Wicca versus Paganism
Wicca and Pagan are two religions, which have many similarities as well as many differences within each area. Wicca is a sect of Pagan in which each has their own variations on the religion. A good way to put it; all Wiccans are Pagan, but not all Pagans are Wiccan. Witch is a term used for any practitioner of Wicca. The Webster's II Dictionary defines witch as 1. A woman who practices sorcery or is believed to have dealings with the devil, 2. An ugly, vicious old woman; hag. Wicca is described by the American Heritage Dictionary as the cult of witchcraft. Pagan is the religion under which many different religions are practiced. Webster's II Dictionary defines pagan as one who does not acknowledge the god of Christianity, Islam, or Judaism; heathen. Most parts of these definitions are wrong.
Wicca is a sect of Paganism, in which different practices are learned, worshipped, and taught. One form of Wicca is Solitary Practitioners the other is Coven Practitioners. The forms of Wicca that are practiced vary in most uses. Solitary Practitioners usually 'pray';, read, meditate, and cast magik and spells alone. Whereas Covenants practice these familiar things amongst a group of anywhere from two people up to thirteen people. In Pagan practices, these things are practiced normally within a group setting of anywhere from two people to hundreds of people. Both practices use a magik circle which is either drawn imaginary or with the use of a broom or sea salt. This is to keep out any negative energy from entering the circle while any type of practice is being done. This keeps the practitioner(s) from any harm or wrongdoing. Both of these religions are nature-based and usually have one of three belief systems in common: polytheism, pantheism, and animism.
Both of these religions use many objects in their practices or studies. Both Wiccans and Pagans will use what is called Magikal tools. These are known to include, incense, candles, athames; usually known as a black handled knife, the broom; used to 'sweep'; away negative energies, the cup or chalice; used to hold such things as blessed water, wine and other fluids, the cauldron; used as an instrument in which to cook and for brew making, also used for scrying, and most importantly, the pentacle. The pentacle is usually a flat piece of brass, gold, silver, wood, wax, or clay, inscribed with certain symbols. The most common and the most necessary symbol is the pentagram, the five-pointed star. This is used for protection. Both religions have holidays, otherwise known as Sabbats. There are eight Sabbats, four major and four minor Sabbats. These are Samhain, October 31, the 'New Year';, Yule, December 21, the Winter Solstice, Imbolg, February 1, the welcoming of Spring, Ostara, March 21, Spring Equinox, Beltane, May 1, Lady Day, Midsummer, June 21, Midsummer Solstice, Lammas, August 1, Honors Mother Earth's wedding, and Mabon, September 21, Autumn Equinox....