Basic Beliefs of Wicca:
While not exclusive to every single tradition, the following are some of the core tenets found in most Wiccan systems:
· The Divine is present in nature, and so nature should be honored and respected. Everything from animals and plants to trees and rocks are elements of the sacred. You'll find that many practicing Wiccans are passionate about the environment.
· The idea of karma and an afterlife is a valid one. What we do in this lifetime will be revisited upon us in the next. Part of this idea of a cosmic payback system is echoed in the Law of Threefold Return.
· Our ancestors should be spoken of with honor. Because it's not considered out of the ordinary to commune with the spirit world, many Wiccans feel that their ancestors are watching over them at all times.
· The Divine has polarity -- both male and female. In most paths of Wicca, both a god and goddess are honored.
· The Divine is present in all of us. We are all sacred beings, and interaction with the gods is not limited just to the priesthood or a select group of individuals.
· Holidays are based on the turning of the earth and the cycle of the seasons. In Wicca, eight major Sabbats are celebrated, as well as monthly Esbats.
· Everyone is responsible for their own actions. Personal responsibility is the key. Whether magical or mundane, one must be willing to accept the consequences -- either good or bad -- of their behavior.
· Harm none, or something like it. While there are a few different interpretation of what actually constitutes harm, most Wiccans follow the concept that no harm should intentionally be done to another individual.
· Respect the beliefs of others. There's no Recruiting Club in Wicca, and the Wiccans are not out to preach at you, convert you, or proselytize. Wiccan groups recognize that each individual must find their spiritual path on their own, without coercion. While a Wiccan may honor different gods than you do, they will always respect your right to believe differently.
In April 1974, the Council of American Witches adopted a set of Principles which we personally believe in:
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 consciousness within an evolutionary concept.
3) We acknowledge a depth of power far greater that that apparent to the average person. Because it 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.
5) We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or 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 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 him/herself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well 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 towards 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 legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We are concerned with our present and 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 the 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.