The Ethics Of Magick

The Ethics Of Magick

Author:   Frances   

Some people are of the belief that when it comes to the practice of magick that anything goes. Magick is after all, simply that – magick. It is not caught up in ethics or morals. While this is correct, magick is actually shaped by the inner beliefs, ethics and morals of the person who uses it.

In all orthodox religions there are certain laws and regulations of how a follower of that faith should conduct themselves – in Christianity, for example, there are the Ten Commandments. In many Pagan traditions, however, it is believed that there is actually little need for such dogma as each person is ultimately responsible for their actions. Such responsibility can be overwhelming for someone new to Paganism, especially if they come from a more orthodox background, so they find the need to create boundaries in the form of guidelines. Within Wiccan belief there are a number of guidelines such as the Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law of Return which are designed to help the newcomer understand the essence of that belief.

The Wiccan Rede is a beautiful piece of poetry whose author is believed to have been the late Doreen Valiente. Within this poem many aspects of Wiccan beliefs and practices are outlined, such as the seasonal wheel of the year, honoring the Goddess and the God, and sacred trees to name a few. The poem ends with eight specific words that many Wiccans consider to be the main guideline as to how they are to live their lives: “If it harms none, do what you will.” Some critics of Wicca see this as an indication for followers to do anything they wish. However, when the statement is given due thought, its true meaning is understood – that as long as your actions do not harm anyone, then you are free to live your life as you please. Some Wiccans take this statement further, relating the “none” to animals and the environment as well.

The Wiccan Rede is a version of the Golden Rule, which can be found in most other religions, the earliest dating back to Confucianism, where a 6th century BCE statement, “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others,” can be found. Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and even Sikhism also have variations of the Golden Rule.

The second ethical guideline which many Wiccans follow is that of the Threefold Law of Return, where it is believed that every deed done will return to the doer three times greater. This means that a good deed will return three times stronger, but so will any bad deed that is performed.

Many Wiccans also hold either a belief in the Eastern philosophy of Karma, or the Universal Law of Cause and Effect, where every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Karma is often viewed on a more personal level, that the deeds of one’s life are counteracted in the next life, while the Law of Cause and Effect can be viewed on a more global scale. A good example of the latter is seen in our environment. People in the past have done what they like without concern or respect for the environment or the creatures that live in it. The effects of this lack of regard and respect are the depletion of the ozone layer, rising salt levels due to large scale land clearing, droughts and floods brought on by erratic temperature fluctuations, and so on, that are witnessed today.

Taking Responsibility For Your Actions

As not every person who uses magick follows a Wiccan path and therefore is not necessarily guided by the Wiccan Rede, magick itself does tend to have its own guidelines. What some people do not realize when they first desire to perform magick is that magick is based on energy. When you cast a spell, you are sending out energy. The Universe magnifies this energy and returns it to you. Therefore it is vitally important that, before a person performs any form of magickal act, they are fully aware of the energy exchange and are prepared to take full responsibility for their actions. In magick there is no such thing as coincidences – everything happens for a reason, and when you perform a spell you are creating the reason.

Taking responsibility means being honest with yourself about what you are doing and why. You also need to be able to acknowledge your mistakes and their consequences. Mistakes are often the greatest lessons we can learn in life. To learn from your mistakes, you must closely examine what went wrong and to find a way to rectify the error. However, mistakes when performing magick can have dire consequences, especially if your energy is directed at a particular person.

Magick should never be done on a whim. Before you perform any form of magickal rite you need to look careful at the reasons why you want to use magick to obtain something. You also need to be very clear about what you want to achieve. Some people find it useful to consult one form of divination or another, such as runes or the tarot, prior to casting a spell or magickal rite to determine all possible outcomes. Only when you are sure about what you are doing, should you perform magick.

Due to the amount of “spell books” around it is understandable why some people are of the view that magick is an easy and safe means to get whatever they want. However this is a misconception, for magick is not all that safe if you do not know what you are doing. Things can happen that you did not intend. Those readers who have seen the movie The Craft will be able to relate to the dangers of casting love spells – in the movie, the victim of such a spell became obsessed with the caster of the spell to the stage where he was stalking her. There are also numerous stories about people who have cast money spells and while they did end up with a monetary sum, this was obtained through some kind of personal disaster or upheaval, such as an insurance claim or even a death. Therefore it is vitally important to be very careful about what you ask for, because, as the saying goes, you could very well receive it, but not necessarily through the means you had anticipated.

Magick is serious business and should never be taken lightly. It can be dangerous for those who are unprepared and there are consequences if it is used carelessly or with malicious intent. However, if you abide by a few simple guidelines (such as the Wiccan Rede), take the time to properly understand what you are doing and use it responsibly, magick can help you can achieve positive and rewarding changes in your life.

