The relationship between Wicca and Paganism has been compared to certain branches of Christianity such as how Catholics are Christian yet not all Christians are Catholics, or how denominations such as Baptism is a type of Christianity. Wicca is a type of Paganism. It is one of the groups of Paganism which is most recognizable. It is like Baptism to Christianity, Wicca is its own type of Paganism. One of which that has its own practices, rituals and beliefs that are different, setting it apart from all other Pagan subgroups.
What is Paganism?
Paganism can be defined as many things, one of which is that the followers of this nature religion are not part of the other core religions such as Islam, Judaism or Christianity, etc. Unfortunately many forms of Paganism have gained bad publicity due to ignorance, one of which that still stands today is that Pagan and Wicca is the exact same thing.
Wicca is a Pagan Religion
Wicca being a subgroup of Paganism has been in practice since a long time as it is believed that Witches during centuries ago practiced Witchcraft, such as worshipping the Goddess and the God no matter what name or face was used as there have been many variations. They were also magic users/practitioners and those who followed the Laws of Wicca which are the Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law. The Rede which is one shall never harm another being (An it harm none, do as ye will) while the Threefold Law is whatever you put out/or do to others comes back threefold whether negative or positive). Wiccan traditions are often those who marginalize the God (Male half) and being highly Goddess oriented in their faith. Although the God (male deities) are praised, welcomed and recognized, they are not as important as the nurturing creator of the Earth Mother in practice and praise or in rituals. It is an opposite ranking system as they put more importance on the female members being Priestess, Crone, Mother and Maiden than that of Christianity/Catholics such as the male Pope, Catholic father as well as their Son and the holy ghosts of a higher power. Some other forms of Paganism tend to lean towards the Males importance. Wicca also celebrates what is known as the Wheel of the Year which is the eight Sabbats whom are Mabon, Samhain, Imbolc, Yule, Litha, Beltaine, Lammas and Ostara.
Misconceptions of Paganism
Due to the ignorance and misconceptions of Paganism as well as its branches, there are many who believe that Paganism is full of Women Hippies who carry around crystals and herbs everywhere they go. This is of course based on Paganism’s love of nature but mainly from Wicca’s female based practices and its heavy rituals, as Wicca requires quite a lot of time dedicated to performing rituals which use crystals, candles and herb. Wicca has also been known to have difficult rules for many to comply to. Of course this is in no way a bad thing but everyone is different and some feel all of the rituals and celebrations as a distraction to their faith while others felt that the Wicca views (nearly non existent) of darkness or negativity to be un-comprehensive which clashed with their own beliefs. Where other Paganism types believe that there is a balance between darkness and light which suits them better.
Like everything, what works and feels right for others may not work for you. Wicca and Paganism is the same way, so get out there and find out for yourself as that is the only way you will find out where you belong.