|Designed by Colleen Cahoon|
In 1973 consisting of approximately seventy-three members who followed Pagan, Neopagan, or Witchcraft traditions a group called The American Council of Witches convened and disbanded in 1974 after drafting a set of common principles. (paraphrased from Wikipedia)
Basically, this group met up in Michigan and set the 13 Principles of Belief. The U.S. Army adopted them into its Chaplain's Manual in 1978. The group's attempt to unify those of the Pagan/NeoPagan and Witchcraft traditions was, while perhaps laudable on some level, futile in the end. The group disbanded "due to difficulties in reconciling differences among its members' traditions."
In 2011, someone named Kaye Berry attempted to reconstruct this council. She was very secretive, we saw several twists and turns in the story, and it was made pretty clear by the entire conglomerate of communities that call themselves Witches, we don't want another council.
Now, we have "The American Council of Witches 2015".. another secretive group trying to speak for all witches. No one seems to know these people, and those who question them are immediately removed from their Facebook page. They've flipped back and forth on whether there are already council members or not (first no, then yes, some...), and their website is rife with spelling and grammar errors. They've taken one person's questions from their Facebook page and copy/pasted them into their "FAQs". The entire set-up is completely unprofessional, and this is looking like yet another attempt for a group of people to establish themselves as the authority and voice for all American Witches.
If you want to represent me, you need to ask. You need to go to a lot of trouble to do polling, research and be completely transparent in everything you do. I haven't seen any of the many fractured American Witch communities asking for a council to represent them. If I did want to be represented, I'd want someone who actually does the aforementioned things. I'd want someone with at least a rudimentary knowledge of spelling and grammar, and who knows how to interact with people via social media. I'd also want to have some recognizable names involved in this endeavor.
I don't want anyone who has any kind of sexual deviance associated with them; those folks should immediately be dismissed outright. I don't care how things were in the 70's, this is the 21st century, and we don't need to become the Catholic Church of Paganism.
I'd prefer we had a group comprised of those from diverse backgrounds, and one that welcomed all points of view, including those of the solitary practitioner. This particular group is not willing to represent that demographic.
So, I propose an alternate.. The Loosely Organized Somewhat Group of Solitary Witches Who Believe Rules are More Like Guidelines, Anyway.. or we could just call ourselves pirates and be done with it.
My point here is that no one group is going to be able to speak for all Witches. Our independent spirit is part of who we are, and we're not looking to change what we find charming about ourselves. Witches also tend to know when someone is simply trying to get publicity rather than do good in the world.
I plan to avoid this group like the plague. I hope my witchy compadres will join me.