Let’s Talk Witch – Is It Really Wiccan Magick?

LET’S TALK WITCH – IS IT REALLY WICCAN ETHICS?

Ask any Witch from any tradition of Witchcraft, why they don’t cast evil spells,
do baneful magic or use their powers to manipulate or harm others, and most of
them will quickly respond: “Because Witches believe in the Threefold Law: What
you send out will return to you three times over.”

Well, that’s a concept that will certainly keep you in line!

But is it really Wiccan ethics?

Not even remotely. Why? Because the Threefold Law is actually a rule of conduct
based on punishment, and therefore fear, and because it’s leftover from biblical
morality and because it does not reflect Wiccan values.

Let’s start with the first problem with Threefold Law: punishment and fear. Stop
and think about it for a minute. The Threefold Law is actually saying that you
better behave yourself, because if you don’t something worse will happen to you.
In other words, misbehave and you’ll be punished. So it’s just your fear of
punishment – of something worse happening to you — that keeps you from abusing the powers of Witchcraft. That’s not ethics — it’s expediency and self-
interest, based on fear of reprisal and nothing more.

Here’s the second problem: Where does this idea of fear of punishment as a
motivator for morality come from? It is a remnant of biblical thinking, dragged
from the past and misdirecting our future. In the biblical religious view, God
is not present in the world, He’s transcendent, dwelling “above” in heaven.
Where does that leave us? Living in the Lord of the Flies. When God is not
present in the world, you need a set of rules to live by. Hence the Ten
Commandments, Papal edicts, Talmudic interpretations, and Mullahs dictating the meaning of the Koran. The threat of damnation, sin, hell fire, and fatwahs for
your disobedience certainly motivate compliance with the rules of morality. Just
like the Threefold Law — behave or you’ll be punished. But just turn on the
television set and you’ll see how well that system of rules and punishment is
working.

Now the third problem: Wicca doesn’t believe in a transcendent, exclusively
male, and punishing God. Instead, Wicca is a spirituality with accessible
practices that enables you to experience the Divine dwelling within you and all
around you in the natural world. For a Witch, the world is not fallen from grace
— it’s paradise, it’s the body of the Divine. And when you are able to
experience the presence of the Sacred in the world, in yourself and others, you
don’t require a rule based upon punishment, fear and self-interest to motivate
you to behave in an ethical manner.

The real Wiccan ethic is simple: Witches live in a sacred manner, treating all
of life and the world itself with reverence and respect, because they live in a
sacred world.

This is an ethical approach to Witchcraft, to magic, spellcasting and daily life
that is truly a reflection of our deepest spiritual principles, and our
practices. And it is an understanding that can remedy the wrongs threatening the
survival of the Earth. So the next time someone asks you why Witches don’t cast
evil spells, or what the basis for your ethics are, you can reply: I live in a
sacred manner because I live in a sacred world. I treat that world, and all the
creatures in it, with reverence and respect because everything is an embodiment
of the Divine.

—- Author Uninown

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A Little Humor for Your Day – New State Slogans