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The Ethics Of Magick

The Ethics Of Magick

Author:   Frances [a WitchVox Sponsor] 

Some people are of the belief that when it comes to the practice of magick that anything goes. Magick is after all, simply that – magick. It is not caught up in ethics or morals. While this is correct, magick is actually shaped by the inner beliefs, ethics and morals of the person who uses it.

In all orthodox religions there are certain laws and regulations of how a follower of that faith should conduct themselves – in Christianity, for example, there are the Ten Commandments. In many Pagan traditions, however, it is believed that there is actually little need for such dogma as each person is ultimately responsible for their actions. Such responsibility can be overwhelming for someone new to Paganism, especially if they come from a more orthodox background, so they find the need to create boundaries in the form of guidelines. Within Wiccan belief there are a number of guidelines such as the Wiccan Rede and the Threefold Law of Return which are designed to help the newcomer understand the essence of that belief.

The Wiccan Rede is a beautiful piece of poetry whose author is believed to have been the late Doreen Valiente. Within this poem many aspects of Wiccan beliefs and practices are outlined, such as the seasonal wheel of the year, honoring the Goddess and the God, and sacred trees to name a few. The poem ends with eight specific words that many Wiccans consider to be the main guideline as to how they are to live their lives: “If it harms none, do what you will.” Some critics of Wicca see this as an indication for followers to do anything they wish. However, when the statement is given due thought, its true meaning is understood – that as long as your actions do not harm anyone, then you are free to live your life as you please. Some Wiccans take this statement further, relating the “none” to animals and the environment as well.

The Wiccan Rede is a version of the Golden Rule, which can be found in most other religions, the earliest dating back to Confucianism, where a 6th century BCE statement, “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others,” can be found. Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and even Sikhism also have variations of the Golden Rule.

The second ethical guideline which many Wiccans follow is that of the Threefold Law of Return, where it is believed that every deed done will return to the doer three times greater. This means that a good deed will return three times stronger, but so will any bad deed that is performed.

Many Wiccans also hold either a belief in the Eastern philosophy of Karma, or the Universal Law of Cause and Effect, where every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Karma is often viewed on a more personal level, that the deeds of one’s life are counteracted in the next life, while the Law of Cause and Effect can be viewed on a more global scale. A good example of the latter is seen in our environment. People in the past have done what they like without concern or respect for the environment or the creatures that live in it. The effects of this lack of regard and respect are the depletion of the ozone layer, rising salt levels due to large scale land clearing, droughts and floods brought on by erratic temperature fluctuations, and so on, that are witnessed today.

Taking Responsibility For Your Actions

As not every person who uses magick follows a Wiccan path and therefore is not necessarily guided by the Wiccan Rede, magick itself does tend to have its own guidelines. What some people do not realize when they first desire to perform magick is that magick is based on energy. When you cast a spell, you are sending out energy. The Universe magnifies this energy and returns it to you. Therefore it is vitally important that, before a person performs any form of magickal act, they are fully aware of the energy exchange and are prepared to take full responsibility for their actions. In magick there is no such thing as coincidences – everything happens for a reason, and when you perform a spell you are creating the reason.

Taking responsibility means being honest with yourself about what you are doing and why. You also need to be able to acknowledge your mistakes and their consequences. Mistakes are often the greatest lessons we can learn in life. To learn from your mistakes, you must closely examine what went wrong and to find a way to rectify the error. However, mistakes when performing magick can have dire consequences, especially if your energy is directed at a particular person.

Magick should never be done on a whim. Before you perform any form of magickal rite you need to look careful at the reasons why you want to use magick to obtain something. You also need to be very clear about what you want to achieve. Some people find it useful to consult one form of divination or another, such as runes or the tarot, prior to casting a spell or magickal rite to determine all possible outcomes. Only when you are sure about what you are doing, should you perform magick.

Due to the amount of “spell books” around it is understandable why some people are of the view that magick is an easy and safe means to get whatever they want. However this is a misconception, for magick is not all that safe if you do not know what you are doing. Things can happen that you did not intend. Those readers who have seen the movie The Craft will be able to relate to the dangers of casting love spells – in the movie, the victim of such a spell became obsessed with the caster of the spell to the stage where he was stalking her. There are also numerous stories about people who have cast money spells and while they did end up with a monetary sum, this was obtained through some kind of personal disaster or upheaval, such as an insurance claim or even a death. Therefore it is vitally important to be very careful about what you ask for, because, as the saying goes, you could very well receive it, but not necessarily through the means you had anticipated.

