Wicca is an alternate, and sometimes preferred, name for the religion of contemporary Witchcraft. Some witches prefer to call themselves Wiccans rather than Witches and say they practice Wicca, rather than Witchcraft, because the words do not carry the negative stereotypes attached to Witch and Witchcraft. The terms Wicca and Wiccan distinguish practitioners of contemporary Witchcraft the religion from practitioners of folk Magic and other forms of witchcraft as sorcery. They signify an organized religion with a set of beliefs, tenets, laws, ethics, holy days and rituals.

Some Wiccans believe that Wicca is derived from the Old English terms wita, which means “councilor,” or wis, which means “wise.” Wicca is Old English for “witch,” as is the Old English term wicce. Wiccian means “to work sorcery” and “to bewitch.” Still another Old English term, wican, means “to bend.” In the sense that Witches use magic to influence events, Wicca and Wiccan are therefore appropriate terms.


The Encyclopedia of Witches, Witchcraft and Wicca – written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – Copyright © 1989, 1999, 2008 by Visionary Living, Inc.