Daily Archives: December 26, 2011

The Rede Does Not Say “Harm None”

The Rede Does Not Say “Harm None”

Author: Praxiteles

I have always been puzzled over the general notion that the Wiccan Rede can be reduced to “harm none”, but it wasn’t until recently that the significance of this dawned on me. Ethics and morality in Western culture are almost always the ethics of denial, restriction, and rules, instead of the ethics of opportunity.

Think of the 10 Commandments: thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not commit adultery; keep holy the Sabbath, honor thy mother and father. They define a negative space you simply shall not enter, and a positive space you simply must occupy. In the realm of morality, we’re just not used to positive ethics, to the ethics of opportunity. So it’s not surprising that what most people seem to take away from the Rede is the negative component, “harm none”. Yet, in my opinion, this reduction of the Rede misses the whole point, and does great damage to its essential nature!

If we move things from the realm of morality into another realm, this will become clearer. Suppose that your lover says to you “My darling, just as long as there isn’t any bondage-discipline or sado-masochism, we can make love in whatever way the mood and inspiration comes to us! We can let our imaginations and passions run free and enjoy each other!”

Suppose that he or she says this to you, and then you start talking about how you both must ensure that nothing that you do will lead to BDSM, and start going on about how important it is to consider the smallest implications of every action in your lovemaking, and whether or not it might not someday lead to BDSM. Wouldn’t that be missing the whole point? Wouldn’t you be focusing in exactly the wrong area? The whole point of mentioning the negative space was to say that everything else was the positive space—such a large space, such room for growth and flowering! That was the point, not the other!

Or suppose that a mother says to her children: “My dears, you can play and run and do whatever you want, and wear whatever clothes you want, so long as you stay on our property between the road and the stream.” And suppose that one child sits down and draws a map and focuses intently on the road and stream, and then walks around noting the boundary lines and continually talks to the other children about how they must not cross these boundaries. Yet, the other children are busy making up fun games to play, running around, climbing trees, and enjoying themselves.

The thought of the boundary only enters their minds when they come to the road or the stream during a game, and they take some care to turn aside the path of their running, or chose another place to hide. Wouldn’t you think those children were the ones who had gotten the real message intended by the mother? Further, wouldn’t it simply be wrong to say that the mother had told the children “never leave our property; never cross the road or the stream”?

Because, that is not what she said. Essentially she said if you don’t leave the property then you can do whatever you want and wear whatever you want. Perhaps, if questioned, she would say that if the children have on long pants and their good boots and if they don’t run, they could go across the stream.

Getting back to the Rede, it says: An it harm none, do as ye will. Clearly this is not logically equivalent to “harm none”. If we invert it, it says “An it cause harm, don’t will it”—and does not say “an it cause harm, don’t do it.” Thus, in some Traditions, the Rede is amended to read “An it harm none, do as ye will. An it cause harm, do as ye must.” The issue is whether the harm is willed or not, not whether it is done or not.

In my opinion, the part of the Rede that people should be focused on is “do as ye will”. The Rede defines a huge, wonderful, wide-open space in which each of us can figure out what our beings aspire to do, to be. As long as we aren’t harming others or ourselves, we can feel confident that we can aspire towards the flowering and revelation of our True Will.

This is the important part of the Rede, and not the bit about “harm none.” And I find it incredible that so much attention is given to the issue of “harm none”. I’ve seen endless discussion about whether it is even possible to live without harming others, evening bringing plants and bacteria into the term “others.” Some try to elevate it to an ideal, unattainable, but the direction to be followed, like the Buddhist notion of saving all sentient beings. Others use it as the reason they aren’t Wiccan. Such a stupid idea! Obviously one can’t live without harming others!

All of these positions are tangential, because the Rede doesn’t say that we must live without harming anyone or anything. The Rede says that we can do what we will if it isn’t harming anyone. If it is harming someone, then we can’t just do whatever we will—other factors and consideration enter the equation then. What those are, each of us must decide for him or herself. Even here, the Rede offers no rules. Even here, the Rede is of a very different character than the 10 Commandments and general Western morality.

Some people want to be told what to do and what not to do, what to think as good, and what to think as bad or evil. They want rules and regulations—commandments. They believe that without these, no social order is possible. Yet increasingly in this day and age we can see that that assumption is unfounded, and increasingly there are people who want to figure out a way to arrange society and ethics to allow for as much freedom of expression and being as possible; to use ethical formulations to protect and support freedom, instead of to deny and restrict it. And, in my opinion, these people are essentially following the Wiccan Rede, whether they know it or not.

