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

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return

Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return

Author:   Vervain   

I realized I was a Wiccan sometime late in middle school, and overall I’ve been very happy with my decision to walk down that path. However, over the nine or ten years I’ve been stewing in the religion, I’ve come to realize that there are parts of what I started with that don’t make sense to me anymore. It’s natural for this to happen — and it’s certainly not something that worries me — I don’t call myself Wiccan because I need to fit my beliefs in a box (I am a mostly solitary practitioner, after all) , so it doesn’t bother me when something doesn’t quite fit into the box Gerald Gardner started building in the 1940’s. However, it does give me something to think about.

The thing that has come to bother me is the threefold law. If you’re not familiar with it, it goes something like this:

Ever Mind The Rule Of Three
Three Times Your Acts Return To Thee
This Lesson Well, Thou Must Learn
Thou Only Gets What Thee Dost Earn

I like the idea that whatever you put out into the universe comes back to you, and that is indeed the heart of this concept. What I don’t like is the idea that it happens in threes–it bothers me mathematically because if everything really happens in threes, you can just factor out the three and that’s the same as everything happening in ones, which makes more sense to me and sounds a lot less like something someone just made up one day. I also don’t like that it sounds like a reward/punishment system (“Thou only gets what thee dost earn”) with some sort of immediacy. Furthermore, I don’t like that it sounds like it was written by someone who wanted to write in Renaissance English but actually lived in the 20th century and didn’t know how.

On the number three: I think it makes sense in a lot of contexts. A disproportionate number of ideas (especially occult concepts) come in threes or are triplets–beginning, middle, ending; maiden, mother, crone; father, son, holy spirit; body, mind, spirit; thought, word, deed… the list goes on. The number three is indeed magickally powerful; but so is every other number in its own way, and in this case, having a number at all is completely unnecessary. The chosen number is consequently completely arbitrary. That is to say, when every bit of energy put into the universe gets multiplied by the same number before it comes back to you, it doesn’t matter what that number is (furthermore multiplying it at all would mean that the energy of the universe is constantly expanding exponentially, and I’m no expert, but it doesn’t seem to me like that’s the case) .

If you need a mathematical refresher, here’s what the threefold law essentially is saying: grant that I put out 4 units of good energy into the universe and 1 unit of bad energy (assuming, which I don’t, that energy can be simply “good” or “bad”) . The threefold law says that I should get back 12 units of good energy (4×3) and 3 units of bad energy (1×3) . But if we look at this as a ratio of good energy to bad energy, then input:output is 4/1:12/3. If you divide the output by 3/3 (which is just a fancy 1) , you get 4/1:4/1.

So, the threefold law is just a fancy way of saying that the amount of each type of energy the universe throws at you is directly proportionate to the amount of that type of energy you put out into the universe. Essentially, the problem I have with the threefold law is mathematical, not philosophical. I understand, if they were going to choose an arbitrary number, WHY they would choose 3–I just don’t understand why a number had to be chosen if it was going to be completely arbitrary anyway.

There is another version of the threefold law called the Law of Return, and this is something I like much better. Below is a rather lengthy quote from Catherine Noble Beyer (just another everyday practitioner who posts some of her thoughts on the interwebs) , whose thoughts I find line up very closely with mine:

“The world does not work as simply as [the threefold law] make it sound. If it did we’d all be donating to charity like mad and reaping the rewards by the handful. The idea of things returning threefold is unnatural. According to the Law of Ecology (from biology class – as Wiccans we should be taking lessons from nature) :

“Everything is connected to everything else
Everything must go somewhere
Nature knows best
There is no such thing as a free lunch

“But it is true that harm tends to beget harm, and it is true that one good turns deserves another: people remember a person’s charity and are more likely to aid them in return. Hence, why I prefer to use the term “Law of Return” over “Threefold Law”.

“Let’s also remember one of Newton’s laws as another lesson from nature: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. “Opposite” does not mean that you receive bad for every good. It means what gets put out comes back. For instance, if you push upon a wall, the wall is actually pushing back with an equal amount of force – if it did not, it would fall over. That’s straight from physics class.”

If you’re very interested in this topic, I suggest you check out her whole article on the subject at http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/three.shtml

The only thing I require, which the Threefold Law has and the somewhat simpler and more sensical Law of Return lacks, is the benefit of being written in a short, rhyming ditty. The reason you hear rhyming spells from, say, the witches in Macbeth, is that in this sort of practice there IS the belief that rhyme better connects a person to the universe–it forces rhythm and brings out the inner child, who is less sophisticated (here I make use of the original c. 1600 definition of sophisticated: “mixed with a foreign substance, impure; no longer simple or natural, ” etymonline.com) and therefore better able to participate in creative acts.

