What is Witchcraft or Wicca? Witchcraft is a religion. Historically, Wicca is one type of Witchcraft, but recently the term "Wicca" is sometimes applied to Witchcraft in general. These days in the United States, people who practice this religion may call themselves Witches or Wiccans. It is an earth-based religion, in some ways similar to Native American spirituality. The religion of Witchcraft or Wicca is recognized by most state governments, the federal government, and the United States Armed Forces. Courts have recognized the right of prisoners to practice this religion on an equal basis with other religions. Why do you call yourselves Witches? The word 'Witch" is a very powerful word. Witches have chosen to use it, even though we realize that it sometimes causes misunderstanding. The attitude toward the word "witch" in wider society is paradoxical. On the one hand, most people will say they do not "believe in witches." Yet they react strongly, even fearfully, when they learn that someone is a Witch. Some of the explanation must be the influence of Hollywood and certain fairy tales that describe witches as ugly old women with evil intentions and supernatural powers. Although there is debate among scholars about this subject, most Witches believe that for thousands of years in Europe, the people in a village known as "witches" were highly respected women whom everyone consulted for advice about illness, injury, childbirth, and even emotional troubles. They were mainly women, and they had special knowledge about herbs and various kinds of remedies. They were protectors of human life, and also loved, protected and respected animals and plants. Using the word "Witch," then, reflects admiration for the role that modern Witches believe these people of ancient times played in the life of their communities and a desire to be like them. Also, using this word reminds everyone that long ago, in European culture, there were women with special knowledge and skills and the power to heal and help -- so as the word, "'Witch," is reclaimed, we hope at the same time to reclaim some of this very positive power of women. Note that both women and men are called "Witch," and most Witches do not generally use terms such as "warlock" or "male witch" for men.