‘THINK on THESE THINGS’ for April 29th

‘THINK on THESE THINGS’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Leisure – what is it? It is that beautiful something that escapes us most of the time. Leisure, like most everything else, can be found if we truly want it. We seem to have the ability to do most of what we set our minds to do, and the less important things can be set aside for this particular thing.

We get pretty stale when we never take time to relax. A few hours of getting away from even a beloved madhouse will make a new human being out of a bundle of nerves.

Pursuit of leisure is to lose it. We can’t suddenly say that the next five minutes will be for complete relaxation. It takes that long to begin to unwind. Gaiety and rhythm and frivolity are shunned by most minds. But if there are none of these, even in the smallest amounts, then leisure is more of a restless shuffling – like a night out with no place to go.

We need to exercise our minds a little to achieve any goal, and leisure is definitely a goal!

_____________________________________

Available online! ‘Cherokee Feast of Days’
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler.

Visit her web site to purchase the wonderful books by Joyce as gifts for yourself or for loved ones……and also for those who don’t have access to the Internet: http://www.hifler.com
Click Here to Buy her books at Amazon.com

Elder’s Meditation of the Day
By White Bison, Inc., an American Indian-owned nonprofit organization. Order their many products from their web site:
http://www.whitebison.org

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Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 29

Elder’s Meditation of the Day April 29

“The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power…The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing…”

–Luther Standing Bear, OGLALA SIOUX

Have you ever noticed the relationship between children and the soil? Watch how happily they are touching the dirt. The children play in it and eat it. If you are stressed, go to a spot on the Earth, sit down, put your fingers in the dirt, dig in it. Wash your hands in the soil. When you touch it, notice what it does to your hands. Our bodies love to touch the Earth. Sometimes we get too busy and forget these simple things. Maybe you’ll even want to plant a garden or flowers. These things are mentally healthy.

Great Spirit, today, let me touch the Earth so the Earth can touch me.

April 29 – Daily Feast

April 29 – Daily Feast

Life stirs up our priorities – makes us think beyond our usual knowledge. There are enormously important things basic to all of us such as the family. The family as a whole is important, and so is each individual. Family makes us consider health and spirit and the capacity to take care of ourselves. The invisible circle gathers all we love close to us. But the final arc involves the making of who we are personally. Each person must know contentment, must be in awe, reverent toward the spiritual, recognize truth, and not go strictly by the depths and height of feelings. Searching for happiness leads us far afield when the search is for self, for a divine connection, a knowing that we are indeed divinely centered. We are a part of the earth, part heaven, one with every living thing. For this reason we love. The, ga lv quo di, the precious, the dear truth is that we love.

~ It is the command of the Great Spirit, and all nations and people must obey. ~

BIG ELK

‘A Cherokee Feast of Days’, by Joyce Sequichie Hifler

The Daily Motivator for April 29th – Essential to life

Essential to life

You are not too old or too tired or too broke or too disadvantaged. You are uniquely qualified to add substance to life.

Don’t get caught up in making judgments about what is fair or unfair or easy or difficult. Just get on with the satisfying and fulfilling business of making a real positive difference in the world.

You’ve done it many times before and you know you can do it many more times again. You know how great it makes you feel to know you truly matter.

So get busy, get some good stuff done, and feel that great feeling again and again. Forget about the silly excuses and focus on the significant difference you can make.

There are lots of great people in this world. Yet there is no one who can do a better job of being you than you.

Life is great, and you are essential to that greatness. Do your part, in your own special way, and feel how truly great it is.

— Ralph Marston
Source:

The Daily Motivator

The Daily OM for April 29th – Information and Inspiration

Information and Inspiration
Roadmaps of Life

by Madisyn Taylor

When we learn to attune ourselves to our inner compass we follow a map that only we can see, our own path.

All the major spiritual traditions serve the purpose of offering us a roadmap to guide us on our individual journeys to enlightenment. These roadmaps are made up of moral codes, parables, and, in some cases, detailed descriptions of mystical states. We often study the fine points of a particular ascended master’s narrative in order to better understand our own and to seek inspiration and guidance on our path. In the same way, when we plan a road trip, we carry maps and guidebooks in an effort to understand where we are going. In both cases, though, the journey has a life of its own and maps, while helpful, can only take us so far. There is just no comparison between looking at a line on a piece of paper and driving your own car down the road that line represents.

