“I am responsible for everything except my very responsibility.” – Sartres

I take a rather different approach to ethics, as far as Witchcraft is concerned. Some people quote the threefold law or the Wiccan Rede ad nauseum and it makes me crazy. Others quote Crowley’s “Do what thou wilt and that is the whole of the law”, but people really seem to interpret it differently. Others wing it and deal with everything on a situational basis.

As a solitary I don’t have to restrict myself to the principles of any one tradition, so I enjoy exploring the pros and cons of different ethical strategies.

The Rede

The most quoted passage of The Wiccan Rede is “An’ it harm none, do what ye will”. This is a difficult oath to live by, as most actions taken lead to the distinct possibility of harm. How absolute should it be? How should Wiccans feel about killing bugs? Jainists, for example, try very hard not to. Of course, there are plenty who see the Rede only as guidelines.

What about doing spells to better yourself, to make you more lucky, to get a promotion, to come across money? All of these things give you an advantage over others and do cause harm. Someone else won’t get that deserved promotion, even though they worked very hard. Someone will be less lucky than you and won’tfind that dollar on the ground that they otherwise would have. Action and reaction is a universal law and everything has a possible negative repercussion. To truly live by the Rede, one must never do spellwork again and live very carefully.

The Law of Return

The three-fold law, stating that any wrong-doings done will return to them threefold, doesn’t make sense at all. Like does attract like, but it is impossible for one action to attract something three-times worse. I take this “law” as symbolic, since things are always worse when they happen to usand not someone else.

There isn’t, and cannot me, an absolute rule regarding morality or ethics. Instead, there should be a series of principles that one strives to live by.

Virtues

I do enjoy the use of virtues. Traditions like ADF and Asatru have different principles, such as courage, integrity, wisdom. Practitioners are expected to meditate upon them and truly come to terms with the depth of that virtue. These virtues all come into play in daily life, in every decision made. I like this because I do feel that some Wiccans forget about the Rede when it comes to mundane matters and personal relationships.

To Each Their Own

I enjoy a few cliches when it comes to my own sense of moral integrity:

    • Do unto others as you would have then do unto you.
    • If you have to ask someone else, it’s probably wrong.
    • Ask yourself if it’s really worth any of the possibly terrible outcomes.

I have been in situations where I’ve done “immoral” spellwork, but today still feel it was entirely worth the risk as well as the repercussions. I do reserve the right to protect myself and avenge myself if I want to, and that’s no one’s decision to make but my own.

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