exWitch Australia
Glossary of Wiccan, Neo-Pagan and Occult Terminology


Although the terms 'Path' and 'Tradition' are often used interchanably, properly speaking, in Neo-Paganism, while the term 'Path' refers to any one of a broad religious groupings within Neo-Paganism such as Norse Paganism or Wicca, the term 'Tradition' usually refers to any of the various sub-groups or "sects" within a certain Path.

Within Wicca, the term Tradition is often applied to an organized, structured, specific subgroup, usually initiatory, often with unique ritual practices.   The basis of any tradition is its Book of Shadows and specific oral instructions revealed only to initiates.   Most traditions are comprised of a number of covens.   Most recognize members of other traditions as Wiccans.

By way of example, within the Path of Wicca there are various Traditions, such as Gardnerian, Alexandrian, Seax, etc.

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One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.

Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans.   Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.

Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church.   Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.

- Jean-Luc
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