Some people seem well-suited to following maps, while others are always looking for new ways to get where they’re going. In the end, the only reliable compass is within, as every great spiritual guide will tell you. The maps and travelogues left behind by others are great blessings, full of useful information and inspiration, but they cannot take the journey for us. When it is time to merge onto the highway or pull up anchor, we are ostensibly on our own. Strange weather patterns, closed roads, and traffic jams arise in the moment, out of nowhere, and our maps cannot tell us what to do. Whether we take refuge in a motel by the side of the road, persevere and continue forward, or turn back altogether is entirely up to us.

Maps are based on observations from the past and we are living in the present, so we are the only true experts on our journey to enlightenment. We may find that the road traveled by our predecessors is now closed. We may feel called to change direction entirely so that the maps we have been carrying really no longer apply. These are the moments when we learn to attune ourselves to our inner compass, following a map that only we can see, as we make our way into the unknown territory of our own enlightenment.

Source:

The Daily OM

The Old Laws

The Old Laws

(1961)

[A] The Law was made and Ardane of old. The law was made for the Wicca, to advise and help in their troubles. The Wicca should give due worship to the Gods and obey their will, which they Ardane, for it was made for the good of the Wicca, As the [5] Wicca’s worship is good for the Gods, For the Gods love the Wicca. As a man loveth a woman, by mastering her, so the Wicca should love the Gods, by being mastered by them. And it is necessary that the Circle, which is the Temple of the Gods, should be truly cast and purified, that it [10] may be a fit place for the Gods to enter. And the Wicca should be properly prepared and purified, to enter into the presence of the Gods. With love and worship in their hearts they shall raise power from their bodies to give power to the Gods, as has been taught us of old, [15] For in this way only may man have communion with the Gods, for the Gods cannot help man without the help of men.

[B] And the High Priestess shall rule her Coven as representative of the Goddess, and the High Priest shall support her as the representative of the God, And the High Priestess shall choose whom she [20] will, if he have sufficient rank, to be her High Priest), For the God himself, kissed her feet in the fivefold salute, laying his power at the feet of the Goddess, because of her youth and beauty, her sweetness and kindness, her wisdom and Justice, her humility and generosity. So he resigned his lordship to her. But the Priestess should [25] ever mind that all power comes from him. It is only lent when it is used wisely and justly. And the greatest virtue of a High Priestess is that she recognizes that youth is necessary to the representative of the Goddess, so that she will retire gracefully in favour of a younger woman, Should the Coven so decide in Council, For the true [30] High Priestess realizes that gracefully surrendering pride of place is one of the greatest of virtues, and t hat thereby she will return to that pride of place in another life, with greater power and beauty.

[C] In the days when Witchdom extended far, we were free and worshipped in All their Greatest Temples, but in these unhappy times [35] we must hold our sacred mysteries in secret. So it be Ardane, that none but the Wicca may see our mysteries, for our enemies are many, And torture looseth the tongues of many. It be Ardane that each Coven shall not know where the next Coven bide, or who its members are, save the Priest and Priestess, [40] That there shall be no communication between them, save by the Messenger of the Gods, or the Summoner. Only if it be safe, may the Covens meet, in some safe place, for the great festivals. And while there, none shall say whence they come, or give their true names, to the end that, if any are tortured, in their agony, they can [45] not tell if they know not. So it be Ardane that no one may tell any not of the Craft who be of the Wicca, nor give any names, or where they bide, or in any way tell anything which can betray any to our foes, nor may they tell where the Covenstead be, or where is the Covendom, [50] or where be the meeting s or that there have been meetings. And if any break these laws, even under torture, The Curse of the Goddess shall be upon them, so they never reborn on earth, And may they remain where they belong, in the Hell of the Christians.

