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Definitions (for Home Circle forums)

There are many terms that can have many varying definitions depending on who is using them and the context they are used. The definitions of these terms *as we use them in Home Circle forums, lists, classes and workshops* are:

A TRADITION is a consistent body of understanding, ideas, behavior, and magical practice that has been passed through several generations with an intact core. A body of lore, understanding and ritual is generally not considered a Tradition until it has survived at least two 'generations' of transmittal. That is, someone teaches the system to a someone who consistantly practices the system as it was taught, who then teaches it to another someone who consistantly practices the system in the way it was originally taught.

WICCA is a nature-oriented (not nature-worshiping), initiatory, pagan mystery religion based on the traditions and beliefs of tribal Europe with some influence from Western magical traditions and a core body of lore and ritual praxis descended from the practices of the covens of the New Forest region.

BRITISH TRADITIONAL WICCA/WICA (BTW) has been in use (mostly in the US) since the mid 1970s. BTW is an umbrella name for those Traditions of Wicca that are direct descendents of, who maintain the intact core praxis of, and who pass a specific initiatory lineage from the New Forest Covens. The label is used to distinguish New Forest descended Wicca from other forms of Craft or Pagan practice that are often referred to as 'Wicca'.

BRITISH TRADITIONAL WITCHCRAFT is an umbrella term for various forms of Witchcraft originating in Britain. Many consider it to be a misleading phrase since there isn't any single form of witchcraft throughout the British Isles, and because the phrase is often used by individuals or groups who deliberately take advantage of the confusion of the identical acronym used for British Traditional Wicca. There are numerous forms of Traditional Witchcraft originating in the British Isles, several of which have been brought to America over the years, and many of them are quite different from forms of Craft originating in other areas of Britain, or in other areas of Europe.

TRADITIONAL INITIATORY WITCHCRAFT (TIW) is an umbrella term that generally, in addition to Wicca - which is of a New Forest region-specific origin - also includes currents of British-origin Craft originating in other regions, as well as several American (and other) Crafts that are related to these currents in various ways. The term and abbreviations started being used by several TIW groups in the Northern Pacific area some time ago, and has gradually spread to a large number of Trad-heavy forums and communities over the last several years.

TRADITIONAL WICCA is often used to define those Traditions that may or may not identify as BTW, but that have a direct lineal relationship to British Traditional Wicca, and who maintain the core praxis.

ECLECTIC WICCA or ECLECTIC CRAFT is a broad category that includes a number of newer traditions / groups that have and pass a cohesive tradition as well as many solitaries. The category ranges from Traditions that have descended from Traditional Wicca with various changes in core or praxis, to groups that have a developed praxis based on or influenced by public writings by BTW and other Traditional authors, to various forms of Craft that bear a passing resemblance to public knowledge of Wicca and that incorporate significant elements of other religious systems.

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From Home Circle student materials.
For more information, please email homecircle@mindspring.com.