The simple solution to this problem is to write out the Law of Return in a short, rhyming ditty, so I did:

Of your actions ever wary be,
for all that derives is drawn to thee:
Water will wet, fire will burn,
and all you beget alike will return.

That’s all.

_______________________________

Footnotes:
http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/three.shtml

The Journey of a Wild Witch

The Journey of a Wild Witch
image
Author: Eilan

It has been eight years since I first discovered Witchcraft in a spiritual context. Prior to this Magick was very much alive in my life as I was lucky enough to have been born into a family that understands the spiritual dimension of life. My family also had the insight and experience to see and live this dimension in their everyday. In truth there is no difference between what is conceived to be ‘spiritual’ and that which is apparent and ‘mundane’. It is all one. This is my truth and my wild way.

I am an initiated Witch and Priest of the WildWood Tradition of Witchcraft. This means a great deal to me, as I am also a ‘co-founder’ of the original Mother Coven, based in Brisbane and initiated at Samhain (April 30th) 2006. Our ‘tradition’ and way of living the Craft is deeply interwoven with what many people call ‘shamanism’; derived from the Siberian Tungus word for their medicine people – saman. Mircea Eliade, the late Romanian historian, described shamanism as a “technique of ecstasy” and my coven has come to define Witchcraft as an “ecstasy-driven, Earth-based, mystery tradition”.

Our (and all Witches’) rituals and methods of practice allow us to transcend the illusion of separation and therefore to dissolve the ego and actualize the freedom that lives in the heart of all things. I often call and relate to this ‘All’ as the Great Mystery. The beauty of being a Wild Witch is that nothing is absolute and I have come to realize that all of Life is a holy continuum, which constantly seeks to express itself through diversity. Through expression comes manifestation, which allows us to experience Beauty through Perfection (the world in which we live) and then once more we come to the Wholeness of Unity and the cycle repeats itself.

We are born into a plural world of many and pass into the One only to yearn to divide ourselves once more to grow, deepen and enrich our understandings and experiences of that subtle/overt thing – the Great Mystery.

My coven’s tradition has developed and evolved around this wild-trance-dance-of-wonder. The only consistency between our covens is that we honor and acknowledge our heartland the WildWood, keep holy our covenant with the Sacred Four (the Weaver, the Green Man, the Crescent-Crowned Goddess and the Stag-Horned God) and that we remain open and receptive to personal/group gnosis and to Awen (the divine flow of inspiration) . Other than this there are some structural similarities regarding dedication and priesthood and inner and outer courts.

Essentially however we are wild Witches who fly in the face of authority and seek the wilderness underlying the apparent ‘civilization’ of things. Nothing can be tamed, for the wild is free and the free is divine! As we say in the WildWood – “we have actualized our radness!”

What do Wild Witches do? First and foremost – we live! We breathe, we sleep, we eat, we drink, we sing, we dance, we make love, we scream and we spend time sharing presence and being with our loved ones. ‘Being’ is an important principle to consider. To be is quite simple but so many people find themselves distracted by the “this and that” that they leave ‘being’ behind and pursue illusion instead.

This isn’t the same concept found in various Christian philosophies which espouses a “Satan’s fault!” message when sheep stray from the flock so to speak. Witches understand self-responsibility and are aware of action, reaction and consequence (the Threefold Law) . Why not exist in euphoric awareness of self as Self – the animate Cosmos? You are not only a cell within a larger body of universal wholeness; you are whole and thus a perfect embodiment, expression and reflection of the Great Mystery whose cause, undercurrent and outcome is Life.

When we free ourselves from the illusion of past, present and future and surrender to the Flow of the Continuum (the spirals, the wayward ins and outs, the labyrinthine, serpentine undulations of fate becoming) we make real for ourselves the state of being known commonly as “here and now”. This seems to constitute location and time, however it simply addresses the emphasis of indwelling consciousness regardless of where you are and what frame of time constrains it.

There are moments in my life, which I refer to as ‘Nostalgic Rites’. They are pure, simple, soothing, knowing moments that are like the punctuation points in a flow of sentences. They are the markers and the thresholds that appear along our paths when it is time to pause, reflect and feel. I have them often enough in my life to understand their imminent message of timelessness, peace and overwhelming Love! For what I have learnt above all else thus far is that dwelling within the chaos in the cosmos is the peace which neither subsumes or overrides it, but embraces it and lets it be. Chaos is what happens naturally when the undifferentiated potential becomes “this and that” and peace is the understanding that this is the way of Life. All of this is wild; we dwell in a far-reaching, limitless wilderness.

In a recent priestess training session with two beautiful women from my coven I asked both of them to divulge their feelings and reflections of the journey toward their priestesshood, as they are nearing to the ‘end’ of the beginning – Initiation. One of the women honestly came out and said to us that she feared for us (the other priestess-in-training and I) because we are on the top of the mountain, but because we are risk-takers it is inevitable that we will fall.

