Its a bit long, but a very good and worthwhile read.
Excerpt from the article:
"So, what is witchcraft? Is it the same as Wicca? Is it a form of Satan worship, as critics allege? Or can witches be good? Can they really cast spells that somehow call forth the spirits beyond the world of nature to help them accomplish their will – whether good or evil? And what's the deal with going naked? Most of all, why do so many people today aspire to be witches?
I'm a journalist, and in the news world we see many reports on witches, but they don't have hooknoses or poisoned apples. Instead, we hear that increasing numbers of modern-day Americans – housewives, students, professors, even soldiers believe it or not – self-identify as witches or Wiccans. We see stories about Wicca being an official, legal religion and a fast-growing one at that, about judges ruling that witches must be allowed to lead prayers at local government meetings, and that Wiccan convicts must be provided with requested "sacred objects" so they can perform spells in their cells.
A few basics: "Wicca" and "witchcraft" are often used interchangeably, but they aren't exactly the same. While witchcraft goes back into ancient times, with many varieties springing from diverse cultures and worldviews, Wicca is a relatively modern nature-based religion first popularized in the 1950s by an Englishman named Gerald Gardner. Most "witches" today, at least in the Western World, are followers of the Wiccan religion. Although Gardner claimed he was resurrecting an ancient pre-Christian, matriarchal pagan religion, that is disputed – some historians saying he just made up parts of it. And while there are other forms of Wicca today besides "Gardnerian" Wicca, each with their own variations of belief, ritual and practice, all share certain basic features.
According to Wiccan teachings, to find balance, practitioners must worship both the male and female aspects of deity, the god and the goddess, embodying the life-force manifest in nature. Although males are welcome, Wicca is predominantly a female religion, and the goddess dominates the god..."
Full article here.