Magick is serious business and should never be taken lightly. It can be dangerous for those who are unprepared and there are consequences if it is used carelessly or with malicious intent. However, if you abide by a few simple guidelines (such as the Wiccan Rede), take the time to properly understand what you are doing and use it responsibly, magick can help you can achieve positive and rewarding changes in your life.

Lighten Up – A Letter From A Third Grade Teacher Sent Home To Pagan Parents

A Letter From A Third Grade Teacher Sent Home To Pagan Parents

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Thomas,

I write this letter in concern of your daughter, Aradia Moon. Please don’t take this the wrong way, however, although she is a straight A student and a very bright child, she has some strange habits that I feel we should address.

Every morning before class, she insists on walking around the room with her pencil in the air. She says she is “drawing down the moon.” I told her art class is in an hour and to please refrain until then to do any drawing.

And speaking of art class, whenever she draws a night sky, she insists on drawing little circles around all the stars and people dancing on the ground. And that brings up dancing, I had to stop her twice for taking off her clothes during a game of Ring Around the Rosey! By the way, what does “skyclad” mean?

Aradia has no problem with making friends. I always find her sitting outside during recess with her friends sitting around her in a circle. She likes to share her juice and cookies. It is nice how she wants no one to ever thirst or hunger. However, when I walked over to see what they were doing, she jumped up and told me to stop, pulled out a little plastic knife and started waiving it in front of me. I thought this a bit dangerous, so I took her to the Principal’s Office. She explained to the Principal that she was “opening the circle” to let me in. She also said that her Mommy and Daddy always told her not to play or run with an “athame” in her hand, that she could put someone’s eye out. I don’t know what an “athame” is, but I’m glad she keeps it at home.

As for stories, your daughter tends to make up some whoppers. Just yesterday while I was talking sternly to Tommy Johson and shaking my finger at him, he started screaming and ran from the room. When I finally caught him, he told me Aradia told him and the rest of the class that the last time I shook my finger at someone, they caught the chicken pox. I explained to him that the Sally Jones incident was just a coincidence, and that things like that don’t really happen.

One of the strangest things that happened was when I asked the children to bring in Halloween decorations for the classroom. Aradia brought in salt, incense, and her  family album. I see she has quite a sense of humour.

One of Aradia’s worst habits is that she is very argumentative. We were discussing what the Golden Rule was (Do Unto Others as you would have them Do Unto You), she firmly disagreed with me and stated that it was “Do As you Will, but Harm None” and she will not stop saying “So Mote It Be” after she reads aloud in class. I try to correct her on these matters and she got very angry. She pointed her finger at me and mumbled something under her breath.

In closing, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas, I would like to set up a parent/teacher conference with you sometime next week to discuss these matters. I would like to see you sooner, but I have developed an irritating rash that I am quite worried about.

With deep concerns, Mrs. Livingston

P.S. Blessed Be. I understand this is a greeting or closing from your country that your daughter informs me is polite and correct.

Spell Casting: The Prayer Warriors

Spell Casting: The Prayer Warriors

Author: Widdershins

In a small community nestled along the Ohio River Valley, a high school football team had an incredible year as they went to a state championship game undefeated. The wife of the head coach was openly Christian and in an effort to help her husband win throughout the season, she started a small prayer circle known as the ‘Prayer Warriors’. The group would meet weekly to pray for their team’s victory. This was not only about the kids having a safe trip or about getting through a game without injuries, this was also about winning. In other words, they were consciously attempting to channel their spiritual energy in such away that it would cause their team to win, or for the other team to lose. Could this have been an actual coven of Christian Witches?

I imagine that if any of the women involved were to hear that they were being compared to a Coven of Witches they would be upset and it is not my intent to pass judgment, but they were spell-casting, and not in a good way either. Now, if they were good Witches they would have adhered to the Wicca Rede that states: ‘An it harm none do what ye will’. Praying that the other team loses isn’t exactly a no-harm approach. Then there is another moral guideline that is referred to by Wicca as the Threefold Law that states that what ever you put out there into the world will come back three times. So if you were spell casting or praying for the other team to lose I would imagine that it would come back in the form of three losses for the home team.

So based on some of the rules of witchcraft and spell casting, this ‘coven’ of football supporters was practicing some black magic, but they can’t be blamed because they were Christians and how could they have known about the Wicca Rede? But they did have a Bible, or as they call it The Good Book, which very clearly states “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12) , otherwise known as the Golden Rule. By the way, they lost the championship game to a private catholic high school team. One could only imagine what they must have thought.

