Let’s Talk Witch – Ethics

ᑕᙓᒪ♈ᓰᑕ ᙅᖇᗝᙡ

Let’s Talk Witch – Ethics

 

Much has been written about magical ethics. Usually a list of clear dos and don’ts and thou shalts. The Wiccan Rede—” An it harm none, do as thou will”— and the three-fold law—” what you do comes back to you three-fold”— get bandied about as being the ethical pillars of Witchcraft. As I’m not Wiccan I don’t subscribe to these ideas.

In the 1950s Doreen Valiente wrote a lovely poem called The Wiccan Rede. It drew on many sources including a poem from Aradia: Gospel of The Witches by Charles Leland, some Aleister Crowley material and older teachings. The last part, often referred to as the Rede is the well-known “an it harm none, do as thou will” although the whole thing is often reworded to mean “do whatever you like as long as you’re not hurting anybody”. I believe that in a time when witchcraft was being redefined and made out to be something nice and benevolent, it may have been important to defuse outside ideas about what witches do and make them appear “good” by instilling a moral code of sorts. The Wiccan Rede only applies to Wiccans however, not all witches or magicians.

Many following the Rede try to never think ill about anyone or use it as a reason to become vegetarian. The problem I see is that “harm none” includes yourself. Some blood and body types aren’t suited to a vegetarian diet. In addition every breath or step you take on the earth may be harming small creatures and organisms. Does this mean that we only apply “harm none” to those creatures we choose? If so, who decides what can or cannot be harmed? What is the criteria for a bug or organism to be added to the “none” category?

Harm None is also the wrong part of the rede to be focused on. Of the eight word shortened version, Harm None is the least. Will is the important part, this is discussed further later on.

The other thing about the Rede is that the word ‘rede’ means advice. Not rules, not law and not even guidelines. Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Code has more credence. The Rede is more akin to your Auntie pulling you aside to talk about boys (or girls). She’ll tell you what she thinks you should do, she may even tell you some of her horror stories. Her advice may be valid and sound but in the end the decision to act on her advice is all yours.

The three-fold law is, in some form or another, the golden rule in every culture. In Christianity the Bible states “as you sow, so shall you reap” and “an eye for an eye”. The Hindu and Buddhist faiths know it as Karma. Although Karma is not the cosmic instant reward and punishment system that New Age thought promotes it as, if you want to understand Karma, learn about it from the Hindi. Modern colloquialism expresses it as “what goes around, comes around”. However it is referred to, by whichever culture, it speaks of a consequential result for what you do in life.

In Witchcraft the three-fold part is often misunderstood. I read a blog post about how you should give money to a witch because of their three-fold law. If you give them $ 10, you’ll get $ 30 back. In the same vein if you do something bad it will be three times worse for you. The mistaken belief is that the three fold will come back at you three times when for those who believe in it, it’s on three different levels— Mind, Body and Spirit.

I’ve found that there is often (but not always) a backlash. In physics— every action has an equal and opposite reaction, in Witchcraft it’s not necessarily as simple as it’s made out to be. There is also a theory that the threefold law was introduced as a way to keep beginners and learning witches safe from themselves.

It’s frequently stated that you shouldn’t interfere with another’s will. That you can’t or rather shouldn’t do a spell that will affect another without their permission. This is often said by people who then send healing energy all around the place without being asked for it and don’t see their own hypocrisy. I personally believe that it’s rarely a good idea to cast a spell regarding another person. Even if it’s “for their own good”. Who are you to decide what is best for another person? Who died and made you a God? They may have a life lesson going on, something that they need to learn from or learn how to cope with in order to grow. By ‘helping’ them you may in fact be harming them by preventing their own personal growth. It’s also a slippery slope, once you start ‘helping’ people, you can’t stop and it’s a short step away from interfering. This is different from binding and cursing but we’ll delve into that later.

Unless you belong to a faith that has its own ethics, you need to figure out what is ethical or not for yourself. Many people will assume that as a witch, you follow their system, or that witches are automatically Wiccan or Pagan and that you must subscribe to their own personal moral code in order to call yourself that. When it comes down to it, you need to ignore all the “know-it-alls” and be true to yourself. If you do ‘bad’ things there may be a backlash, but sometimes it’s worth it. Only you can know that for sure.

 

 

The Common Sense Spell Book

Debbie Dawson

 

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Let’s Talk Witch – The Ethics of Witchcraft/Wicca

The Ethics of Witchcraft/Wicca

Much has been written about magical ethics. Usually a list of clear dos and don’ts and thou shalts. The Wiccan Rede—“ An it harm none, do as thou will”— and the three-fold law—“ what you do comes back to you three-fold”— get bandied about as being the ethical pillars of Witchcraft. As I’m not Wiccan I don’t subscribe to these ideas. In the 1950s Doreen Valiente wrote a lovely poem called The Wiccan Rede. It drew on many sources including a poem from Aradia: Gospel of The Witches by Charles Leland, some Aleister Crowley material and older teachings. The last part, often referred to as the Rede is the well-known “an it harm none, do as thou will” although the whole thing is often reworded to mean “do whatever you like as long as you’re not hurting anybody”. I believe that in a time when witchcraft was being redefined and made out to be something nice and benevolent, it may have been important to defuse outside ideas about what witches do and make them appear “good” by instilling a moral code of sorts. The Wiccan Rede only applies to Wiccans however, not all witches or magicians.

Many following the Rede try to never think ill about anyone or use it as a reason to become vegetarian. The problem I see is that “harm none” includes yourself. Some blood and body types aren’t suited to a vegetarian diet. In addition every breath or step you take on the earth may be harming small creatures and organisms. Does this mean that we only apply “harm none” to those creatures we choose? If so, who decides what can or cannot be harmed? What is the criteria for a bug or organism to be added to the “none” category?

