By Durwydd MacTara

     My RELIGION is Wicca, my LIFE-STYLE is Witchcraft!  I believe in
a supreme being that is both Immanent and Transcendent, that is
expressing  itself within AND without.  However, I also believe that
trying to define/describe such an infinite Divine Being in finite terms
to be a waste of time and energy.  I CAN describe my perceptions of the
Ultimate in terms of the energies that I work with and find significant
in my daily living.  My style and methods of relating to what I can
perceive of these Divine Energies are what I describe as my RELIGION.
How I apply these insights gained via my religious practices, I term my

     The name for my religion is derived from the Saxon root "wicce"
(pronounced "witchy") and is loosely translated as "Wise".  The word
"Wicca" was first used in modern times in England by Gerald B. Gardner
to describe/define an attempt at restoring "the old wisdom" of pre-
Christian beliefs and practice into a modern context in the 1940's.
Ergo, I could call my religion "wisdom" and my style of application of
this wisdom "wise-craft" or more simply, "The Craft of the Wise".

     For the sake of convenience and easy understanding, I divide the
expressions of the Divine Energies into two groups; that of the active
positive (symbolically "male") energies represented to me by the stag
horned Lord of the Forest, and those of a more passive, nurturing, or
"negative" polarity represented to me by the Threefold Goddess.
Approaching my perceptions of the universe and its energies in this way
allows me to break them down into "bite sized chunks", applicable to my
daily life in a mundane world, and what good is ANY belief system if it
is not of immediate and practical use here and now?

     So what are some of the beliefs and practices of this religion
called Wicca, and how do I apply them to my daily life?  What does it
all mean?  The following explanation is based on a press statement
released by the American Council of Witches released in the early
1970's, with some editing on my part to reflect my own beliefs and



1. The first principle is that of love, and it is expressed in the

     a) love is not emotional in it's essence, but is an
     attribute of the individual as expressed in relation
     to other beings;
     b) harming others can be by thought, word, or deed.
     Thought is included here, because for the Witch,
     "thoughts are things" and every action, even thoughts,
     can become magical actions, whether consciously intended
     or not;
     c> it is to be understood the "none" includes oneself,
     though it is permissable to harm self in helping others,
     should one so choose;
     d) the harm which is to be regarded as unethical is
     gratuitous harm; war, in general, is gratuitous harm,
     although it is ethical to defend oneself and one's
     liberty when threatened by real and present danger,
     such as personal defense or defense of another WHEN REQUESTED.

2.   The Witch must recognize and harmonize with the forces of the
universe, in accord with the Law of Polarity: everything is dual;
everything has two poles; everything has it's opposite; for every action
there is a reaction; all can be categorized as either active or reactive
in relation to other things.
   a) The Infinite and Ultimate Godhead is one unique and
   transcendent wholeness, beyond any limitations or expressions;
   thus, it is beyond our human capacity to understand and identify
   with this principle of Cosmic Oneness, except as It is
   revealed to us in terms of It's attributes and operation.

   b) One of the most basic and meaningful attribute of the One
   that we, as humans, can relate to and understand, is
   that of polarity, of action and reaction; therefore
   Witches recognize the Oneness of the Divinity, but
   worship and relate to the Divine as the archetypal
   polarity of God and Goddess, the All-Father and the
   Great Mother of the universe.  The Beings are as near as
   we can approach to the One within our human limitations
   of understanding and expression, though it is possible to
   experience the divine Oneness through the practices of the

   c) Harmony does not consist of the pretty and the nice,
   but the balanced, dynamic, poised co-operation and

 3.   The Witch must recognize, and operate within the framework of the
Law of Cause and Effect; every action has it's reaction, and  every
effect has it's cause.  All things occur according to this law; nothing
in the universe can occur outside this law, though we may not always
appreciate the relation between a given effect and it's cause. Sub-
sidiary to this is the Law of Three, which states that whatever goes
forth must return threefold, whether of good or ill; for our actions
affect more than people generally realize, and the resulting reactions
are also part of the harvest.