Far from being a liability, I find the Wiccan Rede to be a wonderful asset. It clears away so much muck from morality, and redefines the entire realm in a positive way. Understanding it in a negative way undoes much of the greatness of the Rede. So in my opinion, people should stop reducing the Rede to “harm none” and start trying to have more fun in life!

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Slipping Off the Bed: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Slipping Off the Bed: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Author: Sage Runepaw

I’m looking out my window and there’s no air conditioner in it, having been taken down as of half an hour ago. I admire the amount of light in my room again, and gaze out at the big tall maple across the street, the quiet setting, my butterscotch-gold car sitting next to the walkway and blending in with the golden oak leaves over the carpet of dry olive-green grass that’s sticking its scraggly self out, and enjoying the airy, autumnal energy. I’ve been practicing at attuning to the Four Winds, and I’ve been enjoying the energy that the not-Mabon-anymore, not-yet-Samhain time brings. I always like the “in between” spaces- they fascinate me. Anywho…

My across-the-street neighbor’s son comes out from the driveway and comes with a ball. He kicks the ball. It goes away, rolls up his incline driveway, and rolls back to him. This got me thinking, as I’m watching him pick it up, kick at it, go after it to retrieve it in the ubercute manner tiny toddlers do this in.

We kick things we want to ‘go somewhere’, but they come back, or we retrieve them. Do we ever really let them go? Do we keep them solely because they are “ours”? Do they bring anything back with them that wasn’t originally there… just adding on and ‘snowballing’ back at us? This is much like the way of the universe, isn’t it? – Seeing our intent go “out there”, sending it out, then later on, it comes back to us in the form of karma, be it good, bad, or whatever shade of grey in between. I’m not even going into spellcraft here- I’m sure that if you take a couple minutes to think about it, you’ll find a proverbial or metaphorical ‘ball’ in your life somewhere.

For all intents and purposes, I got up this morning, got breakfast and plopped my butt down back in bed to enjoy it and to journal down some things I’ve been discovering through my 303 studies and recent dreamwork. So I sit there, turn on my beloved new Zune (I’m not one for new technological toys unless my current, older ones which did the job broke- about 5 discmen and 2 boomboxes breaking and I’m ready!) , and start writing.

My vision suddenly becoming lower and lower to the aqua bedsheets should have warned me, but as I’d been snapped out of my own personal world- that of The Word Being Written As I Think It and the Mystery of Ink Capturing It in Time, coupled with the Beauty of Ink Manifesting on Paper- I felt my butt slide, though I wore long jeans and a t-shirt.

Now normally butt-sliding is usually designated for the loose toilet seat in the bathroom that Mom and I have been too lazy to fix (which usually results on saying hello to the cold ceramic floor or the cold porcelain, whichever comes first, and at the risk of giving TMI for the readers of this article) , but this time it was a fabric, soft, warmer butt-slide thing going on. And in the meantime I’m too stunned to react (as well as being a zombie because come on, I got up at 9:00 am on a week-day after a late night of work, and caffeine doesn’t work on me) – and so the next thing I see is me sitting on the floor staring at my heap of Stuff (capitalized due to the nature of the random objects in question never quite leaving the floor, getting relocated every time I clean) next to the bed.

So I’m sitting here a little longer than others might normally do, or the “Durrrrh?” moment, which consisted of many more long moments. And I’m staring, wondering why on earth I’m on the floor. And it occurs to me, again belatedly, that my perspective is not of the journal page I was writing in. My train of thought was entirely derailed (and rightly so) when I fell on my butt.

Then the proverbial lightning bolt struck- and it occurred to me that “This is not the perspective you’re used to”. Of course not, on a mundane level- it’s been years since I fell on my butt on the floor from the bed, even though I sit in the same exact spot on the floor when I’m drawing. On a spiritual level- and a synchronicity in my life, as I’d just been journaling about perspective itself and new realizations in my life- falling on my butt reminded me of three important things.

1) It reinforced that (this is my own personal truth talking) perspective can be everything, and all we have to do is quit the mental yammering inside our heads, or the “us” factor, or stopping our emotions and/or thoughts cold-turkey, open our eyes, and really -see-. Sometimes, detachment is better than letting something ride itself out to the end with a healthy outlet, or refusing point-blank to deal with something (remember that ball? it’ll come back with crap all over it for you to wipe off!) , or worse, twisting it- among many other things people can do.