I’m not trying to be mean-spirited. I have just never put the two together. Spell casting and prayer have a fundamental relationship that goes beyond just trying to make something happen that you want to happen. The two address a deeper human need for coping with things in the external world that we have no control over and it’s only human to feel anxiety when one perceives a loss of control.

I believe that the only logical approach for coping with the external world and our need for control is to alter our perception and thought processes from within. I also believe that the human race has intuitively developed ways to address this need and I would say that some such strategies have come in the form of spell casting, prayer and meditation.

To put a bit of a scientific spin on my reasoning, one must first understand that a thought is more than an abstract event, but an actual physiological reaction that spreads across the brain by activating an electrochemical impulse. This impulse is spearheaded by the activation of neurotransmitters that leap across synaptic gabs uniting million upon millions of neurons, each impulse within its own unique pattern. Each pattern becomes associated with a thought and like the tracks along a well-worn path these patterns grow stronger and deeper with each passing.

Not only can we change the levels of neuro chemical activity in our brains with the physiological reactions of our thoughts but we can also change the physical connections between neurons creating an unlimited array of patterns; this is a process that neurologists refer to as plasticity. The sheer power of thought can change the very landscape of our brain.

The concept of brain plasticity is a relatively new concept to science. Until just recently, neurologists theorized that our brains were fully developed by the time we reached our mid twenties and from that time forward very little, if any, changes accrued. Resent studies have suggested that this isn’t the case at all. It appears that our brains have the capacity to change throughout our entire lives.

I would go so far as to suggest that the ancients intuitively knew about the plasticity of their own being and that the internal dialogue, that we refer to as our thoughts, was some how a very important part of this plasticity and spiritual well-being. It appears that they some how understood that to remain both spiritually and physically healthy they had to maintain a command or a sense of discipline over their own thoughts. As a result, they developed ways to focus and concentrate on their thinking as a way to create meaningful and fundamental changes in their lives.

Transcendental meditation, which appears in early Buddhist literature, talks about focusing on one’s own thoughts while guiding them from a third party perspective. In spell casting, one learns to focus via careful preparation and concentration, and as recent neurological research suggests the key to plasticity is focus and concentration.

If the Prayer Warriors were to take a closer look at their situation, they would have came to the understanding that it wasn’t the outcome of an external event, such as a football game, that was driving them to engage in prayer for victory, but rather it was an internal neurological event. Their thinking leads them to believe that winning would relieve the anxiety that they were experiencing. This is where they fell short; they were unable to identify what they truly wanted to change. They wanted the anxiety to go away. Herein lies the secret of good spell casting.

One must meditate and focus on the true cause of their emotional responses such as, fears, desires, and anxieties and develop an internal dialogue that reassures and strengthens the neural networks that drive the emotions. Whether it is through transcendental meditation, prayer or spell-casting, one must focus on the internal and develop strategies to realign the thinking. As Wiccans, we establish and focus our mental energies by visualizing deities, writing and reciting poetry, chanting, ritualistic dancing, and so on, all of which is carefully thought out and planned and repeated as often as needed.

If the Prayer Warriors would have used their prayers to establish energy and clarity to better understand the feelings that they were having they may have come to realize that what they were feeling was normal and rather than fearing it, they could have embraced it and thanked their God for the opportunity to be human. They may have understood that once the game was over, and regardless of whether they won or lost, the anxiety would dissipate. The spell that they should have been casting was for clarity and understanding and the wisdom to enjoy the whole experience regardless of the outcome of an external event.

As one develops the correct habits of spell-casting, prayer and meditation, the brain begins to rewire itself in a way that allows one to perceive experiences and emotions through a positive filter. If such habits are developed incorrectly the brain rewires and the filter becomes negative. Either way you look at it, there is powerful magic afoot, or abrain, and it is not to be dealt with lightly.

Knowing Right and Wrong

Knowing Right and Wrong

Author: Stewart Bitkoff

On one level people want simple answers and to be told what to do. On another they want freedom to choose and make their own decisions. People are multi-level and have the capacity to make their own choices as well as accept direction from others. Discordance sets in when the guidance from others or authority does not fit what the individual wants or feels is right for them. In this case, the individual is in conflict and looks for something else.

Most people are taught a philosophy of ‘right and wrong.’ At an early age aspects of this protective mechanism are projected into daily life and are part of social and religious training. For example, if you do not get-up on time and arrive timely at school this is bad. As an adult, being late will eventually result in loss of job. Or as a youth, if you take street drugs, this will lead to personal problems and addiction.

