Wicca, Paganism and Reiki, oh my!
Wicca, witchcraft, Paganism, magic, Reiki. Everyone thinks they have a basic knowledge about these things, but what is Wicca? Whatâ€™s the difference between Wicca and Paganism? Are Wiccans witches? And how does Reiki healing fit into Wiccan beliefs? Let’s have a look at the definitions and backgrounds and see if we can clear up any misunderstandings.
Are Paganism and Wicca the same thing?
Paganism and Wiccan are both very similar and very different, but they are certainly not the same thing. Paganism is an umbrella term to describe any religion that is not Christianity or Judaism. Originally meaning rustic villager, the term Pagan was later adopted into Christian Latin.
Wicca, on the other hand, is a religion and falls under the term Paganism. Wicca is just one of the branches of witchcraft, therefore all Wiccan are Pagan but not all Wiccan are witches, just as all Pagans aren’t Wiccan
There are variations on the definition of Paganism, as well as witchcraft and Wicca, but it is generally felt that Pagans believe in and work with nature, which is something that is echoed through witchcraft and Wicca. Pagans, witches and those following the Wiccan faith base their lives on the ethics of respecting and honouring all things in the world, living and non-living, including accepting others for their differences and being non-judgemental as long as no one and nothing is harmed.
So what is Wicca?
Although it refers back to witchcraft before Christianity came to the British Isles, Wicca was actually founded in the early 1950s by Gerald Gardner, a retired civil servant and amateur anthropologist with an interest in witchcraft and the occult. Of course, witchcraft had been practiced for many years prior to this but Gardner wrote the guidelines for Wicca and made it public after the law prohibiting the practice of witchcraft was lifted. He created coverns throughout England and branched out to America before his death in 1964.
There is some debate on the definition of Wicca, some suggesting that it means something like “Craft of the Wise”. Female witches practising Wicca are called Wicce, while male witches are called Wicca.
The term Warlock should never be used as this actually means “oath-breaker”.
While Wicca is quite modern, it is based on the methods and beliefs of witchcraft that we all know at least a little about. But remember, not every modern witch is a Wiccan.
It’s a complex religion, but also a fairly open one in that as long as you abide by a certain set of rules to live with nature, respect everything and everyone around you and do no harm, you can follow whichever path you feel is right for you, which may mean taking pieces from various faiths of witchcraft.
Wiccans believe in living in harmony with all things, from nature to other people, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, colour and size, similar to the Pagan belief system. Many follow the Wiccan Rede, an ethical statement counselling how Wiccans should live.
There is no variation of a Wiccan Bible, instead most modern Wiccans keep a Book of Shadows, which is a form of a journal, where a witch can keep their rituals, spells, discoveries, herb lore, spells and anything else of significance to their faith.
While Wicca is based on witchcraft, the practice of magic is not necessary and, in fact, many Wiccans feel that if you’re in it for the magic alone, you’re not a true Wiccan or witch. This is a spiritual religion and magic only has the desired effects if you are connected to nature. You can find spells and supplies listed on this website, as well as books about Wiccan rituals, magic and information about the incense, oils, herbs and candles that may be required.
How does Reiki fit into this?
Reiki is a Japanese healing technique that relaxes and reduces stress. Based on the idea of “life force energy”, known as ki, chi or prana, flowing through us and giving us life. Reiki is administered from certificated attuned masters by “laying on hands”.
While not technically connected to Wicca at all, Reiki is surprisingly similar. While Wicca draws on the energy from the earth, air, wind, fire and spirits, Reiki is about manipulating your life force energy. Reiki is not a religion but it does follow a set of values and is described as the “secret art of inviting happiness”. So it’s no surprise that many who practice Wicca or witchcraft are also Reiki masters.
Reiki is working its way through the western world, with some hospitals now practicing the art alongside other treatments to aid healing. People have said that a Reiki treatment can leave you feeling a “wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you”.
It has many benefits, including:
- Helping to heal physical and emotional wounds.
- Relieving pain and side effects.
- Reducing stress (which we all need these days).
- Soothing grief.
- Improving spiritual awareness, leaving you with a feeling a peace and security.
So there are a lot of benefits, and with very few risks. Although please do not undergo Reiki treatment in place of medical assistance, and please make sure you feel comfortable with the person performing the Reiki, so that you can truly relax.
To learn more about Wicca, try our bookstore where you can find the Wicca Bible and To Ride a Silver Broomstick. Have a look around our site for supplies and you can also find some exquisite Wiccan jewellery, a perfect gift for the Wiccan in your life