Witchcraft and Wicca are like clones where one is normal, and the other is evil even though they are the same but looked at as entirely different beings. Those who fear the Wicca label state loud and proud the difference is that Wicca is a set religion, and Witchcraft is a spiritual practice. A fact that is true, but in reality, neither magickal infrastructure is that firm. Wicca does have a Doctrine and quite a few rules compared to Witchcraft, which did not have any set rules or procedures, supposedly. Many witches have moved away from the Wicca label since it is so stringent on their laws and requirements, but in reality, Wicca is still very open, and there are reasons to claim the title. Many witches choose to be non-denominational practitioners because of these rules. Wiccans practice witchcraft, but not all witches practice Wicca, but watches need Wicca for representation. They do not realize this fact.
Wicca is a religion based on pre-Christian traditions and beliefs of northern and western Europe, predominantly from Celtic Society. The followers mainly worship nature, the Triple Goddess, a female deity, the horned God, and sometimes other deities. Wicca quickly spread from Europe to the Americas in the 1960s, where nature worship paired with the free love movement created a bohemian witch in America. This freedom to interpret magick and Witchcraft as desired began with Wicca. As Wicca developed like many other magickal offshoots through ancient Pagan practices, witchcraft practices are more flexible, analyzed, and practiced.
The most major rule for all Wiccans is the Wiccan Rede, an ethical code "if It harms none, do what you will," which leaves most of how these witches practice open for interpretation. Wiccans practice meditation and participate in many traditional Celtic holidays like Sabbats and Espets. Sabbats are the Pagan holidays worshipping the Horned God, and Espets are the moon phases that worship the Goddess. Wiccans are mainly solitary practitioners. Even though there are Wicca covens, it is more common to be solo. Wicca also does not have any set holy book or scripture, so it is open to interpretation and creative expression. Why would anyone be repelled from such a free-flowing religion? Many solitary witches do not like any Doctrine in their practice, especially those that practice chaos magick who purposefully move away from rules and restrictions to magick.
Wicca is a verified religion and unites generations of witches who have fought for their belief system’s right to be recognized. Wicca has a set doctrine in official covens, which is attractive to those that like the organization of formal religion. Some covens even have tiers with higher Priests or Priestess members, which is entirely just a coven practice. Since Wicca does not have official organizations, which helps learners be more streamlined than organized religion, it is up to the practitioners to decide how to practice. Wicca does have a similar system to traditional beliefs by having structure and rites to become a full-fledged member, or an active member can help create unity. Having higher magickal witches is against witchcraft practice since every witch is on their path and goes against witchcraft's power is the self and abilities appeal. Wicca does have a lot more of a liberal standpoint, but it is still very much a religion.
There are positives and negatives to all standard religious practice. Still, Wicca does have a liberal foundation to make it less harsh than other faiths but not wholly free of rules. Wicca does have quite a bit of foundational regulations that must be aided by to be considered Wiccan. The set rules are an aspect that turns away many free-flowing witches as they felt ostracized by mainstream religions over the years still are quick to mistrust their magickal belief system structured. Witches are not quick to join another belief system, even if it is a free-flowing religion that can guarantee their belief system or similar is widely accepted and recognized. Wicca has the flexibility for religion since it adds more of a structure to a mystical art. Some witches love and enjoy having a community to worship with as a group, which is a valuable structure because the organization helps unite witches.
Witchcraft is a loose term that many people claim since being witches instead of being Wiccan leaves more room for practice and growth. Being a witch can mean anything from practicing light magic or healing to those who focus on shadow work, chaos magick, and even death magick. Witchcraft encompasses so many doctrines that it is an easy term that many different magick practitioners embrace and agree on collectively. Being a witch helps those who are tired of principles and want to practice whatever form of magick they like at any time. There is nothing wrong with being a Wiccan. It is just a lot more of a strict magic practice that isn't open to too many magickal forms or beliefs besides the Wiccan way.
Wicca sadly has become the evil stepchild of Witchcraft, and many practitioners are offended if they get called to a Wiccan. Wicca as a label has earned a bad reputation from elitist witches ostracizing just like the religions that had done the same to witches. The fact is that the Wicca religion does help legitimize a faith and belief system that can easily be looked down upon by most major religions. Legitimizing witchcraft through Wicca helps explain it to people who may not understand and create a methodology that generations can follow to come.
Witchcraft’s issue as a solitary practice or rejecting any formal training is that it is so self-guided and open practice that it's hard to have any community. Not having access to the community can limit the study to a specific belief system or without many opinions to help growth. Keeping the witch away from any collective experience will limit the magickal path’s options into one that may become stagnant. Wicca also puts all magickal witchcraft practices into one space, allowing for an umbrella term for the mystical arts. Some witches only have the community option of Wicca covens since most smaller cities have limited in-person worship options besides going to a Wicca coven.
Witchcraft is the most general term, and most all witches and Wiccan practitioners seem to agree on it as a label. Many Pagans do not consider themselves witches, which creates a mess, but most magickal practitioners agree that they are witches. Witches have gotten such a bad name in the past wrongly associated with satanism that there should be unity encouraged. Luckily, the misconception has died, and most witches are acknowledged now as the magickal, sacred beings they always have been. Still, the practice of Wicca should not be hated even if the belief system is a very controversial topic in Witchcraft’s realm. In reality, most witches should be grateful for the path Wicca has paved since it brought more acceptance of Witchcraft and the mystical arts as a realm of religion and belief system.