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We therefore ask only that those who seek to identify with us accept these few basic principles:
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 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.
We conceive of the Creative Power in the Universe as manifesting through polarity - as masculine and femenine - and that this same creative Power lives in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and femenine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sexuality as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of Life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magical practice and religious worship.
We recognize both outer worlds and inner, our psychological worlds - sometimes known as the Spiritual world, the Collective Unconscious, the Inner Planes, etc. - and we see in the interaction of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magical exercises. We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.
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.
We see religion, magic, and wisdom-in-living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it - a world view and philosopy of life, which we identify as Witchcraft or the Wiccan Way.
Calling oneself “Witch” does not make a Witch - but neither does hereditary itself, or the collecting of titles, degrees, and initiations. A Witch seeks o 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.
We acknowlede that it is the affirmation and fulfillment of life, in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness, that gives meaning to the Universe we know, and to our personal role within it.
Our only animosity toward Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy-of-life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be “the one true right and only way” and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practices 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 do we accept the concept that personal benifits can only be derived by denial to another.
13) We work within Nature for that which is contributory to our health and well-being.
Paganism has been around and alive since the beginning of time. Documentation of magic and witchcraft exists even in the oldest texts. Numerous cave drawings all over the world depict symbols of the gods and goddesses worshipped throughout history. Paganism is the oldest form of religion.
Wicca is a Nature oriented religion, that puts emphasis on honoring both The God and The Goddess, and living in harmony with all things in the Universe. It can be practiced in a group, called a Coven, or it can be practiced as a Solitary Witch. We do not worship satan!
The devil is an anti-Pagan propaganda device invented by the Christian church. He (or, more appropriately, "it") had never existed in written literature prior to the New Testament. The Craft is a pre- Christian religion which has been around much longer than the church or its concept of satan, who was never worshipped as a deity of the Old Religion. The devil is strictly a part of the Christian belief system, not the Nature-loving earth religion of Wicca. However, we do acknowledge the light and the dark sides of things, including religions.
There are also some very special Wiccan Holidays that are celebrated throughout the year. These holidays represent the honoring of The God and The Goddess, and the cycle of Nature.
Witches have an inseparable partnership to Mother Earth and celebrate Her turns of the wheel as Sabbats and Esbats. The Wheel of the Year marks the Sun's journey across the sky, the solstices, equinoxes and the Earth's changing seasons. Each spoke of the wheel marks an important moment of progression and change in the Earth. Witches will celebrate the holiday starting the day before until the day after the sabbath date.
The Wiccan religious calendar contains 13 Full Moon celebrations and 8 Sabbats or days of power. The Sabbats are solar rituals, marking the points of the Sun’s yearly cycle, and are but half of the Wiccan ritual year. The Esbats are the Wiccan Full Moon celebrations. There are 12-13 Full Moons yearly, or one every 28 1/4 days. The Moon is a symbol of the Goddess as well as a source of energy. Thus, after the religious aspects of the Esbats, Wiccans often practice magic, tapping into the larger amounts of energy which are thought to exist at these times. Most rites are held at night. The eight Sabbats represent seasonal birth, death, and rebirth.
Witchcraft is recognized in the United States and in at least some parts of Canada as a legitimate religion. In I985, Dettmer v. Landon, the District Court of Virginia pursuant to rule 52 (a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, ruled that Witchcraft falls within a recognizable religious category and therefore is protected by the Constitution. I'm sure it is also recognized in other countries as well. Also, check out The U.S. Armed Forces Chaplain's Handbook section on Wicca.
Types of Wicca
Alexandria Tradition Founded in England in the 1960's. A man by the name of Alex Sanders called himself the "King" of Witches.
British Tradition Mixture of Celtic and Gardnerian beliefs. Covens are co-ed, and they train through the degree process.
Celtic Wicca This tradition stongly stresses the Ancient ones, the Elements, and nature. They know a lot about flowers, plants, herbs, stones, & gnomes/fairies.
Caledonii Tradition Scottish in origin, it preserves the festivals of the Scots. Used to be known as the Hecatine Tradition.
Ceremonial Witchcraft These Witches use a lot of Magic in their practices. wiccan Magic is a favorite.
Dianic Tradition This tradition has been known as the feminist movement. It was founded in 1921 by Margaret Murray. They tend to focus more on the Goddess, & not the God.
Eclectic Witch These Witches don't follow any one Craft. They take what they have learned and apply it as needed to their Magic.
Gardnerian Tradition This tradition is so popular because the man who started it, Gerald Gardner, publicized it so much in the 1950's. Wicca was about to die out, and he made many people aware of the Craft.
Hecatian A branch of Wicca which worships the Goddess Hecate.
Kitchen Witch These Witches practice most of their magic in the kitchen, like the name signifies.
Pictish Witch Scottish Craft; solitary using nature as it's Magickal force. Not much religion involved in this one.
Pow-Wow Based on German Magic; it is not a religion, just a Magickal healing with faith practice.
Seax Wicca started by Raymond Buckland, this tradition contains Saxon beliefs and is exclusive for Saxon scholars, though nothing is stopping you from studying it.
Solitary Witch This is a Witch who practices alone. The tradition may vary, and they can come in many forms. A Solitary Witch can learn off the internet, books, and Witches they may know. They do not belong to a coven, and most of the time feel as if they benefit more by practicing solo.
Strega Witch: Began in the 1300's by a woman named Aradia. They have beautiful teachings but are rare to find anymore.
Teutonic Witch This is the Nordic tradition. People vary from the English, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, and Norwegian.
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