New State Slogans

Alabama: Yes, We Have Electricity
Alaska: 11,623 Eskimos Can’t Be Wrong!
Arizona: But It’s a Dry Heat
Arkansas: Litterasy Ain’t Everthing
California: By 30 Our Women Have More Plastic Than Your Honda.
Colorado: If You Don’t Ski, Don’t Bother
Connecticut: Like Massachusetts, Only The Kennedies Don’t Own It Yet.
Delaware: We Really Do Like The Chemicals In Our Water
Florida: Ask Us About Our Grandkids
Georgia: We Put The “Fun” In Fundamentalist Extremism
Hawaii: Haka Tiki Mou Sha’ami Leeki Toru (Death To Mainland Scum, But Leave Your Money)
Idaho: More Than Just Potatoes… Well Okay, We’re Not, But The Potatoes Sure Are Real Good
Illinois: Please Don’t Pronounce the “S”
Indiana: 2 Billion Years Tidal Wave Free
Iowa: We Do Amazing Things With Corn
Kansas: First Of The Rectangle States
Kentucky: Five Million People; Fifteen Last Names
Louisiana: We’re Not ALL Drunk Cajun Wackos, But That’s Our Tourism Campaign
Maine: We’re Really Cold, But We Have Cheap Lobster
Maryland: If You Can Dream It, We Can Tax It
Massachusetts: Our Taxes Are Lower Than Sweden’s (For Most Tax Brackets)
Michigan: First Line Of Defense From The Canadians
Minnesota: 10,000 Lakes And 10,000,000 Mosquitoes
Mississippi: Come Feel Better About Your Own State
Missouri: Your Federal Flood Relief Tax Dollars At Work
Montana: Land Of The Big Sky, The Unabomber, Right-Wing Crazies, & Very Little Else
Nebraska: Ask About Our State Motto Contest
Nevada: Whores and Poker!
New Hampshire: Go Away And Leave Us Alone
New Jersey: You Want A ##$%##! Motto? I Got Yer ##$%##! Motto Right Here!
New Mexico: Lizards Make Excellent Pets
New York: You Have The Right To Remain Silent, You Have The Right To An Attorney…
North Carolina: Tobacco Is A Vegetable
North Dakota: We Really Are One Of The 50 States!
Ohio: At Least We’re Not Michigan
Oklahoma: Like The Play, Only No Singing
Oregon: Spotted Owl… It’s What’s For Dinner
Pennsylvania: Cook With Coal
Rhode Island: We’re Not REALLY An Island
South Carolina: Remember The Civil War? We Didn’t Actually Surrender
South Dakota: Closer Than North Dakota
Tennessee: The Educashun State
Texas: Si’ Hablo Ing’les (Yes, I Speak English)
Utah: Our Jesus Is Better Than Your Jesus
Vermont: Yep
Virginia: Who Says Government Stiffs And Slackjaw Yokels Don’t Mix?
Washington: Help! We’re Overrun By Nerds And Slackers!
Washington, D.C.: Wanna Be Mayor?
West Virginia: One Big Happy Family…Really!
Wisconsin: Come Cut The Cheese
Wyoming: Where Men Are Men…And The Sheep Are Afraid!!!!!!!!!!

 

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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 Nine Virtues

The Nine Virtues

Author:   Kalynn Osburn   

In some way or another throughout the ages, there have been sets of attributes that have been deemed by both society and individuals to define the quality of a person’s character. From the Ten Commandments to Sanatana Dharma, from the Noble Eightfold Path to the Wiccan Rede, each comprises cultural appreciation of upright action and thought. Many of these hold the same tenants as one another, with values such as honesty, kindness, generosity and honor at the top of the lists. It is in this line that I have comprised what I feel to be the Nine Virtues, a series of considerations to which I think one should aspire in their life time.

In no way do I mean to say that this is the definitive list of ethical behavior! Nor do I want anyone to believe that I have an infallible moral compass! Far from it, in fact. These are simply the traits which I think are lacking in this era and should be given due consideration. While they include several from what is considered both warrior and maidenly virtues, I have done all I can to remove the gender considerations herein and I advise seeing them more as human virtues rather than belonging to one gender or the other.

The goal here is to strive towards these traits and to do your best to keep them in mind as you act throughout the day. I have listed them in order or personal importance (1 being the most significant to me) but these are not really quantifiable as more or less significant.

HONOR

Honor is among the most difficult to define of the virtues, and yet to me it is one of the most important. Many define this concept as a definition of a man’s duty or loyalty to one’s betters or higher ups within a military code of conduct. For women the term was historically used in reference to their virginity or the price a mate would have to pay in order to wed them. Honor can mean loyalty to duty, but it can also mean to act in a way that conveys dignity and rightness. Refusing to be goaded into a fight or not allowing your character to be falsified. Taking the protecting and care of your family upon yourself and working for their good at all times. Not allowing your friends to hurt when you have the means to prevent it. It comes down to looking at the situation and doing everything in your power to work through it with rightness of thought and deed. Honor also ties in strongly with other constructs such as: Integrity of the self, Accountability for your actions, and Respect for yourself and others

COURAGE

Courage is often misinterpreted as a lack of cowardice or fear. In reality, Courage is being afraid, terrified even, but pushing forward anyway. There are two types of courage: physical courage, which could be defending someone from attack or pushing yourself to the limit, and moral courage, which would be keeping to your moral or ethical code despite potential ridicule and ostracized. It can be difficult to remain courageous without becoming reckless or displaying an excess of bravado. In my experience the truly courageous are quiet, steadfast people who one would never suspect of being capable of such bravery. The one who rushes into a burning building to save a child and then disappears before the news crew can get a shot of them. The truest form of courage is in those whose names will never be known, but who take it upon themselves to act in defense of others.

