Modern Witchcraft: Tradition Re-invented and Renewed


Traditional Witches worshipped Nature as an all-powerful force instead of worshipping Deity. Wicca is polytheistic: Modern Witches worship a single Goddess and a God as female / male polarity, a single Goddess and God containing multiple aspects, or multiple Goddesses and Gods. The multiples can be derived from a single pantheon or from multiple pantheons in some cases.

Days of Power

In Traditional Witchcraft, Sabbats were celebrated at the full moon. The Solstices, the Equinoxes, Samhain and in some instances Beltane, Yule and Ostara, were purely viewed as festivals. In Wicca, the full moon is celebrated as an Esbat and the full moon celebrations were the Sabbats. The days now celebrated by Wiccans as Sabbats are the Solstices, the Equinoxes, Samhain, Beltane, Yule and Ostara.


All traditional Witches practiced Magick albeit a shamanic type of folk Magick. They basically only used that which nature provided in their spells, such as herbs, stones, water, sand, twigs, fruits etc. No ritual, circle casting, calling guardians, invoking deity and other formalities were involved. They simply called forth as spirit to aid with the spell and would use their own personal power to manifest the required change. Their Magick was neutral and the traditional Witch has to use their own judgment to decide on when to curse and when to bless, when to create and when to destroy.

Modern Witchcraft or Wicca by comparison, has very strict rules around the use of Magick. It is governed by the Wiccan Rede and several other universally accepted rules stipulating that Magick may never be used for harm. Many Wiccans do not practice Magick at all. Wicca is ritualistic. It is prerequisite to conduct all ritual within the sacred, safe space afforded the Witch by the Circle. As a rule, ritual work is preceded by cleansing, a Circle is cast, quarters are called and Deity invoked. During the ritual, magickal workings are done by means of energy raising. The energy is grounded afterwards and a ritual is followed to clear the energy and to open the circle again.


These differences are not really as great as one would have initially though. Even the Traditional form of the Craft evolved from the way it was practiced 5,000 years ago in keeping with the times in which it was practiced. Viewed against this backdrop, Wicca is perhaps not really a ‘new’ Craft, but a renewal of the ‘old’.

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Rose Ariadne: Providing “Magickal” answers to your Pagan, Wiccan, Witchcraft spell casting questions since 2006.

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