In ancient times, Pagan culture was strictly a nature-based religion. It was based upon the Sun, Moon, stars and other elemental and nature-based forces. From that time the religion evolved, as did man. When one knew how to intercede and interact with those powers of nature, they were called the wise ones.
Nearly every culture has evolved in wise ones being apart of it. Be it a sage, a medicine man, or a witch doctor. The wise ones not only knew how to interact with the powers but they knew what herbs and plants would heal or harm a person.
Some believed that ethnologist Dr. Gerald Gardner in England invented witchcraft. Although Dr. Gardner certainly was a wise and courageous man, he certainly did not invent witchcraft. Today many follow a path called Gardnerian Witchcraft. This simply means they follow the teachings of Dr. Gardner and his writings.
The Practice Witchcraft
For most who practice “witchcraft” they are simply practicing another path in the Earth-based religion of The Old Religion. Many are profound herbalists and are able to create tea and tonics to heal the body. Many are taught this from generation to generation. It is said that when a daughter is born of a witch – then they are a natural witch. In this respect, we are all natural Pagan’s as we all came from Pagans (at least in my spiritual beliefs).
Differences in Paths
There are some differences between the paths in that those who practice actively in witchcraft have ritual, structure, and formalization in how they practice their beliefs. Many things are done in such a manner it can only be described as being the same as Catholics praying over rosary beads. It is only a manner of how they are practicing their spiritual journey rather than what they believe in
Many who practice witchcraft also have specific deities to whom they feel akin to. Or special animal totems. This is not unlike the Native Americans who so closely commune with nature and animals as well. They too have animal totems that they feel akin with.
The Pagan Culture
The place of witchcraft in Pagan culture is the same as any other Pagan. They practice in their own individual way. It was once described to me this way. Every Christian believes in Christ. They all pray to him. They all worship him. However, how they worship, how they pray, and even how they visually see him within themselves is different. The faith is the same – the practice of that faith is different. It is the same with witchcraft, Wicca, Druidism, Shamanism, and many other paths. We all have faith in the same Divine Powers, we just pray, worship, and visualize differently.