2) It doesn’t matter if you’ve fallen off your proverbial comfort zone- you can always choose to get right back up. How long it takes you or the manner in which you get back up, however, is up to you. It’s also up to you whether or not you want to go back to the comfortable position you were in before- but whether or not you can actually attain that (and whether or not you’re actually comfortable if you do attain said comfy position) is up to the Gods of Comfortable Positions.

3) No matter how well you think you made that bed, you can and probably will fall out of it from the sheets suddenly gaining a mind of their own and ejecting you forcibly from them.

So what do we -do- with that proverbial ball? No matter which angle we view it from, we’ll still have a ball. It is what it is. Its purpose is open for interpretation, but it’s that interpretation that will affect how we interact with it. And like the sphere that it is, it’ll roll into our lives some way or other.

For me, it rolled into my life by my decision to break with a slow-morning tradition of getting back in bed and parking my butt on the desk chair to look out the window and admire the autumn weather. If I tried to go back to my comfort zone, I’d have missed out.

And no matter how I look at it, something that’s round and rolls in any direction is pretty freaking cool. :)

What’s the ball like in your life? How are you interacting with it?

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Just Another Pentacle Article

Just Another Pentacle Article

Author: Koneko

Wearing a pentacle is a topic that has been, will be, and is being as you read this talked about, written about and thought about. But like all religious symbols, yes even the cross or crucifix, it also can create or instigate a great deal of negative backlash.

For Wiccans in predominantly Judeo- Christian countries it is from the almost all Christians that live among us, whether they mean to be cruel or not. For Christians and Jews, it is in the non-Judeo-Christian countries that they are persecuted.

Persecution over religious symbols is everywhere and in every faith we’d be fools to think it is just towards Pagan and other non-Judeo-Christian faiths.

But anyway, wearing the pentacle is a choice we all have to make. Should we declare openly that we follow an alternate path of spirituality or for the sake of ourselves and maybe even our families keep it hidden away?

For me sometimes I wear one of my pentacles and sometimes I don’t. It all depends on my mood and whether or not I can handle whatever ignorant b.s. comes my way. If I think I will be able to handle it I’ll either break out the simple one or I will break out my necklace that has a right side up pentacle resting over an upside down one, a gift from my sister. If not I won’t wear either of them.

I have great respect for Christians that actually follow in Christ’s footsteps and show compassion and love for all those around them – my late and loved grandmother, a late and equally loved friend/sister, my mother, my second mother (a family friend) , an old family friend, and a very dear friend of mine are only a few that come to mind.

My parents and friends know by the way, I didn’t even have to tell mom (mom’s know everything) . They are truly God’s gift to the world, I do not think my late grandmother and friend could hate someone if they even tried, and are truly beautiful examples of the Christian faith. I was born and raised Catholic so I have seen and learned about the good and the bad of that faith.

The pentacle never really gave me a problem when I first started wearing it, even when I was wearing it in High School. My grades suffered because I was horrid at history, I loved the subject, and couldn’t do grammar to save my life, and I only passed because I gave my papers to about three or five different people to look over.

My teachers for the most part loved me or liked me because I actually *gasp* participated in class, didn’t cause problems, and often times knew what I was talking about. I actually enjoyed high school because I wasn’t the only so-called freak in the school and it was large enough that I could blend in with the crowd but small enough to wear fights weren’t really a problem. Strangely enough all the students seemed to get along with each other.

Sorry I seemed to have gotten off track, with graduation I went off to college a liberal arts college that was known for three things – gays, art program, and the teacher program. So, I never had problems there. I did act immature and burst out laughing when I overheard someone telling another student that the tarot cards were evil. Like I said wasn’t mature but I really couldn’t help myself, I always did have a problem with the brain and mouth connection.

Problems didn’t come until after I left the University of Montevallo, business school and I did not agree with each other, and went to Jeff State for their Culinary Program. Not at school, this happened at Subway, and yes dominoes I know that Submart on your commercials is supposed to be us, thankfully not by a coworker but by a customer.

Basically the customer was throwing a tantrum because I wouldn’t give her a discount that she didn’t qualify for, “sorry, but if you get two six inches that do not have the same meat they don’t equal a footlong.”

