Pagan Paths and Traditions SymbolsTraditions are also known as "Trads". By necessity, these definitions are general. Each Witch in every tradition could define his or her path differently. These definitions are generally accepted or are commonly defined as follows, but are certainly colored by our experiences with various traditions. If you find that you are particularly interested in a tradition, check out the accompanying links for more information. administrators and its affiliates do not necessarily endorse, support or follow any of the traditions, or claim any alignment with said traditions. We do not vouch for the legitimacy of any tradition, nor do we deny the legitimacy of any tradition. For informational purposes only.We do not guarantee that every link leads to a site which accurately represents the tradition, this is a potpourri of what is out there.

1734 Tradition:

British flavored, sometimes eclectic tradition based on the ideas of poet Robert Cochrane, a self-titled hereditary Witch. 1734 is said to be a cryptogram for the name of the Goddess honored in this tradition.

Alexandrian Tradition:

A popular tradition that began in England around 1960 and was founded by Alex Sanders. It is similar in some ways to the Gardnerian Tradition. Alex Sanders drew much attention from the media and was referred to (by the media) as the "King of Witches".

Aglaian Triad of Wicca:

Founded in 1982 and based in Homewood, IL COG affiliated coven, always hooded, never skyclad, three degrees initiatory system. Traces roots, like many in midwest, to what is now known as Temple of Uranus.

American Tradition of the Goddess or AMTRAD:

Established in the mid 1980s, three degrees initiatory system, somewhat eclectic but not too ceremonial.

Aquarian Tabernacle Church or ATC:

is a Wiccan church founded by Pete “Pathfinder” Davis in 1979. The original church has many affiliated churches, and all are based on British Traditional Wicca.  The church attempts to provide services to the Pagan community normally only available to mainstream organized religions such as facilities, services, outreach groups, etc. Currently, twenty-five or more affiliated groups and/or churches worldwide.

Assembly of Wiccan or AOW:

Belief in a single source of all creation, termed "The Oneness" which separated itself into male and female. An offshoot of Central Valley Wicca See also Central Valley Wicca

British Traditional Witch or English Traditional Wicca:

A tradition with a strong framework of structure and degrees. The members of the International Red Garters are considered British Traditionalists. Rituals appear to encompass the feel of Celtic and Gardnerian paths.

Cabot Tradition of the Science of Witchcraft:

founded by Laurie Cabot, author located in Salem Massachusetts. Cabot also founded the Witches' League for Public Awareness (WLPA). The WLPA is an anti defamation organization created to correct the many misconceptions about Witchcraft.

Celtic Wicca:

A very earthy tradition, this one focuses on nature, the elements and elementals, sometime fairies, plants, etc. Many "Green Witches" and "Eclectic Druids" follow this path that looks to the ancient Celtic pantheons for their Gods and Goddess. See also Church and School of Wicca

Caledonii Tradition:

A tradition that attempts to preserve the ancient festivals of the Scottish and is sometimes known as the Hecatine Tradition.

Central Valley Wicca or CVW:

Began in the 1960s focused in Northern California, many offshoots including Silver Crescent, Majestic, Kingstone, Assembly of Wicca, and Daione Coire. According to Kalisha Zahr, elders are considered to be autonomous in this tradition, and no single elder may speak for all elders or representatives of the tradition. It appears that like most traditions, CVW and its offshoots do not appear to charge money for training, initiation or magickal work. See also Kingstone Tradition

Ceremonial Witchcraft:

Uses ceremonial magick to attain a stronger connection with divinity and realize their higher purposes and abilities. Rituals are often derived from Quabbalistic magick (which is flavored by the Judeo-Christian history) and Egyptian magick. Although certainly not intended, this path often is plagued by egotistical and insecure people who feel that ceremonial magick is a way to either 1) get whatever you want or 2) attain higher levels so you can look down on those 'below' you. This unfortunate situationis not true of all Ceremonial Witches, and there are many sincere seekers on this path.

Church and School of Wicca:

A widely know correspondence school founded by Gavin and Yvonne Frost and once based in North Carolina and is now also in West Virginia. The Frosts have started out many Pagans on theirs paths and although opinions vary about them, they provide (for a fee) an important service to the community, offering correspondence courses through the mail. Often, they are the first resource of information discovered by people who live in 'bible belt' or remote areas. Sometimes referred to as "CelticWicca" or "Baptist Wicca," but usually referred to as "Frost Wicca." PO Box 297--IN, Hinton . WV 25951-0297 USA For online courses in non-denomination Wicca and Witchcraft, see this page.