It is difficult to disagree with these two maxims about daily life. Get places on time and do not take potentially damaging street drugs. However, to complicate matters other factors may be at play. Perhaps the individual is getting to work late because of an inner, hidden unease with this type of work. In time, after warnings by the supervisor, the worker realizes this and moves on. Or the youth experimenting with recreational drugs uses this learning in a future career in brain chemistry. Or in a more damaging scenario, after years of addiction the person sobers up and becomes a drug counselor who, because of personal experience, helps dozens of others.

From a higher perspective, looking at events: travelers are taught to take a more longitudinal and holistic view of the effect of specific actions. In real life, often it is not a simple matter of an action being ‘right or wrong.’ Actions are complex and involve others, having both a collective and individual effect. Before making many decisions it is wise to consider their long term and multi-level effect.

As an example, how about the common situation where your beloved asks- do you think I have put on a few pounds? Does this dress/suit make me look heavy? Sometimes telling the truth can be unnecessarily hurtful, particularly if the individual has been struggling with their weight. In this situation, I’ll leave it to you to figure out what is right or wrong; in most things, we are free to pick and choose.

Further when viewing the effect of personal action, it is impossible to know all the variables involved; particularly over a long period of time and actions that affect countless others. However, for the spiritual traveler, it is possible to know some of this and begins by asking the question: will this action bring me closer or distance me from my higher destiny?

The answer to this question may be thought out as well as perceived. First, we rationally consider and list the effects using what we term our common sense. Next, we use our intuition, requesting if the action will bring us closer or distance us from our higher self. Perception is intuitive knowledge that emerges from our collective consciousness. By turning inward, the traveler unlocks this holistic awareness and uses this answer along with their rational thought to arrive at an action.

At an early age, it is important to learn about the difference between right and wrong. It is important to learn some things are good for us and some things are not. Yet, spiritual teaching must go deeper, illustrating and considering the aspect of longitudinal effect and destiny. While one piece of chocolate may be tasty and even nutritious, twenty is not, particularly, if we are diabetic or prone to dental problems.

Most spiritual training programs teach the traveler to pray, or turn inward in some fashion or another before taking an important action. Within each person, there is an inner voice or capacity to know if an action will bring us closer to our own higher self and the higher destiny of the universe. Most people have forgotten to develop and listen to their own inner voice and have relied upon others to teach them about right and wrong.

This original social, moral and religious teaching, about what is useful in life, was intended as a beginning; and the traveler, as they matured was to be instructed on how to make their own more complex, intuitive decisions. For many, this has been omitted from their training and they continue to rely upon limited and simplistic learning constructs.

Many of which have been tied to a hidden and sometimes not so hidden ‘fear and reward’ system. In a sense, for these travelers, their thoughts on certain subjects have become fixed, often engineered by others.

*
Humanity is conscious energy
Burning like sunlight.
By reflecting the Light into this world
Humanity neutralizes personal spiritual darkness.

Embrace your own inner beliefs
And then travel beyond them.
Embrace higher knowledge
And as the Source Wills
You will become a sun unto yourself:
Knowing right from wrong,
Dissipating your own lower needs and desires.

*
What some call religious training and tradition:
Often is based upon historical and no longer accurate,
Incomplete information; also, in some presentations
There is tendency to misapply traditional exercises to this culture.
Further, many sacred books include
Selective reportage by believers and historians;
With altered teachings to control desired behaviors
Which were insisted upon by the ruling entity or clergy.

Remember many cherished religious traditions and behaviors no longer serve any real or spiritual function. However, they do increase people’s feelings of comfort/tradition and need to be viewed within their emotional framework.
*

The Law

Traveler: Holy One, tell me of the Law

Master: The Law is Inscribed on the heart of each person. Beneath the layers of dust- from selfish living- that surround each heart, is the Golden Rule. The Law is also Written in the Books and is known to all. It is written: That which brings you closer to your higher self and the Beloved is the Measure.

Travelers know what is right; yet, allow themselves to be deceived by their desires. If a traveler would ask their Higher Self or The Light to help make their decision- each would correctly and reach higher.

If you will pray, the Light will cleanse your heart and The Law will be inscribed upon it- Lighting the Darkness. SB

What are Wiccan ethics, the “Wiccan Rede” and “three-fold law?”

What are Wiccan ethics, the “Wiccan Rede” and “three-fold law?”

Wiccan ethics are seldom codified in a legalistic way, but may be informed by some common expressions such as the “Wiccan Rede” and the “three-fold law.” According to most versions of the three-fold law,
whatever one does comes back to one thrice multiplied, in amplified repercussion. One short, rhymed version of the Wiccan Rede states “Eight
words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: An it harm none, do what you will.” Often “none” is interpreted to include the doer themself in analogy to the “golden rule” of other faiths. There are no universal proscriptions
regarding food, sex, burial or military service and Wiccans, as a rule, discourage proselytization (attempts to convert others to a different
religion).

