The American Council of Witches'
"Principles of Wiccan Belief" (1974)
Seventy three Witches founded the Council of American
Witches in 1974. In April of that year, at the Spring Witchmeet in
Minneapolis, MN, (1974-APR-11 to 14), they adopted the following document. At the time, Wicca and
other Neopagan religions were greatly misunderstood in North America. This
document helped to set the record straight.
statements are necessarily vague. They do not precisely and completely match any
one Witchcraft tradition. But they do provide an introduction to the full range
of belief systems found within "Wicca."
policy of including all persons, regardless of "sexual preference" -- now
referred to as sexual orientation -- was almost unheard of back in 1974.
disbanded later in 1974.
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. 1
Principles of the Wiccan Belief:
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 towards our
environment. We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance
offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary
3. We acknowledge a
depth of power far greater than that is 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
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. 2
5. We recognize
both outer and inner, or psychological, worlds -- sometimes known as
the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, 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 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 seeks to
control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order to
live wisely and well without harm to others and in harmony with Nature. 3
9. We believe in
the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and
development of consciousness, that gives meaning to the Universe we know, and
our personal role within it.
10. 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.
11. As American
Witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the
origins of various terms, the origins 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. 4 We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor
do we 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
Notes & comments:
- The word "preference" in the term "sexual preference" is misleading. Homosexuals
are sexually attracted only to the members of the same gender.
|Male gays are attracted only to men; they don't merely prefer men to
|Lesbians are attracted only to women; they don't merely prefer women to
On the other hand, bisexuals are attracted to both men and women; they may have a preferred gender. Except among
conservative Christians, the term "sexual preference" is rarely used
today. The term "sexual orientation" is
a more precise term.
- It appears that in some recent copies of this document, the sentence about
ritual sex has been omitted, perhaps because of its potential to be
misunderstood by the public. Although the practice of ritual sex has a very
long history, the concept is very strange and scary to most people.
- Left out of the description of this principle is the use of magical
powers to actively attempt to help and heal others.
- The concept of Satan is found not only within Christianity, but in Islam
and some other religious traditions.
Portions copyright © 2000 to 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally assembled: 2001-FEB-26
Latest update: 2008-JUN-10
Editor: B.A. Robinson