Ok so i dont like to label myself as anything...and when people would ask me what i believed in i would say no religion only god and new age. I recently started getting deeper in my spirituality and found pagan. I was surprised that i was extremely drawn to it and believed in many of the beliefs. But pagan is not a religion am i correct? It is an umbrella term of many other religions? Like hindu, wicca, etc? Also why are wiccans witches??? Because they do rituals and spells??? I have been studying both wicca and pagan and i love it. I did do a spell for the 1st time yesterday. But i still feel uncomfortable calling myself a wiccan or a witch....maybe because im still very new and bot a pro and i still have a lot to learn...and because i just feel silly calling myself a witch. I also love the pentacle. I thought this was pagan but im starting to see its wiccan?? Is that right??? So since im still New...is it safe to call myself a pagan? Or am i supposed to be longer into it and study more? I dont know why i feel silly labeling myself.
Paganism was way before Wicca was ever established. They're both nature based religions. But there's a difference between witchcraft and Paganism/Wicca. Witchcraft is a craft, where as Paganism and Wicca are religions, spiritual paths if you will.
And if your not comfortable calling yourself "Wiccan/Witch", Don't. I actually dislike the term "witch" because of the way people nowadays will react to it. I simply call myself a practitioner. Hope this helped.
Vickie, you might find this thread What Wicca Is and Isn't helpful in understanding more about the religion of Wicca: http://www.spellsofmagic.com/read_post.html?post=637268 You can also browse through the thread Main Wicca Posts for more information about Wicca.
I've been a practicing Wiccan for over 30 years and I'll be glad to try to answer specific questions for youl and to point you at good resources if you wish to learn more about Wicca.
When Gerald Gardner first developed Wicca in the 1940's it was called the Cult of the Witches and the members were known as "of the Wica". Witchcraft is part of Wicca in that we use magic in our rituals and beliefs. That being said, spellcraft isn't all that important in Wicca. So if it is more spells tyhan religion you are interested in then calling yourself Witch rather than Wiccan is probably a better idea.
But right now there is no need to call yourself anything specific at all. You might simply refer to yourself as a Seeker since you are exploring where you want to go in terms of your spirituality.
Yes and no. Paganism means anything not following Judaism, Christianity or Islam. However I know a few people who call themselves 'Pagan' so you can also.
2. Why are Wiccans Witches?
Ever heard the oh so confusing phrase 'all Wiccans are witches but not all witches are Wiccans?' I'm probably going to mess this whole thing up but Wicca is a religion, but since it has many elements of witchcraft, some Wiccans call themselves witches. Witchcraft is also a religion [which I'm not qualified to explain, ask a Moderator like Brysing] but it has some differences like they don't follow the Rede so they just go by 'Witch'. Think of it like Christianity, an Anglican and a Baptist can both call themselves Christian, it's the little differences that makes them 'Anglican' or 'Baptist'.
3. Because they do rituals and spells?
Not 100% who you mean, but both groups do rituals and spells [and to really confuse you both witches and Wiccans dont always cast spells] I've heard people claim Wicca is the Cathoics of the pagan community because of their rituals. I know both witches and Wiccans who don't cast spells, but all Wiccans I've met preform at least some form of ritual while I know some witches who might acknowledge a Sabbat but won't cast a circle and preform a ceremony/ritual. Again, just subtle differences.
4. What do I call myself?
Anything you like really. I go with Wiccan or Witch, I know people who go with Pagan, I know some who prefer to call themselves a Buddhist because they follow the Buddha's teachings just with some witchcraft elements. Decide for yourself, there really isn't a wrong answer. Just research the history of the word should you choose something like Shaman, Mage or warlock.
5. Is the pentacle Wiccan?
It's an old protection symbol used by many groups from witches to even Christians. If you feel drawn to the symbol use it. It's not the symbol that has power but the power you give it. You believe it has power therefore it does.
6. How long should I study before calling myself pagan?
I know people who started calling themself a witch minutes after reading a Wikipedia article, and I know witches who studied for a year or more. Whatever you're comfortable with. Personally I would hold off until you know the basics of the religion before jumping on board, but it sounds like you've done some leg work already so go for it.