Different Pagan Traditions

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In the Pagan community, there are a number of different spiritual belief systems, or traditions, that fall under the various headings of Wiccan, NeoWiccan or Pagan. However, many simply identify as traditions of witchcraft, within the Wiccan framework. Here are some of the most commonly discussed groups that you may find as you meet people of different Wiccan or Neowiccan traditions. There are different types and styles of witchcraft traditions—some may be right for you, and others not so much. Learn about the variations in spiritual paths even among Wiccans and NeoWiccans—some of the differences may surprise you!

Alexandrian Wicca

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Founded by Alex Sanders and his wife Maxine, Alexandrian Wicca became a popular tradition during the resurgence of modern Paganism. Heavily influenced by Gardner and his tradition, Alexandrian Wicca uses a degree system and has ties to ceremonial magic systems. This is a tradition which focuses on the polarity between the genders, and rites and ceremonies often dedicate equal time to the God and the Goddess. Although members are initiated, there is no laity; every individual is a priest or priestess.

British Traditional Wicca

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British Traditional Wicca is a term often used by Pagans in the U.S. to describe a specific set of covens in Britain. In general, this is an all-purpose category used to describe some of the New Forest traditions of Wicca. Gardnerian and Alexandrian are the two best-known, but there are some smaller subgroups as well. Some groups describe themselves as British Traditional Witchcraft, rather than as specifically Wiccan traditions.

Eclectic Wicca

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The phrase "eclectic Wicca" is a commonly used one, but it can have different meanings depending on who's using it. Many solitary Wiccans follow an eclectic path, but there are also covens that consider themselves eclectic. A coven or individual may use the term "eclectic" for a variety of reasons. Find out what Eclectic Wicca is, and who practices it.

Circle Sanctuary

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If you read much about Wicca and witchcraft, you've probably heard of Circle Sanctuary. They're a legally recognized church and non-profit organization that focuses on a theme of positive activism. Led by Selena Fox, Circle Sanctuary has been making a difference in the Pagan community since 1974. Circle Sanctuary sponsors gatherings and workshops at their land in southern Wisconsin, as well as hosting the annual Pagan Spirit Gathering, which is held in various places around the midwest. In addition, the group has been active in causes that effect military Pagans, such as the Veterans Pentacle Quest, and annual drive to get spiritual materials to Pagans stationed in military installations around the world.

Correllian Nativist Tradition

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The Correllian Nativist Tradition is a well-known tradition of witchcraft today. Originally a family hereditary tradition, members of the Correllian tradition opened their teachings up to the public a few decades ago. There is sometimes discussion in the Pagan community about the legitimacy of the Correllian background.

Covenant of the Goddess

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Covenant of the Goddess is a name that comes up often in discussion of Wiccan groups. While not a true tradition in and of itself, this is a group of several member traditions all operating under an umbrella set of bylaws and guidelines. They hold annual conferences, work to educate the public, hold rituals, and work on community outreach projects. Who are they, and what do they do?

Gardnerian Wicca

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When Gerald Gardner founded Wicca in the 1950s, he set the wheels turning for countless other traditions to form. Many of today's Wiccan covens can trace their origins back to Gardner, but the Gardnerians path itself remains initiatory and oathbound.

Dianic Wicca

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With origins in the feminist movement, Dianic Wicca has been embraced by many women trying to find an alternative to oppressive, patriarchal religion. The Dianic movement centers around the writings of Z Budapest, and one facet they all have in common is a celebration of the Goddess only, instead of the dual God/Goddess practice often found in Wicca. In recent years, the group has come under fire for statements made by Budapest.

Is Christian Witchcraft a Valid Tradition?

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A reader writes in asking about whether or not she can be both Christian and a witch. Let's also discuss that whole Biblical injunction about "thou shall not suffer a witch to live," as well as the conflicts you may encounter if you practice Wicca but still identify as a Christian.

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Wigington, Patti. "Different Pagan Traditions." Learn Religions, Aug. 29, 2020, learnreligions.com/different-traditions-of-witchcraft-2562912. Wigington, Patti. (2020, August 29). Different Pagan Traditions. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/different-traditions-of-witchcraft-2562912 Wigington, Patti. "Different Pagan Traditions." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/different-traditions-of-witchcraft-2562912 (accessed June 2, 2023).