MERCY

Mercy is often portrayed as the powerful showing pity to the weak. This is often emphasized by the Christian concept of a merciful God, one who wields incomparable power and yet exercises with caution or consideration for those under their influence. But to put this on a more relatable level, one could compare mercy with humanitarian efforts such as giving your time so that other’s might live life with greater ease, even if only for a moment. Through acts of kindness and charity, such as donating your clothing to homeless shelters, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or being a counselor for a youth group, one hopes to achieve a human connection as well as a greater understanding of compassion. To quote the Bard: “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

HONESTY

Honesty is not always as simply as just telling the truth. In this case, the virtue has more to do with being of straightforward character. It can be difficult to weight honesty with brutal, unfeeling truth, but it is important to remember that honesty does not give one the right to be callous. You should always consider how your answer would affect the other person’s state of mind. At times a gentler hand may be called for, but sometimes we must be direct in our approach. A good thing to keep in mind is to never do anything you know you are going to have to lie about later. With this thought, Honesty is more about acting truthfully and without deceit intended than it really is about telling your friend you like her dress when it looks awful.

CUNNING-

One could find it very amusing that I chose to put the virtue of Cunning right after that of Honesty, seeing as how the two so often seem to be at odds. But in this case it is to establish a balance between the two that I include cunning among the virtues. Cunning is not about lying, but about displaying keen insight or a knowledge of something that might baffle others. You could also term this as being clever or witty about a particular subject (such as witchcraft) . It is, above all else, using your intellect to solve problems and find new solutions to old issues. Brehons might be the best example of such folk, as they had to navigate their way around the law without denying the rights of everyone involved.

ENDURANCE

Endurance is the unique ability to keep going long after others have quit. There are two kinds of endurance: physical endurance, such as a woman in labor or a man running a triathlon, and mental endurance, such as that shown during studying final exam or sensory deprivation. One could also consider life to be an endurance trial, as we face hardships and difficulties one has to show the endurance and fortitude to overcome them. Life is hard, but not without it’s joy, and sometimes weathering the hard times creates more joy in the easy times. Being tenacious and sticking to your set goals without fail shows great endurance.

SPIRIT

Spirit is the belief and understanding of an innermost self, a soul or essence, which comprises you as an incorporeal being. It is a connectedness to a larger self and an understanding that there is a pattern and weaving to existence that you are a part of. This could also be termed Piety, though I would not include religious devotion as the explanation. Rather you strive to see the big picture of life, not only in terms of you and yours but also in terms of the universe as a whole. Someone who has the virtue of Spirit is confident, but without the danger of hubris and arrogance that so often comes with the idea of a higher spiritual understanding. As Albert Einstein said “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”

INTROSPECTION

Introspection is being aware of your own needs, desires, flaws, virtues and state of mind. It is a conscious effort on the part of a person to fully consider their actions and thoughts and to consider the ramifications both to themselves and to others. It is the consideration of one’s own mind, or meta-cognition (thinking about thinking) . One could consider this like having a psychologist inside your own mind. You try to break down your own though process, questions yourself and answer honestly. It is not the same as doubting yourself or seeing your own advise as invalid, it is simply exploring your own motives and knowing where they come from.

TRANQUILITY

Tranquility is maintaining a state of calmness and levelheaded thinking. It is in allowing yourself to move beyond the hectic frustrations and troubles of the moment and not letting them interfere with your thought process or course of action. One could also add into this the feeling of contentment with your life as it is right now, without giving thought to the future or past. You become at ease with the reality of the world and life in general and accept your current state of being. Inherent in this is the ability to move past what may be happening at the moment and focus on what must come next.

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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.

