TO BE IN TUNE WITH NATURE
The Wiccan belief system is not derived from a higher authority, a single leader, or a prophet and has no bible by which to dictate its laws and beliefs. In America, during the 70s a man by the name of Carl Llewellyn Weschcke formed a short-lived alliance of contemporary witches to agree upon a common set of principles and definitions which would encompass the totality of Wiccan traditions in America. This set of 13 principles help distinguish Wicca from Satanism and other misconceptions that were commonly made by the general public and the media.
The Council of American Witches was formed in the autumn of 1973 by 73 different representatives from the many paths and traditions that Wicca entails. Led by Weschcke, the group published a newsletter that they called Touchstone to collate information about their many different beliefs. By 1974 the group had managed to agree upon the following 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief.
13 Principles of Wiccan Belief
1.) We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces that are marked by the phases of the moon with the seasonal and cross quarters.
2.) We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment, and we seek to live in harmony with nature in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.
3.) We acknowledge the depth of power that is far greater than the average person. Because of this, power is far greater than it’s ordinarily called supernatural because we see the potential to do all, whether good or bad.
4.) We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity, both masculine and feminine, lying in all people and functioning through the interaction of the masculine and the feminine. The practice values both male and female as a symbol and an 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 worlds. We recognize psychological worlds that are sometimes referred to as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconsciousness, and the Inner planes. We see the interaction of the dimensions as the basis for paranormal phenomena and magical exercises. We recognize that it is impossible to neglect either dimension because in order for our fulfillment we must see both.
6.) We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy except to 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 a philosophy of life that we identify as Witchcraft the Wiccan Way.
8.) Calling oneself a witch does not make one a witch, but neither so does heredity, the collecting of titles or the collecting of degrees and initiations. As witches, we seek to control the forces within themselves that will 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 any other religion 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 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 however are concerned with our present and with 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.
Although many American Witches continue to endorse the 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief, the council was disbanded due to the difficulties inherent in reconciling the differences among its many member traditions.