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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in wiccan rede

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
An it harm none

An it harm none do what you will at first glance seems to be an invitation for any kind of behavior.  However, this founding concept for most nature based religions is not as simplistic as it first appears. Paganism has two leading ethical principles, the Wiccan Rede and the law of return.  According to Marion Green in A Witch Alone “An it harm none, do what ye will. None in this case implies everyone and everything! An in old English means In order that and will is your soul’s own true will, not the whim of the moment.” (pg 41)  In other words - In order that no harm comes to anything or anyone do what your soul’s own true desires.  The law of return basically means that whatever energy you put out it will come back to you, three, ten or a hundred fold depending on what path you follow.  As with other religions, this is interpreted in a variety of ways.  The law of return, which is a western version of karma expounds personal responsibility.  According to Rabinovitch and MacDonald in An Ye Harm None there are two central concepts on morality “1) that there are causes for and reasons why something happens and 2) that every action you take will have effects.” (page 5)  In its simplest form the rede is the guide for making life choices. The law of return is the penalty or prize for any action taken.  

In any discussion concerning Pagan morality and justice it is difficult to pin down the one overriding belief the entire community has.  Paganism, Witchcraft, and the other nature-based belief systems are very individualistic, which is part of their appeal.  This means that those practicing these systems have to determine their own ethical and moral beliefs based on the minimal guidance found in whatever path they choose to follow.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Other Rede

The baby bird is lying broken on the ground, dying. Its parents, perhaps detecting some weakness in it, have pushed it out of the nest.

Clearly, it's suffering. What do you do?

“Don't do what you want to do,” wrote Robert Cochrane, father of the contemporary Old Craft movement. “Do what needs to be done.”

Cochrane is critiquing the Wiccan Rede here. “Do what you want to do” is his sneering version of “Do what ye will.”

Old Craft ethic is different from Wicca's. It's tribal at heart, concerned with life together and the obligations that social existence entails.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    I also find Judy Harrow's "Exegesis on the Wiccan Rede" to be of considerable interest. You might too. http://www.sacred-texts.com
  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    Oh, gosh, I think the Wiccan Rede is vastly more complex than "do what you want". "An' it harm none, do as you will" requires a
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Diotima. I agree that Cochrane's reading doesn't even begin to plumb the depths; Cochrane had a k

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
An It Harm None

An it harm none, do what ye will

This is the Wiccan Rede.  According to Marian Green in "A Witch Alone," an is Old English meaning In order that; will means you soul's own true will; and none means no one and nothing.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Do Wiccans curse or harm people with magic? How do I tell which kinds of magic are ethically okay and which aren’t? If I do a spell to steal my cousin’s girlfriend, am I evil?

First off, yes, these are real questions from my inbox.

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Libertarians have a long history with modern NeoPaganism. In the early years of our rapid growth science fiction writer Robert Heinlein ‘s Stranger in a Strange Land,   helped inspire creating the Church of All Worlds.  and the libertarian spirit and strong female characters in his The Moon is a Harsh Mistress  was popular with many.  Historically the connection between libertarians and Pagans is deep.  Today many Pagans are libertarians and still more are sympathetic to what they imagine that philosophy to be.

On the surface that connection makes a lot of sense because libertarianism’s ethical principle is remarkably compatible with the Wiccan Rede   Libertarians generally say no one has a right to coerce a peaceful person and our rede states “An it harm none, do as ye will.”

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Greybeard, I am intrigued that you never ever actually confront a single argument I make, preferring rhetoric no one can disagree
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    A growing number of Americans, including American pagans, are Libertarian on social issues and Conservative on issues of economic
  • Chris Sherbak
    Chris Sherbak says #
    I'm not libertarian but don't many of the arguments supporting things like "just get another job" presuppose a fairly extensive (a
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Very good and well-reasoned article! I also rejected libertarianism. I despise anarchists, because in my opinion, they also champ


continued from part I.

What is wrong with libertarianism as a philosophy for Pagans?

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  • Diotima
    Diotima says #
    I've looked into libertarianism at various times in my life and found the discussions of individual rights interesting and pertine
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Selina- Why do you ignore every actual argument I give? I do not quite know how to answer your first observation since it is ludi
  • Selina Rifkin
    Selina Rifkin says #
    Even the most cursory reading of the history of political parties shows that they often travel far from their roots. Going by your

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Help! Recently I went into a new age store looking for some supplies for my Wiccan altar, and a woman at the store told me Wicca was dangerous and I should stop practicing it right away. I’m new to Wicca, and this woman really freaked me out and got me worried that I could harm myself or my family. Is Wicca really dangerous?

Wicca is a life-affirming, celebratory path. Its focus is on understanding our place in the natural world and living better lives by being more in harmony with nature. In my opinion, it’s a path that can help seekers with self-empowerment and self-improvement. Most of the negative ideas about Wicca are born out of fear and lack of understanding, rather than knowledge.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Wicca is dangerous to Christians because we are non-Christian. Wiccans don't attend church and obey their ministers or Priests.
  • Joseph Merlin Nichter
    Joseph Merlin Nichter says #
    If we only had a nickle for every time we were told it's bad, we could all retire. Great post.

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