[D] Let each High Priestess govern her Coven with Justice and [55] love, with the help of the advice of the elders, always heeding the advice of the Messenger of the Gods, if he cometh. She will heed all complaints of brothers, and strive to settle all differences among them, but it must be recognized that there be people who will ever strive to force others to do as they will. [60] They are not necessarily evil, and they often do have good ideas, and such ideas should be talked over in council. And if they will not agree with their brothers, or if they say, “I will not work under this High Priestess,” it hath always been the old law to be convenient for the brethren, and to void disputes, any of the Third [65] may claim to found a new Coven because they live over a league from the Covenstead, or are about to do so. Anyone living within the Covendom wishing to form a new Coven, to avoid strife, shall tell the Elders of his intention and on the instant void his dwelling and remove to the new Covendom. Members of the old Coven may join the New one when it be formed, but if they do, must utterly void the old Coven. The Elders of the New and the Old Covens should meet in peace and brotherly love, to decide the new boundaries. Those of the Craft who dwell outside both Covendoms may join either indifferent, but not both, though all may, if the Elders [75] agree, meet for the Great Festivals, if it be truly in peace and brotherly love. But splitting the coven oft means strife, so for this reason these laws were made of old, And may the curse of the Goddess be on any who disregard them. So be it ardane.

[E] If you would Keep a book let it be in your own hand of write. [80] Let brothers and sisters copy what they will, but never let the book out of your hands, and never keep the writings of another, for if it be found in their hand of write, they well may be taken and enjoined. Each should guard his own writings and destroy it whenever danger threatens. Learn as much as you may by heart, and when danger is [85] past, rewrite your book an it be safe. For this reason, if any die, destroy their book if they have not been able to, for an it be found, ’tis clear proof against them, And our oppressors well know, “Ye may not be a witch alone” So all their kin and friends be in danger of torture. So ever destroy anything not necessary. [90] If your book be found on you. ’tis clear proof against you alone. You may be enjoined. Keep all thoughts of the Craft from your mind. Say you had bad dreams; a devil caused you to write it without your knowledge. Think to yourself, “I know nothing. I remember nothing. I have forgotten everything.” Drive this [95] into your mind. If the torture be too great to bear, say, “I will confess. I cannot bear this torture. What do you want me to say? Tell me and I will say it.” If they try to make you speak of the brotherhood, Do NOT, but if they try to make you speak of [100] impossibilities, such as flying through the air, consorting with the Christian Devil, or sacrificing children, or eating men’s flesh, to obtain relief from torture, say, “I had an evil dream. I was not myself. I was crazed.” Not all Magistrates are bad. If there [105] be an excuse they may show mercy. If you have confessed aught, deny it afterwards; say you babbled under torture, you knew not what you did or said. If you are condemned, fear not. The Brotherhood is powerful. They may help you to escape, if you stand steadfast, but if you betray aught, there is no hope for you, in this [110] life, or in that which is to come. Be sure, if steadfast you go to the pyre, Dwale will reach you. You will feel naught. You go but to o Death and what lies beyond, the ecstasy of the Goddess.

[F] ‘Tis probable that before you are enjoined, Dwale will reach you. [115] Always remember that Christians fear much that any die under torture. At the first sign of swoon, they cause it to be stopped, and blame the tormenters. For that reason, the tormenters themselves are apt to feign to torment, but do not, so it is best not to die at first. If Dwale reaches you, ’tis a sign that you have a friend somewhere. [120] You may be helped to escape, so despair not. If the worst comes, and you go to the pyre, wait till the flames and smoke spring up, bend your head over, and breath in with long breaths. You choke and die swiftly, and wake in the arms of the Goddess.

[G] To void discovery, let the working tools [125] be as ordinary things that any may have in their houses. Let the Pentacles be of wax, so they may be broken at once. Have no sword unless your rank allows you one. Have no names or signs on anything. Write the names and signs on them in ink before consecrating them and wash it off immediately after. Do not Bigrave them, [130] lest they cause discovery. Let the colour of the hilts tell which is which.