I had to stop and wonder in that moment why anyone would not want to fall. In fact I also wondered whether it had occurred to her that surrounding the mountain were vast forests, plains, rivers, deserts, tundra, bushland, seas, oceans and lakes; not to mention all of the beings who inhabit these places.

For me the mountain is not the point. It is part of the whole Great Mystery, but the journey does not lead to a single place; in fact the journey doesn’t really lead anywhere. There is no aim to my wandering, to my blissful dance through the wilderness – I simply embrace every experience because it is worthy of it and I laugh, smile, cry, choke, rage, relax, love, ***, change, grow, and a million other things that I couldn’t possibly articulate or fathom for the purposes of this article.

The other woman, who knows me very well, and is one of my closest friends, then turned to me smiling and said, “You are so glib!” She then went on to explain that it was the “natural, offhand ease and articulate fluency and flow” of how I expressed my truth that made me glib in her opinion.

It wasn’t a criticism on her part, merely an observation. I think it is actually quite accurate. I have such ease and flow in my expression because I don’t have to think too hard about who I am or how I feel because I am and I feel in the “here and the now”. I live and I am, and in my experience Life itself is glib.

To my fellow journeyers of the wild way who know in their hearts that they are heading nowhere, anywhere and everywhere – may you dance the Wander with all you are. My deepest well of love to you all!

The Wanderer

The sages say that samsara is to wander, to pass through,
I say samsara is to know the way and dance it.
To dance is to live, and to live is never “to pass through”;
Dance doll – dance and light up the stage…

Then they came with their wrought-iron weapons
And they pierced my soul, and looked for the mark.
I sang to them to soothe their battered spirits.
They sunk their swords in harder, my heart is in shreds.

The blood ran dry and the old seas heaved
And there in the darkest hour all was forgotten,
And tattered clothes were left in tatters,
And the ashes were left in mounds at the pyres.

Is it a fact that when we are lost we wander?
Is it true that when we are in love we dance?
Or do we dance when we are lost?
And do we wander when in love?

Samsara, O holy wheel of Life,
Keep turning, I want to stay.
I don’t want nirvana in clouds far away
For I feel it already…here.

The Wanderer – the Fool?
I don’t mind, I don’t mind being;
For all the pain and suffering and the attachment to desire
There is a keenness that is not worth losing.

I want to live,
I want to wander if that’s what it takes,
But through all this I will dance
And I will dance because I love.

– Gede Parma, 2007

The Journey of a Wild Witch

The Journey of a Wild Witch

Author: Eilan

It has been eight years since I first discovered Witchcraft in a spiritual context. Prior to this Magick was very much alive in my life as I was lucky enough to have been born into a family that understands the spiritual dimension of life. My family also had the insight and experience to see and live this dimension in their everyday. In truth there is no difference between what is conceived to be ‘spiritual’ and that which is apparent and ‘mundane’. It is all one. This is my truth and my wild way.

I am an initiated Witch and Priest of the WildWood Tradition of Witchcraft. This means a great deal to me, as I am also a ‘co-founder’ of the original Mother Coven, based in Brisbane and initiated at Samhain (April 30th) 2006. Our ‘tradition’ and way of living the Craft is deeply interwoven with what many people call ‘shamanism’; derived from the Siberian Tungus word for their medicine people – saman. Mircea Eliade, the late Romanian historian, described shamanism as a “technique of ecstasy” and my coven has come to define Witchcraft as an “ecstasy-driven, Earth-based, mystery tradition”.

Our (and all Witches’) rituals and methods of practice allow us to transcend the illusion of separation and therefore to dissolve the ego and actualize the freedom that lives in the heart of all things. I often call and relate to this ‘All’ as the Great Mystery. The beauty of being a Wild Witch is that nothing is absolute and I have come to realize that all of Life is a holy continuum, which constantly seeks to express itself through diversity. Through expression comes manifestation, which allows us to experience Beauty through Perfection (the world in which we live) and then once more we come to the Wholeness of Unity and the cycle repeats itself.

We are born into a plural world of many and pass into the One only to yearn to divide ourselves once more to grow, deepen and enrich our understandings and experiences of that subtle/overt thing – the Great Mystery.

My coven’s tradition has developed and evolved around this wild-trance-dance-of-wonder. The only consistency between our covens is that we honor and acknowledge our heartland the WildWood, keep holy our covenant with the Sacred Four (the Weaver, the Green Man, the Crescent-Crowned Goddess and the Stag-Horned God) and that we remain open and receptive to personal/group gnosis and to Awen (the divine flow of inspiration) . Other than this there are some structural similarities regarding dedication and priesthood and inner and outer courts.