The Earth’s Commandments

BeneMaleFantasy

 

Earth’s Commandments

1. Thou shalt love and honor the Earth for it blesses thy life and governs thy survival.

2. Thou shalt keep each day sacred to the Earth and celebrate the turning of the seasons.

3. Thou shalt not hold thyself above other living things nor drive them to extinction.

4. Thou shalt give thanks for thy food to the creatures and plants that nourish thee.

5. Thou shalt limit thy offspring, for multitudes of people are a burden unto the Earth.

6. Thou shalt not kill nor waste Earth’s riches upon weapons of war.

7. Thou shalt not pursue profit at the Earth’s expense but strive to restore its damaged majesty.

8. Thou shalt not hide from thyself or others the consequences of thy actions upon the Earth.

9. Thou shalt consume material goods in moderation so all may share Earth’s bounty.

–Earnest Callenbach. 1990  

Lighten Up – The 13 Commandments

The 13 Commandments

1. Thou shall not turn thy ex into a frog.
2. Thou shall not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for thou are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.
3. Thou shall not laugh at nekked snow sprites.
4. Thou shall not get drunk with thy Goddess’s wine.
5. Thou shall not sacrifice thy little sister.
6. Thou shall not go running around proclaiming thy witchhood if thy are in times of burning.
7. Thou shall not question the word of thy High Priestess – She is God.
8. Thou shall not laugh at being nekked at coven – thou shall be killed.
9. Thou shall not commit to signing anything that declares any single person as thy lord and savior.
10. Thou shall not invoke thy Watchtowers only to say “never mind”.
11. Thou shall not burn enough candles to burn thy house down.
12. Thou shall not have the magickal name “Sir Stinky Fartsalot”.
13. Thou shall not call coven only for laughs.

The Nine Virtues

The Nine Virtues

Author: Kalynn Osburn

In some way or another throughout the ages, there have been sets of attributes that have been deemed by both society and individuals to define the quality of a person’s character. From the Ten Commandments to Sanatana Dharma, from the Noble Eightfold Path to the Wiccan Rede, each comprises cultural appreciation of upright action and thought. Many of these hold the same tenants as one another, with values such as honesty, kindness, generosity and honor at the top of the lists. It is in this line that I have comprised what I feel to be the Nine Virtues, a series of considerations to which I think one should aspire in their life time.

In no way do I mean to say that this is the definitive list of ethical behavior! Nor do I want anyone to believe that I have an infallible moral compass! Far from it, in fact. These are simply the traits which I think are lacking in this era and should be given due consideration. While they include several from what is considered both warrior and maidenly virtues, I have done all I can to remove the gender considerations herein and I advise seeing them more as human virtues rather than belonging to one gender or the other.

The goal here is to strive towards these traits and to do your best to keep them in mind as you act throughout the day. I have listed them in order or personal importance (1 being the most significant to me) but these are not really quantifiable as more or less significant.

HONOR

Honor is among the most difficult to define of the virtues, and yet to me it is one of the most important. Many define this concept as a definition of a man’s duty or loyalty to one’s betters or higher ups within a military code of conduct. For women the term was historically used in reference to their virginity or the price a mate would have to pay in order to wed them. Honor can mean loyalty to duty, but it can also mean to act in a way that conveys dignity and rightness. Refusing to be goaded into a fight or not allowing your character to be falsified. Taking the protecting and care of your family upon yourself and working for their good at all times. Not allowing your friends to hurt when you have the means to prevent it. It comes down to looking at the situation and doing everything in your power to work through it with rightness of thought and deed. Honor also ties in strongly with other constructs such as: Integrity of the self, Accountability for your actions, and Respect for yourself and others

COURAGE

Courage is often misinterpreted as a lack of cowardice or fear. In reality, Courage is being afraid, terrified even, but pushing forward anyway. There are two types of courage: physical courage, which could be defending someone from attack or pushing yourself to the limit, and moral courage, which would be keeping to your moral or ethical code despite potential ridicule and ostracized. It can be difficult to remain courageous without becoming reckless or displaying an excess of bravado. In my experience the truly courageous are quiet, steadfast people who one would never suspect of being capable of such bravery. The one who rushes into a burning building to save a child and then disappears before the news crew can get a shot of them. The truest form of courage is in those whose names will never be known, but who take it upon themselves to act in defense of others.