[H] Ever remember, ye are the Hidden Children of the Gods. So never do anything to disgrace them. Never boast, Never threaten, Never say you would wish ill to anyone. If you or any not in the Circle speak of the Craft, [135] say, “Speak not to me of such. It frightens me. ‘Tis evil luck to speak of it.” For this reason: the Christians have spies everywhere. These speak as if they were well affected, as if they would come to Meetings, saying, “My mother used to go to worship the Old Ones. I would that I could go myself.” 4 To these ever deny all knowledge. [140] But to others ever say, “‘Tis foolish men talk of witches flying through the air; to do so they must be light as thistledown,” and “Men say that witches all be bleared-eyed old crones, so what pleasure can there be in witch meetings such as folk talk on?” Say, “Many wise men now say there be no such creatures.” Ever [145] make it a jest, and in some future time, perhaps the persecution will die, and we may worship safely again. Let us all pray for that happy day.

[I] May the blessings of the Goddess and the God be on all who keep these laws which are Ardane.

[J] If the Craft hath any Appanage, let all brothers guard it, and help to keep it clear and good for the Craft, and let all justly guard all monies of the Craft. But if some brothers truly wrought it, ’tis right that they have their pay, an it be just, an this be not taking [5] money for the use of the Art, but for good and honest work. And even the Christians say, “A labourer is worthy of his hire.” But if any brotherswillingly for the good of the craft without pay, ’tis but to their greater honour. So it be Ardane.

[K] If there be any disputes or quarrels among the brethren, the [10] High Priestess shall straight convene the Elders and enquire into the matter, and they shall hear both sides, first alone, then together, and they shall decide justly, not favouring the one side or the other, ever recognizing that there be people who can never agree to work under others, but at the same time there be some people who [15] cannot rule justly. To those who ever must be chief, there is one answer, “Void the Coven and seek an other, or make a Coven of your own, taking with you those who will to go.” To those who cannot rule justly, the answer be, “Those who cannot bear your rule will leave you,” for none may come to meetings with those with whom they are at [20] variance; so, an either cannot agree, get hence, for the Craft must ever survive. So it be Ardane.

[L] In the olden days when we had power, we could use our Arts against any who ill-treated any of the Brotherhood, but in these evil times, we may not do so, for our enemies have devised a burning [25] pit of everlasting fire, into which they say their God casteth all the people who worship him, except it be the very few who are released by their priests’ spells and Masses, and this be chiefly by giving money and rich gifts to receive his favour, for their Alther Greatest God [Greatest God of all] is ever i n need of Money. [30] But as our Gods need our aid to make fertility for men and crops, So the God of the Christians is ever in need of man’s help to search out and destroy us. Their priests tell them that any who get our help or our cures are damned to the Hell forever, so men be mad for the terror of it. But they make men [35] believe that they may scape this hell if they give victims to the tormenters. So for this reason all be forever spying, thinking, “An I can but catch one of the Wicca I will scape this fiery pit.” But we have our hidels, and men searching long and not finding say, “there be none, or if they be, they be in a far country.” [40] But when one of our oppressors die, or even be sick, ever is the cry, “This be Witches Malice,” and the hunt is up again. And though they slay ten of their people to one of ours, still they care not; they have many thousands, while we are few indeed. So it is Ardane that none shall use the Art in any way to do ill [45] to any, howevermuch they have injured us. And for long we have obeyed this law, “Harm none” and nowtimes many believe we exist not. So it be Ardane that this law shall still continue to help us in our plight. No one, however great an injury or injustice they receive, may use the Art in any to do ill or harm any. [50] But they may, after great consultations with all, use the Art to prevent or restrain Christians from harming us and others, but only to let or constrain them and never to punish, to this end. Men say, “Such an one is a mighty searcher out and persecutor of Old Women whom he deemeth to be Witches, [55] and none hath done him Skith [harm], so this be proof they cannot, o r more truly, that there be none,” For all know full well that so many folk have died because someone had a grudge against them, or were persecuted because they had money or goods to seize, or because they had none to bribe the searchers. And many have died [60] because they were scolding old women, so much so that men now say that only old women are witches, and this be to our advantage, and turns suspicion away from us. In England ’tis now many a year since a witch hath died the death, but any misuse of the power might raise the Persecution again; so never break this law, [65] however much you are tempted, and never consent to its being broken. If you know it is being broken in the least, you must work strongly against it, and any High Priestess or High Priest who consents to it must be immediately deposed, for ’tis the blood of the Brethren they endanger. Do good, an it be safe, and only if [70] it be safe, for any talk may endanger us.

