Note from Daven: This is another article from Sunfell. When I asked for permission to reprint her other article, she graciously gave me permission to reprint this one as well. It first appeared on The Witches Voice back in 2000. I hope you like it.)
Perfect Love and Perfect Trust
Author: Sunfell http://www.sunfell.com/
When I was a wide-eyed newbie Pagan, all those incredible years ago, one of the first tenets of the Wiccan path I learned about was the one about “Perfect Love and Perfect Trust”. This, it was explained to me, was a way that was superior to those guilt-ridden old Christians, who professed to love, but did not, and could not be trusted to even correctly interpret Scripture. PLPT was a ‘superior’ and advanced way of interacting, and I needed to get used to it. This explanation was usually given to me by an older guy, and accompanied by a gradual insinuation of hands and eyes. I was supposed to melt right into this, and be introduced to the Mysteries of the Gods.
Hokay… That was back in my cute and naive days, right after the Hippie notion of ‘free love’ had given way to the first inklings that there were incurable STDs like Herpes, and HIV was a glimmer on the cultural horizon. And of course, it was before the advent of the Internet, where one could get pro and con opinions and thoughts at the click of a search engine.
Back then, as it probably is now, the notion of “Perfect Love and Perfect Trust” was used as the ultimate pick-up line by predatory guys discovering that Pagans were a lot looser about sex than non-Pagans, and that cute young things like me were ripe for the picking. Fortunately, even though I was a ‘cute young thing’ I had the basic flagstones for my BS detector already in place and operational. I recognized the predatory use of PLPT for the pick-up line that it was, and resisted its allure, and its purveyor.
But what of this phrase and its abuse? What does it really mean? Is there any such thing as ‘perfect’ love and/or trust? Being a sugarcoated old pessimist, I would love to say ‘yes’, but then my BS detector would ping on me, and I’d have to go slink away in shame. The sad fact is that in any human ideal- and especially the more noble ones like some elements of the Rede and PLPT, there is as much imperfection and deception as the rest of humanity.
And that is what Perfect Love and Perfect Trust truly is–an ideal. It is a Higher Self form of interaction–something that we as a community must continually strive towards, but, until our lowliest member has attained understanding of the concept, will forever evade. Until then, PLPT can only be achieved in brief, momentary bursts–like in a ritual or moments in a gathering when everyone is on the same spiritual page. Perfection in any form is fleeting on this plane, and we must understand and accept the transitory nature of the concept. Not doing so leads to the exact opposite that PLPT strives for- bitterness and distrust- and from there to ‘witch wars’. In fact, the abuse and misunderstanding of the transitory nature of PLPT is probably the main reason that many groups ultimately break up. Trouble begins when coven members fail to understand that they cannot hold onto its enhanced state of grace for more than an instant. When that realization is made, and no other solution presents itself, the group comes apart.
Until the realization that PLPT is a transitory state of grace is made and accepted, we are doomed to fail over and over.
Let’s break the concept down into its components, and examine it. Or try–such an abstract statement is fiendishly difficult to pin down, and philosophers have been at it for eons.
First “Perfect Love”. Ah, that word ‘perfect’. Probably the biggest and most unattainable concept around–the absolute zero of thought, word and deed. The concept cannot be held–perfection, if attainable at all, is as fleeting as an orgasm, and rightfully so. If you put perfection into its scientific place, it is like absolute zero–no motion at all. It is action and motion stripped down to bare minimums. Time and space on this sphere stops, and we all vanish to the next realm. So, we can get near it, as the scientists do with their experiments with DeWar vessels at high vacuum and extreme cold, but the pumps have to constantly operate, and the temperature is extremely difficult to maintain. “Love” is another of those fleeting concepts, too- and even more difficult to obtain than perfection. “Love” is actually the acceptance of all the flaws and negative components of the beloved, amplified to the level of mutual understanding and acceptance. Blindness to these imperfections makes love the socially accepted form of mental delusion that it is. Opening ones eyes to these imperfections at a close and unshielded range often leads to the sudden polarity shift of passionate love into passionate hate.
So, we have two mutually opposite states trying to pose as a concept: Love and perfection. Essentially they cancel each other out. End of concept. There is no such thing as perfect love, unless you are using it as a pickup line for a sweet young thing.
Now, let’s take a look at the concept of perfect trust. Perfection still has its role as absolute zero. But how is it applied to the concept of trust? Unlike love, trust is a tangible thing, and able to be shifted in degrees. You can trust certain aspects of a person, and distrust others. So the point of the exercise of perfect trust is to suspend your distrust of the person or group in order to obtain a working goal. Again, the perfection and trust both are fleeting. The problems begin when people try to take that suspension of distrust outside the circle. And the realization of the fleeting nature of trust is the key cause of most coven disbandments.
So should the application of PLPT be abandoned by Pagans? Perhaps it should be. Because it is so vague and so prone to abuse, we should carefully examine its place in our mythology and place a ‘use with caution and awareness’ sticker on it. It is a sign of maturity in a community to examine old chestnuts like this one and lay them aside. It demonstrates that we are an intelligent group of people and are willing to tweak our philosophy to more correctly fit our spiritual growth and awareness. The Rede and Ordains used by some groups should also be closely examined and retooled as we mature as a community.
Having no ‘orthodox’ laws is both an asset and a liability to Pagans. The asset is that we have not ossified into canonical hierarchies that hand down microscopic rules from on high. The disadvantage is that people coming into our paths find many conflicting laws and customs, and have a hard time sorting myth from fact. And there are also people who use the apparent chaos of conflicting laws and ritual to carve out their own cultic fiefdoms within the Pagan family, and amplify the ignorance and strife within our community with their own interpretations of PLPT.
So, how do we cure this? We have to take off the rose colored glasses and realize that the Pagan community is made up of flawed, ego-gratifying people who operate as they do in the Outside world. This means that the application of common sense and keen observation of ones BS detector should not stop just because you are in your robes or at a circle or sabbat. Yes, we build places between the worlds, but the construction of those places should be carefully observed by experienced elders. And there are a few around now. And more every day. Apply common sense- if your hunch says that something isn’t right then say something, or walk away. It doesn’t matter if the person laying the PLPT line on you is your HP/S, you still have the option of voting with your feet. Trust your hunches. They are a gift of Spirit, and the more you use them, the better they will serve you.
What would I replace PLPT with? Tough question. I propose that the concept of “Open Mind and Open Eyes” might be more fitting- permitting the trying on of different thoughts, and permitting the BS filter to protect you from harm. It is what I use in my own daily life, and it has served me well. Perhaps it is now time to share it, and so here it is.
This, by the way, is in harmony with my own version of the Rede- for Eclectic TechMages:
Nine words serve the TechMage best:
Use what works; Fix what’s broke; Ditch the rest.
Originally posted 2015-07-07 15:15:11. Republished by Blog Post Promoter