Curses! And the Magical Mechanics Thereof…

Curses! And the Magical Mechanics Thereof…

Author: Treasach

I’m not above quoting fantasy books myself if they say it well. “The most professional curse ever snarled or croaked or thundered can have no effect on a pure heart.” — The Last Unicorn. This is essentially true.

Curses work the same way other magic works. A Contact spell, for example, sends out feelers across the chaotic systems. A lot like a computer match up. If the potential person/s you are interested in meeting is also interested, as some of your energy is going along with it, you both work together to pull the chaos strings so that you will both meet up in an appropriate location and time for you to pursue an acquaintance. Rather like “your people” and “their people” calling a meeting. It is a two way street.

Curses are much the same. It is a two way street between the curser and cursed. The curser has decided that someone really need a kick in the ass for something, and sends out feelers. Their energies comes in contact, and if the ‘cursee’s’ own guilt, that is, their own inner Goddess of Vengeance, decides that they must be punished, both humans use that energy to create the curse effect. Rather like a karmic string tied around one’s finger to remind one of this guilt, which might not have remembered otherwise, or not gotten to it as quickly. Which is why someone must go to the trouble of cursing another in the first place, and why a curse has no effect on a pure heart. No self-need for punishment, no curse.

I believe we should most definitely treat others by the Golden Rule. There is indeed a version of that in every major tradition. But that’s almost entirely for our own benefit. We cannot become enlightened and self fulfilled without it. With neophytes terrified to practice spellcraft on their own without the aid of their ‘teacher’, the Three Fold or Karmic Laws has become an enslaving chain left over from our reClaiming days that should be abandoned as quickly as possible.

The 3 fold, ten fold, or even 11 ‘Law’ is a MYTH, told to keep newbies in line.

I’m sorry I’m breaking the conspiracy of some of the Adepts in disabusing you of this notion. There are many reasons for it, but I break from much of the crowd and teach like a heritage. I believe we must always and only discuss the true metaphysics of witchcraft to prove ourselves a mature spirituality and not a mystery cult.

Spewing the pat fluffy Threefold or Karmic Law is such an oversimplification of the complexity of the Universe that it is an obscenity to the dignity of seekers of Enlightenment and those who assist them. How does witchcraft compare as a viable path for those of intelligence and wisdom with such an obvious disprovable flaw as it’s main tenant? It’s deeply embarrassing for a spirituality of maturity and strength.

That doesn’t mean that the Universe doesn’t slap you if you choose to be an ass. You often do get what’s coming to you. But that is most definitely NOT the same performing so-called ‘black magic’ (which sounds abominably racist) and expecting to be punished for it.

Cursing, for example, is simply a form of dispensing justice where you believe it required, same as you would protect someone from getting beat up. You should get punished for NOT redressing a serious imbalance, in my opinion, same as you would for not getting stopping someone being physically victimized.

No. It’s simply that the ‘Rule’ or ‘Law’ or whatever that many teachers tell newbies when they are first starting out is merely fantasy. There are numerous reasons for this, but it is designed to scare them, control them, and ensure that they don’t go trying spellcraft on their own.

The truth is really much harder. The Universe does pay people back, but certainly not in such a lovely symmetry like three or any other number. It is ridiculous to assume that a quantitative quality can be put on someone trying to harm another, and take into account whether it was deliberate, or only slightly, or not at all, and ‘repay’ that back in some sort of mathematical formula. Like some suffering or blessing of mine can even compare to someone else’s in sensitivity, or life disruption, or level of joy, or some other feeling or quality in the first place.

If you are nasty to people, they will be nasty to you. Most times. Sometimes you can be nice to everyone, and you will be assassinated. Sometimes bad guys really do win. Totally and completely. The Universe is not so cut and dried as the ‘Law’ makes it out to be. It is not fair. And it certainly doesn’t balance. And even if it could, it is so vast that we would never be able to see it, with our limited shells.

But that’s where we come in, as Her representatives. We can see what’s in front of us and report back, so to speak, to draw Her attention to something that we would like to see remedied right now, and we specify a manner that we can comprehend. That’s one of the functions of spellcraft, particularly blessings, curses, and healings.

All people are intelligent and sensitive to some degree and deserve to be treated like seekers of truth and self-fulfillment. We do them and ourselves a great disservice when we do not teach the metaphysics and theology of witchcraft correctly from the start. In all it’s complexity.