[M] And strictly keep to the Old Law, never accept money for the use of the art. It is Christian priests and sorcerers who accept money for the use of their Arts, and they sell Dwale and evil love spells and pardons to let men scape from their sins. [75] Be not as these. Be not as these. If you accept not money, you will be free of temptation to use the Art for evil causes.

[N] You may use the Art for your own advantage, or for the advantage of the Craft, only if you be sure you harm none. But ever let the Coven debate the matter at length. Only if all are satisfied that none may be harmed [80] may the Art be used. If it is not possible to achieve your ends one way without harming any, perchance the aim may be achieved by acting in a different way, so as to harm none. May the Curse of the Goddess be on any who breach this law. So it be Aredane.

[O] ‘Tis adjudged lawful an anyone need a house or land, an none will [85] sell, to incline the owner’s mind to be willing to sell, provided it harmeth him not in any way, and that the full worth is paid, without haggling. Never bargain or cheapen anything which you buy by the Art. So it be Ardane.

[P] It is the Old Law and the most important of all Laws [90] that no one may do or say anything which will endanger any of the Craft, or bring them in contact with the law of the land, or the Law of the Church or any of our persecutors. In any disputes between the brethren, no one may invoke any laws but those of the Craft, or any Tribunal but that of the Priestess and the Priest and the [95] Elders. And may the Curse of the Goddess be on any who so do. So it be Ardane.

[Q] It is not forbidden to say as Christians do, “There be Witchcraft in the Land,” because our oppressors of old made it Heresy not to believe in Witchcraft, and so a crime to deny it, which thereby put [100] you under suspicion. But ever say “I know not of it here, perchance they may be, but afar off. I know not where.” But ever speak so you cause others to doubt they be as they are. Always speak of them as old crones, consorting with the Devil and riding through the air. But ever say, “But how may men ride through the air an they be not [105] as light as thistledown?” But the curse of the Goddess be on any who cast any suspicion on any of the Brotherhood, or speaks of any real meeting place, or where any bide. So it be Ardane. [R] Let the Craft keep books with the names of all Herbs which are good for man, and all cures, that all may learn. But keep [110] another book with all the Banes [poisons] and Apies. and let only the elders and trustworthy people have this knowledge. So it be Ardane. [S] And may the Blessings of the Gods be on all who keep these Laws and the Curses of both God and Goddess be on all who break them So it be Ardane. [The following two sections were added after 1960.] [T] Remember the Art is the secret of the Gods and may only be used in earnest and never for show or vainglory. Magicians and Christians may taunt us, saying, “You have no power. Do magic before our eyes. Then only will we believe,” seeking to cause us to betray our Art before them. Heed them not, for the Art is holy, and may only be used in need. And the curse of the Gods be on any who break this law. [U] It ever be the way with women, and with men also, that they ever seek new love, nor should we reprove them for this, but it may be found to disadvantage the Craft, as so many a time it has happened that a High Priest or High Priestess, impelled by love, hath departed with their love; that is, they have left the coven. Now, if a High Priestess wishes to resign, she may do so in full Coven, and this resignation is valid. But if they should run off without resigning, who may know if they may not return w within a few months? So the law is, if a High Priestess leaves her coven, but returns within the space of a year and a day, then she shall be taken back, and all shall be as before. Meanwhile, if she has a deputy, that deputy shall act as High Priestess for as long as the High Priestess is away. If she returns not at the end of a year and a day, then shall the coven elect a new High Priestess. Unless there be a good reason to the contrary. The person who has done the work should reap the benefit of the reward, Maiden and deputy of the High Priestess.

 


Footnotes

4 My Lady Epona points out that this is precisely what Charles Cardell had claimed; that is, this paragraph is a response to Cardell, and so it was probably inserted into the Craft Laws after the run-in with the Cardells and Olive Green in 1959. This again is an indication that Gardner did not promulgate the Craft Laws as a document for the Book of Shadows until about 1960, when Mr. Q was initiated.

