Ask Difference

Pagan vs. Wiccan — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Updated on May 14, 2024
Paganism is a broad term for polytheistic or nature-based religions, while Wicca is a specific modern pagan religion with structured rituals and beliefs about magic and duotheism.
Pagan vs. Wiccan — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Pagan and Wiccan


Key Differences

Paganism encompasses a wide range of earth-centered or polytheistic spiritual paths, focusing on a reverence for nature and often a belief in multiple gods. Wicca, on the other hand, is a specific religion within the broader pagan spectrum, founded in the mid-20th century by Gerald Gardner. It combines elements of ceremonial magic, folk traditions, and witchcraft.
Pagan religions can vary greatly in their beliefs, practices, and structure, ranging from historically rooted traditions like Hellenism (reviving ancient Greek practices) to modern interpretations. Whereas, Wicca has a more defined set of practices and beliefs, including the worship of both a God and a Goddess, adherence to the Wiccan Rede, and the celebration of Sabbats and Esbats.
Many pagan paths do not have a centralized authority or set scriptures; their followers may practice individually or in loosely organized groups. Wicca, however, often involves more structured groups known as covens, and many traditions within Wicca have specific initiatory paths, including degrees of advancement.
In terms of rituals, paganism may involve a variety of rites that can be eclectic or drawn from ancient traditions. Wiccans typically perform rituals that adhere to a set liturgical year, celebrating the cycles of the sun and moon, which help to mark seasonal festivals and moon phases.
Paganism covers a broad spectrum of values depending on the particular tradition, with no single creed or moral code. Wicca specifically follows the Wiccan Rede, which states “An it harm none, do what ye will,” emphasizing the freedom to act as long as it harms no one.

Comparison Chart


A broad group of earth-centered or polytheistic religions.
A specific modern pagan religion with structured beliefs.


Varies widely, often polytheistic or animistic.
Duotheistic, worshipping a God and a Goddess.


Often decentralized and eclectic.
Structured, with organized covens and initiatory paths.


Diverse, can be individual or based on ancient practices.
Follows a set liturgical calendar with defined rituals.

Ethical Framework

Varied, no universal code.
Governed by the Wiccan Rede: “An it harm none, do what ye will.”

Compare with Definitions


Relating to beliefs that predate major world religions like Christianity.
Pagan rituals often involve nature worship.


A practitioner of Wicca, observing ceremonies involving magic and nature worship.
He is a Wiccan who attends coven meetings regularly.


A follower of a polytheistic or nature-based religion.
She identifies as a pagan because she worships multiple gods.


Often involved in a community or coven.
Their Wiccan coven gathers for each major holiday.


Involving a variety of ritual practices.
His pagan practices are influenced by Norse traditions.


Adheres to a belief in the duality of the divine.
Every Wiccan ritual honors both the God and the Goddess.


Typically decentralized with no single authority.
Pagan groups can vary greatly in their beliefs and practices.


Follows a structured set of rituals and ethical codes.
She practices her Wiccan rituals on each full moon.


Emphasizing a personal connection with nature.
As a pagan, she celebrates the solstices and equinoxes.


Bound by the Wiccan Rede, an ethical guideline.
As a Wiccan, she strictly follows the Rede in her daily life.


A town in Burma, situated on the River Irrawaddy south-east of Mandalay. It is the site of an ancient city, founded in about AD 849, which was the capital of a powerful Buddhist dynasty from the 11th to the end of the 13th centuries.


Of or relating to Wicca
The Wiccan religion.
A Wiccan ritual.


Relating to pagans or their beliefs
A pagan god


A believer or follower of Wicca.


An adherent of a polytheistic religion in antiquity, especially when viewed in contrast to an adherent of a monotheistic religion.


Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of, Wicca or its adherents.


A Neopagan.


An adherent or practitioner of Wicca.


One who has no religion.


An adherent of a religion other than Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.


A hedonist.


Relating to, characteristic of religions that differ from main world religions.


Savage, immoral, uncivilized, wild.


A person not adhering to a main world religion; a follower of a pantheistic or nature-worshipping religion.


An uncivilized or unsocialized person.


An unruly, badly educated child.


One who worships false gods; an idolater; a heathen; one who is neither a Christian, a Mohammedan, nor a Jew.
Neither having the accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man.


Of or pertaining to pagans; relating to the worship or the worshipers of false goods; heathen; idolatrous, as, pagan tribes or superstitions.
And all the rites of pagan honor paid.


A person who does not acknowledge your God


Not acknowledging the God of Christianity and Judaism and Islam

Common Curiosities

What is Wicca?

Wicca is a modern pagan religion that incorporates magic, worship of a God and Goddess, and seasonal rituals.

How do Paganism and Wicca differ?

Paganism is a broad category of religions, whereas Wicca is a specific, structured religion within that spectrum.

Can a Wiccan be called a Pagan?

Yes, Wicca falls under the broader umbrella of Paganism.

How does one become Wiccan?

Typically through study, practice, and sometimes initiation into a coven.

What is Paganism?

Paganism refers to a group of diverse, often polytheistic or nature-based spiritual paths.

Is there a moral code in Paganism?

It varies by tradition, but many pagan paths emphasize respect for nature and personal freedom.

What rituals do Wiccans perform?

Wiccans perform rituals that observe the phases of the moon, seasonal cycles, and involve elements of witchcraft.

Do all pagans worship nature?

Many do, but beliefs and practices can vary significantly among different pagan paths.

What are common pagan practices?

These vary widely but often include rituals celebrating the natural world and its cycles.

What does the Wiccan Rede entail?

The Wiccan Rede is an ethical guideline that advises adherents to harm none with their actions.

What is a coven in Wicca?

A coven is a structured group of Wiccans who meet regularly for rituals and fellowship.

What is the significance of nature in Wicca?

Nature is central in Wicca, symbolizing the divine and the cycles of life.

Are all pagans Wiccans?

No, Wiccans are a subset of the broader pagan community.

What distinguishes Wiccan beliefs from other pagan beliefs?

Wicca specifically incorporates elements of ceremonial magic, duotheism, and a defined ethical code, which may not be present in all pagan paths.

How do pagans view deities?

Pagans may view deities as literal or symbolic, varying widely from pantheons of gods to an immanent life force in nature.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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