In his book, Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, Scott Cunningham lists The Thirteen Goals of a Witch (in the edition I have they can be found on page 151). Cunningham does not give an explanation of each goal, which to me implies that they are his personal goals and therefore are able to be interpreted in as many different ways as there are witches. The following are my interpretations of each goal:
- I. Know yourself.
This is a reflection of the first pillar of The Witch’s Pyramid. Knowing oneself is deeper than the knowledge one attains from books; it is the knowledge of self or understanding one’s motivations. It is vital for each witch to be aware of his or her abilities, strengths, weaknesses, dreams, desires and fears. If the individual witch resonates in a vibration of denial or ignorance then how can this individual be able to expand and grow? To be able to be successful in manifesting that which is desired the witch must be aware of her or his own energetic vibration. To know oneself means that the witch is willing and able to be honest and truthful with his or her self.
- II. Know your craft.
This is also a reflection of the first pillar of The Witch’s Pyramid. This goal speaks of the knowledge of how energy (and thus magick) works. Books are significant tools to learn from as well as other witches, however personal experience is vital. Learning from experience cannot be replaced by anything or anyone. This is how a witch will gain understanding of his or her own energy flow and how it works in harmony or dissonance with the energies of their environment as well as how it aligns with the correspondences that he or she incorporates into their personal practice. The witch will learn to manipulate and create through their craft.
- III. Learn.
One of The Laws of Magick suggested by Isacc Bonewits in his book Authentic Thaumaturgy is The Law of Infinite Data, which states that there is an infinite number of phenomena to be known that one will never run out of things to learn. With this understanding the witch would continue to seek out new information and apply it to his or her own practice and craft. Just as the universe is in a constant state of change and expansion so should be the witch.
- IV. Apply knowledge with wisdom.
This goal speaks of the ability to take the knowledge that one has gained from books, teachers, mentors and personal experience and relating this to his or her own insight, understanding and intuition gaining them a deeper and more meaningful perspective on not only their life experience but the nature of God Herself as well. This is the best way for a witch to achieve personal gnosis and spiritual enlightenment.
- V. Achieve balance
One of the main tenets within Wicca is balance. We view everything within the Universe (the macrocosm) including ourselves (the microcosm) as having polarity: masculine and feminine, day and night, creation and destruction (to name just a few). Since God Herself is the culmination of All That Is, the witch that achieves balance thus achieves vibrational alignment with God Herself. To gain balance and achieve this goal, the witch would begin with the first goal that Cunningham lists and work his or her way through each thus bringing their personal energy into alignment (balance).
- VI. Keep your words in good order
The definition of the word ‘good’ by Merriam-Webster Online is: of high quality, of somewhat high but not excellent quality, correct or proper. So this goal states that the witch is to keep his or her words in correct or proper order and to have them be of high quality. This is a subjective goal as it is dependent on the witch’s own belief as to what is correct, proper and high quality. This goal is a reminder for each witch to be aware of what he or she is writing, typing or saying.
- VII. Keep your thoughts in good order
This goal is aligned with the prior goal but is applied to that which the witch is thinking.
- VIII. Celebrate life
Life is a process, an experience and some would even say that it is a gift. Whatever perception held about life this goal encourages the witch to view it as important and to find the joy that is held within each moment, to be engaged, to be aware and to be involved; because in order for him or her to manipulate the energies within and around oneself it is critical to be connected to that energy.
- IX. Attune with the cycles of the Earth
Everything that is physically manifested on Earth, including the Earth herself, has an energetic frequency that is able to come into vibrational alignment with another frequency. When a witch is able to attune or regulate his or her own energy with the Earth’s tides and seasons that witch will find that he or she is able to manifest their intentions with ease.
- X. Breathe and eat correctly
Many individuals are in a constant state of anxiety. Their ‘fight or flight’ response is triggered continuously because of the level of stress in their lives. It has been proven that when an individual breathes deeply taking in a higher level of oxygen they can calm the body and reduce stress thus alleviating the continued state of ‘fight or flight’ bringing the body, mind and spirit into a state of overall well-being. Eating nutritious foods will also aid in this endeavor.
- XI. Exercise the body
Physical movement encourages the body to become healthier and thus stronger. Extreme exercise is not required just moderate movement to aid your body to come into a healthy state of being. Just as witches are encouraged to breathe and eat correctly in the previous two goals it is important to bring the physical body, the sacred temple, into healthy alignment as well. A body that is in misalignment makes manifestation a little more challenging.
- XII. Meditate
Meditation is a fundamental tool in achieving results from a magickal practice. It is the first step in achieving a successful visualization, which is necessary in the manifestation of a spell whether it be an intricate casting or a simple intention sent out to the Universe. It is also a major part of rituals and communing with the gods.
- XIII. Honor the Goddess and God
Honoring the Goddess and God means to show respect and reverence to them. They are and are part of everything that we see manifested on the Earth including the Earth. They are part of everything that we cannot see manifested on the Earth. Every experience we have is part of the energy of All That Is. Everything is interconnected which makes everything sacred. By honoring ourselves, the Earth and all beings we interact with and witness we honor the Goddess and God.