The following document was written by the Council of American Witches
during their spring witchmeet in 1974. It was an effort to educate the general
public and fledgling witches.
The Council of American Witches finds it necessary to define modern Witchcraft
in terms of the American experience and needs.We are not bound by traditions
from other times and other cultures, and owe no allegiance to any person
or power greater than the Divinity manifest through our own beings.
As American Witches, we welcome and respect all life-affirming teachings
and traditions, and seek to learn from all and to share our learning within
It is in this spirit of welcome and cooperation that we adopt these few
principles of Wiccan belief. 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 these 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 origin, or sexual preference.We therefore
ask only that those who seek to identify with us accept these few basic
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
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 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
to 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
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
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 not 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.
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 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 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
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
13. We believe that we should seek within Nature that which
is contributory to our health and well-being.