4. As Above, So Below.  That which exists in the Macrocosm exists, on
a smaller scale and to a lesser degree, in the Microcosm.  The powers
of the universe exist also in the human, though in general instance they
lie dormant.  The powers and abilities can be awakened and used if the
proper techniques are practiced, and this is why initiates of the
Mysteries are sworn to guard the secrets from the unworthy: Much harm
can be done by those who have power without responsibility, both to
others and to themselves according to the Laws of Cause and Effect and
of Threefold Return.

  a) Since our philosophy teaches that the universe is the
  physical manifestation of the Divine, there can be
  nothing in the universe which does not partake of the
  nature of the Divine; hence, the powers and attributes
  of the Divine exist also in the manifest, though to much
  smaller degree.

  b) These powers can be awakened through the various
  techniques of the Mysteries, and, although they are only
  capable of small effects in and of themselves, it is
  possible to use them in order to draw upon the forces of
  the universe.  Thus humanity can be the wielders of the
  power of the Gods, a channel for Godhead to act within
  It's own manifestation.  This, many feel, is further reason
  for the oath of secrecy.

  c) Since the universe is the body of the One, possessing
  many of the same attributes as the One, it's Laws must be the
  principles through and by which the One operates.  By
  reasoning from the known to the unknown, one can learn
  of the Divine, and thus of oneself.  By experiencing the Mysteries
  a person can truly LEARN more about the One. Thus the Craft is a
  natural religion as well as a MYSTERY religion, seeing in Nature
  the expression and revelation of Divinity.

5. We know that everything in the universe is in movement or vibration
and is a function of that vibration. Everything vibrates; all things
rise and fall in a tidal system that reflects the motion inherent in the
universe and also in the atom.  Matter and energy are but two poles of
one continuous phenomenon. Therefore the Witch celebrates, harmonizes
with, and makes use of the tides of the universe and of life as
expressed through the cycle of the seasons and the motion of the solar
system.  These ritual observances are the eight great Festivals of the
Year, referred to as the Wheel of the Year.  Further, the Witch works
with the forces and tides of the Moon, for this body is the mediator of
much energy to our planet Earth and thus to ourselves.

6.   Nothing is dead matter in the universe.  All things exist,
therefore all things live, though perhaps in a different manner from
that which we are used to calling life.  In view of this, the Witch
knows that there is no true death, only change from one condition to
another. The universe is the body of Godhead, and therefore
possesses one transcendent consciousness; all things partake of the
consciousness, in varying levels of trance/awareness.

  a) Because of this principle, all things are sacred to
  the Witch, for all partake of the one Life.

  b) Therefore the Witch is a natural ecologist, for Nature
  is part of us as we are a part of Nature.

7.   Throughout the development of the human race, civilizations have
seen and worshipped many and various attributes of the Divine.  These
universal forces have been clothed in forms which were expressive to the
worshipper of the attribute of the Godhead which they expressed. Use of
these symbolic representations of the natural and divine forces of the
universe, or god forms, is a  potent method for contacting and utilizing
the forces they represent. Thus the Gods are both natural and truly
divine, and man-made in that the forms with which they are clothed are
products of humanity's striving to know the Godhead.

  a) In keeping with the Law of Polarity, these god-forms
  are brought into harmony by the one great Law which
  states:  All Gods are one God.  All Goddesses are one
  Goddess.  There is one Initiator.  This law is an
  expression of our understanding that all of the forces of
  the universe, by whatever ethnic god-form is chosen to
  clothe and relate to whichever force, can be resolved
  into the fundamental polarity of the Godhead, the Great
  Mother and the All-Father.

  b) It is the use of differing god forms, of differing
  ethnic sources or periods, which is the basis of many of
  the differences between the various Traditions of the
  Craft. Each Tradition uses the forms, and thus the names,
  which to that Tradition best express and awaken an
  understanding of the force represented, according to the
  areas of emphasis of the Tradition.

  c) Because we know that differing names or
  representations are but expressions of the same divine
  principles and forces, we require our  members to swear
  that they will never mock the names by which another
  honors the Divine, even though those names be different
  from and seemingly less expressive than the names and god
  forms used by our Tradition (for to the members of
  another Tradition, using it's names, ours may easily seem
  equally less expressive).

