Its funny how when you sit in groups of pagans you get a litany of instructions of how one labels themselves.
Its necessary due to the fact there are so many types of pagans, so many types of Wiccans, and the labels do not often provide a true, concise meaning.
Take the word ‘witch’. Historically, it derives from an Anglo-Saxon word, wicce (pronounced Weecha) meaning ‘to bend or twist’, or ‘conjure’ or ‘to move to and fro’- depending on other origins and meanings.
A witch, traditionally, worked some form of magick such as conjuration, speaking with spirits and/or the dead, or working herbal medicines. It didn’t mean she held any specific spiritual belief, so when Christianity entered the picture, a witch could continue her practices with Christian beliefs. She (or he) might incorporate said beliefs into the practices such as invoking angels or saints.
A Wiccan specifically deals with the spiritual aspects of faith. They use practices as well as faith in their workings, generally believing in a Goddess and a God, or just the Goddess, or even showing an animistic approach. As the religion evolves, so does the label.
A number of Wiccans I know do not believe in or have their own definition of the Wiccan Rede ‘an it harm none, do what thou wilt. Some follow a pantheon while others focus on only Goddess.
Some pagans add addendums to their label, including influences from other spiritual paths to even their titles earned in formal training. They’ll include, for instance, if they were a second degree priestess or something similar.
So how does one get along with a group that is so incredibly diverse in practices and basic belief system? Its simple- they don’t always, and those that do, share a keen sense of respect and sense of self. They are not intimidated by what others believe, so its perfectly fine that someone else believes something completely different.
A general ‘as long as its doesn’t hurt you or others…sure, why not?’ attitude goes a long way in society.
Personally, I love the fact pagans are so diverse. I love discussing the various belief systems and practices. I think it makes for an interesting, and colorful group of people. I might not always agree with some practices or beliefs, but if it works for them- that’s fine. Just don’t tell me that’s the one-and-true-way.
Religion should be flexible and diverse as the people that follow them. It’s the primal basic need for a relationship with things around us. So if someone believes in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, (yes, there is a church for that) or say they are a member of the Jedi Church, or any number of belief systems- that’s fine by me.
Wiccan/Tao/Buddhist/Fun pagan. Made of natural essence of fun with 20% practicality. Wash in hot water, with plenty of soap. Dry on low heat.