Ethics Beyond the Rede

So I think until things settle down I’m not going to guarantee a post on any particular day. Just that I”m going to do my very best to get three out a week.

This week has just sucked. We’ve had health problems. I’ve been dealing with an ongoing issue with my eye that has decided this week is the perfect time to kick into high gear.

We’ve also had issues with my mother’s care services (she’s disabled). Namely that the woman who runs the local branch of the agency is one of those people who tempts me to break the rule of three or the rule of harm none. The short version of the story is that my parents had a pest problem (that they got from the service in the first place) that almost caused them to loose services. It was bad at the time. But then we got rid of them…well now they’ve given them to us again and entirely discontinued services withing 12 hours of telling me that they would work with my parents (both disabled). So suffice it to say I”m not happy running around getting them ready for another round of treatment while looking for another service so I can protect my own from this woman who’s had a vendetta against my mother since she refused to go into a nursing home (where she doesn’t need to be.

Now that I’ve mildly vented, and given you the heads up lets get started.

Das Post

I wanted to make this a separate post for several reasons, first while it is in the chapter about the Rede, it goes beyond the Rede. I remember this chapter being difficult for me. It’s always hard to realize when we’ve made mistakes, but a part of this faith (and most faiths) is self-responsibilty, or the ability to take responsibility for our own actions.  When I read this chapter it made me face some of my mistakes and really think about my intentions.

And we’ve talked about intentions several times.  Your intentions are what makes your spells (or any other actions) right or wrong. So what does right or wrong mean in the ethical life of a Witch?

Honesty

The first part of this is being honest with ourselves.  Shakespeare said it best. “This above all things: To thine own self be true.” You have to be honest with yourself to be able to work magick for yourself or others. And how can you be honest with the Lord and Lady if you can’t be honest with yourself. We aren’t supposed to be here looking for ego or power.  Our craft is a gift, a talent, and it about knowledge and helping others.

Also, we have to remember here that we are responsible for all of our actions which can take self honesty as well.  While we don’t have a judgement day, karma is a b****, pardon my French.  What we do wrong comes back to haunt us. We lie and a few days down the road we are lied to or the car breaks down.  There is a reason we follow the rule of three. It may not come back in the same way we delt it out, but what we do wrong does come back to haunt us.

I know for me, I feel sick when I’m doing something questionable. That doesn’t mean that sometimes I ignore that little angel on my shoulder, but I always (at least so far) live to regret it.

Hypotheticals

All of these are from Teaching Witchcraft by Miles Betty

  1. A friend looks horrible in a new outfit. Are you brutally honest or do you say it’s a nice color, shape, etc when they ask? Brutal honesty may cause harm, but so might keeping your mouth shut. Honesty is always preferred, but so is tact.
  2. A coworker is stealing and asks you to cover for him. You could get him fired or you could hurt the company. Which does more harm? Or do you advise your boss to be on the lookout for theft without naming names?
  3. A friend asks you for a love spell. Giving her the spell harms anothers free will.  And freedom is a major concern for most witches, especially any who have studied the burning times.  While the first two could be a question of which causes less harm, the answer to this one should be a resounding no.

Now this and many more situations may seem silly. I mean what’s the harm? But that’s the thing. As I said before, we don’t see the ripple we create in the world. Look at the concept of paying it forward. Yes it’s a movie, but we’ve seen people put it into play in the real world. The person who created it probably didn’t think it would go as far as it did. Didn’t think it would become a movie. Didn’t think that so many people would tell someone else exactly what they told them….to pay it forward. They made a lasting ripple in the world.  It’s something you hope happens when you do something nice, but not something that we expect to continue so far beyond ourselves.

Harder Morality

Now you might say that I’m over reacting to some of these examples. What is really the harm in being brutally honest to a friend. What is the harm in helping a friend steal from a horrible or big money company? Well it does because our actions are our bond. Worse, we don’t know what lasting effect our actions could have on others.

There are some situations in which we really have to think about whether or not we are doing more good than harm, even if the one misdeed seems innocent. It’s a slippery slope.  All of the examples in the book were fairly straight forward except for one….and it’s the one that I always remember when I think of the chapter on the Rede and Ethics in Witchcraft. It’s also the one that makes me question my intention, purpose, and actions in nearly everything I do.

So just imagine the following:

You drive past a horrible car accident. You see a person being loaded onto an ambulance. They look seriously injured….maybe even near death.

What is your first thought? It might be to send out healing energies to him or to utter a small spell of healing for him.

But consider the following:

He might be a fundamentalist Christian or a member of another faith. He could consider your actions, whether he understand them or not as evil and a blight on his soul.  Is it justified for us to potentially infringe on his beliefs?

Or what if he is so injured that he welcomes death. His family could have just perished in that wreck and now he’s all alone in the world. Or what if your well wishes lead to him being miserable for the rest of his life?

Can even our well wishes cause him harm? Do we want to take that risk? Is it our place to decide that without all of the information….information that we may never know?

And remember this: in this situation we also do not have that person’s permission to ask. And you should always have the permission of someone else to work magick or specific prayer for them. Because our thoughts on what is best for them may not be what is best for them. Only the God and Goddess know what is best for them no matter our perception of the situation.

So what do you do when you want to send energy their way, but don’t know the best course of action? Give it to the God and Goddes. Ask them to do what is best with the energy or prayers that you wish to give for the victims of that crash. Don’t assume because we all know what happens when we assume. We make an a** out of ourselves.

So lets leave the donkey in the stall and not presume that we have all the answers and always know the best course of action for everyone around us. Yes, you may slip up sometimes, but life that too is a part of the learning process and learning from those mistakes when you make them is what’s important….not just dwelling on them.

I know its not easy, but it’s all you can do. Dwelling doesn’t solve the problem. Only preventing from happening again saves you from the same frustrations and misery.

A few final notes

I just have a few more debatable morals here before we quit.  Is a vegetarian or a meat eater wrong? Is either better than the other? Many people disagree on this, but its one of those grey areas.  Some say that plants are aware of their pain just as much as animals. Other say its cruel to eat meat and kill animals. Some say circle of life and all that. There are some ethical situations that sit in a mire of grey between wrong and right.

Just a few things to think about….and hopefully before you act.

Okay, so I will see you all again Friday. I’m sorry to say it, but I haven’t found my Advanced Witchcraft book yet, so I’m going ot have to put off that project. As it stand right now, I’m also not going to have my personal path post finished. It’s one of those things you don’t want to rush.  So I’m not really sure what we’re talking about yet.

Blessed Be.

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