Are You a Witch Or a Pagan Or Both?

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Iconic Witch Growing up, I did not really have much of a choice in defining myself as a witch.  I’m an African American from the south, and as things arranged themselves from the beginning, “follower” was nowhere in my personality, so no matter what religion I settled into, I would be a witch.  My definition of a witch, and some may agree or disagree, is someone who consciously uses their knowledge of both the seen and unseen/spiritual forces and aspects of Nature to solve problems, change situations, thrive, and help others to thrive.  A witch may come from or practice any religion, or no religion, and may even be an atheist.

So a person may be Pagan (originally defined as one whose primary spiritual practice is local/ancestral rather than state sanctioned, but now means polytheistic/polyentheistic/pantheistic or animist) without being necessarily a witch.  Pagans tend to be more witch friendly these days in the west, but not always.  In some places, even with mostly Pagans, there are practices or actions which are considered unsanctioned or criminal.  So then witchcraft would be defined as any unsanctioned and particularly unwelcome spiritual practice, especially hostile use of the forces of Nature and will.  In some cultures, one may accidentally do hostile witchcraft without consciously intending to.

The general definition of witchcraft is somewhat fluid, but not totally fluid.  The wiggle-room in there though, has allowed many people to claim to be witches, who don’t actually do any conscious witchcraft or hold beliefs that would make them aware that they are capable of unconscious witchcraft or manifestation of will.  In this, the postmodernist era, anyone can define themselves as anything they want, but since this site is about being effective witches, we are drawing the lines.  Some will call them arbitrary, but if they can be, then so can I.  Later in your practice, if you find yourself on the brink of getting into a silly argument with someone who has decided that you’re intolerant or whatever, blame me.  I don’t mind being the villain who taught you that unless you’re living in a culture with a tradition of accusing people of unconscious witchcraft, a witch should actually be doing witchcraft and not just calling themselves a witch to look cool and rebellious.

Now, moving on to Paganism, though I don’t think Pagan is the most accurate term, it has become the general term for anyone theist but not not strictly monotheistic in the English speaking/western parts of the world.  So I use it so as to avoid confusion.  My personal definition of a Pagan is someone who views deity as varied and/or multifaceted and whose religious and/or spiritual practice reflects this belief.  Now personally, I prefer to address or refer to someone’s spiritual practice or religion by the term evinced by their main pantheon.  If their main pantheon is Greek, I would rather call them Hellenic than Pagan.  If it is Yoruba, I would prefer to call them Orishan or Orisha-ist than Pagan.  For me, Pagan is a general term or one that I use when someone prefers to be called this.

Where it gets a little trickier is with those who are in one of the monotheistic faiths, and believes in them strongly, just not in the state sanctioned or popular way.  Much of the time, this is because there are different sects with different practices, and quite often it happens that a person will come to an understanding of Nature or the efficacy of giving spirits they may not elevate to deity, more appreciation for what they do.  Some believe that there is only one Almighty or All-Father/Mother, but that other spirits are important and helpful too such as angels, Ancestors, faeries, etc.  Are those people Pagans too?

My opinion: maybe.  In those cases, I prefer to let them decide.

Next question: Can such a person be a witch?

My opinion: most definitely.

Growing up in a Christian family wherein my parents’ generation had less tolerance for the old ways or explicitly “occult” practices than the previous, there were many things they did which could be considered witchcraft.  The laying on of hands for healing or bringing changes or injecting positive energy/blessings into objects, for instance, is using the unseen forces of Nature to channel or send energy.  Prayer is that and projecting will.  Tithing is giving offerings because it makes sense to support one’s temple and the people who maintain it, and hopefully the community around it as well.  Pressing a flower from your date or boyfriend in your Bible is a love spell.  The Holy Communion is an ebbo.  Church potlucks are ebbos.  Many Christian practices not only have their roots in polytheistic practices, but are actively carrying them on.

