The obvious connection between the name ’The Craft’ and Wicca is that ‘Craft’ is a contraction of ‘Witchcraft’. The use of the term also occurs on a regular basis in the grimoire tradition in which it is used as a general term to refer to art of performing magick. To illustrate this, what follows is an extract from Sloane MS 3847, the earliest known Key of Solomon which dates to 1572:
“Heare begineth the prologue of ye Booke of Clavicles of Salomon contayninge the secrets of all secrets of all crafts magicall of Nigromancy, the which booke of craftes as, Ptolomeus the most wisest philosopher in Greece, doth testify…”
However, the term also enjoyed a long history of use in Freemasonry. Taking into consideration that there is much in Wicca that has been drawn from the rites and practices of Freemasonry this connection would also seem significant, providing us with yet another possible source for its use. Freemasonry too received its share of persecution and accusations similar to those levelled against witchcraft. For example, Freemasons were accused of dedicating their children to the Devil when receiving the Mason’s Word in their initiation ceremonies and continue to be accused of numerous occult affiliations to this day<1> The nineteenth century Masonic author and scholar Albert Mackey made an intriguing connection between the use of the words ‘Craft’ and ‘Mystery’ in the context of Freemasonry in his major work An Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry (1879), which could hint at a reason why the term Craft was applied to Wicca:
“In this secondary sense we speak of the ‘Mystery of the Stonemasons as equivalent to the ‘Craft of the Stonemasons.’”
<1> A Short History of Freemasonry to 1730, Knoop & Jones, 1940
Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @ https://amzn.to/3Ay4HJr. Shared here with the intention to inspire and inform the now and future generations interested in Wicca and other Pagan traditions inspired by it.