Initiatory Witchcraft (or the Wica) is part of the Western Mystery Tradition which seeks to give its practitioners direct experience of the Divine as expressed through the mysteries. The word mystery has several meanings and we mean it not as a problem to be solved which is something scientists are very good at, but rather as something that has to be experienced. For example the mysteries of life or of mortality are not scientific questions, but ones of subjective experience and relationships which invoke wonder. Mysteries can’t be explained only experienced and hinted at through metaphor.
The Craft differs from other forms of the Western Mystery Tradition such as the Hermetic Qabbalah, Sufism or Mystical Christianity in that its myths are based on a seasonal paradigm emphasizing the polarity of masculinity and femininity. The Mysteries are experienced through the Mother Goddess and the Horned God who represent life and death respectively. They are experienced in participating in the Myth of the Wheel of the Year, the myth of the changing seasons which along with the changing moon relates to personal transformation of the Witch as s/he moves through life.
Like other traditions within the Western Mystery Tradition, the Craft also practices magic. According to the occultist Aleister Crowley, magic is the art and science of causing change in accordance with will. We see this change as being that of personal transformation or the transformation of our phenomenal reality. The practice of magic depends on practicing certain techniques and skills hence Witchcraft is more of a craft than a religion.
Where Initiatory Craft differs from the various Pagan traditions and the more exoteric forms of Wicca is that the initiated Witch seeks for answers from within, arising from the experience of the mysteries, where as Pagans and Popular Wicca (which are equally valid but different paths) seek answers from what they perceive as externals such as literal interpretations of Gods.
What is a Witch? The word means different things to different people.
For us:- "Witches are what Witches do" and they:-
1. Celebrate the mysteries as experienced through the myth of the wheel of the year.
2. Engage in the Great Work.
3. Raise power to work magic
4. Practice of the Crafts which integrate us into the world, such as cooking, herbalism, wine-making, gardening etc.
To be in the Initiatory Craft it is also necessary to be initiated as a Priest or Priestess into the mysteries.