The Thirteen Goals of the Witch appear in Scott Cunningham's incredibly popular book, "Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner," which is among the first books on "Eclectic" Wicca. The Thirteen Goals are not Traditional (meaning I'm pretty certain that Cunningham made them up), but they nonetheless help to underscore "universal" Wiccan ethics.
The following is an examination of the relevance of each of the Thirteen Goals within the life of a Witch.
1. KNOW YOURSELF.
Know who you really are, and don't lie to yourself. It is important to continually take stock of both your vices and virtues. There is a reason that this goal appears first on the list: one cannot make any progress without first knowing what you're about and what you need to work on.
2. KNOW YOUR CRAFT (WICCA).
Knowing your Craft doesn't just mean the knowledge you have attained from books or with your teacher -- it also refers to what you have learned through your own experience, for the true Mysteries are those that cannot be written. So celebrate the seasons, serve the Old Gods, and liten carefully to the whispers of nature.
Yes, that's right, learn! Read, read, read. Read some more. Check bibliographies. If possible, train with a qualified teacher. The old cliche is correct: you never stop learning. Don't just rely on your books and your teachers, though. Look to nature. Look within. Listen carefully.
4. APPLY KNOWLEDGE WITH WISDOM.
First, knowledge and wisdom are two things. If you have ever known someone who is "book smart" but totally lacks common sense, you know what I mean. It is one thing to know a lot, and something else to apply one's knowledge effectively. In Wicca, we place a great emphasis on personal responsibility; use your knowledge to make informed decisions, and be ready to accept the consequences of ALL of your actions. When doing spellwork, make your intentions clear, and again, be ready to accept responsibility for ANY outcome.
5. ACHIEVE BALANCE.
It is the goal of the Witch to become a strong, dynamic, and balanced individual on all levels: physically, emotionally, spiritually. Learn to balance work with play. Balance your diet and be mindful of your health. Balance your checkbook. Learn ways to incorporate your spritual and "mundane" lives (hint: they're really not that separate!). Wicca is a Earth-Based religion: strive learn to live in harmony with the Earth. Align yourself with the rhythms of nature by celebrating the Sabbats and paying attention to the phases of the moon. Exercise outside when possible. Try gardening -- growing your own herbs can be very rewarding, and you tend to learn a lot more about them in the process! Recycle, and be mindful of your rubbish output. Finally, a word about psychological balance: emotional/psychological imblances should be attended to with professional counsel. IT IS NOT A WEAKNESS TO GET HELP. Witches are people, and may potentiallt experience all of the same problems that non-Witches may. I, personally, have never had to deal with severe anxiety or depression, but I know many Witches who have been BRAVE enough to confront their problems -- and have grown tremendously for having done so.
6. KEEP YOUR WORDS IN GOOD ORDER.
Again, it's all about personal responsibility. A Witch is in complete control of his/her own words. She has the ability to make an intelligent statement without putting their foot in her mouth. It is of paramount importance NOT TO LIE -- to yourself or to another: dishonesty is spiritually corrosive. One simply cannot move forward while caught in a web of lies. Be careful with so-called "white" lies -- examine why you might want to bend the truth even just a "little bit." When it comes to answering those who want to tell you that Wiccans are nothing but low-down, perverted, Satan-worshipping baby killers, doomed to rot in Hell for all eternity, the key phrase is: stay calm. Famed Salem Witch Laurie Cabot once appeared on a TV talk show along with a minister who had, shall we say, a very negative opinion of the Craft. He spewed forth the typical ignorant fundamentalist nonsense about Wicca, but Ms. Cabot carefully maintained her composure. She made no personal attacks on the minister, even though he was less than courteous towards her. In the end, who are you more likely to take seriously: the indivudual who is so absolutely incensed that they cannot even form an intelligent sentence, or the individual who remains calm, and provides well-worded answers to whatever is slung at them?
7. KEEP YOUR THOUGHTS IN GOOD ORDER.
Thoughts are, in fact, things. They are composed of and propelled by energy. Sound familiar? That's one of the most basic elements of spellwork. With that in mind, of COURSE you should monitor your thoughts. Negative thought patterns can unintentionally result in physical manifestation. Ever heard of the "self-fulfilling prophesy?" That's one example. In a similar vein, several medical studies have proven that prolonged negative emotions, such as anger and sadness, can affect the physical body, resulting in sickness. Witches are people. We laugh, we cry, we get angry. But we can't let our thoughts and emotions get out of hand. Somewhere you hear the echo: "...it's all about personal responsibility..."
8. CELEBRATE LIFE!
Wicca is a religion that does just that. We celebrate life. Celebrate the Earth, teeming with the vital essence of the Divine. Meditate in nature. Be THRILLED, if even for no other reason that you are ALIVE.
9. ATTUNE WITH THE CYCLES OF THE EARTH.
As the poem on my splash page says, "We are one with the Earth." Attune yourself with the cycles of the Earth and recognize that you are a part of nature, not "apart" from it. Meditate on the seasons. Celebrate the Sabbats. Notice the subtle changes within the Earth each day as we move around the Wheel of the Year. Participate in the great, ecstatic dance that is Life.
10. BREATHE AND EAT CORRECTLY; 11. EXERCISE THE BODY.
Your body is, literally, a temple for the Gods. It is my opinion, and the opinion of many others, that the healthier you are, the easier it will be to commune with the Divine. So make it your goal to achieve your optimum health. Reduce your intake of sweets and other unhealthy foods. Start that exercise program. This isn't about vanity: it's about feeling your best. Be certain to properly attend to any chronic illness you may have so that you can enjoy life as much as possible. On a side note, it is the experience of many Witches that that sickness can interfere with magic. Therefore, it is probably advisable that you do not work magic until you feel well enough. Seriously, when you are so ill that you can't even adequately focus your attention on daytime television, do you think you can do magic?! Just let your body get some rest, use its energy to mend itself, and have someone else do some healing magic for you!
Meditation is good for the whole organism, mind, body, and soul. Bringing yourself to that point of stillness will help you discover your inner self and true power.
13. HONOR THE GODDESS AND THE GOD.
...and rememeber that They are truly present in every molecule of Creation. In an interview, Witch Barbara Morrigan once said, "It is all Sacred." She wasn't kidding. The very act of living life to its fullest is an act of honor to the Gods. Celebrate Them in ritual and song. Recognize the sanctity of everyone and everthing. Develop relationships with the Gods. Serve them well, and perhaps most importantly: BY YOUR OWN LIFE BE an honor to them through example.
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