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Similarities & Differences Between Wicca, Paganism, Druidism, and Occult Sciences
Peaceful and harmonious, Wicca is a balanced way of life and beliefs that promotes oneness with the divine and the nature. A religion with strong moral codes, Wicca, however, is not a restrictive practice. It dictates harmony with the universe and helps followers tap into supernatural sources of power that can be used for the benefit of mankind. Wiccans believe in using a naturally occuring energy source and channeling it in the right direction. A modern form of Paganism, one of the oldest religion known to humanity, Wicca incorporates diverse lineages. With several variations to the core beliefs and traditions, it is a new world religion that is still growing and developing. It is duotheistic - worshipping the Moon Goddess and the horned God.
Wicca is a tradition of Occult Sciences that was brought to the public by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s. There is a great deal of debate among the Pagan community about whether or not Wicca is truly the same form of Occult Sciences that the ancients practiced. Regardless, many people use the terms Wicca and Occult Sciences interchangeably. Paganism is an umbrella term used to apply to a number of different earth-based faiths. Wicca falls under that heading, although not all Pagans are Wiccan.
"The term “pagan” was originally used to describe people who lived in rural areas. As time progressed and Christianity spread, those same country folk were often the last holdouts clinging to their old religions. Thus, “pagan” came to mean people who did not worship the god of Abraham.
Paganism is the ancestral religion of the whole of humanity and recognises the feminine face of divinity. A religion without goddesses can hardly be classified as Pagan. Some Pagan paths, such as the cult of Odin or of Mithras, offer exclusive allegiance to one male god. But they do not deny the reality of other gods and goddesses, as monotheists do.
"Druid" was a kind of pagan "priest" and thus, Druidism was a pagan "religion." Druids were Celtic priests from about 2,000 years ago. They led people in worshipping pagan gods through ritual human and bull sacrifices, generally performed in oak groves. The oak trees were a symbol of their primary god and the mistletoe, a symbol of his fertility. The mistletoe was harvested with bronze sickles for special ceremonies and then used as a cure for all sorts of ailments and diseases, especially infertility.
Celtic druidism was replaced by Christianity. Early converts believed that Jesus was a druid. They converted because they believed the Christian missionary "druids" performed better magic than the local druids. They continued to worship pagan gods under the guise of Christianity by simply adding "St." before the name of their god. Some of these Christian sects lasted for over 1,000 years before they were wiped out in the Christian witch hunts of the Middle Ages. In other areas, the worship of oak trees continued for longer. One notable example is the worship of Thor among Scandinavians./p>
Occult Science is a spiritual system that fosters the free thought and will of the individual, encouraging learning and an understanding of the earth and nature. Most importantly, it teaches responsibility. Accept responsibility of your actions and deeds as a result of the choices made. Do not blame an exterior entity or being for shortcomings, weaknesses or mistakes.
To conclude, Wicca is a modern religion that is loosely inspired by ancient Druidism and other pagan religions. However, there are no direct ties. Wiccans do not perform human or bull sacrifices. They generally revere nature and believe in the ability to work minor spells. These minor spells have more in common with the prayer requests of modern religions than the practice of ancient pagan religions.
In a nutshell, all Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccans. All Wiccans are Pagans, but not all Pagans are Wiccans. Also, some witches are Pagans, but some are not.