8. A Witch refuses to allow her/himself to be corrupted by the great
guilt neuroses which have been foisted on humanity in the name of the
Divine, thus freeing the self of the slavery of the mind.   The Witch
expresses responsibility for her/his actions, and accepts the consequen-
ces of them; guilt is rejected as inhibiting to one's self-actualiza-
tion, and replaced by the efforts of the Witch to obey the teachings of
harmlessness, responsibility for the consequences of one's actions, and
the goal of actualizing the full powers of the individual.

  a) We refuse to believe that a human being is born
  innately sinful, and recognize the concepts of sin and
  guilt are tremendously inhibiting to the human potential;
  the consequences of the Law of Cause and Effect, called
  karma by some, are not punishment, but the recurrences of
  situations and their effects because the individual has
  not gained the Wisdom needed to handle or avoid such

  b) There is no heaven except that which we ourselves make
  of our life on Earth, and likewise there is no hell
  except the effects of our unwise actions.  Many of us believe
  in a "waiting place" sometimes called Summerland where we rest,
  recuperate and prepare for our next sojurn in the earth.  "Death
  is not followed by punishment or reward, but by life and the
  continuing personal evolution of our human potential.

  c) One cannot damn the divine in oneself; one can,
  however, cut oneself off from it through the rejection of
  wisdom and a refusal to strive for self-realization.
  This cutting off does not lead to personal suffering in
  "hell", for there is no Self to suffer if the tie to
  one's own divinity has been severed; what remains is
  merely an empty shell, a "personality" or thought-form
  devoid of it's ensouling Spark of the Divine Fire.

9.  We know of the existence of the life-force which ensouls all living
things, that is, all that exists.  We know that a spark of  this Divine
Fire is within each and every thing that exists, and that it does not
die; only the form of it's existence changes. We know that this spark
of the life-force returns to manifestation again and again in order to
fully realize and actualize it's potential, evolving finally to the peak
and essence of existence which is pure being.  In this process of
reincarnation each form returns in the same type of form, though it's
ever-increasing actualization may lead to higher levels of existence of
that form.  Man returns as man, cat as feline, mineral as mineral, each
class of form evolving as the individual forms of that class evolve.

10.  This process of evolution through successive incarnations in
manifest form works through the utilizations of wisdom gained, the
essence of the life-experience. This essence of experience, or Wisdom,
is an attribute of the spark of life itself, one and inseparable.

11.  We must care for the body, for it is the vehicle of the spark of
life, the form by which we attain.  Thus we must heal the body of it's
ills and keep it a tuned and perfected tool; so must we heal others
(both physically and psychologically) as far as it is within our power
to do so.  However, we cannot interfere with the life of another, even
to heal, except at their request or with their express permission.  The
reasoning behind this apparent limitation is that we are endowed with
Free Will, and what the Gods themselves hesitate to infringe upon, is
best left alone by us "mere" mortals.

13.  Harmony with, and utilization of, the great natural forces of the
universe is called magick.  By magick we speak, not of the  super-
natural, but of the superbly natural, but whose laws and  applications
are not as yet recognized by the scientific establishment.  The Witch
must strive to recognize these forces, learn their laws, attune
her/himself to them, and make use of them.  The Witch must also be aware
that power corrupts when  used _only_ for the gains of the self, and
therefore must strive to serve humanity:  Either through the service in
the Priesthood, or by example and effects of his/her life on others.
The choice must be made in accord with the true nature of the Witch.