*It should also be noted that I am not a professional and still very new to this belief. While I can firmly say that I am a Wiccan, my practices and beliefs could be extremely different from another Wiccan's. No two witches are the exact same. This is purely for entertainment and the bare minimum of education. I do not expect someone to take my words and use it to teach, but more so help those who are new to this world, like I once was, to have a basic understanding of the belief.*
The Principles of Wiccan Belief
As a Wiccan, and most other faiths followed, you have core principles of belief that are expected of you to follow. These principles not only help you keep true to your Wiccan soul, but to help bring you closer to the faith as a whole. They not only make sure that you are staying good and not causing harm, but prevent those from causing harm onto you as well.
With the Wiccan faith, there are thirteen principles of belief that some Wiccans follow, others follow the Wiccan Rede, like myself, but I will get into all of that later on.
The thirteen principles of belief are very important and, in my own personal opinion, believe that from an outsider's perspective, it really sums up what we Wiccans believe in. The thirteen principles are as followed;
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 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.
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 (gender) 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 religious worship.
We recognize both outer worlds and inner, of 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.
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, 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.
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 her/himself that make life possible in order to live wisely and will without harm to other and in harmony with Nature.
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.
Our only animosity towards Christianity, or toward 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.
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 accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.
We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.
As you can see - or I suppose read, we are not what society paints us to be. We do not worship "the Devil" or go out of our way to harm those. We want to do only what is right in terms of helping ourselves and others by using what we have been given to from Nature.
Personally, I have not ventured too deeply into using a lot of Nature based resources for health an well-being. I would like to make it known now that this does not mean giving up all medicine entirely. Some could argue that we don't need doctors or medicine from science - and that Nature can give us everything we need, but I personally will say that Nature can only give us so much. Please vaccinate yourself and your children, go to the doctors when you need to.
When it comes to Nature based sources, use those only when you feel as though it is right. For example; using herbs to put in soups and teas to cleanse your mind or body is a very good way to use Nature. Bathing or cleansing crystals in moon water is also a very good example. But please, do not hold back from going to get attention from medical personal. If it is life-threatening, do not try and do something new and more "Wiccan friendly".
You do not have to practice everything that is talked about in the thirteen practices. I have personal friends who do not believe in the religion aspect of it - because they are Catholic or Christian, but they practice the act of Wicca and things such as meditation, tarot readings, etc.
The important thing to understand is that Wicca is a very flexible belief which makes it easy for any new person wanting to dive into it to understand and adapt to. When starting out, you do not have to buy every single book you see or all of these expensive crystals. Start out doing your research and figure out what is going to work best for you.
Diving deeper into the Wiccan belief, I would like to take a moment to share another sort of "message" that we follow. Personally, I follow this and know about this one more than the thirteen principles. The Wiccan Rede is commonly used among Wiccans - writing it in the front of their Book of Shadows, framing it somewhere in their room, praying to it before casting spells, etc. The Wiccan Rede is just as informative as the thirteen principles.
Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust.
Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give.
For tread the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out.
To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme.
Light of eye and soft of touch, speak you little, listen much.
Honor the Old Ones in deed and name,
let love and light be our guides again.
Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the joyful tune.
Widdershins go when the moon doth wane,
and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane.
When the Lady's moon is new, kiss the hand to Her times two.
When the moon rides at Her peak then your heart's desire seek.
Heed the North winds mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.
When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.
When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth.
When the wind whispers from the West, all hearts will find peace and rest.
Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows.
Oak in the forest towers with might, in the fire it brings the God's
insight. Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower.
Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye.
Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning adds its strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility.
Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen.
Elder is the Lady's tree burn it not or cursed you'll be.
Four times the Major Sabbats mark in the light and in the dark.
As the old year starts to wane the new begins, it's now Samhain.
When the time for Imbolc shows watch for flowers through the snows.
When the wheel begins to turn soon the Beltane fires will burn.
As the wheel turns to Lamas night power is brought to magick rite.
Four times the Minor Sabbats fall use the Sun to mark them all.
When the wheel has turned to Yule light the log the Horned One rules.
In the spring, when night equals day time for Ostara to come our way.
When the Sun has reached it's height time for Oak and Holly to fight.
Harvesting comes to one and all when the Autumn Equinox does fall.
Heed the flower, bush, and tree by the Lady blessed you'll be.
Where the rippling waters go cast a stone, the truth you'll know.
When you have and hold a need, harken not to others greed.
With a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend.
Merry Meet and Merry Part bright the cheeks and warm the heart.
Mind the Three-fold Laws you should three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow wear the star upon your brow.
Be true in love this you must do unless your love is false to you.
These Eight words the Rede fulfill:
"An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will"
It is important to understand though, that we really mean no harm. At the very end of the Rede - those eight imporant words, define the Wiccan community as a whole. "An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will" Due to media, film, history even, we are portrayed as the evil people who are only after stealing youth from children and poisoning others. I would like to make it known now that this is not the case at all.
The Wiccans I have had the pleasure of meeting are some of the kindest people in the world. We truly do mind our own business and do what we think is in our best interest and others. We do not have time nor the energy to put out bad energy or hold it in.
However, this might not be the case with all. Yes, there are those, very few but there are some, who do practice evil beliefs. These so called "Wiccans" are not Wiccans at all but something more evil.
Wiccans do not associate themselves with evil or wrong-doings - these people might think they are Wiccans because they practice "magick" but because they are doing harm to themselves and others, they are not. In the Wiccan community it is very important to us that we cause no harm - because that would go against the Wiccan Rede.
It is long, yes, and I apologize for the absolute spam of information in this first part, and probably not explaining it all that well. But the thirteen principles of Wiccan belief and the Wiccan Rede are two very important parts to the Wiccan world.
Not only is this what we Wiccans believe and live by, but it is a very well done explanation of who we are. We are not Devil worshippers or hex-casters, we are Nature friendly people who are trying to use what we have from Nature to do better for ourselves, others, and the world we know.