Well she called and complained and started harassing me, she wanted me to give her my last name, which freaked me out and I told her to have a nice day and slammed the phone down, burst into tears and had to be lead to the back during a rush and comforted. My coworker at the time, a Bulgarian woman that was a wonderful Christian woman comforted me and calmed me down. The woman is a great mother. Once again getting off track, sorry you’ll have to stay with me.

That same night, honestly this crap happens for a reason, I meet a tree-worshipper and a Baptist girl, friends with another coworker, and we talked about my faith. Luckily she had already seen a program on TV about witchcraft. We talked about binding spells, evidently according to her church binds stuff in the name of Jesus. We might have even talked about hexing, which seems to be a popular question when witchcraft is related. We talked about a few other things and I must say it was a joy to talk to her.

I should probably mention that I did have a conversation about my religion at my first job in the bar with some regulars. That was centered on binding and love spells. One woman wanted to know because a friend with a fake leg was having problems finding love. I explained that performing a love spell was controversy and could be dangerous if handled wrong.

I told them that if I were to perform a love spell for her I would only do it with her permission and cast one on her first so that she could love herself and be able to know and understand that despite the dirt bags that couldn’t handle her only having one real leg she was worth loving. I then explained that I wouldn’t cast a love spell on a certain person but putting a spell or call out there for someone that would love her for her was a possibility.

The conversation turned to hexing; I essentially told them that if they believed they could be hexed then chances are in my opinion they would be whether they were actually or not. Belief is a strong thing and the power of suggestion even more so sometimes.

Basically what I am trying to say, aside from the fact that my grammar is horrid, if you wear the pentacle you open yourself up to many people. Though sometimes no one really pays attention to what your wearing around your neck, unless they don’t like you for one reason or another. Then you’ve got more problems than you know what to do with.

You open yourself up to the Christian nut jobs, the open-minded Christians and they are out there, and even to members of your own or a similar religion. So wear it if you want or don’t wear if you wish to stay locked and barred in your closet for the rest of your life, or do what I do and don it when you are emotionally, mentally, and God forbid physically ready (should you have to defend yourself with brute force) for any and all attacks that might come.

Either way I hope the wearing of it brings you happiness, good debates and interesting meetings with interesting people.

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What is Absolute Truth?

What is Absolute Truth?

Author: Disciple of Oghma

Absolute Truth is the purpose and quest of life. Whether people seek truth or not (and why) quietly motivate our society. Do they seek it for personal enlightenment? An enrichment of their lives? To spare their children the hardship and pain they have spent in an attempt for it?

Do they seek financial and social prosperity? Seek to use it to dominate? Or ‘guide’ others in a quiet attempt at self-flattery? Or do they flee from it? Numb them to the soul’s cry to understand the world and its place there in? Is it as Mark Twain said, “Most people’s lives are a prolonged effort not to think?”

So what is absolute truth? Does it exist or is it a creation of man to complicate his life to make him feel superior to animals by possessing something they do not?

Animals live in the now. Hunter and prey instinctively understand their place and find fulfillment in it never seeking to step aside from it. Are they wiser? All these things are aspects of truth. Some wrap Truth in myth. In an attempt to Quantify it and break its meanings down to a base level so as to convey their understanding of it to another. They wrap it in fable obscuring it. Repeated over time the story itself is emphasized and the meaning faded. Then the wrapping becomes the bone of contention. Others reject the truth because the fables veracity is disputed.

Instead of seeking the truth behind the symbols it becomes an excuse to quarrel over whose story is accurate. They each side feels superior and treats the others with snide unkindness. Does it really matter if the world sprang from one man and one woman, or if god dipped a sword in the sea and the drops that fell became land, or if slime turned to fish who grew legs?

We cannot prove beyond doubt any one fable as true for no verifiable witness remains. The truth is that the land is here and was here before us and will likely be after. It is an unnecessary argument. This only truly matters to Organizations that financially thrive off of domination and control of people by the means of defining their realities and perceptions. Such organizations do have helpful side affects but peace granted by slavery and the personal refusal to accept responsibility is at the heart of evil.

So what is truth then?

Truth is Perspective. Your thoughts, feelings, and emotions are just as your perceptions sight, sound, smell, taste, touch little more than data in the form of electrical impulses in your brain. So your perceptions shape your reality.

