'An it harm none....

So I just got finished listening to the Wiccan Rede discussion with Christian Day, Lori Bruno and Sabrina The Ink Witch.

There's a lot going on in this broadcast. At first I was a little put off by the comments followers of the "Rede" take the easy way out and then it changes to "it's harder to follow the rede". In this discussion one sentiment stands out for me. You can't cast spells or live life without "harming" something. Oddly enough I found myself agreeing with this. I understand that at some point applying the letter of the law would be counter productive. For example, sending energies out to help a person come up with money to pay their bill, may take that money from another person who needs it as well.

I want to send out good energies and get energies back. I want to send positive out, yet recently I learned that one of my sister's took my mother's ATM card and cleaned out her bank account. She couldn't buy her insulin and needed to have one of my aunt get it for her. I found out afterwards. My very very first instinct was to call out to my fellow pagans to send out some energies to stop her from harming my mother. Her actions are causing harm. That's not justice, it's not equality, it's not fairness. It's just plain mean.

Am I right to want to correct this wrong? Does this violet the rede? Should I care? As many of you know I am solitary. I attempted to join a group in the summer which ended very poorly. Has my work as a solitary made me less likely to follow this "rede"? I'm just not sure any more.

I like the thought process behind "Harm None". I like to say that I do what I can to help others, and be a good person. A sense of ethics is important to me. But I have to say, if I could have whipped up a spell to turn her into a toad, a toad my sister would be!

I am a bit embarrassed that I felt that way. My grandmother always told me, if you can't say something nice don't say anything at all. :( For her, I had to say nothing.

During the show, Christian refers to "Throwing good money after bad". Again here I can completely relate. I have been giving money and giving money and helping her move and I today, I cannot give my mother cash. I'll drive her to the doctor, I'll do what I can to help her get her meds, but if I get her cash, she'll just give it to the one stealing from her. I can't do that any more. So here I can relate. I never really thought of this as not standing by the "rede".

But I guess when you think about it, it could very well be taken that way. I'm sure I'll continue to struggle with this. But I do believe that I will continue to try to send out positives, however with my new interest in working with the Dead and exploring magic I think I'll keep my mind a bit more open.

I'd love to hear thoughts around this..

Namaste and Blessed Be


Kat of EmKatCreations said...

This is totally why I don't claim to follow the rede, it's a set of very pretty words that, if taken too literally, are impossible to follow.

I think one can have a well defined set of morals and ethics and work magick within them.

Aine said...

I agree. Every thing we do affects others, sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a not so good way. Having said that, sometimes things happen that appear not so good but in the end they are good so perhaps our spell itself was part of "the grand plan."

We struggle to work ethically and that is the best we can do. I think it's very important to consider every spell carefully before doing it. There is usually a way to perform a spell which minimizes the potential damage, and if so, we should use this method. For instance, binding or reflecting rather than cursing, etc. But if one truly doesn't want to take the risk of harming anyone through magic, he/she would have to stop performing magic, because there are consequences to every action. Magic aside, the truth is that it's impossible to live life without ever harming someone either.

And let's not forget that there are situations in which inaction would harm more than action.

Sosanna said...

Thanks for both these comments. I have to agree Aine, sometimes inaction is more dangerous than action. I used to believe I followed the rede very closely, and I still do try not purposefully cause harm much like your comment Kat. More of a guideline than a "rule"

The more I investigate the more I wonder about the whole thing. For example the binding/reflecting vs cursing, isn't really the bind/reflection the same? We're sending back the energy sent to us or to the target, so we're casting the negative magic. It's a very intricate web.

Seileach said...

