Witches FAQ – who we are…


“Here you will find our beliefs, our myths, our holidays, their meanings and all of the foundations for our religion. Our ethics and our actions all arise from our basic beliefs about the nature of the world.”
Common Questions and Answers about the basic Beliefs of WitchCraft or Wicca:
What is today’s version of Wicca?
Scott Cunningham’s Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner published in 1988, was the first popular book to use the word Wicca in the title and he was also among the first writers to claim there is a difference between Wicca and Witchcraft. What is practiced today or are versed to be Wicca, is considered to be a modern pagan, witchcraft religion based on these tenets.  At NYC Wiccan Family Temple we believe the are one and the same.
Is there a difference between Wicca and WitchCraft?
Before 1988 there were no “distinction” between Witchcraft and Wicca and was quite a surprise, to those who embarked upon this path back in the 1960s and ’70s to learn that there was a distinction to even be discussed. Although the term Wicca was known (as the origin of the word Witch), it was seldom used. We were Witches, pure and simple. And we practiced Witchcraft, or sometimes “the Craft”, or (based on a popular but incorrect etymology) “the Craft of the Wise”, or “the Old Religion”. But nobody practiced “Wicca”. Even Gardnerians called themselves Witches, typically modified by others to Gardnerian Witches. On the rare occasion when the word Wicca did come up, it was used interchangeably with Witchcraft.
In fact at that point it never occurred to anyone to attempt to make a distinction between the spiritual, devotional, or celebrational side of our religion, since one of the principle tenets of Witchcraft is that the spiritual and material sides of life interpenetrate one another and cannot be meaningfully separated.
The etymology of Wicca, how did it derive?
The word “wicca” and “witch” are the same word. Oxford English Dictionary (O.E.D. known by scholars) is the highest court of appeals for questions of etymology.
“Witch” comes from the Saxon word “wicca”. That is a noun with a masculine ending, and it should properly be pronounced “witch’-ah”, not “wick’-ah”! In the Saxon tongue, nouns had either masculine or feminine endings, depending on their referents. The feminine form was “wicce”, properly pronounced “witch’-eh”.
The Saxon “cc” was pronounced “tch”, it becomes easier to understand how the modern word “witch” is derived from the Old English “wicca”, and how, ultimately, they are the same word. Note the same word was applied to both males and females, with only the ending changed. As the word evolved into modern English, the gender ending was dropped, leaving us with a word that is pronounced “witch”, and ultimately spelled that way.
The word “wiccan”, although typically used by modern Witches to modify a noun (“This is a Wiccan ceremony ending, obviously. The feminine plural form would be “wiccen” (rhymes with bitchin’). 😉 Although in modern English, the “s” or “es” plural ending is the most common, the “an” or “en” plural is not unknown, the most obvious example being child > children.
WICCA = WICK-CHA (AH not A) male Witch
WICCE = WICK-CHE (EH not E) female Witch
WICCAN = WICK-CHAN plural more than one Witch
If these pronunciations give you trouble, you may try:
Why be called a ‘Witch’?
Essentially, because that is who we are.  I think we’ve explained the word to you above, so what’s wrong with calling yourself by the name of what and who you are. Witches were the doctors, midwives, psychiatrists, and lawyers of a town — a noble profession. It was only due to Christian and media distortions that the word became associated with “evil” and “devil-worship”.
Does Witches do evil? 
In general Witches do not believe in doing evil, but do keep in mind that there are good and bad people in every religion. Many go under the premise of, “An ye harm none (not even thyself), do what ye will.” (from the Wiccan Rede first publicly recorded in 1964 by Doreen Valiente).
Do Witches worship the Devil or Satan?
Witches do not worship Satan – As a matter of fact they do not have a Satan/Devil or any all-evil deity in their religious structure. Witchcraft is a religion that underscores polarity and views God and Goddess as equal entities.  
The Goddess and God of the Witches are in no way connected to Satanic practices. Since we do not believe in and do not condone giving power to such a being, we in turn cannot give credence to and worship something that we do not believe in.  But we do believe that Satan, or the Devil, is a Christian creation and since they created this being they are more than welcome to keep him in all his thought form glory.  