Essentially however we are wild Witches who fly in the face of authority and seek the wilderness underlying the apparent ‘civilization’ of things. Nothing can be tamed, for the wild is free and the free is divine! As we say in the WildWood – “we have actualized our radness!”

What do Wild Witches do? First and foremost – we live! We breathe, we sleep, we eat, we drink, we sing, we dance, we make love, we scream and we spend time sharing presence and being with our loved ones. ‘Being’ is an important principle to consider. To be is quite simple but so many people find themselves distracted by the “this and that” that they leave ‘being’ behind and pursue illusion instead.

This isn’t the same concept found in various Christian philosophies which espouses a “Satan’s fault!” message when sheep stray from the flock so to speak. Witches understand self-responsibility and are aware of action, reaction and consequence (the Threefold Law) . Why not exist in euphoric awareness of self as Self – the animate Cosmos? You are not only a cell within a larger body of universal wholeness; you are whole and thus a perfect embodiment, expression and reflection of the Great Mystery whose cause, undercurrent and outcome is Life.

When we free ourselves from the illusion of past, present and future and surrender to the Flow of the Continuum (the spirals, the wayward ins and outs, the labyrinthine, serpentine undulations of fate becoming) we make real for ourselves the state of being known commonly as “here and now”. This seems to constitute location and time, however it simply addresses the emphasis of indwelling consciousness regardless of where you are and what frame of time constrains it.

There are moments in my life, which I refer to as ‘Nostalgic Rites’. They are pure, simple, soothing, knowing moments that are like the punctuation points in a flow of sentences. They are the markers and the thresholds that appear along our paths when it is time to pause, reflect and feel. I have them often enough in my life to understand their imminent message of timelessness, peace and overwhelming Love! For what I have learnt above all else thus far is that dwelling within the chaos in the cosmos is the peace which neither subsumes or overrides it, but embraces it and lets it be. Chaos is what happens naturally when the undifferentiated potential becomes “this and that” and peace is the understanding that this is the way of Life. All of this is wild; we dwell in a far-reaching, limitless wilderness.

In a recent priestess training session with two beautiful women from my coven I asked both of them to divulge their feelings and reflections of the journey toward their priestesshood, as they are nearing to the ‘end’ of the beginning – Initiation. One of the women honestly came out and said to us that she feared for us (the other priestess-in-training and I) because we are on the top of the mountain, but because we are risk-takers it is inevitable that we will fall.

I had to stop and wonder in that moment why anyone would not want to fall. In fact I also wondered whether it had occurred to her that surrounding the mountain were vast forests, plains, rivers, deserts, tundra, bushland, seas, oceans and lakes; not to mention all of the beings who inhabit these places.

For me the mountain is not the point. It is part of the whole Great Mystery, but the journey does not lead to a single place; in fact the journey doesn’t really lead anywhere. There is no aim to my wandering, to my blissful dance through the wilderness – I simply embrace every experience because it is worthy of it and I laugh, smile, cry, choke, rage, relax, love, ***, change, grow, and a million other things that I couldn’t possibly articulate or fathom for the purposes of this article.

The other woman, who knows me very well, and is one of my closest friends, then turned to me smiling and said, “You are so glib!” She then went on to explain that it was the “natural, offhand ease and articulate fluency and flow” of how I expressed my truth that made me glib in her opinion.

It wasn’t a criticism on her part, merely an observation. I think it is actually quite accurate. I have such ease and flow in my expression because I don’t have to think too hard about who I am or how I feel because I am and I feel in the “here and the now”. I live and I am, and in my experience Life itself is glib.

To my fellow journeyers of the wild way who know in their hearts that they are heading nowhere, anywhere and everywhere – may you dance the Wander with all you are. My deepest well of love to you all!

The Wanderer

The sages say that samsara is to wander, to pass through,
I say samsara is to know the way and dance it.
To dance is to live, and to live is never “to pass through”;
Dance doll – dance and light up the stage…

Then they came with their wrought-iron weapons
And they pierced my soul, and looked for the mark.
I sang to them to soothe their battered spirits.
They sunk their swords in harder, my heart is in shreds.

The blood ran dry and the old seas heaved
And there in the darkest hour all was forgotten,
And tattered clothes were left in tatters,
And the ashes were left in mounds at the pyres.

Is it a fact that when we are lost we wander?
Is it true that when we are in love we dance?
Or do we dance when we are lost?
And do we wander when in love?

Samsara, O holy wheel of Life,
Keep turning, I want to stay.
I don’t want nirvana in clouds far away
For I feel it already…here.

The Wanderer – the Fool?
I don’t mind, I don’t mind being;
For all the pain and suffering and the attachment to desire
There is a keenness that is not worth losing.

I want to live,
I want to wander if that’s what it takes,
But through all this I will dance
And I will dance because I love.

– Gede Parma, 2007