Thirteen Principles of Wiccan Belief
1974 the Council of American 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. 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. We have included some comments in italics. Introduction:
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 want to deny participation with us to any who are sincerely
interested in our knowledge and beliefs, regardless of race, color,
sex, age, national or cultural origins or sexual preference.
of the Wiccan Belief:
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.
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.
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.
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 feminine. We value neither (gender) above the
other, knowing each to be supportive to the other. This next section
of #4 is often omited in recent copies, partly because of residual
puritanical beliefs in the public and in some modern Witches, and
partly because it is often misunderstood: 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.
We recognize both outer worlds and inner, of psychological, worlds
sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious,
Inner Planes, etc.-and we see in the inter-action 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
We so 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
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.
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 make life
possible in order to live wisely and will without harm to other
and in harmony with Nature.
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.
Our only animosity towards Christianity, or toward 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.
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.
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
We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory
to our health and well-being.
Ravenwolf suggests in her book "To Ride a Silver Broomstick":
a notebook and write down the concepts that you do not understand
or agree with and also write why. Keep this page handy as you study
further and tick of the things that become clear to you as you study
further and also those that remain questionable.
sure to re-read the Principles of Belief whenever you are in doubt
of your position, either magickal or political. Most witches do
live by and adhere to these principles much like the Christian 10
Commandments and they serve their purpose well. Date and sign your