My Craft Ethics: By James Crowley

I feel that it is necessary to explain some of the structure of the Covenant of the Doves. We say that we have one degree but that is not strictly true. There are four things that happen to a person on the pathway. We cannot call them degrees as they do not happen in the same order to each person.

  1. Dedication to the coven.
  2. Initiation by the God and Goddess
  3. Worldly recognition of their Initiation by the Gods and their ability to act as a Priest or Priestess
  4. Birth or Adoption into the family which is as permanent and irrevocable as the Initiation of the Lord and Lady.

The Witch 'Law'

Do not what you desire — do what is necessary.
Take all you are given — give all of yourself.
"What I have — I hold."
When all else is lost, and not until then, prepare to die with dignity.

There are two kinds of law, Law of Tribe and the Law of Goddess (ie: natural law). The Law of Tribe requires the services of a Priesthood. The Law of the Goddess require no Priesthood as they are self-enforcing. If you see an apparent violation of the law of the Goddess, there are only two possible explanations. The law is not of the Goddess but of man, or you do not understand that law of the Goddess. If you see a ball fall up, either someone is deceiving you, or you are in a spacecraft or similar artificial environment that is manifesting some of the "fine print" in the law of the Goddess. This partial telling of the laws contain both the law of the tribe and that of the Goddess. It is left to the wisdom of the student to learn which is which.

The Leadership of the Coven

The High Priestess must be an ordained Nymph or a Crone.
The High Priest must be an ordained Magician.

The High Priestess is the final word on the quality of Worship as the High Priest is the final word on the quality of Magick within the Wicca Circles.

The High Priest's relationship is: Father, Brother, and Lover.
The Priestess's relationship is: Mother, Sister, and Lover.

The priest and priestess are the leaders of the coven in the mundane world, not it's dictators. Members must be given a voice in the actions of the coven.

The Covenant of the Doves is necessarily a theocracy not a democracy. Meetings are opened to all who are dedicated and sometimes to concerned outsiders. Whatever the business, it is open to discussion by all. There are no votes taken because when it is all said and done, there are only two people in the coven that bear the responsibility for the actions of this coven, the High Priestess and the High Priest. So, the final decision is theirs alone.

When the Circle is cast by The Priest and Priestess, they are necessarily the absolute rulers of the coven. No witch shall enter the Circle with out perfect love and perfect trust in all members of the Circle. The only question of the order of the Priest or Priestess is: if told to jump, it is permissible to ask how high — on the way up.

If one disagrees with the decision of the leaders of any coven or circle. It is there right and duty to leave the coven. There is no other lawful recourse.

Leaders must be ever mindful that members will soon leave an unjust leader.

The Law of the Coven

The circle is a place that is not a place, between the worlds.

A coven is a fully autonomous unit answerable to no power beyond its own, save the Lord and Lady.

In any dispute within the family (coven) or tribe, no one may invoke any law but those of the family and tribe.

It being known that the Circle is a "place that is not a place, between the worlds", and that what is between the Worlds does not concern the World. Discussion of actions taking place within a consecrated circle is appropriate for discussion only within that Circle, or by Elders of the Craft in a Council of Elders Convened by the High Priest and High Priestess of the coven involved as only Elders can or should have any direct knowledge of actions that take place within the Circle of another Coven.

With the fragmentation of Wicca since the burning times, the identification of Elders of the Craft is at best ambiguous. The only working definition that I can feel comfortable with is: Those members of the Wiccan community that the High Priest and High Priestess of the Coven recognize as their peers regardless of what rank they hold in other circles.

The word of a witch need no bond or contract. It is necessarily true and free of equivocation.

We make it clear to all around us that we do not tolerate lying. If it is on the part of a friend or an acquaintance, we will cease contact with them, if necessary. If it is a member of the craft, we do not willingly stand in the same circle with them. If they are a student, this is one of the few areas that we will invoke banishment as a punishment (or, if there are extenuating circumstances and the person is of extreme value to the coven and the Craft, we will consider corporal punishment or an equivalent alternative proposed by the student to balance the wrong done to the Coven, in lieu of banishment). If they are an Initiate, it is necessarily more harmful to the family, and therefore, more serious.

Perfect Love and Perfect Trust

Perfect love and perfect trust are not words spoken in blind faith. They do not mean a blanket trust. Perfect love and perfect trust are what was in the hearts of the few, and most dear, that when they heard rumors, first came to us and said "what are these rumors about?". These people knew that as fallible as we are, these rumors were not a reflection of our will. These people sought to know what happened, not to satisfy any of their own devices or to judge us, but to share our pain and the load. These people are of different traditions and levels of worldly Craft learning, but these people will always hold a place in my heart second only to my brothers and sisters that are literally of the My Family.

There are three kinds of secrets in the Wiccan circle and all are inviolate except in an elder circle, and then only to the extent that they are relative to craft business and held in that elder circle.

