Grace Cavanaugh ~ Staff Writer
So, what actually is the difference between witches, wicca, druids, and all of the other magic users? Good question.
Anyone who has ever played Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) can easily tell you the difference between, say, a paladin and a druid. In DnD, there are several different magical classes that correspond with real world things. Druids, for example, were Celtic magic users that channel, worship, and focus on nature. Paladins, on the other hand, were fighters and knights that can use magic through the deity that they serve. Bards are magical musicians and clerics are magical healers.
The three that are confused the most are sorcerers, warlocks, and wizards. While they all might appear the same, there are key differences. Sorcerers have innate magic and do not have to study in order to use spells. The warlock, like the paladin, has a patron deity that grants them magical powers. The wizard has to study for years to know the spells that they can use.
The difference between witches and wicca is simply put by a blog I found, The Lotus Pond, run by a woman going by the name SilverLotus. In a post titled, “Wicca and Witchcraft: The Differences”, SilverLotus says it outright: “Wicca is a religion whereas Witchcraft is a practice.”
She later goes on in the post to point out other differences, but it all goes back to the fact that wicca is a religion and witchcraft is a practice. For example, wiccans observe ceremonial days to honor their deities, like Christians observe Easter and Christmas. Witches have the ability to practice magic and also belong to a different religion.
SilverLotus does address the fact that some do count witchcraft as a religion, and this is her blog and her opinion through her experiences.
To get another view on the difference between wicca and witchcraft, I asked my Pagan friend who is a practicing witch. She seemed to be agreeing with SilverLotus, as she said, “Wicca is more ‘religion/spirituality’ based. Being a witch is just practicing witchcraft. All wiccans are witches, [but] not all witches are wiccans.”
There is also the distinction between witches and wizards, most heavily in the Harry Potter series. J.K. Rowling made the words gendered, where ‘witch’ meant a female who could perform magic, and ‘wizard’ meant a male.
Of course, that gets into the whole thing where witch is feminine and wizard or warlock were interchangeably used to mean a masculine magic user, but I am not getting into that this week.