I am often asked what the difference is between being Wiccan and being Pagan. It’s rather difficult at times to explain to people that Paganism and Wicca are in a sense one in the same. Pagan is only an umbrella term that is used to describe a variety of different faiths, while Wiccan is a term that is used to describe one of those specific faiths.
I have found over time that one of the easiest ways to explain this to the non-believer, is to just simply say that Pagan is similar in context to Christian, while Wiccan would be the specific denomination like Baptist or Methodist. While each has their own set of beliefs that may differ from the rest, there are some different principles that are the same throughout Christianity, just as there are some different principles throughout Paganism.
In an attempt to help arm you with some information that will help you should you ever be asked this type of question, I have compiled some of the most common principles that span the varying types of Paganism. I hope that you find this information useful, and perhaps learn something about our wonderful belief system that you may not have known before.
1. The beliefs you choose to adopt are you own responsibility.
Unlike other forms of religion, with any form of Paganism you are the one that is completely responsible for what you choose to believe. This includes your ideas and beliefs on spirituality, the nature of the Divine, your values and ethics, the nature of the physical world around you and what your specific place in that world is. While this is an immense responsibility to take on, it is what truly separates Paganism from other religions and helps you to become more self-aware of the world around you.
2. You are responsible for recognizing, or not recognizing, your choice in Deity and establishing a relationship with that Deity.
Deity is a very personal thing. There is a good chance that if you ask ten different Pagans what Deity they recognize, you will get ten different answers. With Paganism, you must determine what Deity means to you, and whether or not you are going to choose to recognize the Divine as it’s own personal being.
3. You are responsible for your actions and the choices that you make in life.
The true Pagan does not place blame for their actions on others, nor blame some omnipresent deceiver that is out to tempt us into an immoral life. You recognize that the choices you make, whether moral or immoral are truly yours and that you must take responsibility for those actions regardless of what the consequences are.
4. You recognize that everything in life is connected, contains it’s own spark of intelligence and is sacred in it’s own right.
From the smallest atom to the Earth and extending Universe itself, everything is connected. Each being, from the tiny amoeba to the evolved human contains it’s own spark of intelligence that forms it’s own consciousness. Life is a sacred thing that should be recognized and honored. Just as your Deity is Divine, so you are you since we are all one.
These are of course just some of the most common principles that bind the different forms of Paganism together. As principle number one states, you are responsible for what you believe. I encourage all of you to research as many beliefs and ideals that fall under the vast scope of the Paganism umbrella, so that you can truly become enlightened on what being a Pagan is all about.
Your Warm and Caring “Resident Witch In Charge”