A student asked me about my religion today. (This might not have been what she was intending to ask, because she then told me she was German and Irish, but I had already answered her question). It might be because I am wearing my pentacle again, it might be because these are a new group of kids getting to know me.
I told her that I was "Pagan". I'll also tell people I am a Witch. but that whole thing bugs me if we don't have time to discuss it. because the witch is usually followed by them saying "oh, Wiccan" or "a white witch?"
Lemme 'splain: There are three lines of thought about Wiccanry. They are 1.You have to be in a coven to be a Wiccan, and not a solitary, 2. You have to be in only a lineaged coven, 3. You can be a solitary.
The #2ers claim this because apparently the Lord and lady have names and secret you only learn from a a lineaged coven. the #1ers claim this because apparently only covens know secrets and you need to know secrets to be a true Wiccan. The #3ers claim they can call themselves whatever they want as long as they follow the Wiccan rules which can be easily found online.
I am a solitary. I might or might not follow the rede (I haven't read and digested it all). I don't know any secrets, so I don't even bother with the Wiccan label.
I don't believe in black/white magic. That's labeling a color as good/bad, moral/immoral. It also goes into some deep conversation about ethics and balance. All I know is when I work with magic/energies, it's never directed at anyone without their knowledge, and it's intent is never for harm. I don't even play with love spells and such because I feel they go against these two things.
But, some people also don't thing being a Witch is a religious thing, so they need me to label it Pagan to make them happy. Okay. I'm both, and I'll use both words, depending on the time and place and how much time and energy I have at the moment. But if I were to pick the label, I'd choose Witch, and I'll capitalize the W to denote religion.
and let's not discuss pantheonism or hard and soft pantheonism, that's a whole 'nother post.