Welcome to Ahimsa Grove, which is meant to be a site of information, inspiration, and reflection about the intersections between veganism and paganism. I hope that readers will not only be those who are currently self-identifying as both vegan and pagan. I want to share information and ideas with others who may be vegan but not pagan, or vice versa. I welcome the ideas of others, as well. I ask only that all ideas be given respectfully and in good faith, and in keeping with the ideal of “perfect love & perfect trust.”

Another ideal that many pagans, often specifically Wiccans, aspire to is the concept of “harming none.” This is often known as “The Wicca or Witches’ Rede (meaning advice or council). It is an ethic at the core of veganism, as well. It is called “ahimsa,” which also means “harm none.” Ahimsa is a term within Sanskrit rooted traditions including Hinduism and Buddhism.

Veganism and vegetarianism have ancient roots, but the actual term “vegan” was coined by a British man named Donald Watson in 1944. He co-founded The Vegan Society in England, which is still around today. Donald Watson’s definition is recorded as follows:

The word "veganism “denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.

Basically veganism is a vegetarian lifestyle in which the person abstains from as many animal products as possible. No meat, no dairy, no eggs, and depending on the person probably no leather products, wool or silk. Also no honey or animal tested/animal product make up, toiletries, etc. In other words, vegans are aspiring to their best understanding about how to live the ethic of ahimsa (harmlessness).

Recently vegan eating has become a health issue to a lot of folks who have learned that meat, dairy, and eggs increase their cholesterol and may even cause some cancers. Therefore there are a lot of new vegans (if that is the label they choose for themselves) who do not do animal rights activism or avoid the animal products that are not dietary.

Like paganism, veganism is highly individual and is context/conscience driven. Not everyone is like Donald Watson. Everyone is vegan for their own reasons, and may define the lifestyle in different ways.

Now, some may be thinking that both the Witches Rede and Ahimsa are pointless because they cannot be purely and definitively attained. In other words, it is impossible to live one’s life without ever causing any harm to anyone. This is absolutely true. Yet the ethic of harmlessness is something to aspire to. For example, we know there are car crashes every day. Despite this we don’t just throw up our hands and crash into any car before us simply because some crashes are inevitable. We do our best. This is one example of the practice of ahimsa…seeking to do as little harm as possible, for our own sake and for others.

I will leave you now with some basic websites about paganism, and some about veganism. That way anyone who finds this blog as one but not the other can begin their vegan pagan explorations. They are by no means meant to be comprehensive. Just a taste (pun intended).