The Ardanes: The Old Laws of Wicca

The Ardanes: The Old Laws of Wicca

By , About.com

 

In the 1950s, when Gerald Gardner was writing what eventually become the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, one of the items he included was a list of guidelines called the Ardanes. The word “ardane” is a variant on “ordain”, or law. Gardner claimed that the Ardanes were ancient knowledge that had been passed down to him by way of the New Forest coven of witches. However, it’s entirely possible that Gardner wrote them himself; there was some disagreement in scholarly circles about the language contained within the Ardanes, in that some of the phrasing was archaic while some was more modern. This led a number of people – including Gardner’s High Priestess, Doreen Valiente – to question the authenticity of the Ardanes.

Valiente had suggested a set of rules for the coven, which included restrictions on public interviews and speaking with the press. Gardner introduced these Ardanes – or Old Laws – to his coven, in response to the complaints by Valiente.

One of the largest problems with the Ardanes is that there is no concrete evidence of their existence prior to Gardner’s revealing them in 1957. Valiente, and several other coven members, questioned whether or not he had written them himself – after all, much of what is included in the Ardanes appears in Gardner’s book, Witchcraft Today, as well as some of his other writings. One of Valiente’s strongest arguments against the Ardanes – in addition to the fairly sexist language and misogyny – was that these writings never appeared in any previous coven documents. In other words, they appeared when Gardner needed them most, and not before.

The dispute over the origins of the Ardanes eventually led Valiente and several other members of the group to part ways with Gardner. The Ardanes remain a part of the standard Gardnerian Book of Shadows. However, they are not followed by every Wiccan group, and are rarely used by non-Wiccan Pagan traditions.

Do Pagan Religions Have Rules?

Do Pagan Religions Have Rules?

By , About.com

 

Question: Do Pagan Religions Have Rules?

I read a book on Wicca that says “all Wiccans must do this and never do that,” and then I read another one that said Pagans can make their own rules. Some people believe in the Threefold Law, and others don’t. Others say that the Wiccan Rede is only for Wiccans but not other Pagans. What’s going on here? Are there rules in Pagan religions like Wicca, or not?

 

Answer:

The word “rules” can be a puzzling one, because while there are guidelines, they do tend to vary from one tradition to another. In general, most Pagans – including Wiccans – follow some set of rules that is unique to their own tradition – however, it’s important to note that these standards are not universal. In other words, what Group A holds true as law cannot be applied towards Group B.

The Wiccan Rede

Many groups, particularly NeoWiccan ones, follow one form or another of the Wiccan Rede, which says, “An’ it harm none, do as you will.” This means that you can’t intentionally or knowingly cause harm to another person. Because there are so many different forms of Wicca, there are dozens of different interpretations of the Rede. Some people believe it means you can’t hunt or eat meat, join the military, or even swear at the guy who took your parking spot. Others interpret it a bit more liberally, and some believe that the rule of “harm none” doesn’t apply to self-defense.

The Rule of Three

Many traditions of Paganism, including most variations of Wicca, believe in the Law of Threefold Return. This is essentially a karmic payback – anything you do comes back to you three times more intensely. If good attracts good, then guess what bad behavior brings you?

The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief

In the 1970s, a group of witches decided to assemble a cohesive set of rules for modern witches to follow. Seventy or so individuals from a variety of magical backgrounds and traditions got together and formed a group called the American Council of Witches, although depending on who you ask, they are sometimes called the Council of American Witches. At any rate, this group decided to try to assemble a list of common principles and guidelines that the entire magical community could follow. These principles are not adhered to by everyone, but are often used as a template in many sets of coven mandates.

The Ardanes

In the 1950s, when Gerald Gardner was writing what eventually become the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, one of the items he included was a list of guidelines called the Ardanes. The word “ardane” is a variant on “ordain”, or law. Gardner claimed that the Ardanes were ancient knowledge that had been passed down to him by way of the New Forest coven of witches. Today, these guidelines are followed by some traditional Gardnerian covens, but are not often found in other NeoWiccan groups.

Coven Bylaws

In many traditions, each coven is responsible for establishing its own set of bylaws or mandates. Bylaws may be created by a High Priestess or High Priest, or they may be written by a committee, depending on the rules of the tradition. Bylaws provide a sense of continuity for all members. They typically cover things like standards of behavior, principles of the tradition, guidelines for acceptable use of magic, and an agreement from members to abide by those rules. Again, these are rules which are applied to the group that creates them, but should not be held as a standard for people outside of this tradition.

