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~Thirteen Basic Principles of Belief
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Thirteen Basic Principles of Belief

In 1973 seventy-four witches sat down to find the a modern definition of the word 'witch'. If you have ever tried to define what a 'witch' is yourself I am sure you know how tough it is.
These are the thirteen principles set by the Council of Witches:

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

3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than apparent to the average person. Because it is far greater then the 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 - masculine and feminine - and that this same Creative Power lives in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sexuality 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 recognise both outer worlds and inner worlds, or psychological, worlds - sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, the Inner Planes etc. - and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfilment.

6. We do not recognise any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honour those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given 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 or the Wiccan Way.

8. Calling oneself "Witch" does not make a Witch - but neither does hereditary itself, or the collection of titles, degrees and initiations. A Witch seeks to control the forces within him/herself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well, without harm to others, and living in harmony with Nature.

9. We acknowledge that it is the affirmation and fulfilment of life, in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness, that gives meaning to the Universe we know, and to our personal role within it.

10. Our only animosity toward Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy-of-life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be "the one true right and only way" and have sought to deny freedom to others and to surpress other ways of religious practices 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 do we accept the concept that personal benefits can only be derived by denial to another.

13. We work within Nature for that which is contributory to our health and well-being.

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