who did worship Satan, and they wanted the separation between Satanic Witches and Wiccans. To which this whole: "All Wiccans are Witches, but not all Witches are Wiccans." came into being.

Just because someone states that Wicca as a religion existed to pre-Gardner, does NOT mean that individual is stating "an ancient religion." Wicca is stated as a religion about the turn of the century in England. Now, like myself, to separate and stop having the BTW get all pissy about using the word "Wiccan" we are now adapting the term of Traditional Practioner. There is enough proof to state that Wicca was a religion prior to Gardner, and if you are so concerned about it, do your own research.

But as I said, you have your opinion and your bias and any proof I may offer you will discount, as most of those with your mind set do. Have a nice day!

Comment by Willow-Key on October 7, 2013 at 4:45pm

Oh, as for the use of the word Wicca pre-Gardner, it is Old English. Wicca being a Male, and Wicce being female. As it was mostly an oral tradition, it really isn't written down. After all, people being literate is a fairly new concept. My grandparents were born in 1900...not everyone was literate, and it wasn't "cool" to be a Witch or a Native American, so they weren't going to write it down. "Witch" really is from the term "Wicce" with is pronounced "Witch-y," as in "Witchy Woman" which is how it was spelled. Those who Knew, Knew. And those who "don't get it" aren't of the Blood.

The Tradition of Gardner is not Wicce/ is an eclectic composition of Gardner's beliefs that he created that combines Ceremonial Magic (not the folk magic of the Wicce), the NeoPagan beliefs of Europe (which Hitler also incorporated), and his belief in nudity and "free sex." There is NO Casting a Circle in British Wicce, no nudity, no sex. No Tools, either. There are no written laws. It is based on the concept of "those who  have eyes to see and ears to hear" will Know and See. So no matter how much a BTW Initiate will try to pound it into someone that theirs is the "only Wicca" it won't work, because Initiated or not, if you can't See or Hear, you don't Know. It is something to be experienced, and it is real. And if you haven't been involved in that, you aren't meant to. It is as simple as that. 


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