Thirteen Principles

In 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 incorprated 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.


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 preferences.

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 toward our environment. We seek to live in harmony with nature, in ecological balance offering fulfillment to life and conciousness 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 thta which is naturally potential to all.

4.) We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity - as masculine adn 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 supporive to the other. This next section of #4 is often omited in recent copies, partly because of residual puritancal beliefs in the public and in some modern Witches, and partly because it is often misunderstood. We value sex as pleasure, as a symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship.

5.) We recognize both outer worlds and inner, of psychological, and worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconcious, Inner Planes, etc. - and we see the inner-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 fulfillment.

6.) We so not recognize any authortarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have corageously 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 - the Wiccan Way.

8.) Calling oneself "Witch" does not make a Witch - but neither does hereditary 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 others and in harmony with Nature.

9.) We believe in the affirmation adn fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and developement of consciousness giving meaning to the Universe we know and our personal role within it.

10.) Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards 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 other 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 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 belive that we should seek within nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.

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