If one person perceives blue as green is his reality different than another’s? The other can adamantly explain the error of perception but to the color blind man the meaning has no distinction. In his reality, blue IS green. Is he wrong? Why? Is his perception of reality any more or less worthy to exist? Who has the right to demand he attribute meaning to his reality that is in contrast to his perceptions?

Some perceptions are commonplace possession. Killing is wrong. Love is right. Even then the perception of those complex meanings vary quite a bit. For order and balance to exist there must be commonly accepted norms. But on small personal matters considering others perceptions can be a learning experience and quite enlightening.

So the absolute truth? Truth is perception. So perception must be reality. Our civilization and the world we live in and our understanding of it is based off of our shared and jointly accepted perceptions of our world.

Although there are anomalies. Consider emotional ideal of Love. Everyone and no one agree. Everyone feels it but no one can describe it. Is it a need to project attractive ideals, needs, and perceptions on a person? Is it a shared need for one person to be all you think you need? A bond based on need? It is all of and none of these things to all people.

What is a name and why do we feel compelled to apply one for everything? Is a name a summation of a person’s hope and dreams? Outstanding qualities? Like or dislikes? If so why is it applied by parents to a child?

Why is the name not something the child seeks as they come into their majority? Is it a means to apply authority over or bind them to us? To name something you have quantified it? You know it and understand it and now it has no other value beyond its recorded purpose? No and yes. It is all based on personal perspective.

Then it is your choice whether to consider it or accept preconceived notions. To allow others to think for you and decide what reality envelops you. To let them decide if your life decisions should be based on the decrees of their perception of god (s) . If there is an absolute truth gospel given by the creator (s) and if you do or do not follow it your life will be affected for good or for ill.

The belief in God is not absolute truth. The perception of god and relationship with him, her, and/or them is a limitation of understanding that you place upon them. The limitations of name, story, and exhortations of lifestyle are tools to help people understand and develop their relationship with their creator and their world. They are not a tool by which to measure another’s developments and relationships.

Such things though perceived as absolute truth are not. Absolute truth is simply the understanding that people’s realities are the sum of their perceptions and the conclusions they draw from them. If their conclusions differ from yours it is your choice to review them and in effect review your own conclusions of reality. No ones opinion is more valuable than another and no one has to agree with anyone else.

In the end of such sharing is the complete reality. An interwoven conclusion of shared perception. A shared dream.

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Daily Aromatherapy Tip – Lavender and Frankincense

 
A great combination to help you unwind, relax and get a good nights sleep. Use in a diffuser, massage or warm bath. Use no more than 6 drops total. Try 3 and 3. Enjoy!
 
Brought to you by AromaThyme.com
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Dec 26 Kwanzaa

This new winter festival was created in 1966 by Dr Maulana Karenga to give African Americans a focus during the holiday season. He synthesized various African harvest rituals to create new customs for this holiday; the name Kwanzaa means the first or the first fruits of the harvest in Swahili.

One of the main Kwanzaa practices, which aligns it with the other festivals of light like Hanukkah and Christmas at this time period, is the lighting of the seven candles of the Kinara (kee-NAH-rah), a candleabra with 7 candles, three red, one black and three green. Each candles symbolizes seven qualities of African culture to be emulated: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility); Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imana (faith).

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Dec 26 Hunting the Wren

The old English custom of hunting the wren on this day may be the remnant of an ancient midwinter sacrifice. The official reason given was that the wrens chattering in the bushes gave away St Stephen’s hiding place, leading to his martyrdom. The usually sacred and protected bird was ceremonially hunted and its decorated corpse carried about to bring luck.
 
 
The Wren, the Wren, the King of all Birds
St. Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze
Although he be little, his honor is great
Therefore, good people, give us a treat.
 
 
The custom still survives in Ireland and the Isle of Man where the bird’s corpse is replaced by a potato stuck with feathers. It’s not clear if the children even bothered to create a mock Wren in Deborah Tall’s description of how the holiday was celebrated on an island in Ireland in the 1970s:

St. Stephen’s Day, the children went pagan and mad, roaming the island in gangs, bursting in doors, unannounced, masked, painted, bedraggled, piping, dancing, and singing at the top of their lungs in their ritual “hunting of the wren.’ Cookies and pennies buy off their shrieks, the players curtsy and bow, then streak out through the rain to their next stage, indefatigable.

Deborah Tall, Island of the White Cow, Atheneum 1986
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Did you know…….

……that the Twelve Days of Christmas Begin Today?

~ Just A Little Trivia ~

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