My curses are extremely good. They can take up to two years to manifest, and they attack whatever it was that caused the person to be cursed in the first place. Completely. And, due to my style of asking the Goddess to take care of it Herself without my suggestions or too much interference, they manifest in a far more creative and complete manner than I ever could have imagined, exactly matching the infraction with the punishment. So I never worry about justice for infractions against me, though it would be nice to have the wisdom to avoid them in the first place…

And as aggressive as I am, curses come far more naturally than Blessings. Perhaps that’s where my real challenge lies…

Paganism and Morality

Paganism and Morality

Author: Morgan Ravenwood

In a previous article I wrote entitled “The Joys and Pitfalls of Pagan Parenting, ” I repeated what my then-teenaged daughter, “Jane, ” said to me in response to my attempts to keep her on the “straight and narrow”: “But, mom, it’s not like you’re a religious Christian or something!”

I spent the rest of our conversation trying to explain why you don’t have to be a Christian to be religious and to believe in—and practice—leading a decent life. Fortunately, time and maturity has proven this to Jane, who now has three children of her own to teach it to.

In some of the online discussion boards I belong to, it has been mentioned repeatedly that many people believe that morality needs religion—and preferably the Christian religion–to exist, and vice versa. Of course, both myself and others, including some Atheists, have hastened to explain that this is in no wise true, presenting our own personal points of view and experiences as proof.

However, a member of one of the boards recently posed a question that demands an answer, both to ourselves as well as the outside world:

“So that we may learn how to properly judge those of other religious persuasions, specifically how are Wiccans and Pagans and Atheists supposed to behave in accordance with their beliefs?

How do we know when they are being true to their religious ideals, and when they are being hypocrites?”

A fair question, especially given that neither Pagans nor Atheists have the words of a prophet or set scriptures to govern their behavior. While I cannot speak for Atheists, where Paganism is concerned, it’s understandable that members of mainstream religions would find it odd, not to mention immoral, that some Pagans perform their rituals “skyclad”—i.e., in the nude–and even participate in what might be considered to be immoral sexual behavior, including homosexuality and polyamory (which simply means “more than one” lover).

The fact that there is no stigma attached to these in Paganism only reinforces this belief.

It is a sad fact that Pagan parents have had their children removed from their custody once their religion becomes public knowledge because Paganism has so often received a negative reputation as a religion with little to no morality.

In view of this, we are almost obligated to try to demonstrate as strong a behavioral standard as possible so as to build and retain integrity for our religion.

While we’ve probably all met a few “Happy Nekkid Pagans” with seemingly looser morals than most, the majority of Pagans I have known have led far more moral lives than many of their Christian counterparts.

I believe that this is due to the fact that some Christians are really only “Sunday Christians, ” named so because they crawl to church on Sunday and feign repentance, only to resume their evil ways on Monday.

But for us Pagans, it’s a little different; we consider ourselves to be “24/7 Pagans” because our own sense of honor and personal responsibility prohibits us from behaving in such a cavalier manner.

And what is the source of this personal responsibility, since it does not depend upon the threat of punishment from an angry god or a feeling of obligation to obey scriptures? I think the basic answer can be summed up quite nicely in three words: The Golden Rule. You know, the one that says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

The wording of this has been slightly changed but retains the same meaning in our own Wiccan Rede, which the majority of Wiccans DO adhere to: “An it harm none, do what thou will.”

To do any differently would be to harm oneself if one believes, as most Pagans do, that we are all part of each other as well as the earth. Think how wonderful the world would be if everyone practiced this for even one day!

Also, it is worth noting that some Pagan traditions, which are similar to Christian denominations, have their own set of guidelines that members are expected to follow. Though they are certainly not binding to ALL Pagans, nor do all of them adhere to them, The Thirteen Goals of a Witch, especially numbers one and four through seven, give very good guidelines for ethical behavior:

The Thirteen Goals of a Witch

1) Know Thyself

2) Know Thy Craft

3) Learn, Knowledge is Power

4) Apply Knowledge with Wisdom

5) Achieve balance in your life and everything around you

6) Keep your words in good order – negativity breeds negativity –

7) Keep your thoughts in good order

8) Celebrate life and all the stages of it

9) Attune with the cycles of the Earth and Moon

10) Breathe and eat correctly

11) Exercise the body as well as the spirit

12) Meditate everyday

13) Honor the Goddess and God

It is worth remarking that many of these mirror the behavioral guidelines as set out in the Eightfold Path of Buddhism, which does not carry the stigma of immorality that Paganism does. Yet another Eastern faith belief of importance to Pagans is Karma—that which you do, comes back to you.

Many Wiccans adhere to this belief, but with one notable difference: that which you do, comes back to you—THREEFOLD. Whether or not this is true, the reality of “cause and effect” is indisputable, which certainly prompts some serious consideration in making important decisions, particularly those that concern other people.