MERCY

Mercy is often portrayed as the powerful showing pity to the weak. This is often emphasized by the Christian concept of a merciful God, one who wields incomparable power and yet exercises with caution or consideration for those under their influence. But to put this on a more relatable level, one could compare mercy with humanitarian efforts such as giving your time so that other’s might live life with greater ease, even if only for a moment. Through acts of kindness and charity, such as donating your clothing to homeless shelters, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or being a counselor for a youth group, one hopes to achieve a human connection as well as a greater understanding of compassion. To quote the Bard: “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

HONESTY

Honesty is not always as simply as just telling the truth. In this case, the virtue has more to do with being of straightforward character. It can be difficult to weight honesty with brutal, unfeeling truth, but it is important to remember that honesty does not give one the right to be callous. You should always consider how your answer would affect the other person’s state of mind. At times a gentler hand may be called for, but sometimes we must be direct in our approach. A good thing to keep in mind is to never do anything you know you are going to have to lie about later. With this thought, Honesty is more about acting truthfully and without deceit intended than it really is about telling your friend you like her dress when it looks awful.

CUNNING-

One could find it very amusing that I chose to put the virtue of Cunning right after that of Honesty, seeing as how the two so often seem to be at odds. But in this case it is to establish a balance between the two that I include cunning among the virtues. Cunning is not about lying, but about displaying keen insight or a knowledge of something that might baffle others. You could also term this as being clever or witty about a particular subject (such as witchcraft) . It is, above all else, using your intellect to solve problems and find new solutions to old issues. Brehons might be the best example of such folk, as they had to navigate their way around the law without denying the rights of everyone involved.

ENDURANCE

Endurance is the unique ability to keep going long after others have quit. There are two kinds of endurance: physical endurance, such as a woman in labor or a man running a triathlon, and mental endurance, such as that shown during studying final exam or sensory deprivation. One could also consider life to be an endurance trial, as we face hardships and difficulties one has to show the endurance and fortitude to overcome them. Life is hard, but not without it’s joy, and sometimes weathering the hard times creates more joy in the easy times. Being tenacious and sticking to your set goals without fail shows great endurance.

SPIRIT

Spirit is the belief and understanding of an innermost self, a soul or essence, which comprises you as an incorporeal being. It is a connectedness to a larger self and an understanding that there is a pattern and weaving to existence that you are a part of. This could also be termed Piety, though I would not include religious devotion as the explanation. Rather you strive to see the big picture of life, not only in terms of you and yours but also in terms of the universe as a whole. Someone who has the virtue of Spirit is confident, but without the danger of hubris and arrogance that so often comes with the idea of a higher spiritual understanding. As Albert Einstein said “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”

INTROSPECTION

Introspection is being aware of your own needs, desires, flaws, virtues and state of mind. It is a conscious effort on the part of a person to fully consider their actions and thoughts and to consider the ramifications both to themselves and to others. It is the consideration of one’s own mind, or meta-cognition (thinking about thinking) . One could consider this like having a psychologist inside your own mind. You try to break down your own though process, questions yourself and answer honestly. It is not the same as doubting yourself or seeing your own advise as invalid, it is simply exploring your own motives and knowing where they come from.

TRANQUILITY

Tranquility is maintaining a state of calmness and levelheaded thinking. It is in allowing yourself to move beyond the hectic frustrations and troubles of the moment and not letting them interfere with your thought process or course of action. One could also add into this the feeling of contentment with your life as it is right now, without giving thought to the future or past. You become at ease with the reality of the world and life in general and accept your current state of being. Inherent in this is the ability to move past what may be happening at the moment and focus on what must come next.

History of Witchcraft (part 4)

History of Witchcraft (part 4)

As  Christianity  became  a part of this nation,  there  is  much

evidence to show where the Christians of the time, and the pagans

lived peacefully together.

In  theology, the differences between early Christians,  Gnostics

(members  –  often  Christian – of dualistic  sects  of  the  2nd

century  a.d.), and pagan Hermetists were slight.  In  the  large

Gnostic  library  discovered at Naj’Hammadi, in upper  Egypt,  in

1945,  Hermetic writings were found side by side  with  Christian

Gnostic  texts.   The  doctrine of the  soul  taught  in  Gnostic

communities was almost identical to that taught in the mysteries:

the soul emanated from the Father, fell into the body, and had to

return to its former home.  

