Friday, January 20, 2006
Paganism today is as multi-faceted as it ever was, perhaps even more so. But there are fundamental aspects of The Craft which underlie the belief systems of most pagans and which inform us in our daily lives.
One of these in the Threefold Law. Most pagans know the rede "An it harm none, do what ye will." Added to this is the rule that whatever you send out into the Universe you will receive back, like for like, threefold. If you transmit love, then three times as much love will return to you. If you transmit hate, then that hate will be returned to you three times over. This forms the bedrock of pagan morality for many pagans, and as such needs to be explored a little more in relation to notions of good and evil.
As other ministers have already mentioned, most pagans do not believe in a devil, but in evil residing in the hearts of people who practice it. Others argue that paganism is not a religion. For some it is a religion, with a prescribed set of teachings, a book, rules and guidelines for living our lives. Those of us from Hereditary backgrounds are more likely to be of the latter kind of pagan. For us, notions of good and evil also come from working against the laws of nature and of the Family or Coven.
What is to do harm?
Many of us do not realise that to do harm can merely be a product of failing to act. If someone is being unjustly accused of a crime or an action, and we do not act to correct the injustice, we have allowed harm to occur. If we see someone being bullied but do nothing to correct that, we are doing harm. Failing to act in the presence of evil, when such action can bring about good or prevent harm, is to do harm as surely as if we had carried out the act ourselves.
What are the rules?
Our Family tenet revolves around Love, and all of its manifestations. This means we must act only in love, worship only in love, come together only in love, however that may manifest itself. Certain 'morality systems' might then have issues with the ways in which that is occasionally manifested, or with the ways in which certain of our group choose to work magickally in order to engender love or follow the tides of energy that flow from the Gods themselves. If we are to 'do only that which is right' then we must clearly identify the definition of right. Is it right to go against the flow of nature? Is it right to engender hate by ill-wishing through malicious gossip?
But what if the action you take is something that is right for you, but seems wrong to others?
This is where all situations, circumstances and happenings must be examined in the light of full knowledge of all the facts. Let me give you an example. A Family coven is working closely together, and the powers raised are such that two of the coven manifest them in a way that involves physical intimacy. One of the pair is married to someone outside the coven.
Is this wrong? In the light of those simple facts, yes, because it would be doing harm to betray a monogamous, sworn relationship and hurt another person.
But let us look at the full facts. The marriage was already on the point of ending, the couple had been having an open relationship for some time, and the one who engaged in this act did so knowing that it would not change anything in his marriage, only in his magickal growth and knowledge.
The other of the magickal pairing was also aware of these facts, and deemed that if Love was being made manifest in this manner, it was being made manifest as a force of change and growth, liberating the married couple from a stagnant and unhappy state and allowing both to move on to new paths and new relationships.
No harm was done until someone close to the married couple found out and began spreading malicious, cruel and evil gossip about the Family, threatening the Family with physical and psychological violence, and publicly condemning them. This person acted without full knowledge of the facts, and in the assumption that things occurred which did not occur. Their only purpose was to tell the whole world that the Family were evil.
But who was in the wrong here? It is a difficult question. I will not give you the answers, but allow you to muse upon it yourselves. Just remember, so-called Christian morality is not necessarily all-encompassing and, while it works for some people, is not the only moral standpoint. If we look at the tides of life for knowledge and understanding, we can see that life is constantly in a state of growth and change. It is, in our view, more 'right' to follow that flow, to move with the tides of nature and with life and with love.
I hope this has given you food for thought, without laying down the law.
Love and Blessings
Rev. A. Einion (Cardiff)
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