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(The following article was originally submitted to us by Sun and it was written by Gaia; We thought you may enjoy reading it as well)

On Wiccan Ethics

If I were to ask most people here whether they abide by the Wiccan Rede, I think most would generally answer strongly in the affirmative -- "absolutely! " most would say.

However, I believe that there may be frequent (potential) violations of the Rede here, but because they are not presented in ways that would be easily identifiable for many, they go unrecognized, even approved -- and I feel I would be remiss if I didn't speak up about it.

Please let me explain.

One of the most attractive things about Wicca for many of us, is the fact that (unlike many other religions) Wicca is a very individualistic religion that considers its adherents to be -- and
treats them like -- adults, quite able (and entitled!) to make their *own* decisions about "right" and "wrong", good and bad - as long as they have all the information to make those (informed) decisions intelligently, and as long as they realize that they will be RESPONSIBLE for those decisions, and whatever consequences flow therefrom.

So in Wicca there are GUIDELINES, not "commandments" or "laws" per se; and these guidelines lay out clearly the responsibilities that are involved in practicing Wicca --

Part of those responsibilities are particularly related to the practice of Magick. Now, many Wiccans have little if any formal training in Magick; in fact, many Wiccans think that the only thing to know about ethics is the Rede -- and they translate the Rede to mean, "Harm none" -- which is NOT its real meaning at all.
(For more on that, please see "Wiccan Ethics and the Wiccan Rede" by Dianis Lucien - http://www.starkindler.org/dianis/realrede.html

Most teachers of Wicca who have been at it for any length of time will tell you that in teaching Wicca or Magick, the very most important aspect is ETHICS; and they will focus on magickal ethics in the beginning, at the end, and everywhere in between.

What do I mean, when I say, "Magickal Ethics"?

Well, here are just a few of the major issues:

1. A person is RESPONSIBLE for whatever magick they work -- as well as its CONSEQUENCES -- even if those consequences are not known or could not have been known.

This is one reason why many experienced magick-users will use some form of divination BEFORE doing any magick or spellcasting, to try to determine what those (potential) consequences might be.

There is a popular idea illustrating the wide-ranging effects of actions, called the "Butterfly Effect" which states that a butterfly flapping its wings in South America will have an effect upon the weather in New York.

A movie with that title (starring Ashton Kutcher -- See www.imdb.com/title/tt0289879) popularized the idea, but it is a legitimate scientific principle that has been validated by Quantum
Scientists --
(For more information on the scientific "Butterly Effect", please see:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect
- www.pha.jhu.edu/~ldb/seminar/butterfly.html

The important point here is that EVERYTHING we do can have far-reaching and unknown consequences, but in magick, that possibility is multiplied exponentially -- and again, we are RESPONSIBLE for those effects, whatever they might be, regardless of whether we intended or could have predicted them.

2. When we teach others magick or give others spells, we are therefore RESPONSIBLE for whatever they do with that information -- In fact, anytime someone teaches magick or spells to someone else, there is a *mutual* sharing of responsibility/Karma --

This is yet another reason why it's important for a teacher to be wise about what students s/he accepts, and for a student to be just as wise about what teacher s/he accepts. Don't just accept the first student or teacher who comes along -- check on their qualifications, examine their maturity, self-control, sensitivity, integrity and wisdom.

This principle has been long understood by magick teachers, which is one reason why teachers/mentors are often "grumpy" and very discriminating about whom they accept as students. We see this even in popular media, where for example, Master Yoda puts Luke Skywalker, or Master Miyogi puts young "Karate Kid" Daniel Larusso -- through a variety of mental, emotional and spiritual "tests" before they agree to accept them as students.

A teacher (and when you give someone a spell, you are acting as a teacher) is therefore partially RESPONSIBLE for whatever the student does with that information -- At least until a "cutting of the Cords" ritual is performed.

3. A good, responsible Teacher does NOT just accept anyone who asks for (Magickal) Training; nor do they just give magickal information to anyone who asks for it;
-- Any more than a good, loving parent would give a loaded gun to a child who requested one -- And magick has more (potential) danger than any loaded gun. The potential magickal student must PROVE that they are ready to intelligently, responsibly handle what they're requesting.

This is NOT any effort on the part of the teacher to be secretive, selfish or elitist, or any such thing, any more than a good parent is being cruel or selfish when they refuse to give their child a loaded gun.

Rather, they are trying to prevent the potential student from taking on something that could prove a curse rather than a blessing: to try to ensure that they have the emotional, mental, physical and (especially) spiritual qualities that *qualify* and prepare them for the (mental, emotional, physical and spiritual) rigors and responsibilities of (magickal) training.

How many of us have discovered after we've gotten involved in magick, that our lives become yet MORE complicated, that we're faced with GREATER trials than we had before, or could have imagined -- That is part of the consequence of beginning the Path -- and teachers know this, so they know they must evaluate the potential Student's readiness for such challenges.

These are just a few of the ethical issues involved in magickal practice; there are others. IN fact, I would recommend that we each do some research on the topic, for further information; Yet these are the ones I want to focus upon, here and now.

Ignorance -- or even denial -- of them makes no difference, any more than ignorance or denial of the principle of gravity will keep you from a messy splat on the sidewalk, if you suddenly decide to dive off a skyscraper, unprotected.

The final aspect of my dilemma is that I have been acutely aware that every time I have tried to (even very carefully and briefly) raise any of these issues, it has been clearly, definitely UNAPPRECIATED by most of the group -- and that lack of appreciation has been clearly but definitely communicated to me *rueful smile*.

To get back to my original point: Many here would strongly contend that they abide by the Wiccan Rede --

Yet they never even consider what "harm" they may do a beginner by providing spells which that beginner is completely ignorant of and unprepared for;

Or never consider what harm might come to someone who is mentally, emotionally or spiritually unprepared to deal with the challenges that come as a result of beginning magickal practice;

Or never consider how well (or poorly) prepared the beginner might be to deal with the unknown consequences of magickal acts or magickal practice in general ....

Or never consider what sort of Karmic ties they are creating with someone they do not even know, at all.

Every time i have seen someone ask for or give out a spell without so much as determining how far along the recipient is in their Magical/Wiccan training/ studies, I am faced with this dilemma --

I KNOW these principles; I am a High Priestess and Clergy; I have some responsibility to both my brothers and sisters in the Craft, and to the integrity of Wicca itself;

- Yet I also know that to mention these things will be unappreciated, and often misunderstood.

So there is my dilemma.

I'd be happy to address any questions anyone might have regarding any of it.

I hope each of you will prayerfully, thoughtfully consider it all, with the Guidance of your Gods / Goddesses and your Guides -- and then courageously do as you are inspired to do, even if that means making changes in attitudes and practices.

Most Sincerely, Greatfully and with Blessings to All --
Posted on Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:49 am by ShadowHag
"ON WICCAN ETHICS" | Login/Create an Account | 2 comments | Search Discussion
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by lillie on Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:49 am
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great post. i agree too many people begin magic without any kind of study or guidance and do not really understand the responsibility that goes along with it. kids try a ouija board and have no idea what they are doing. young wiccans do spells and draw dark magic not really understanding that they will have to live with the consequences. our thoughts and words form our destiny. all people should understand that what we say is what we draw to our lives. the wiccan rede is a guide to being a responsible witch.

by charliesmiles (darkmist3@gmail.com) on Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:15 pm
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That was downfall asking someone to teach me i didn't no then.For some time i had stop doing magic even when i left. It never lleft me..... that's what i like hear your not being rush

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