Another area in which most Pagans strongly attempt to behave responsibly is preservation of the environment. In these days, especially with a government and national population that are less concerned about preservation and more with maximum utilization, this is no easy task. And yet, believing as we do that the earth is our Mother, we each owe it to Her to do our share. Recycling, composting, and making responsible decisions about using products that are harmful to the environment are all things we can do as individuals.

Lastly, in the “Charge of the Goddess, ” which quite thoroughly lays out recommendations for responsible and moral behavior, Doreen Valiente wrote these words, which are dear to the hearts of the many Wiccans who aspire to live by them:

“Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you, ” and “keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it, let naught stop you or turn you aside.”

Surely, nobody of ANY persuasion, religious or otherwise, could aspire to any higher goals than these.


Footnotes:
This article has previously been published on The Wiccan-Pagan Times website.

Characteristics of an Earth Witch

Characteristics of an Earth Witch

 

One of the best things about the Earth Witch is her ability to remain silent. She understand that sometimes it is best to say nothing rather than risk saying it wrong. She is very careful about what she says. Because she is not argumentative by nature, when the Earth Witch speaks her words hold weight. She also tends to be critical of others, even though she may not say it out loud. Too often, the Earth Witch represses her feelings and as a result may need to purge more often than those who follow other elemental paths. But since she holds earth so close to her, she is adept at purging anywhere and anytime.

Cautious and wary, the Earth Witch rarely takes unnecessary chances. Level-headed to the end, she helps others find suitable solutions to their problems. Her approach to life is slow and steady. She is conservative, patient, and practical.

The Earth Witch can most often be found working a job in which she can directly improve the world around her, or a job that may seem boring but is traditionally necessary within the boundaries of society. Social work, teaching, architecture, and banking are natural choices for the Earth Witch.

On the flip side, the gentle Earth Witch is not one you want to anger. She is capable of utter destruction, which she views as a natural part of the cycle of life. Rarely will she look back with regret. She may take a while before deciding that she is angry and will give you every chance to explain yourself. But once angered, she can be stubborn and hold a grudge. Because she will give you every chance in the beginning, if she decides that she doesn’t like you–well, you earned it. Most people only get to cross that line once with an Earth Witch. However, she is eternally forgiving toward those she loves and trusts.

Because the Earth Witch is so rooted in the home, she must be careful not to shut herself away from others entirely. However, she is rarely shy and can often be found at social gatherings.

The Earth Witch may have a talent for sculpting, even if she doesn’t know it yet. When holding chunks of clay in her hands, she can create some beautiful statuary.

The Earth Witch is a teacher and strives to set a good example for her students, children and friends. She practices what she preaches and believes that actions speaks louder than words. For thousands of years, the bones of the Earth (rocks) have been utilized as teaching implements. Pictographs (painted-on symbols) and petroglyphs (carved symbols) date back to the ancient Egyptians. Almost every culture has its own version of rock teachings.
Earth rules the season of spring. During the spring, the Earth and the Earth Witch come roaring back to life. As the flowers bloom, the grass grows, and the animals wake from their slumber, the Earth Witch becomes one with all of nature. She is directly influenced by the increasing life energy of all things. Her personal power is at its highest point during this season.

One of the most prevalent aspects of the path of the Earth Witch is sharing. Mother Earth shares all of herself with the other elements. She allows herself to be the foundation for all of life. She is battered by storms and ravaged by fire, but she remains unchanged yet ever evolving. The Earth Witch holds herself close to the archetype. She struggles to remain calm and steady during all of life’s storms. She has a unique talent for being able to keep her cool. She also has the minor quirk of being slow to movement. The Earth Witch knows that she has all the time in the world–she is not the sort to jump around and do things right away. “All in good time” is her motto. However, she must be extremely careful with this aspect of her personality, as it can cause her to stagnate and stop her growth. As a rule, the Earth Witch resists change.

When it comes to divination practices, the Earth Witch can read better by scrying into water or fire than by using the divination systems that fall under the rule of earth. This is because her role as the base for the other elements. The Earth as a whole contains water and fire and serves as a foundation for air. There is much more to the Earth than dirt and plant life.

Humanity belongs to the realm of earth. Any type of folk magic that utilizes footprints, hair or nail clippings, etc., is an Earth Witch’s specialty.

The Earth Witch is puzzle of Hoodoo, Voodoo, Native American beliefs, shamanistic behaviors. Wiccan ethics (or the Golden Rule), and/or ancestral lore. Yet she is a puzzle in which all of the pieces fall in place to create a beautiful picture.