The Principles of Belief: Teen Translation

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.
Teen Translation: Witches celebrate the God and Goddess through religious services, commonly called rituals. A rite is a segment within a ritual. Most of our services correspond to set days throughout the year. Some celebrations follow the phases of the moon, where other services match the seasons of the planet. Rather than wasting space and building a place to hold services that will remain vacant for most of the week, Witches often meet in their homes and have their services there.

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.
Teen Translation: The Gods have given us the ability to know right from wrong. Since we stand at the top of the food chain we have the responsibility to make sure the planet doesn’t get gummed up because we are so darned “smart”. The best way to protect the planet and all the creatures on it is by living in harmony with all our bird, bee, and animal buddies. In essence, we need to be ecologically conscious of our actions at all times.

3. We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than is apparent to the average person. Because this power is far greater than ordinary, we sometimes call this force “supernatural”, but we see this power as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.
Teen Translation: Over the centuries, humans have managed to suppress many of their innate talents. The power of the mind truly is an incredible thing. Did you know that we don’t bother to use a huge portion of our mind power? We’ve become lazy, and access only what we think we need. It is from this unused mind that wondrous abilities unfold, such as clairvoyance, telekinesis, clairaudience, extrasensory perception (ESP), remote viewing — call it what you will. Everyone has these abilities, but most don’t use them, and some people fear these powers. Witches, and other enlightened souls, strive to strengthen these natural gifts. In the eyes of the Witch, everyone and everything stands equal.

4. We conceive of the Creative Power in the Universe as manifesting through polarity — as masculine and feminine — and that this Creative Power lives in all people, and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine. We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other. We value sexuality as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of Life.
Teen Translation: Just like any other religion, Witches believe in God. We see God as having two sides — masculine and feminine. Together, these two sides mix to create the whole of God. Witches respect both men and women, and the male and female properties in everything. We agree that men aren’t better than women, and that women aren’t better than men. Witches believe that having sex with another person is not a “bad thing”, though we do feel that sexual acts and interests carry a heavy responsibility.

5. We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological, worlds — sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, the Inner Planes, et cetera — and we see in the interaction 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.
Teen Translation: We know that energies exist in the world, seen and unseen. We value the world of the mind as much as we value the world around us. The Collective Unconscious means the psychic connections between people, plants, animals, insects, and Spirit. We call the powers of the mind the Inner Planes. Witches realize that the techniques known as paranormal phenomena and magickal application begin in the mind and manifest in the universe. We pay attention to what we think and what we do. We believe that to think a thing is to create a thing.

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.
Teen Translation: Unlike other churches that feel the need to have a central government that dictates the rules and activities of its followers, the Wiccan religion does not have a central government. We do have teachers and leaders that we honor for their wisdom and the time they have donated to the Wiccan way. Each Wiccan organization, church, coven, group, or open circle governs itself.

7. We see religion, magick, and wisdom-in-living as united in the way one views the world and lives within it — a world view and philosophy of life, which we identify as Witchcraft or the Wiccan Way.
Teen Translation: Wiccans believe that religion, the power of the mind, magickal applications, wisdom, and faith in Spirit do not function separately, but together. We try not to wear blinders to what goes on in the world, and to keep an open mind as much as possible.

8. 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 him/herself that make life possible to live wisely and well, without harm to others, and in harmony with nature.
Teen Translation: Putting down this book, going to school, and proclaiming to one and all does not make you a Witch. Wearing black clothing and lots of gaudy jewelry and threatening people with the silly nonsense of cursing them puts you far away from the path of the real Wiccan. Joining a coven and taking an initiation and collecting status within that group also doesn’t make you a Witch. How you live, how you deal with others, how you incorporate Wiccan laws into your life — these all determine whether you are, or are not, a Witch.

9. We acknowledge that it is the affirmation and fulfillment of life, in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness, that gives meaning to the Universe we know, and to our personal role within that Universe.
Teen Translation: Witches respect all life, whether that life belongs to a bug, a weed, a beautiful tree, a tiger, or the rude man who lives down the street from you. All must survive to evolve.

10. Our only animosity toward Christianity, or toward any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that these institutions have claimed to be “the one true right and only way” and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practices and belief.
Teen Translation: Witches are sick and tired of people in other religions passing judgment and spreading lies about our belief system just because they are either insecure in their own faith or don’t realize that many paths to God exist in our universe. These unenlightened people think that hurting us is better than admitting that people should be free to believe as they want to believe. Witches do not hate Christians, or Jews, or followers of Islam; however, when people from these structured groups try to hurt us with lies, gossip, or physical force, they can expect the Witches to be upset and to fight back.

11. As American Witches, we do not feel threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions. We concern ourselves with our present, and our future.
Teen Translation: There is no one right way to practice the Craft. The religion is what you make of it.

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 see power through the suffering of others, nor do we accept the concept that personal benefits can only be derived by denial to another.
Teen Translation: We do not worship the Devil nor do we believe in the Christian Satan. We believe that to give evil a name is to give evil power. Witches do not find an interest in working with, in, or through evil. We do not believe that a person gains power by hurting, threatening, or killing someone — that would be evil.

13. We work within nature for that which is contributory to our health and well-being. Not bound by traditions from other times and other cultures, we owe no allegiance to any person or power greater than the Divinity manifest through our own being. As American Witches, we welcome and respect all life-affirming teachings and traditions. We week to learn from all and to share our learning. We do not wish to open ourselves to the destruction of Wicca 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 any person who carries a sincere interest in our knowledge and beliefs, regardless of race, color, sex, age, national or cultural origins, or sexual preference.
Teen Translation: Witches work with nature rather than against nature. We believe that God is the supreme power and that no human or group of people is more powerful than God. Witches respect all religions on the face of the planet, and respect an individual’s right to practice a positive faith. We do not teach our mysteries to fools, and we will exclude those people whom we feel are either self-destructive or whom we have the potential, or the history, of hurting others. Most Wiccan organizations screen prospective members.

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