I've moved away from Wicca towards Heathenry, but even when I was Wiccan my opinion re: the situation you mention and the Rede, would have been "Which causes the *least amount* of harm?" Giving money to someone who will not benefit from it because someone else is busy taking it away as fast as you give it, is not helping the first person and could be viewed as actually harming the second person by enabling zir ethical problems and increasing the bad karma zey are building up. When I set up protective wards around my house or myself(which is within the Rede), it included the idea that any/all attempts at harm to the subject would fail. The exact means by which said attempts would fail, I left up to the Universe with the provision that it would be the least harmful and most beneficial to all. Maybe the person would suddenly decide not to do it. Maybe the person would try and be fought off/unable to break in. Maybe the person would get caught and have to face the legal consequences. None of these things are outside the Rede, IMO. The Rede is not supposed to give villains and bullies a free pass to do harm by telling the victims they can't report crimes and (legitimate) authority that they can't enforce safety just because getting charged and being imprisoned is a form of harm itself. In your mom's situation, I would say that it would be within the Rede to put a protection on her that would cause any/all attempts to harm her, including financially, to fail, with the provisions mentioned above. I also think it's not outside the Rede to do magick asking the Universe to stop a wrongdoer from causing harm to others in whatever way results in the least possible harm to all. Depending on circumstances, the "least possible" amount of fallout still might be considerable, but IMO as long as your intent to stay within the Rede is clear, you should be ethically OK. Hope everything works out! Health and good cheer, Seileach

AmethJera said...

Sabrina and I discussed this when she was originally scheduled to be on the show earlier this month. I ascribe to the belief that a witch who cannot hex cannot heal-'hex' in this case meaning the general working of magic. The original concept of conjure in the Old Order German/Pennsylvania Dutch tradition was called hexing, which held no maleficent connotation. (The word hexe or hexen means "one who practices sorcery.") We have been taught to fear our natural power by society because anything supernatural was the providence of God(specifically Tetragrammaton)and that humans would tend to abuse any power they had because they were, as legend tells it,imperfect. I don't believe this is true because I don't believe there is anything outside of the natural order of the universe, and that the source of true magic is the blending of the sacred Divine and what is sacred within humans. Early Church prosecution was so ferocious because pagan shamanistic practice enabled the people to communicate directly with that universally Divine source without an intermediary. The early founders of Wicca were still of this mindset when they put the Rede and the Three Fold Law into place to temper the temptation of using the power for anything other than what was socially acceptable at the time.They felt there was a need for authority, and you have to realize that we're talking about a period when patriarchy still ruled supreme in society- Gardner & Co were a product of their time. The Goddess was still viewed somewhat as a female version of God and not as we have come to understand the Sacred Feminine today. We have come a long way in our ability to discern and analyze our personal motivation as to why we do things. Because of this,I believe that the Rede,which is only a cautionary guide line at best,transcends its self regularly. I believe it grows and expands as we do. That isn't simple or easy. We have tremendous freedom in our actions if we are mindful of why we are doing something and how it will effect others. For me,the real reason witches don't do baneful magick is because magic is possible through our experience of Immanent Divinity.For those who don't believe in a personal deity, the magic is a result of personal power (the human divine). Admittedly, that takes a person of immense will and strength, which is where I believe Crowley was coming from.

Diandra said...

I wrote about something like this just a few days ago - someone stole a substantial amount of money from me, and I did indeed put a curse upon that person. Well, I am not Wiccan. But as far as I see, "Harm none" does mean

a) not harming yourself (not even by inaction)
b) not letting anyone else come to harm by inaction, if you could have done something.

Being "the good witch" is most likely not what the Rede was about. If you felt that way, you would not even be able to spell yourself a job, because you might take that job opportunity away from someone else who might have needed it just as much as you did.

If our life runs in circles, we are obliged to take care of the people in the three inner circles first: Ourselves, family, friends.

Sosanna said...

These are all great comments. I am happy to see that many take the rede as a guide vs a law. When I was studying law in Virginia I had a teacher explain to me that there are two types of law. The spirit of the law and the letter of the law. For example, a child commits a crime and they may be treated differently than an adult, though not following the letter of the law, because a crime is a crime, the spirit of fairness, justice ... of the law itself is displayed by giving a lesser sentence or probation to someone. To me I believe that you need to have guidelines.

When I first heard the term "A witch who cannot hex cannot heal" I was taken aback. I thought, how on earth... HEX is bad... Yes I was one of those who looked at the word for what society has made it, not the true meaning of the word. This has been a really eyeopening experience for me.

My journey to this point has been blessings, protections and positive energy. I kept away from bindings, hexes and reflections. I have to say from this prospective I feel much more connected to the Earth and am looking forward to learning more about magic.