Covenant of the Goddess or COG:

Not exactly a tradition in itself, but more of an organization which helps the many autonomous Wiccan congregations and solitary practitioners cooperate in many areas such as public education.Web Site One | Criteria for Membership

Dianic Tradition:

This is a hard one to pin down. Some Dianic Witches focus only on the Goddess, are very politically active, and feminist oriented. Other Dianic Witches simply focus on the Goddess as a way to balance out the many years of Patriarchal dominance on Earth. A few Dianic Witches use this title to denote they are 'Daughters of Diana" their patron Goddess. There are Dianic Witches that are all of these, some that are none of these, and some that fall in between these.

Daoine Coire:

Pronounced DEEna COYra, offshoot of Central Valley Wicca

Eclectic Witch:

A Witch that blends the ideas of many traditions or sources. Like a Witch's cauldron, ideas are added to season the brew, spice it up, make it more effective, etc. This 'tradition' that isn't really a tradition has the flexibility to endure changes, but sometimes lacks grounding. Generally, rituals are self-styled and covens are loosely structured.

faery, Faerie and Feri Traditions:

There are several 'Faery' traditions. This is a controversial topic so I'll make it brief and send you off to the search engines and libraries for more. A Faery Witch could be but isn't necessarily:

  • working with nature energies and spirits, also known as Fairies, Sprites, etc.
  • homosexual
  • following one of Faery Feri or Faerie Traditions.

A couple 'big' names in this arena are Victor and Cora Anderson, Tom Delong (Gwydion Penderwyn) etc.

Gardnerian Tradition:

Founded by Gerald Gardner in the 1950's in England. This tradition has contributed greatly to much of the Craft as it is today. The structure of many rituals and magickal workings in numerous traditions originated from Gardner's work. Some of the historical claims made by Gardner himself and by some Gardnerian Witches have yet to be verified (and in some cases have been disproved) however, this structured tradition has backed many modern Witches. The Witches Bible Complete by Janet and Stewart Farrar as well as many books by Doreen Valiente tackle this tradition and the Alexandrian tradition in more detail.

Gwyddon Cymry, Gwyddonaid: See Welsh Traditions

Hecatine Tradition:

either 1) A Witch who seeks inspiration from Hecate and attempts to reconstruct and modernize the ancient rituals of her worship or 2) see the Caledonii Tradition

Hereditary Witch:

A Witch that was usually trained by a family member and/or can trace their family history back to another Witch or Witches.

Kingstone Tradition:

Coven based initiatory tradition with a focus on agricultural or pastoral deities, Goddess and consort - Horned God. One year and a day minimum between each of three degrees, standardized and copyrighted book of shadows, Began in 1973 with the foundation of the New Wiccan Church. See also Central Valley Wicca and New Wiccan Church Web Site One

Kitchen Witch:

A practical Witch who is often eclectic and focuses on magick and spirituality centering around the 'hearth and home'.

Mohsian or MOHS:

began around 1965 in Los Angeles, now also near Sacramento, called American Tradition or Eclectic American Tradition around 1969, then around 1974 began using MOHSIAN term. Many influences, including 1734 and Gardnerian trads and European Shamanism. More information on the Mohsian tradition can be found at witchvox.

Nordic Tradition:

See Teutonic Witch

NROOGD (New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn):

Our Lady of the Woods Coven: founded by author Amber K, H.Ps., (who received her training at the Temple of the Pagan Way in Chicago) and Catelaine in Wisconsin, then reorganized in New Mexico.

Pagan Way:

Focus on initiation into the ancient mysteries, began in Chicago. see also Temple of Uranus

Pictish Witchcraft or Pictish Wicca:

Often, but not always a solitary path that focuses on the divine in nature.


founded by Silver Ravenwolf, author and H.Ps. More of a magickal system than a spiritual path and can be incorporated into diverse religions. Pennsylvania was a prime settlement of this 400+ year old German Tradition. Much of what is left of pow-wow magick is 'Water Witching' and 'Faith Healing' but that is changing!

Satanic Witch:

an oxymoron, Witches do not acknowledge Satan because 'Satan' is a purely Christian phenomenon. There is no such thing as a real Satanic Witch, but perhaps only such thing as a Satanist who says they are a Witch.