Harm None is also the wrong part of the rede to be focused on. Of the eight word shortened version, Harm None is the least. Will is the important part, this is discussed further later on.

The other thing about the Rede is that the word ‘rede’ means advice. Not rules, not law and not even guidelines. Jack Sparrow’s Pirate Code has more credence. The Rede is more akin to your Auntie pulling you aside to talk about boys (or girls). She’ll tell you what she thinks you should do, she may even tell you some of her horror stories. Her advice may be valid and sound but in the end the decision to act on her advice is all yours.

The three-fold law is, in some form or another, the golden rule in every culture. In Christianity the Bible states “as you sow, so shall you reap” and “an eye for an eye”. The Hindu and Buddhist faiths know it as Karma. Although Karma is not the cosmic instant reward and punishment system that New Age thought promotes it as, if you want to understand Karma, learn about it from the Hindi. Modern colloquialism expresses it as “what goes around, comes around”. However it is referred to, by whichever culture, it speaks of a consequential result for what you do in life.

In Witchcraft the three-fold part is often misunderstood. I read a blog post about how you should give money to a witch because of their three-fold law. If you give them $ 10, you’ll get $ 30 back. In the same vein if you do something bad it will be three times worse for you. The mistaken belief is that the three fold will come back at you three times when for those who believe in it, it’s on three different levels— Mind, Body and Spirit. I’ve found that there is often (but not always) a backlash. In physics— every action has an equal and opposite reaction, in Witchcraft it’s not necessarily as simple as it’s made out to be. There is also a theory that the threefold law was introduced as a way to keep beginners and learning witches safe from themselves.

It’s frequently stated that you shouldn’t interfere with another’s will. That you can’t or rather shouldn’t do a spell that will affect another without their permission. This is often said by people who then send healing energy all around the place without being asked for it and don’t see their own hypocrisy. I personally believe that it’s rarely a good idea to cast a spell regarding another person. Even if it’s “for their own good”. Who are you to decide what is best for another person? Who died and made you a God? They may have a life lesson going on, something that they need to learn from or learn how to cope with in order to grow. By ‘helping’ them you may in fact be harming them by preventing their own personal growth. It’s also a slippery slope, once you start ‘helping’ people, you can’t stop and it’s a short step away from interfering. This is different from binding and cursing but we’ll delve into that later.

Unless you belong to a faith that has its own ethics, you need to figure out what is ethical or not for yourself. Many people will assume that as a witch, you follow their system, or that witches are automatically Wiccan or Pagan and that you must subscribe to their own personal moral code in order to call yourself that. When it comes down to it, you need to ignore all the “know-it-alls” and be true to yourself. If you do ‘bad’ things there may be a backlash, but sometimes it’s worth it. Only you can know that for sure.

The Common Sense Spell Book
Debbie Dawson

Do Pagan Religions Have Rules?

Do Pagan Religions Have Rules?

By , About.com

 

Question: Do Pagan Religions Have Rules?

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

 

Answer:

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

The Wiccan Rede

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

The Rule of Three

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

The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief

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

The Ardanes

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

Coven Bylaws

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

Personal Responsibility

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

 

 

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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How to do Magick

How to do Magick

Very, very carefully

There are certain factors that must be in your mind when you do magick.

1. The Wiccan Rede?

2. The rule of three?

3. Have you been asked to do the magic?

4. Are you ready to take away another’s will?

5. Are you ready to pay for what you are going to do?

Magick is something that one does not take lightly. Do not let the movies or TV be your guide at this time. For everything we do there is a price to pay.

So say you, that you will only do “good magick.” Therefore you have nothing to worry about. You have a friend that has been ill for a while and you decide to help them. You cast a healing spell and your friend does not get better, but instead dies. You know whose fault that is? You – the caster.

First by casting the spell without being asked goes against the Rede. Secondly you are taking over a persons will. You have no idea what medication had been given to your friend. You stick your two cents in and wind up counteracting the good the medication might have done. Now what do you thing will happen to you? Remember the rule of three. Good returns good three times, evil returns evil three times. Feeling comfortable with this, are you?

Great, you will stay away from healing, but what about that great looking Guy or Gal at the office. You would like them for yourself. Before you cast, think, which of the five items above are you willing to accept?

All of a sudden casting does not seem like fun and games. In the future you will learn that casting is not to be taken lightly. It is not a gift, but a responsibility, and one not to be taken lightly. When you are willing to accept the responsibility and results of casting them should you get involved.

 

Cook Book Spells

There are many books on the market with spells in them. Spells, unlike recipes are not some thing that you can get out of a book. In my Grimore are spells I have cast and that have worked for me. I can hand the book over to you and all you would have is a book of lovely words. That’s all! A spell is part of the individual casting.

It is not necessary for a spell to be spoken in rhyme, but it helps. By writing your spell in rhyme it forces you to give though to what you are doing. You MUST be very specific with what you want a spell to do; else it can come back to you.

 

Self Gain

Never cast a spell that will benefit you with riches, or rewards. It is not our place in the universe to be the richest people in existence. But don’t get me wrong. If you are unemployed there is nothing with casting a spell to gain employment. But be careful here too. Your competition for the job may be unemployed also.

 

For a Simple Healing the cost is…

Wiccans and Witches DO NOT have a sliding fee schedule for the magic we do. As a matter of fact we DO NOT charge. To charge is to belittle who and what you are. We give from our hearts. For the most part the Wiccan community cares for those around us. We love the Earth and all she stands for. We care for animals and humans alike. Being a Wiccan / Witch is NOT a business.