  1. Secrets that are within the Circles that are private to the members of that coven. (ie: when Charlie has a few drinks he —)
  2. The secret held by the High Priestess and High Priest of the inside and outside Circle affairs of the coven members, due to their office.
  3. The social and magick practices of the Craft that cannot be talked of outside of the Wicca without being taken out of context and sensationalized.

There are as Many Ways to Love the Goddess as She has Names

All ways of loving the Goddess are correct. None are Wrong as long as they are based in love.

Say not "they are wrong" say "they are a different path from mine".

Until you know in your heart that you have found your path, do not deny any Wicca path that you have not walked.

When you find your path, still walk other paths with your brothers and sisters in joy and love.

"The Wicca Shall be Naked in Their Rite"

All mankind is naked before God and Goddess.

No stranger not born in the family shall lead the family or a totem of the family.

No one who rallies against his family or tribe shall be kept in banishment past 14 years after the event, if that undo the harm caused.

No one who extended themselves in the support of their family or tribe shall be banished for old age or the actions of infirmity.

It is necessary that scrying, visions, aspecting and all other apparent visions of our Lord and Lady be questioned. It is essential to our rebirth that we know that they are not our own wishful thinking or pride, if there be the least doubt, the vision must be denied.

If a true vision is denied by the initiated, the Lady will underline the truth in the vision in an unquestionable form. If this underlining comes as a punishment, it is still a small price to pay when compared to the consequences of a false vision.

If ever any of the tribe need a house or land and none will sell, then craft may be used to incline the owners to sell, provided it harmeth him not, and the full price is paid without haggling.

Never bargain or cheapen anything you buy by the art.

No Man, Woman, High Priestess, or High Priest Can Say What "Harms None"

The answer to this is for the Gods, not man. A just action may well harm someone in some way in the mundane world (every action has an equal and opposite reaction). It is always best to give the action and the power to the Goddess, and abide by her will. If it cannot be given to her after due consideration, then one must act in the most just form that is possible, freely taking on to our selves all adverse reaction of an error in judgment.

No one may do anything which will endanger any of the tribe or bring them into contact with the law of the land.

The art may only be used in earnest and never for show or vain glory.

No person may be warned of his fate more than three times.

Maidens: (Youngsters still new to the Craft, or older ones who do ritual work and do not mind publicity.) Young people oriented to cope with, and the ability to handle publicity. Some knowledge of occult and the Craft both in its practical and religious aspects is necessary. Childless women, virgins; Warm friendly people with good powers of projection.

Nymphs: (Do the bulk of ritual work, young adults.) Creative people, artists, dancers, singers, etc. Very mature, rational and responsible. Intuitive and uninhibited. Knowledge of Craft and occultism, etc. necessary. Dislikes publicity.

Crones: (Executive branch — teachers of neophytes, makes judgments, etc.) Must be sober and serious, but with a sense of humor, very mature in most all ways, intuitive of the true nature and inner working of things. Older folks, intellectual, Masters of there Craft, and dislike publicity.

No woman shall be a Maiden who has not been in her courses.

No woman shall be ordained unless she has passed her 17th year, nor shall she have her ordination recognized until that time.

No woman shall have her ordination recognized unless she is in her courses, has ten fingers, ten toes, two eyes, two ears, a nose. Her generative organs and breasts must be complete. The honorable loss of limbs or the effects of torture following ordination shall not invalidate the ordination.

No woman shall be a Nymph who has not coupled.

No woman shall be a Crone who has not given birth.

No man shall be a Magician who has not healed.

No man shall be ordained unless he has passed his 33rd year, nor shall he have his ordination recognized until that time.

No man shall have his ordination recognized unless he is the father of a living child, has ten fingers and ten toes, two eyes, two ears and a nose and generative organs complete. The honorable loss of limbs or the effects of torture following ordination shall not invalidate the ordination.

In their youth, let those who cannot swing the axe till the field. Those who cannot till the field carry water. Those who cannot carry water, nor till the field, nor chase, nor battle, nor be of service to their family or tribe, let them leave it.

None shall be kept as a child forever. Better that they be banished if they cannot grow in mind.


No person may be called to initiation more than three times.

No person may be initiated who has less than 20 years of life left to them at the time of initiation.

No High Priestess or High Priest of the Wicca can cause an initiation to take place. Initiation is in the hands of the Lord and Lady. The teacher can only provide the environment that will aide in the initiation if the God and Goddess so will it.

If one questions the validity of their own initiation, there can be but one answer, the initiation did not take place. An initiation by the Gods will be remembered.

Let your judgment on matters which you make be fit to the size of the case, not to your feelings. Let your heart not rule your mind, nor mind your heart, but bear a balance as has been taught you.

Not all are chosen for the tribe, nor are all in the tribe of one family, nor are all in the family to be initiated, nor are all the initiated to be ordained. Your yoke is to be as strong as you can bear, but no stronger.

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