"If you would know more of the way of the Witches, their Rites and practices, then study children at their play. In their innocent games are preserved the very essence of the old way."
Many accusations of negative Witchcraft are completely unfounded, and spring from irrational fears and social anxieties. Most people who are participating in the contemporary revival of Witchcraft identify themselves as positive Witches. Therefore, the practice of Witchcraft does not need to be associated with the infliction of harm or with the practice of evil magic, but can instead be viewed without fear as the nature religion it is.
In the 20th century, a major revival of pre-Christian Paganism began to happen in the United States and in Europe. The foundation of this revival was Witchcraft, interpreted simply as the nature and fertility religion of pre-Christian Europe, which was explored in books such as Charles Leland's Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches, Margaret Murray's The Witch-Cult in Western Europe, and Robert Graves's The White Goddess.
The writings of Gerald Gardner, who was Initiated by one of the surviving Covens of the Olde Wayes, shared much of the lore of English Witches in his book Witchcraft Today. Although his claims have been much questioned, numerous Covens of modern Witches were born under Gardner's inspiration, and spread to the United States in the 1960s. This form of Witchcraft, with its Great Rites, Skyclad Rituals, and its aversion to conventional religion fit well with the mood of the 1960s and blossomed rapidly during that decade.
During that time, other forms of Witchcraft were also introduced into the United States. Many families were said to have handed down their own forms of ancient Rites and Traditions. Elizabeth Green, after having been Initiated into one such Family Tradition collected as much information as possible from surviving relatives and others during the 1940s, and pieced as much of it as possible back together, along with information gleaned from Gardner himself. She is said to have founded a very secret form of Eclectic/Hereditary Witchcraft which survives to the present day.
This forms the basis for our Tradition. It is a religion based on ancient pre-Christian Paganism drawing material from many ancient and modern Pagan Traditions. It includes love and respect for nature and each other, equality of female and male energies, appreciation for ceremonies, a belief in Magick, Reincarnation and Karma, and an appreciation of the symbolism and realities behind the Deities of the past.
From ancient times the Deities were called upon to bless the fertility of the Earth and insure the safety of crops and animals. Rituals were created to utilize the energy of the Deities. Our ancestors learned to create powerful and highly effective Spells and Rituals, perfumes, poisons, and remedies. We possessed esoteric knowledge and healing powers. We are relearning and remembering our past and teaching it to our children.
We are healers, and the protectors of ancient secrets and natural lore. We give honor to the Elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water and work with plants, stones, and cosmic energies to enhance our lives. We sacrifice nothing, nor do we use any type of blood in our Workings
We strive to attune ourselves with the rhythm of natural forces observable by the tides of the Moon and the seasons of the Sun. We seek to live in harmony with all of life. We realize that we are responsible for everything that happens in our lives, that our every deed, thought, feeling and action will manifest.
We see the universe as a vast force, too great to comprehend with our human minds. We believe that it has feminine and masculine polarity, which we call the Goddess and the God. Each of those polarities has many aspects, which are known to us by individual Deity names.
Our one rule is:
IF IT HARM NONE,
DO WHAT YOU WILL.
This is often mistakenly known asThe Wiccan Rede. It is actually called The Witches' Rede.
It may sound simple, but it can be quite complex. We are assuming a lot of responsibility when we choose to live by this rule. It is our responsibility to determine whether any act that we may be contemplating will bring harm to anyone. There are actually very few acts that we can do that do not effect someone else. It can be difficult sometimes to tell if that effect will be positive or negative.
Harm None also applies to ourselves. We must also consider if what we are doing is effecting ourself in a negative way.
After taking responsibility for our actions and determining that a certain action will have a negative effect on someone, we still have the choice whether or not to carry out this act. If we choose to go ahead and do it, we are doing so in spite of knowing about the natural system of balance called Karma which is inherent in the universe.
Taking responsibility for our lives is something that we learn to do as we evolve. As we begin to grow and change and develop our powers of Magick, we usually become more and more confident in our ability to take responsibility for our life. Each new step brings more power and responsibility to us.
As we grow and evolve even more, we become so confident in our abilities that we gladly accept the Rule of Three or the Three Fold Law which states that whatever we do comes back upon us by three times, be it good or bad.
With power always comes responsibility, and since we also believe in Reincarnation -- if it doesn't get us in this lifetime, it will most definately catch up to us another time around.