Where can one go to Study the Craft?
If you are interested in pursuing magickal studies, the best advise we can give you is to read, read and guess what… READ! (recommended sources and books)
Other resources available to you are workshops and study groups hosted by your local Wiccan or Witch Schools, bookstores, and new age shops. You can network locally and on the internet through participation in newsgroups and on-line study groups.
The Wiccan Family Temple also created the WFT Academy of Pagan Studies based in New York City. Some could call it our own Witch School, Hogsworts or Magickal learning place… you can visit us here at the academy: http://www.wftacademyofpaganstudies.org
How do witches view death?
Most Witches believe in reincarnation and/or Summerland. After passing over, Summerland is where the spirit awaits to be returned into a new physical form or other choices of Elysian Fields or Tartarus etc, depending on their individual beliefs. We do not believe in a Heaven or Hell where the spirit spends eternity as reward or punishment for ones earthly actions.
Who are witches and what do they look like?
Witches come from every economic, ethnic and gender background – Many witches are professional people holding positions of responsibility such as Doctors, Nurses, Lawyers, Police Officers, Teachers, etc. Witchcraft does not discriminate against color or ethnic origin and does view everything as equal in the eyes of the Goddess and God.
Why do Witches wear black? 
I know personally I love wearing black, but Witches wear clothing of every color and every style – Many Witches do choose to wear black clothing or ritual robes during practice. The color black is the culmination of all vibrational rates of light on the material plane. Black absorbs light information and helps Witches be more receptive to psychic impressions and energies.
The Witches SABBATS
Since Witchcraft is an “Earth based Religion”: We celebrate the Solstices and Equinoxes (the first day of Spring, Summer, Fall, & Winter). We call these “Ostara”, “Litha”, “Mabon”, & “Yule”, respectively.
We also celebrate 4 days mid-way between the above dates. These are known as “Imbolc” – 2/2, “Beltane” – 5/1, “Lughnasadh” – 8/1, and “Samhain” – 10/31. On these days, we observe & celebrate the changing of the seasons and seek to attain balance within ourselves and to become attuned to the rhythms of Life.
Please check our Schedule Calendar of the Year for the listed events
Do Witches cast spells? 
YES!!! Witches do use or cast spells – A spell is a thought, a projection, or a prayer. Other religions use prayer, meditation, projection and ritual to produce an intended result. The word “spell” does not imply doing evil or harm.
What is Skyclad and why do some Witches practice Skyclad?
The word Skyclad means going naked in circle, coven, ritual etc. Some traditions do believe in doing so, others do not. The Wiccan Family Temple does not follow this tradition in public, but may adapt it privately at home.  Whether you are naked or not is quite irrelevant to how powerful your ritual is. At least that is our opinion and practice. Others groups and traditions do have strong feelings about this topic and that is perfectly okay. We do believe that you should practice your Craft in a way that is best for you.
Do Witches use a wand? 
Witches do use magic wands – Often you see the use of magic wands in children’s cartoons and movies making the idea seem frivolous. In actuality the magic wand is used in ritual for directing energy.
We at the NYC Wiccan Family Temple as Witches do use Witchcraft as a science, Art and a Religion.
Witches use their knowledge and magick in harmony with the Universe and Nature around them.
What is your belief regarding the Earth and nature?
Witches do concern themselves with ecology: We believe and will never forget this basic fact: the World is not our enemy. Neither is it inert matter. The Earth and all living things share the same life-force. They are composed of patterns of intelligence, of knowledge, and of divinity. All life is a web. We are woven into it as sisters and brothers of all. Witches need to be grounded in both worlds and awake to their responsibilities for both worlds.
It is only being responsible human beings that we can be responsible Witches.
Texts are from the NYC Wiccan Family Temple, Mike Nichols and some are *Excerpts from “Power of the Witch” by Laurie Cabot,
Delacourt Press. (Dell Publishing) N.Y., N.Y., October 1989 and other internet sources.

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