On a more sinister side, if someone belongs to a sect that sanctions or excuses the oppression or murder of others who are nonbelievers, they are doing hostile witchcraft on a regular basis.

So, one could ask who’s to say who is a witch and who is a Pagan?  Who is to say what is red and what is green?  Different people have different perspectives, and that’s okay.  However, there’s a point where philosophy has to give way to practicality and usefulness.  You decide where that point is for you, and if what I’m saying here does something good for you, feel free to stick around to learn more.

Blessings and Ase!


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Sheloya (Sis. Nicole) is a licensed U.L.C. Modesto minister, spiritual counselor, sorceress, and king of Ile Baalat Teva. She believes in education and empowerment of individuals with a holistic approach to spirituality. Order a bone reading from Sheloya to find out what the Spirits have to say about your future.


  1. Merry Meet! THANK YOU SHELOYA! I come from a Judeo Christian background. Yet have felt myself as a witch before I ever knew the meaning or what a witch might have been. my question os this … I like being a solo eclectic Witch (for now) but really need to find a like minded person (witch) or source that I could possibly apprentice with. seams I haven’t found that yet. Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Brightest Blessings,

  2. Hi I’m a new witch. I believe my calling is hedge witch I alway new I had to be something when I was a little girl. I have been seeing things like spirits all my life and I think this is my path I want to get into more of being my true nature do you have any advice for me. I have been doing alot of reasearch and reading alot of books but it would alway be nice to hear from someone else what they think or perhapes help me in my new learning journy.

    sincerly, Rose

  3. hi im new about everything, my step father told me stories of his mom being a witch, shes from Trinidadian and she knows alot of stuff herbs, and everything else but he didn’t believe it. then sadly she passed away and i wannt to follow her footsteps. how can i do that?

  4. Am I a witch? My mum said she was one and I went on this website and it said I had magick.

  5. hi you dont know me but i found your article on Quroa. i hope maybe you could help me ( i am being very serious) long story short i also felt different since i was 16 i am 35 now and things are happening around me and because of me i cant control it , i have to wear a black stone everyday all day to control this please help… i my think im a a natural born witch but how many black natural witches can there be … this is crazy right…..

  6. Ever Since I was really young magic, witchcraft, spirituality…. It just kinda calls to me you know. Like it feels like I have a higher purpose in life. Like someone’s just lightly tugging on me trying to show me the right way. When I was 17 years old I died having my first daughter. She was born 3 days before Christmas. And I was unable to do anything with her in those three days because I had the worst headache in the front of my skull, it felt like someone was beating me in the forehead with a hammer. I could barely open my eyes. But my nurses just gave me some vikeoden (or however you spell it) and sent me home the day after I had her. I slept for 2 days straight, on Christmas night I woke up to make my daughter a bottle. I put the water in the bottle and sat down and tried to start making it, but I forgot what I was doing. I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t know where I was, who I was, I couldn’t move, my body felt so uncomfortable. All I could do was scream. At least I thought I was screaming for my boyfriend, the bed was literally 2 feet away but it had felt like it was getting farther and farther away. And he never moved. And then everything just went black. And it was as if I was floating in a deep dark void. I couldn’t see me or anything for that matter. And it’s like I was there but I wasn’t. It was like nothing literally, like nothing at all. If that makes since. When I awoke, I was in a hospital bed. The doctors had told me I had, had 3 seizures and a stroke and that I had died, but by the grace of God they said that I made it, they said someone must have been watching over me. Because I should be dead or a vegetable. At that time I almost was, I had to learn how to walk and talk again. Today I’m perfectly fine, I guess. In the means of the only thing I guess that it really affected was my memory. But ever since that incident, my whole like has been so messed up and weird shytt happens to me and all around me all the time. I feel things and since things, I get really strong feelings of fear randomly especially when I’m alone. When I am alone, I never really feel alone. It’s as if something has attached itself to me when I passed and came back. Is there any way you can help me understand whats been happening to me for the past 10 years. I just feel like its something super spiritual.

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