Author: SAPC Executive Council
Date: Sunday, 24 July
The past few years have been periodically punctuated by international press reports on child molestation in Wiccan Circles, as well as local rumours of Pagan Clergy (High Priests and Priestesses) refusing to initiate students, slapping them across the face, stories of substance abuse, of public drunken behaviour, of men foisting themselves on young women, of older women seducing their younger wards, of young women voluntarily agreeing to overnight with the later accused person, women drugging men to have their children, accusations of ritualized group sex, all kinds and sorts of stories to make one’s hairs stand on end.

Rumours come and go, but what exactly does a Spiritual Community do when the whispered rumours become too loud and refuse to stop? Even if one does not wish to get involved or to interfere in other peoples’ private affairs (one is often reluctant to intervene for fear of appearing to be the cause of all the drama), the repercussions of repeated non-action are too serious to be ignored.

Currently, doing the rounds, is yet another such story. What should the Pagan Community do when the defining lines of public morality are crossed or become confused and the matter at hand threatens to become a matter of public domain? Evidently some things of the negative spectrum have to be faced collectively, and as a responsible Spiritual Entity we have decided to make a public announcement, denouncing such rumours and or the behaviour that has lead to them.

Pagans are evidently not more enlightened and not more respectful of the need to honour one another’s sexual boundaries, not better at respecting one another’s bodies and the right to say “no”, not better at operating between the social parameters of what is deemed acceptable and legal. This is the behind-the-scenes-reality and we have to take ownership of the situation and distance ourselves from such behaviour before it jeopardizes decades of work done in the field of public relations.

Those of us who have been around long enough, know all about malicious rumours, jealous fibs, false accusations, abuse of power, etc. but the truth is, folk refuse to deal with the facts and the isolated incidents are swept under the carpet, leaving an aura of doubt and miasma around the individuals, who are quite often falsely accused.

Pagans generally have strong opinions but claim to refrain from passing judgment on others’ shortcomings. This is the general consensus, but the truth is less handsome. Pagans name and shame people behind the scenes, without verifying facts, without considering who they may be dealing with, by putting matters in the hands of messianic want-to-be leaders with no background and no training who are all too keen and eager to lead a witch hunt against an Elder of our Spiritual Community, rather than to demonstrate their leadership capacities by positively assisting to resolve the matter at hand and ensuring that justice is done, if rights, moral codes or our country’s laws have been infringed.

The SAPC is not a policing body and has never claimed to be one, but time and time again it is approached by concerned members of our Community regarding very serious matters. The SAPC guarantees all its members and affiliated groups the autonomy to run their housekeeping responsibly and without any outside interference. Albeit those accused and involved in the current rumours are not members or affiliated with and to the SAPC, we cannot stand by and pretend that we are ignorant of said rumours and what has transpired. We have approached all those involved and listened to their side of the story, read through all the private emails forwarded to us, listened to the recorded voice notes, read kilometric whatsapp messages, and all those involved are aware of the seriousness of the situation. No cases of abuse have been reported or opened with the police and those who first divulged the information, do not wish to meet with the training coven to discuss the matter further. No minors are involved and what transpired, happened after the coven meeting, which therefore is also not directly involved, but was unfortunately implicated.

We need to remember that legally speaking consensual sex between adults cannot suddenly become rape or abuse of power and Mainstream Christian Morality does not dictate Pagan Morality. We exhort/advise young women and men to make wise decisions on where to stay the night after meetings and that the covensteads not be used as halfway houses after classes or rituals, in order to avoid any such incidents in future. Plan your evenings, keep the timing strict, and make sure that all folk go home safely at the end of the evening.


Do Pagans have a moral code? Most forms of spirituality and religion teach modes of morality and forms of behaviour, and Paganism is no exception; as a matter of fact it is rather complex, as it has many forms of moralities. Pagan Morality varies from Tradition to Tradition and according to the individuals in question. The Wiccans observe the Wiccan Rede, the Heathens look at the Havamal primarily for moral guidance, the Asatru have the 9 Noble Virtues, Kemetic Pagans uphold the 42 Laws of Ma’at, maintain the universal order and give due worship to the Gods and so forth. In the Roman Cultus, there is something called “Mos Maiorum” (Ancestral Customs) within which there are a set of virtues that are conducive to good character, essential to the Roman Way. Amongst these is pieta (piety), which entails respect for the natural social, political and religious orders, duty and devotion to family and elders, perseverance, self-control, pious obligation, frugality, strength of mind, faithfulness or loyalty, honesty and the performance of rituals.

These moral codes or tenets are in essence guidelines which apply to the adherents of that path.

So does this mean that there is no absolute moral code for Pagans? Not really, but we believe that there are parallels and therefore some points we could all agree upon. Albeit really hard to explain the true nature of paganism to people of our time, we need to try, and we need to remember that there was such a thing as Pagan Ethics, social values, morality, etc. prior to the advent of Christianity. Morality is not the domain of Christian behaviour, on the contrary, Pagan Morality influenced Christian morality as the latter borrowed from the paganism as they were busy extirpating it.