It was not until later in Rome that things took a change for  the

worse.  Which moves us on to Greece.

The doctrinal similarity is exemplified in the case of the  pagan

writer  and  philosopher  Synesius.  When the  people  of  Cyrene

wanted  the  most able man of the city to be their  bishop,  they

chose  Synesius,  a  pagan. He was able to  accept  the  election

without  sacrificing  his  intellectual honesty.   In  his  pagan

period,  he  wrote  hymns that follow the fire  theology  of  the

Chaldean Oracles.  Later he wrote hymns to Christ.  The  doctrine

is almost identical.

To  attempt to demonstrate this…let’s go to some  BASIC  tenets

and beliefs of the two religions:

                        Christian Beliefs

The 10 Commandments

1.) You shall have no other gods before me.

To the Christian, this means there will be no other God.  Yet, in

the bible, the phrase is plural.  I does not state that you  will

not  have another god, it says that you will have no  other  gods

before the Christian God.

In  the case of the later, it could be interpreted to  mean  that

whereas other gods can be recognised, as a Christian, this person

should  place YHVH ahead of all gods recognising him/her  as  the

supreme being of all.

2.) You shall not worship idols

Actually,  what it says in the New International Version is  “You

shall  not make for yourself an idol in the form af  anything  in

heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You

shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord  your

God, am a jealour God, punishing the children for the sin of  the

fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate  me,

but   showing  love  to  thousands  who  love  me  and  keep   my

commandments.

3.) You shall not take the name of the lord in vain.

This one is pretty self explanitory.  When a person is calling on

the lord he/she is asking the lord for guidance or action.  Thus,

the phrase “God damn it!” can be translated into a person  asking

the  lord  to comdemn whatever “it” is to hell.  The  phrase  “To

damn”  means  to  condem to hell.   In  modern  society,  several

phrases such as the following are common usage:

     “Oh God!”, “God forbid!”, “God damn it!”, “God have mercy!”

Each  of these is asking God to perform some act upon or for  the

speaker with the exception of “Oh God!” which is asking for  Gods

attention.

4.) Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.

Depending on which religion you are looking at (i.e. Jewish, from

which  the 10 commandments come; or Christianity,  which  adapted

them  for their use as well.) the Sabbath is either  Saturday  or

Sunday.   You  may also take a look at the  various  mythological

pantheons  to  corelate which is the first and last days  of  the

week…(i.e. Sun – Sunday.. Genesis 1:3 “And God said, “Let there

be  light,’  and there was light., Moon – Monday..  Genesis  1:14

“And  God said,”Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky  to

separate  the day from the night, and let them serve as signs  to

mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the

expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16

God  made two great lights – the greater light to govern the  day

and  the  lesser  light to govern the night.  He  also  made  the

stars.”  Thus the Sun was created first.  With the day of the Sun

being  the first in the week, then Saturday would be the  7th  or

Sabbath.

5.) Honor thy mother and thy father.

This  is  another that is fairly self explainitory.   It  is  any

parent’s  right  after spending the time to raise you  to  expect

that you respect them. 

6.) You shall not murder.

This does not say “You shall not murder…except in my name.”  It

says YOU SHALL NOT MURDER. PERIOD. Out of the 10 commandments,  I

have found that over the course of history, this one has been the

most  ignored.   As we look as the spread  of  Christianity  from

around 300 A.D. forward, we find that as politics moved into  the

church  and  those  in charge of man’s “souls”  were  given  more

control that this one commandment sort of went out the window.

We  see  such things as the Crusades, the  inquisition,  and  the

dominating fear that was placed into the Christian “psyche”  that

one should destroy that which is not like you.

Even  though  we here stories about the “witch trials”,  and  the

“witch  burnings” etc….There were actually very  few  “Witches”

tried  or  burned.   Most  of  these  poor  souls  were  that  of

Protestant  beliefs  (Against  the  Catholic  Church)  yet  still

maintained that they were Christians. But…more on this later.

7.) You shall not commit adultery.

You  can  look  up the meaning in the dictionary,  and  this  one

becomes  pretty self-evident.  What it comes down to is  that  no

person who has ever been divorced can marry again, and you  don’t

have sex with someone that you are not married to.