Scotican Wicca:

This appears to be a relatively newer Wiccan tradition, perhaps developing sometime around 1998 or before??? The tradition seems to blend Pecti-Wita with Kitchen Witchery and Ceremonial Wicca. Pronounced sko-shuh-kun.

Seax-Wica or Saxon Wicca:

Founded in 1973, by the prolific author, Raymond Buckland who was, at that time, a Gardnerian Witch. One of the first traditions to specifically make allowances for solitariesand the self initiation. These two aspects have made it a popular path.


Several new reconstructionist traditions of Paganism, Wicca and Witchcraft have attempted to form cohesive spiritual practices based on traditional pre-Christian Slavic heathenism. This is drawing interest from many people of Slavic heritage. . . expect many traditions to form in this area over the next decade, from now until 2012.

Solitary Witch:

One who practices the Craft alone (but may occasionally join the Sabbat festivities of a Coven). A Solitary Witch may follow any of the traditions, or none at all. The majority of eclectic Witches are solitaries. Solitary Witchcraft has opened the door to isolated Witches being self-initiated. Because a coven is not required and beliefs are tailored to the individual, solitary practice of the Craft has swept the United States and many other parts of the world.

Starkindler Tradition:

Been around since about 1974, Coven based, either a three or five degree initiatory system? Traces roots to Temple of Uranus (Pagan Way) See also Web Site One

Strega Witches and Stregheria:

Thought to have started in Italy around 1353. The controversial history can be found on many sites and in many books. Aradia...Gospell of the Witches is a must have book for the archives of Strega Witches. This "Italian Traditional Witchcraft" has become more popular recently due to the dedication and work of author, Fabrisia Boschetto.

Temple of the Pagan Way:

see Temple of Uranus

Temple of Uranus or Temple of the Pagan Way or Pagan Way:

Began in 1967 with an occult study group in Chicago, name changed to Uranus in 1974. Many current traditions in the United States (and to a lesser extent worldwide) have roots in The Pagan Way of Chicago in one way or another. Many leaders, authors, High Priests, High Priestesses and elders in the Pagan community received training through The Pagan Way or were affiliated with the group. See also Pagan Way

Teutonic Witchcraft:

Teutons were a group of people who spoke 'Germanic' languages. A Teutonic Witch often finds inspiration in the traditional myths and legends, Gods and Goddesses of the areas where these dialects originated.

Traditional Witch:

Here's another tough one to define. Every traditional Witch will give you a different definition. Often prefers the title Witch over Wiccan and will frequently define the two as very different paths. A traditional Witch bases their work as much as possible on historical methods from their tradition or geographical area of interest.

Welsh Rite Gwyddonaid: A Welsh/Celtic Tradition of Wicca, worshipping a Welsh Pantheon of Gods and Goddesses.  Gwyddonaid, roughly translated from Welsh means "Tree Witch". This tradition listing was submitted to the site, click here to read the complete write up as it was submitted.

Welsh Witchcraft or Gwyddon Cymry: Try these links: Web Site One | Web Site Two

Winge-It Tradition and the Temple of American Witch Craft: founded by Lady Angel Wings, H.Ps., resident of Northern California and avid gardener and goose owner when I met her. At least ten covens have birthed off the mother "Dragon Queen Coven" across the United States.

Y Tylwyth Teg Tradition: Founded in Maryland in 1967 by Lord Rhuddlwm Gawr. See alsoWeb Site One

Y Tylwyth Tylluan: Offshoot of Y Tylwyth Teg, you can find groups primarily in Ohio. Flavors of Druidism, associated with Green Dome Temple

ZWS or  ZvS Tradition:

The name is based on the truth rune, and it is a very nature oriented path. Practiced individually and collectively, a main difference is that no Book of Shadows is kept by the Covens or Solitaries. It is felt that truth can be found in nature and cannot be kept in a book. Some members of ZvS will keep a record, but it is not a standard necessity.

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About the Author
Author: FridayWebsite: http://PaganPath.comEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Author & Academy Instructor
Friday is devoted to writing books and articles on a variety of Pagan subjects, and is the instructor of the online PaganPath Academy. She has studied and practiced the Craft since 1987, and worked as a professional tarot reader and vice president of a national psychic network for several decades. Currently, she is now a practicing herbalist and ordained minister. As a Master Gardener with a deep interest in permaculture, she is developing the PaganPath Sanctuary with her partner. This long term community project is an edible landscape demonstration, orchard and educational facility for future generations.

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