Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which both Britain and Canada are signatories, states:
‘Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.’
The Pagan Federation was founded in Britain in 1971 to:
- provide information on Paganism,
- to counter misconceptions about Paganism, and
- to work for the rights of Pagans to worship freely and without censure.
To help accomplish this, the PF organizes members’ only and public events, maintains personal contact with individual members and with the wider Pagan community, publishes a quarterly journal, Pagan Dawn, (formerly called The Wiccan, founded in 1968), as well as other on-line journals, and holds an annual conference in London, UK, each November. The Pagan Federation International consists of all those regions lying outside of the United Kingdom, many of whom, like their UK counterparts, hold public gatherings throughout the year.
The aims of the Pagan Federation International
- Mission Statement: ‘to defend the rights of pagans’
- to provide contact between Pagan groups and genuine seekers of the Old Ways;
- to promote contact and dialogue between the various branches of European Paganism and other Pagan organizations worldwide; and
- to provide practical and effective information on Paganism to members of the public, the media, public bodies and the Administration.
The PFI does not exist to promote any single path within Paganism, nor do we presume to represent all Pagans. Rather our members are drawn from all strands of Paganism, are at least 18 years of age, and subscribe to the Three Principles which give the Pagan Federation its common purpose and focus:
The Three Principles of the Pagan Federation International
- Love for and Kinship with Nature. Reverence for the life force and its ever-renewing cycles of life and death.
- 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.
- Recognition of the Divine, which transcends gender, acknowledging both the female and male aspect of Deity.
Pagan Federation International – Canada
To ensure that PFI-Canada is responsive to the needs of local as well as national concerns, we are looking for individuals who wish to become Local Organizers for their local pagan communities.
Given the size of Canada and our population distribution, it is impossible for only two people to respond to our diverse pagan community. We need lots of help from folks, just like you, from across the country. It is our hope to have a number of Local Organizers within each province and territory of Canada. Ideally, we would like to see at least one LO in each urban centre within Canada. We realize that it will take a few years to achieve this goal – but it is very attainable.
Local Organizers are committed to their pagan communities and undertake measures to ensure that comprehensive information on Paganism is available to all those who ask. Local Organizers are able to address the concerns of pagans in their local area or refer these concerns to the proper channels for resolution, or they would ask for help from their Regional Organizer. Local Organizers also arrange and help out at local pagan community events within their area. This is a volunteer position requiring a few hours a month.
Contact us if you have organizational skills and would like to get more involved with your local pagan community as a representative of PFI-Canada. We will need a brief resume with personal references.
About the Pagan Federation International – Canada
The Canadian branch of the Pagan Federation International was born on in about 1998 when David Springer was appointed National Coordinator by Tony Kemp (the PF’s first International Coordinator and the person responsible for bringing the PFI to Europe and to the rest of the world). Due to health reasons, David S. resigned in 2005 and Tiamat from Alberta held the reigns for the next two years.
Since 2022 Catherine Starr has been appointed to the position of NC/National Coordinator of PFI Canada. Currently, she is in the process of updating the Canadian information on the website and seeking volunteers to serve as Local Area Coordinators. If you are involved in your local pagan community – or would like to be – please sent a note to Catherine and let her know of your interest.
PFI Canada is part of the Pagan Federation International, established as a foundation in The Netherlands, in November 2005. The International Coordinator is Morgana. Pagan Federation International has members throughout Europe, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Asia and Australia. More than 23 countries are members of the PFI.
As a growing Pagan umbrella organization in Canada, we are starting to organize members’ get-togethers or moots in various locations in Canada, members-only excursions and we are also exploring the feasibility of providing our Canadian members with a quarterly down-loadable newsletter containing activities of Pagan interest in the various parts of Canada.
At the organized open “Moots” (which is a gathering of interested folks and usually held in a tavern or restaurant or coffee shop, where Pagans of different paths get together and chat) the atmosphere is informal, without any formal agenda, which makes the Moots a great way for those who are new to Paganism (or just curious) to get to learn about us and about what Paganism is all about. If you would like to be introduced to others, please let the local organizer know.
The Three Principles of the Pagan Federation Explained
The Three Principles of the Pagan Federation 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 more abstract principles of life.
Each is open to a range of honourable and reasonable interpretations.
- 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 death.
2. 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 choices are not about whether harm will happen, but about where it will fall.”
3. 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-recognised 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.
Why PFI has them
These principles (or minor variations of them) have been part of the criteria for membership of the Pagan Federation for over 30 years. They offer a clear, short statement of belief or attitude by members. Folk joining the organisation or meeting other members for the first time, have at least some assurance that they are meeting people who share broadly similar views of what the Pagan Federation stands for.
They also provide a short, clear, description for presenting Paganism in the broadest sense, and the membership of the Pagan Federation in particular, to those outside the Pagan community (the Government, various NGOs, the media, local interest groups, other religious groups, interfaith organisations, etc). They provide the Pagan Federation with a rather greater degree of cohesion than the Pagan community as a whole, which makes it a much more effective campaigning organisation on issues which benefit all Pagans, whether they are members or not. The Pagan Federation has gained significantly greater institutional credibility than any other Pagan organisation in large part by having these broad, consistent, principles of belief and attitude throughout its membership.
How the Principles affect you
The principles are not meant to dictate every detail of your Pagan path; each principle is open to a range of reasonable and honourable interpretations. They give all members a shared understanding of the ethical and philosophical basis of the organisation. Having these principles gives the membership assurance that those elected or appointed officers acting on their behalf, share a broadly similar ethical and philosophical perspective with the members they are representing or serving.