8.) You shall not steal.

Again, enough said. However…don’t go looking at Constantine  to

be  obeying this one!  The Pagan temples were looted to make  his

coinage.

9.) You shall not give false witness against thy neighbor

Again,  during the times of the inquisition, this also  went  out

the window.  Such tools as torture were used to pull  confessions

from  these  poor  people who then  signed  statements  that  the

inquisitors  had written up saying that they freely  signed  this

document.   Of course…the inquisitors stated that  this  person

was  not tortured, but it was his clever wit that  had  extracted

this confession. 

It  was  also  during this time that persons,  refusing  to  take

responsibility  for their own actions or accept that nature  does

in  fact  create strange  circumstances…(i.e.  drought,  flood,

etc.)  and  the resulting illness and  bug  infrestations.   Very

often,  as the Witch-craze developed stronger, the  one  neighbor

would  accuse another of Witchcraft and destroying the fields  or

making their child sick, or whatever.

10.)You shall not covet your neighbor.

On  the  surface, this one is pretty  self  explainitory.   Don’t

crave your neighbor’s possessions.  Yes…I can relate this  back

to  the inquisitional times as well since most of  the  accused’s

property   reverted   back  to  the  Catholic  church   at   this

time…there  were  several accused and convicted  of  Witchcraft

simply because they would not sell their property to the  church.

However…How  does  this effect persons today?  How  far  do  we

carry the “Thou shalt not covet…”?  This can be even so much as

a want, however is it a sin to want a toy like your neighbor has? 

If so…we’re all in trouble.  How many of us “want” that Porsche

that  we see driving down the road?  Or how about that  beautiful

house  that we just drove past?  Do we carry this commandment  to

this extreme?  If so…I pity the person that can live by it  for

what that would say is “Thou shalt not DREAM.”

                         Wiccan Beliefs

Since the religion of Wicca (or Witchcraft) is so diverse in it’s

beliefs,  I have included several documents here  that  encompass

the majority of the traditions involved.  Again, this is simply a

basis…NOT the be all and end all.

                           Wiccan Rede

                  Bide ye wiccan laws you must,

                in perfect love and perfect trust

                  Live ye must and let to live,

                   fairly take and fairly give

                   For the circle thrice about

                  to keep unwelcome spirits out

                To bind ye spell wll every time,

                 let the spell be spake in rhyme

                 Soft of eye and light of touch,

                  speak ye little, listen much

                  Deosil go by the waxing moon,

                  chanting out ye baleful tune

                   When ye Lady’s moon is new,

                  kiss ye hand to her times two

                 When ye moon rides at her peak,

                   then ye heart’s desire seek

                Heed the north winds mighty gale,

                 lock the door and trim the sail

               When the wind comes from the south,

                love will kiss thee on the mouth

               When the wind blows from the east,

                expect the new and set the feast.

                 Nine woods in the cauldron go,

                burn them fast and burn them slow

                    Elder be ye Lady’s tree,

                 burn it not or cursed ye’ll be

                 WHen the wheel begins to turn,

                 soon ye Beltane fires will burn

                When the wheel hath turned a Yule

               light the log the Horned One rules

                 Heed ye flower, bush and tree,

                     by the Lady blessed be

                  Where the rippling waters go,

               cast a stone, the truth ye’ll know

                  When ye have and hold a need,

                   harken not to others greed

                  With a fool no season spend,

                   or be counted as his friend

                   Merry meet and merry part,

              bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

                 Mind ye threefold law ye should

              three times bad and three times good

                    When misfortune is enow,

                   wear the star upon thy brow

                   True in love my ye ever be,

                 lest thy love be false to thee

           These eight words the wiccan rede fulfill;

                An harm ye none, do what ye will.

  One of the Pagan Oaths recognised nationally here in the U.S.

                 A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality

I  am  a Pagan and I dedicate Myself to channeling the  Spiritual

Energy of my Inner Self to help and to heal myself and others.

 

*   I know  that I  am a  part of  the Whole  of Nature.   May  I 

grow   in  understanding of  the Unity  of all  Nature.   May   I 

always  walk  in Balance.

