Note: These materials were added at the end of the project and did not
go through the same extensive commentary as the other sections. However,
they still have value and may be useful. When these materials are updated
in the future, they will be added in with the other sections.
Many Wiccans prefer not to use the terms "Witchcraft" or "Witch" in association
with their religion, as they believe the word has too many negative connotations.
Many Pagans who self-identify as Witches do so to reclaim or redefine
the word. The individual's preference should determine the use of terms.
The terms "Wiccan" and "Witch" apply to both male and female practitioners.
"Black magic" and "white Witch" are considered racist and unacceptable;
magic comes in a full spectrum of colors, and is morally neutral, the
purpose for which it is used being determined by the ethics of the practitioner.
"Warlock," "sorcerer," etc. are not used within the
movement; "warlock" derives from Anglo-Saxon "waer-loga":
"oath-breaker." The word has been used for a Witch who betrayed others
to the Witch hunters, and has been erroneously used by non-Pagans to
refer to male Witches. Contemporary Wiccans may use the term to describe
an initiated Witch who turns against the Craft.
"Wizard" is a specifically masculine term, deriving from Anglo-Saxon
"wysard": "wise one." A wizard is a lore-master, especially
of arcane knowledge (hence such usages as "computer wizard"), as well
as a magickal practitioner. It is not commonly used to describe a practitioner
Terms such as "Pagan" and "Witch", when used to denote contemporary Pagan
spirituality, should always be capitalized, just as "Christian,"
"Jew," or "Hindu" is. Journalists rarely capitalize these terms, however,
because dictionaries and style books show the words as lowercase. However,
capitalization is an easy way to distinguish usage. The use of "witchcraft"
(lowercase) denotes the inherited usage, while "Witchcraft" (capitalized)
denotes the contemporary Pagan usage.
"Lady," "Mother," etc. should be capitalized in contexts where one would
capitalize "God," "Lord," "Father," etc.
often refer to their deities as "The Goddess" and "The God" rather than
just "Goddess" or "God." Example: "They prayed to the God during the ritual"
vs. "They prayed to the god Pan during the ritual"
For further resources on many Pagan religions, please see the FAQ
from the Papal Apology project.