Personal Responsibility

Finally, keep in mind that your own sense of magical ethics should be a guideline to you as well – particularly if you’re a solitary practitioner who doesn’t have the history of a tradition to follow back on. You can’t enforce your rules and ethics on other people, though — they have their own set of laws to follow, and those may be different from your own. Remember, there’s no Big Pagan Council that sits and writes you a Bad Karma Ticket when you do something wrong. Pagans are big on the concept of personal responsibility, so ultimately it’s up to you to police your own behavior, accept the consequences of your own actions, and live by your own ethical standards.

 

 

Wicca and Witchcraft – The Spiritual Seeker’s Guide

WICCA AND WITCHCRAFT
————————————
The Spiritual Seeker’s Guide
Steven S. Sadleir

Wicca, or Witchcraft is the old religion of Europe, which apparently evolved from Druidism.  Wiccan is generally a term applied to a “Wise One” or “Magician”, and Wicca is the practice of “magic”, which is the application and utilization of natural laws.  As Witchcraft competed as a religion with Christianity (the ‘new’ religion) in the Christianized Western World, witchcraft became repressed as a form of paganism (i.e., a Primative Teaching) and was given an evil stigma, and therefore was not practiced openly.  However, with the repeal of the English Witchcraft Act in 1951, many covens, or congregations, have opened up to teh public and many new groups have formed. There are now dozens of Wiccan orgnaizations in the United States and Europe, with perhaps, thousands of active Wiccans and Witches.  Most witches practicing the craft publicly are considered ‘white’ witches, that is, they yse their knowledge for good ends and practice the Wiccan Creed: “Ye hurt none, do as ye will.”  Black Witches (which has recieved most of the notoriety, but are considered a minority) are generally not visible to the public and use thier knowledge for selfish or evil means.  Satanism is NOT considered a form of witchcraft, but was created by people who believe there is a Satan, or Devil.

Wicca/Witchcraft generally involves some form of God or Goddess worship, and many involve the workings of spiritual guides as well.  Wicca/Witchcraft is a very individualized religion, and each person chooses his or her own deities to worship.  Generally, the supreme being is considered ‘genderless’ and is comprised of many aspects that may be identified as masculine or feminine in
nature, and thus a God or Goddess.  Originally, the horned God of hunting represented the maculine facet of the deity, whereas the female qualities were represented in the fertility Goddess.  The Gods and Goddesses from the personalities of the supreme being, and are a reflection of the attributes that worshippers seek to emulate.  Wiccans may draw upon the ancient civilizations of the Druids, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, or other polytheistic cultures to commune with the particular aspect of the deity that they identify with.  Some favorite gods include Osiris, Pan, Cennunnos, and Bacchus.  Facotie Goddesses include Isis, Caridwen, Rhea, Selene, and Diana.

Wiccans generally observe the four greater Sabbaths of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Laghnasadh; and the lesser Sabbaths – the Spring and autumn equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices.  There celebrations are typically free-spirited, and are sometimes held ‘skyclad’ (naked) or in various styles of robes.  Other services include handfasting (marriage), handparting (divorce) and wiccaning (birth rite).  Regular meetings, called Esbats are also held, at which magic and healing are performed.  Wiccans/witches meet in small groups (up to twelve) called a coven, whcih typically join with other covens to form a ‘Grove’.

Rituals are typically held outside and consist of forma a circle and erecting the temple (consecrating the circle); invoking, praising, and soliciting assistance from gods, goddesses, and elementals; observing the change of season and energies represented by the various seasons; singing; dancing; cakes and ale’ (sharing of bread and wine); and clearing the temple. Personal
practive includes meditation and prayer, divination, development of personal will and psychic abilities through spells and various forms of healing.  Most Wiccans/witches have altars where they burn candles and incense and practice their rites.  To perform thier rites, other tools of the craft are used, such as an athame, yag-disk or, seaux (a handmade and consecrated knife), a sword, a
wand, and sometimes special jewelry, amulets or talismans (magically empowered objects). Sometimes these objects are inscribed with magical writings. Joining a coven or grove typically involves an initiation, which is stylized by each individual group, but generally involves the confirmation that the initiate understands the principals and an oath of secrecy.