Indigenous [pagan] Culture (yes there was an original indigenous culture in Europe) and Morality were eradicated by the Europeans themselves, a veritable systematic purge of everything [pagan] took place with the rise of the city states and the patriarchal hordes that spread through early Europe. So much was lost and destroyed and only a small fraction of it was rehashed during the Renaissance Period and by the reconstructionists who still toil today to piece together the ways of our Ancestors.

We understand that Pagans fear control through organised religion, and that the adoption of a moral codex is to most, unthinkable. Until you do the necessary research and realise that Pagan Morality and Ethics are as old as the hills, older than the organised mind controlling mainstream religious movements. As a rule Pagan Morality leans more towards virtues rather than laws. Those who adopt and regularly apply these to their lives, receive the great reward spoken of in the Mystery Schools. They become the Wise.


A code of principles should represent the interests and aspirations of the community for which they are meant.

This is a proposed list of principles. These are not laws, but guidelines, and the words “should strive” and “let” were purposefully used to give the individual the power of decision-making.

  • As Pagans we recognize humanity’s duty towards environment and that Nature is our mother and teacher. We should strive to protect her, not pollute, strive to recycle, to save energy, to make eco-friendly choices, as well as to live in harmony with Nature. We should revere every living thing.

  • We understand the interconnectedness of everything and should therefore practice kindness, generosity, hospitality and cooperation.

  • We believe in the equality of the sexes and should therefore not regard one above the other, but accept that the Divine is beyond and transcends gender. Let our Path be inspired by the egalitarian ways of Neolithic societies rather than the competitive spirit encouraged by the secular societies.

  • We should honour those who teach and acknowledge those who have given themselves in leadership to the revival and advancement of Paganism.

  • Gossip is harmful. We should avoid it, as we should avoid the repetition of unverified facts and avoid passing judgment on others. We should speak little and listen a lot. We should not promote a spirit of animosity towards other religious paths.

  • Honour is a sacred virtue. Let our actions be upright, causing harm to none. We should at all costs, avoid deceit, exploitation of others, fraud, violence to fellow humanity, theft, abusive behaviour, and any form of action detrimental to society.

  • We believe in religious freedom and should therefore be tolerant and accepting of other Pagan paths. Furthermore, we should keep our egos and tempers under control, as these modes of behaviour distort reality and affect our power of reasoning.

  • The greatest mystery is “Know Thyself”. We should be true to ourselves and to what Paganism represents and act in nobility and wisdom. We should be loyal to our practice and philosophy allowing fidelity to count amongst our virtues. We should never do anything to bring our Craft into disrepute. “Let your conscience be your guide”.

  • Your word is your bond. We should be honest with others and let them know that we expect nothing less from them. One’s actions should be in line with one’s words.

  • We acknowledge the power of our Practice and the responsibility not to abuse this for personal gain (through the exploitation of others), to intimidate, to victimize, to deceive, to ostracize, condemn, to convince others, etc. We should seek to control these forces within us, use them with discernment, living wisely, without harm to others as well as to personal selves, and in harmony with Nature.

  • Pledge friendship to those keen on it and strengthen those on the Path. They, in turn, will strengthen you.

  • Pride yourselves in walking the Path of the Wise. Our conduct should be above public reproach.

  • We co-exist and resonate with every particle in the Universe, therefore, Pagans should strive to respect everything as well as to see the Divine reflected at them through all.

  • Pagans should strive to obey the just laws of the country, unless these are in direct conflict with Pagan morality, for the most part of these legislations, were chosen with wisdom and for the benefit of all.

  • Pagans should strive to act with dignity. Pagans understand that thoughts and intent put forth energy into the Cosmos, which subsequently have repercussions on the whole. Let our words, thoughts and actions be in line with our philosophy of life, respect and reverence towards all.

  • Pagans reserve the right to preserve our cultural and Pagan heritage and traditions in the form of rituals, doctrines, practices and holy days.

  • Care for, nurture, build up and do not break down. Pagan morals should moralize and uplift, rather that demoralize.

The above principles are not cast in stone. They should be modified to suit us, for the benefit of all and for the greater good for Paganism in South Africa.

The only “Thou Shalt Not” for Paganism will be “Thou shalt not do nothing!”

Let us strive to deal with matters of transgression and fault in a mature and responsible manner, in the future. Ask for guidance and advice. There is a lot of experience, knowledge and wisdom amongst us and our Elders. Let us remember that suspicion is not proof and that every problem, no matter how big, or small, has a solution.

May the Wisdom of the Ancient Ones be with Us Always and may we be Blessed with the Trust and Courage to deal wisely with every lesson upon our way.

The SAPC Executive Council
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