 

*   May  I  always be  mindful of  the diversity  of   Nature  as

well as its Unity and  may I  always be  tolerant of those  whose

race, appearance, sex, sexual preference, culture, and other ways

differ from my own.

 

*  May I  use the  Force (psychic  power) wisely  and  never  use

it   for aggression nor  for malevolent  purposes. May   I  never 

direct  it  to curtail the free will of another.

 

*  May I  always be mindful that I create my own reality and that

I have the power within me to create positivity in my life.

 

*   May  I  always act  in  honorable  ways: being   honest  with 

myself and others, keeping  my word  whenever I  have given   it, 

fulfilling   all responsibilities and  commitments I  have  taken 

on to  the best of my ability.

 

*  May I  always  remember  that whatever  is  sent  out   always 

returns magnified to  the sender.  May the  Forces of  Karma move 

swiftly   to  remind me  of these  spiritual commitments  when  I

have  begin  to  falter from them,  and may  I  use  this  Karmic

feedback  to  help myself grow and be more attuned  to  my  Inner

Pagan Spirit.

 

*   May  I  always remain strong and committed  to  my  Spiritual

ideals in the face of  adversity and  negativity. May  the  Force 

of my Inner Spirit ground out  all malevolence  directed my   way

and   transform  it  into positivity. May  my Inner  Light  shine 

so   strongly  that  malevolent forces can not even  approach  my

sphere of existence.

 

*   May I  always grow  in Inner  Wisdom & Understanding.  May  I

see  every  problem that  I face  as an opportunity   to  develop

myself spiritually in solving it.

 

*   May  I  always act out of Love to all other  beings  on  this 

Planet — to other humans,  to plants,  to animals,  to minerals,

to elementals, to spirits, and to other entities.

 

*   May  I  always be  mindful that the  Goddess and God  in  all

their  forms  dwell  within   me  and   that  this   divinity  is 

reflected through my own Inner Self, my Pagan Spirit.

.pa 

*  May I  always channel  Love and  Light from  my  being.  May my  Inner

Spirit, rather  than my ego self, guide all my thoughts, feelings, and

actions.

                          SO MOTE IT BE

In  the  Wiccan Rede above, and scattered in the  oath,  we  find

words  such  as Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.  What  are  these

strange words and what do they mean?

Before  one  can analyse the meaning behind the  phrase  “Perfect

Love  and  Perfect Trust”, one must first define the  words.  For

this  purpose, I will use the Webster’s New World  Dictionary  of

the  American  Language  1982 edition. Perfect:  adj.  [L.  per-,

through  + facere, do] 1. complete in all respects;  flawless  2.

excellent,  as  in  skill or quality 3.  completely  accurate  4.

sheer;  utter  [a perfect fool] 5. Gram. expressing  a  state  or

action completed at the time of speaking – vt. 1. to complete  2.

to make perfect or nearly perfect – n. 1. the perfect tense 2.  a

verb form in this tense – perfectly adv – perfectness n.

Love: n. [<OE. lufu]  1. strong affection or liking of someone or

something. 2. a passionate affection for one of the opposite sex.

3. The object of such affection, sweetheart.

Trust:  n.[ON,  traust]  1.  a)  firm  belief  in  the   honesty,

reliability,  etc.  of  another;  faith b)  the  one  trusted  2.

confident  expectation,  hope, etc. 3.  responsibility  resulting

from  confidence  placed in one. 4. Care,  custody  5.  something

entrusted to one….

Using  these  definitions,  we  come  up  with  “Flawless  strong

affection and flawless faith.

Is this possible?  Those that follow the religion of Wicca  often

give  excuses for this just being words.  When this is the  case,

they are not obeying their faith….thus..they are not  following

perfect love and perfect trust.  But to the rest…the answer  is

a  resounding YES.  This does not ask that you “like”  a  person. 

It asks that you see the divine light and love within  individual

whether you like them or not.  Can this be done…YES. As to  the

perfect  trust…we  can always trust a fox to be  a  fox  right.

Therefore,  when we are entering circle, we can  honestly  answer

perfect  trust even if it is on shaky ground.  We may have  faith

that this person will act like any other human.

It  with these beliefs and doctrines that I state that  not  only

was   the  doctrine,  or  teaching  almost  identical,  but   the

vocabulary was extensively the same.