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The Three Principles
The three principles of the Pagan Federation (Scotland) are not intended to provide a doctrinally definitive Pagan creed. They do provide a general outline of some key, mainstream, Pagan attitudes and beliefs concerned with how we relate to the Earth, how we relate to other living beings, and how we relate to the divine (our Goddesses or Gods or a more abstract spirit of life). Each is open to a range of honourable and reasonable interpretations.
i. "Love for and Kinship with Nature. Reverence for the life force and its
ever-renewing cycles of life and death."
The first principle of the Pagan Federation emphasises the importance of love
and respect for nature in Paganism. It recognises that human beings are part of
nature and that our lives are intimately interwoven with the web of life and
ii. "A positive morality, in which the
individual is responsible for the discovery and development of their true nature
in harmony with the outer world and community. This is often expressed as 'Do
what you will, as long as it harms none'."
The second principle of the Pagan Federation puts forward a broadly humanistic approach to ethics which seeks to maximise both individual freedom and personal responsibility. It recognises our place as human beings within the web of life wherein everything we do, or refrain from doing, has consequences for ourselves and for others. It encourages working towards peaceful outcomes while acknowledging the legitimacy of both self-defence and justice.
This is compatible with all Pagan paths, and essential for a tolerant,
diverse and humane society. The Wiccan Rede is given as an illustrative, but
not definitive, example of this general approach to ethics - this does not
insist that we harm none under any or all circumstances. It does encourage
us to be aware of the context in which our actions operate, to consider the
probable consequences of the choices we make, to choose those which are
reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances and thus minimise such
harm as cannot be prevented, and take responsibility for our contribution,
by either action or inaction, to the outcome. Hard ethical decisions are not
about whether harm will happen, but about where it will fall.
iii. "Recognition of the Divine, which transcends gender, acknowledging both the female and male aspect of Deity."
This principle encompasses a range of Pagan understandings of divinity including, but not restricted to, pantheism, all forms of polytheism including duotheism, Goddess-recognisant monotheism, and animism. It requires us to acknowledge that where the divine is understood as deity or deities having gender, it must include a Goddess or Goddesses as well as a God or Gods.
It also recognises that there are Pagan understandings of divinity which
cannot be thus categorised. Modern Paganism tends to approach theology
through a synergy of multiple understandings of the divine or Divinity in
the abstract, and modern Pagans tend to regard the honouring of the Gods, of
the divine as it is manifest within this living world, as of greater
importance than theological speculation as to its or their precise nature.