Wicca and Satanism are different belief systems, although both use the words “witch” to describe a follower, which makes things nice and confusing. One of the reasons modern Witches now preferred to be called Wiccans is to not be confused with Satanist witches. The theory is that a different word will help remove some of the inherent prejudices that the word “witch” brings up to people.
However, there is not much dialogue betwen Wiccans and Satanists, outside of comparing music and fashion. But if they did get together, it really wouldn’t be a bad thing for anyone. In other words, the skies would not fall.
Where the Misconception Started
The main difference between Wiccan witches and Satanist witches is that Wiccans do not believe in a Devil or hell. Wiccans do not worship Satan. This popular misconception came about because of transcripts from various witch hunts from 1480 ‘” 1750. Innocent, often Christian people were tortured to confess that they did worship Satan and had sexual intercourse with him.
On the other hand, belief in Satan and hell is incidental to being a Satanist. Satan was seen as an archetype rather than a real being. They also believe in having as much decadent fun as you can possibly cram into one lifetime. Satanism’s European roots started as a reaction against Catholicism. Since secret male societies were the order of the day, Satanism became yet another members’ only club.
Which Witch Is Which?
The Wiccan religion is unorganized without any dogmas, any official holy book or any plans of world domination. There are as many versions of Wiccan beliefs as there are Wiccans. There are such people who describe themselves as Christian Witches hat mostly lean to Wicca as opposed to orthodox Christianity. In general, it is unknown who the founder of Wicca is, but the first modern person to stick his neck out and write a book about his Wiccan beliefs was Gerald Gardner in the 1950s. He founded what is now called the Gardnerian Tradition.
One tradition or denomination of Wicca is called the Alexandrian Tradition. A silght offshoot from the Gardnerian Tradition, this branch emphasises flashy utensils, lots of complex rituals and voluntary nudity and spells utilizing sex. The founder of the tradition, Alexander Sanders (1926 ‘” 1988), was a flamboyant, conterviersial character that claimed to have had sex with his grandmother as part of an initiation rite. His books seems to have influenced a man named Anton LeVey (1930 ‘” 1997).
Thank You Very Much, Anton LeVey
There are deiffernt types of Satanists, but the most popular in North America seems to be LeVeyan Satanism. The Church of Satan was started in 1966 by Anton LeVay. It, too, was basically a social club, although this time there was a lot of scantily-clad women bopping about. He wrote a book called “The Compleat Witch” (Dodd, Mead & Company; 1971) which was later re-titled “The Satanic Witch.”
LeVey’s books and interviews were actually quite tongue-in-cheek and even he didn’t take them too seriously. Unfortuantely, peole from the mainstream became terrified of his appearance and book titles. They never actually read the books. So the association witches and Satan-worship stuck in the mind of the general public. Wiccans tend to blame LeVey and his followers for contaminating the word “witch.”
Similarities in Morality
There are some similarities between Wicca and Satanism about how they deal with the general public and people who are not Wiccans or Satanists. These include:
1) Never forcing anyone to abandon their religious beliefs. You can worship whatever God you want to we don’t care. There are even agnostics and atheists in both Wicca and Satanism. The attitude is generally this: “What God I worship is my business not yours. Also, what God you worship is your business and not mine.”
2) “You can teach your children what you want. Again we don’t care ‘” as long as my kids do not have to listen to it or my tax dollars support it.”
3) No cannibalism. That’s a baddie.
4) No harming children. That’s pretty much an unforgiveable baddie in both belief systems.
5) No plans for world domination. Now, this writer knows that I’ve mentioned this before, but that’s only because I know some of you weren’t paying attention earlier.
6) Respecting nature is important. There are some Wiccans who will quibble that they respect Nature more than Satanists, but there are many Satanists who quietly do what they can to help the environment and animals.
7) All individuals are free to make their own choices about their lives, thank you very much.
Both Wiccans and Satanists use five-pointed pentagrams as their symbols. However, Wiccan pentagrams have their single point faacing upwards, while Satanists have their pentagram’s single point facing downwards or at a rakish angle.
Another misconception about both Wiccans and Satanists is that they are all con artists. Are there charlatans and scam artists calling themselves Wiccans or Satanists? There certainly are. A real Wiccan or Satanist would not force you to have sex with them or do crimes for them. Real Wiccans and Satanists do not care if other Wiccans or Satanists want to change their religion. Anyone who does — that’s a con artist.
Now, how many other religions can we think of that contain con artists?
“The Satanic Bible.” Anton LeVey. Dodd, Mead & Company; 1969)
“The Truth about Witchcraft Today.” Scott Cunningham. Llewellyn; 1988.
“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft.” Denise Zimmerman and Katherine A. Gleason. Penguin; 2003.
University of Missouri-Kansas City. “A Brief History of Witchcraft Persecutions Before Salem.” Douglas Linder. 2005. http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/salem/witchhistory.html
Author’s personal experience