Principles of Wiccan Belief

Adopted by the Council of American Witches 12 April 1974

The Council of American Witches finds it necessary to define modern Witchcraft in terms of the American experience and needs. We are not bound by traditions from other cultures, and we owe no allegiance to any person or power greater than the Divinity manifest through our own being.

As American Witches we welcome and respect all life-affirming teachings and traditions, and seek to learn from all and to share our learning with our Council. It is in this spirit of welcome and cooperation that we adopt these few principles of Wiccan belief. In seeking to be inclusive, we do not wish to open ourselves to the destruction of our group by those on self-seeking power trips, or to philosophies and practices contradictory to those principles. In seeking to exclude those whose ways are contradictory to ours, we do not want to deny participation with us to any who are sincerely interested in our knowledge and beliefs.

Wiccans are people devoted to working with and worshipping Nature. There are 13 principles adopted by Wiccans, which were agreed upon many years ago. These outline the basic beliefs of the Wiccan path and explain how the Divine manifests through us, as we learn from It and work with it to achieve absolute health and well-being. We understand our partnership with Universe; we seek balance and unity with the Divine Spirit.

Principles of Witchcraft

1 We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the moon, and the seasonal Quarters, and Cross Quarters.

2 We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment of life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.

3 We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater than ordinary, it is sometimes called “supernatural”, but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.

4 We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity – as masculine and feminine – and that this same Creative Power lies in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and the feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship.

5 We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective unconsciousness or Inner Planes. We see in the inter-action of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal, and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.

6 We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.

7 We see religion, magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within if – a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft –The Wiccan Way.

8 Calling oneself “Witch” does not make a witch – but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within her/himself that makes life possible in order to live wisely and well without harm to others and in harmony with nature.

9 We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal role within it.

10 Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion of philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claims to the “the only way”, and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.

11 As American Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and our future.

12 We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as “Satan” or “the Devil”, as defined by Christian tradition. We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.

13 We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.

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