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 The 13 Principles of Witchcraft

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PostSubject: The 13 Principles of Witchcraft   Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:23 am

As Adopted By The Council Of American Witches
Witch meet, April 11-14, 1974,
Minneapolis, Minnesota




In 1974 the Council of Witches was formed with 73 Witches of varying traditions. They attempted to form a statement of common principles and definitions shared by Witches in order to dispel misinformation. These principles have been incorporated into one or more editions of the U.S. and U.K Army handbook for chaplains.
Here follows the introduction that accompanied the principles, this explains them better than we can, and the 13 principles themselves. Although most Witches embrace the Wiccan Rede, many embrace some or all of these as well.


The Council of Witches finds it necessary to define modern Witchcraft in terms of experience and needs. We are not bound by traditions from other times and other cultures and owe no allegiance to any person or power greater than the Divinity manifest through our own being.   As Witches, we welcome and respect all life-affirming teachings and traditions, and seek to learn from all and to share our learning within 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-serving 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 wish to deny participation to any who are sincerely interested in our knowledge and beliefs, regardless of race, color, sex, age, national or cultural heritage, or sexual preference. We therefore ask only that those who seek to identify with us accept those few basic principles:


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 to 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 energy used in magical practice and religious worship.


5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconsciousness, the Inner Planes etc – and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magical 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 it – 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 seek to control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and 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 or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be ‘the only way’ and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.


11. As 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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