The Standard of the Rede

THE STANDARD OF THE REDE

 

 

When we realize the kinds and orders of results, both expected and unexpected, both knowable and unknowable, which eventuate from almost every human action, it would seem the better part of both valor and wisdom to never do anything at all, especially not anything which is done with spiritual power guided by no more than human wisdom! Unfortunately, to do nothing is also a choice, and the results of inaction are often far worse than the results of even ill-considered action.  This is why the second half of the Rede demands that we make a decision and act upon it, as well as conforming that decision to the requirement that it harm none.

THE STANDARD OF THE REDE.  Please note that the Wiccan Rede contains no loop-holes whatsoever.  The Rede does not say, “An it harm none to the best of your knowledge.”  The Rede also does not say “An it harm none to the best of your ability to discern whether it will harm
someone.”

The Wiccan Rede does not say these things, or anything similar to them.  It simply says “An it harm NONE, do what ye will.”  This means that YOU, once you have committed to live by the Wiccan Rede, are committed to be solely and totally responsible for any harm resulting from ANY ACTION YOU TAKE, MAGICKAL OR NOT.

Paul Seymour’s forthcoming book begins with some strong cautionary notes concerning the use of magick.  One of the examples he gives is particularly tragic, and concerns a young man who worked a simple and apparently harmless “money spell”.  The spell worked, and the young man got his money–he inherited it, when his parents were both killed in an accident shortly after he worked the spell.

Paul does not say in his book if this young man was a Wiccan initiate.  If he was, then in addition to his sorrow and loss, he has had to live with the fact that, by the standard of the Rede, he is ultimately responsible for the death of his parents.

When you commit to live according to the Wiccan Rede, you commit to conform your entire life, not just the magickal, mystical and religious aspects of it, to the standard set by the Rede.  Never
again will you be able to act impulsively or without considering the results of what you do.  Never again will you be able to act or even speak in thoughtless irritation or anger.  Instead, you will come to consider the implications of every word you speak, and of every routine action you do.  For it is not just by magick that we can harm ourselves or others; everything we do, and everything we say, has the potential to help or harm others, and to help or harm ourselves.

It is also important to note that the Rede sets up a standard which prevents us from harming ourselves as well as others.  Other religions, including Christianity, regard it as virtuous to suffer
harm for the sake of another, even to die so that another person might live.  The Wiccan Rede does not permit this.  You are to harm none, and this means that you are not to harm yourself, even for the sake of doing good for someone else.  To some, this may seem like a selfish standard.  But think about it.  Would you wish to benefit by someone else’s injury or death?  Of course not!  If you did derive some benefit, such as an inheritance, from the death of another person, would you feel good about this?  Well, some people might, but probably you would not.  Therefore, in a very real sense, you yourself are harmed by a benefit you derive from the injury or death of another.  True, the harm is emotional, but it is entirely real.

Wicca recognizes that human beings are social creatures.  What does harm to one, does harm to all in varying degrees.  Therefore, it is imperative that each person strive to harm no one, himself or herself included.

Finally, it is significant to note that word “ye” in the statement, “Do what YE will.”  This is the ancient plural form of “you”, and it means that your individual will is assumed to be in accord with some other will, instead of acting entirely on its own.

What is this other will which, together with yours, comprises the “ye” in the Rede?  Well, if you are working in a coven, it could well be the combined will of the members of the coven.  But this would not apply to those who are working on their own, and it is not the highest or best meaning, even for those working in coven.

How does one act, so as to be certain to harm none?  Not by refusing to act, since inaction is itself a decision, and often causes far more harm than even rash action.  Not by delaying action until the
time for it is past, because that is the same as inaction.  And not by relying solely upon your own human wisdom, either.

The best way to act, so as to be certain to harm none, is to call upon the Goddess and/or the God, and to hand to Them the power you have raised, together with the situation you have raised the power to deal with, and say, “You are holy, good, and wise, and know how to use this power to help and not harm.  Do Your will in this situation. That is my will, that Your will be done.”  And thus the Rede is fulfilled: For the “ye” who will are yourself and Them- selves, who are good, and love humanity, and who always act for the highest good of all.