Question of the Week: Using ‘Witch’

There has been some debate among the Pagan community about how to use the word “witch,” as in, what does this word mean to our community and to individuals.  Some say that a person can only be called a Witch if they’re part of a tradition and are initiated.  Others say that Witch/witch can be used by anyone and refer to any female magickal practitioner.  So I’m opening the question up to the readers:

What does “Witch” mean and how do you use it?

Remember, no flaming or being disrespectful of other peoples’ opinions.  You will be blocked if you do.  Post your responses in the comments below!


3 responses to “Question of the Week: Using ‘Witch’

  1. I define witch as “one who practices witchcraft”. I know many may disagree with me but “witchcraft” is a set of skills, an occupation not a religion. Many people try to say that witches are followers of ancient Indo-European religion and I have to call bull on this, because so many other cultures apart from the Indo-Europeans also have their witches. Yes many members of our western neo-pagan culture likes to call themselves witches and they may actually be practicing witchcraft but witchcraft itself is no more a religion than being a plumber or doctor is. One can be a witch with in any religious setting.
    And as for the word witch being used only to describe female magic users I would like to remind people that there are male witches too, like the male Witch doctors within African based traditions like voodoo.

    • I think a lot of people, at least those in the West, tend to forget that “witch” can be applied to males as well. It has just been so drummed into our consciousness that witches are female.

  2. I would say anyone who is part of a tradition and initiated, BUT I’m very open about what’s considered tradition and initiation. One can be Wiccan, solitary, hedgewitch, hereditary witch, whatever… I think it’s a name a person earns, and if a woman (or man) feels like she (or he) has earned it, then by all means use it! The community will indeed hold a person accountable for using that name, and standing up to the community (in agreement or disagreement) can only help a person grow into his or her practice.

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