Wicca 101

The 13 Principles of 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 consciousness 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 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 the 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 energy used in magical practice and religious worship.
5.     We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconsciousness, 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.
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 seek to control the forces within her/himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and 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 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 believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.

Wiccan Rede

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Wiccan beliefs are somewhat hard to pin down because a diversity of belief exists within the religion. This diversity is seen most clearly on the idea of a God or a divine being.
Some Wiccans are monotheistic, in that the recognize one primal divine reality called "All" or "The One." Language of either "god" or "goddess" may be used here to refer to "The One", but the god and goddess are viewed simply as male and female dimensions of one single deity or divine reality.
Some Wiccans are dualistic, in that they recognize two divine realities - a male and female. God and Goddess, Lady and Lord, Goddess and her Consort "the horned one" - these are all terms used by those within this group of Wiccans. These terms hearken back to names for gods in ancient religions.
Other Wiccans are polytheistic, in that they recognized the existence of many ancient deities. These include Pan, Diana, Dionysus, Demeter, and many others. Again, this is a hearkening back to ancient traditions and attempting to revive them in some way.
Finally, some Wiccans are atheist or agnostic in their beliefs about a god. They see God and Goddess as symbols or metaphors, not actual living entities. They may view these terms as referring to energies or principles in life or nature, but not as actual beings.
Other common Wiccan beliefs include:

Respect for nature - all living things are regarded as having or containing a spirit or an essence worth respecting. Wicca is widely regarded as an earth religion, very grounded in natural cycles, seasons and processes. Much of its ritual deal with bringing harmony and healing both to nature and to the self by becoming attuned to nature.

Gender Equality - Wiccans celebrate the sexual polarity in nature, and view the female as equal to the male. Some even view the female as superior in some respects, but in general male/female balance is an important concept in Wiccan belief.

Human Sexual Freedom - Wiccans are generally very liberal regarding human sexuality. It is seen as a gift from God, Goddess or Nature to be valued and engaged in with joy and responsibility. They affirm 3 natural sexual dispositions: heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual. Some Wiccans celebrate what is called the "Great Rite" - a type of ritual sexual activity that was practiced in temples in ancient Greek and Roman religions (among others) - but this is mostly done in private by a committed couple, or it is done symbolically in the ritual dipping of a knife(male) within a chalice (female).

Afterlife - Wiccans hold a wide variety of beliefs about afterlife. Some believe in ancient legends that speak of souls going to a place after death, reviewing their lives, and even being reborn into a new baby. Others envision themselves living on after death in nature via natural decomposition (in the soil or in other living beings). Also, some Wiccans envision an afterlife solely in terms of one's memory and influence in the lives of those left behind.

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