Pagans live by a different set of rules than “mere mortals.” Seriously though, we do have our own ethics, morals and family values. There are many lists of these guidelines available. In fact, just about anyone who’s ever written a book about magic or Witchcraft has given a list of “rules to live by.” That’s great, the more we have, the more we have to choose from because, let’s face it, we don’t all agree on everything. We have our sects just like any other religion. Some of us feel better with very specific, detailed rules while others chafe under such a system. Most of us, regardless of other differences, cite the “Witches Rede” as our guiding principle. I guess that’s a good starting place:
“Three words the Wiccan Rede fulfill; ‘an it harm none, do what ye will.”
I believe that is an abbreviated version of Doreen Valiente’s lovely little poem. She also mentions the “Law of Three”: “… unless in thy self-defense it be, ever mind the Rule of Three.” Yes, a very good place to start, indeed. But I have a few other rules that I try to live by.
This list was one of the ones I copied from the B.O.S. of my High Priestess. I do not know where it originated or who wrote it. I feel, however, that it condenses the beliefs of most Pagans I’ve talked to.
Paganism is not fixed or dogmatic.
A Pagan refuses to believe that mankind is born innately sinful and realizes that the concept of “sin” is harmful to human nature.
We realize that the powers of the Universe, sometimes called “gods,” exist not apart from but as a part of us.
These powers may be contacted, directed and benefit gained from them if we first learn to live in harmony with ourselves and the Universe.
The movements of these natural forces, called “tides” by many, directly affect our lives and the course and direction of the manifested Universe.
Harmony with and direction of the great natural forces is called “magick.”
Pagans celebrate this movement; in fact, unify with it, through the Wheel of the Year. These are the Greater and Lesser Sabbats. These festivals are attuned to the tides and also reflect the problems of mankind as we move forward upon our path.
Pagans recognize and harmonize with the law of nature called polarity.
We know that that which is above is also below.
There is no heaven except that which we ourselves make, likewise there is no hell.
We know of the existence of that spark of life within us that does not die, and returns again and again until it has evolved to that which we call the eternal existence above all existence.
We abide by the great rule of love: that one may do as one wishes as long as it harms no other.
The Commandments Eleven to Twenty
This list was also copied from the B.O.S. of my High Priestess. Some of them require a closer look beyond the words; they are symbolic and cryptic. Again, I don’t know the etymology of this piece.
- Thou shalt not worship any idols of thy own creation nor those created by the society in which thee live. (your own ego or corporate greed, for example)
- Honor thyself, whereby you cannot dishonor another.
- Thou shalt not break another man’s ricebowl. (don’t let or make people starve)
- Thou shalt not step on another man’s koa. (don’t enable yourself by dis-enabling others)
- Thou shalt see others as in a mirror; for there, but for the grace of the Fates, goest thee.
- Thou shalt honor the integrity and thoughts of others; for, as remote as it may seem, they may be right and thee may be wrong.
- Thou shalt not covet; for, though the grass seems greener in the other pasture, this is an illusion of the mind.
- Thou shalt not be vengeful for vengeance begets vengeance to the time of infinity.
- Thou shalt be colorblind for all men are green.
- Do what thou wilt an’ it harm no other. This is the whole of the Law.
As for the “Ordains,” I feel that most of them are outdated if indeed, any of the ones we usually see have truly been handed down from the Burning Times. Paganism is not static nor do we live in a vacuum. We must change as the world around us changes while still keeping our essential beliefs. Archaic laws do not benefit Pagans any more than they do Christians, Jews, Moslems or Hindus. Simple statements of belief, simply stated (or even simple yet flowery, like the Commandments) is the best way for us to carry our religion from generation to generation. The surrounding morals of our society may change but our ethics never should.
Coven rules and such should be unique to each group, created by them for keeping order and, if desired, hierarchy, to their own taste. When one group tries to impose their “Laws” upon another group, we find ourselves falling into the “Organized Religion” trap and all of us will suffer for it. Paganism has been and should always be a wonderfully diverse and personal religion.
Originally posted 2014-08-25 06:57:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter