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Author Topic: The Lord and The Lady  (Read 7392 times)

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MoonlitWings

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Re: The Lord and The Lady
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2014, 01:17:58 PM »

Sometimes destructive magic or a destructive by product of our actions, including magic, serve a greater purpose and Wiccans take personal responsibility for this.

My thoughts exactly.
Destructive energy is also not necessarily a bad thing. Dead leaves on the ground create nutrients for the seeds that lie dormant, the lioness kills the gazelle to feed her cubs. Harm can be needed for growth.
This is for me also how the Lord and Lady work, I see them as the Life-Taker and the Life-Giver. Always in harmony with each other, but at opposite ends of the scale.

This! Definitely agree with your views on destructive energy and also how the Lord and Lady work.
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alyceavary

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Re: The Lord and The Lady
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2014, 05:57:24 PM »


I'd add that there is no law that Wiccans can harm none. That's a common misconception.  'Do as ye will an' you harm none" just means don't sweat it about doing things that don't hurt anyone.  That's not the same as saying you must never harm.  Sometimes destructive magic or a destructive by product of our actions, including magic, serve a greater purpose and Wiccans take personal responsibility for this.  Same with our Rede.  It advises us to stay away from harm but it is not an edict.  The Rede is good advice, not a commandment.  Don't get me started.....

WHAT Wiccan books have you been reading? What Wiccan path have you been following? How DARE you suggest that those 8 words are nothing major. For the past 10+ years, EVERYTHING I have read and learned about Wicca state the EXACT same thing: "And if it harms none, do what ye will." Those are the foundation for the Wiccan religion. I have ALWAYS been told that it means this: you can do whatever you want, so long as you don't harm yourself or anyone else. Yes, the Rede is a set of guidelines and not hard set rules, as the Bible is. But to say there is "no law" against causing harm is dangerous and completely laughable. I think it is destructive to suggest that the basic law, in fact the ONLY "law" in the Wiccan religion is simply a misconception is ignorant to say the least. And it makes me SERIOUSLY question the integrity of this board.
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Ashe Isadora

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Re: The Lord and The Lady
« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2014, 08:54:30 PM »

Aly, I too have been reading books on Wicca for a long time.  Actually about 25+ years.  Some I treasure and many I discard.  I'm also an initiate of a British Traditional Wicca Trad.  The Rede is a beloved part of Wicca but it is not integral to the religion.  The religion is based on orthopraxy, though we have many shared beliefs that are not part of the religion.  The Rede  is one of those things.
"Rede" means advice, and it's not a law or even a tenet of Wicca.  As you yourself said it means we can do things that don't harm others but that isn't the same as saying we must never harm.  Under some conditions Wiccans may sometimes harm if it yields a greater good or under extenuating circumstances, though that is done with great restraint.

I'll say it again.  The Wiccan Rede is important but it is not a law.  I know that misconception is out there, mostly due to a particular publisher, a few authors, and the general well of public information about the Craft that's public.  That well of information has been poisoned by a few new age folks.

Aly, I don't doubt your sincerity or your integrity but you happen to be mistaken,  As for the integrity of the board, others may give their own response.  I do not speak for the board on this issue, only for myself.  How you could construe my post to be a reflection on the whole board I have no idea.
If you want to continue this exchange I'd be happy to.  Please quote your sources, share your reasoning for your interpretation of the Rede and it could be a good discussion.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2014, 09:17:20 PM by Ashe Isadora »
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Draconis Rex

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Re: The Lord and The Lady
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2014, 03:20:41 AM »

Aly, I don't doubt your sincerity or your integrity but you happen to be mistaken,  As for the integrity of the board, others may give their own response.  I do not speak for the board on this issue, only for myself.  How you could construe my post to be a reflection on the whole board I have no idea.
If you want to continue this exchange I'd be happy to.  Please quote your sources, share your reasoning for your interpretation of the Rede and it could be a good discussion.

I find it very strange that you would get so hot under the collar so easily Aly, you of all people should know that if there is something you don't agree with, then by all means discuss it, no need to filibuster.
 
I also agree with Ashe re the highlighted line; why would this bring the whole board into question? it is one persons opinion.
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Micheál

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Re: The Lord and The Lady
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2014, 02:51:34 PM »

I'll agree that the Rede is one of the many misconceptions that's difficult to clear up due to the spread of misinformation by DYI books making Wicca out to be an orthodoxic personal spirituality.  Believe it or not there are initiates that don't even conider the Rede or Threefold 'Law' Wiccan at all.

More on the topic, I consider acknowledging duality of deity, which we do by serving our Gods, as part of Wiccan praxis. Although polarity is important, I don't believe that it's the Gods that have to encompass "this" or "that." Although sometines classifications are clear,  some things need anotger influence to weigh in and, or....like language for instance, in Irish every noun is either masculine or feminine,  yet you have words like the term for girl, 'cailín,' which is masculine.  Some even go as far to say that the sun must be associated with a goddess because 'grian' is feminine like the Norse or Mesopatamian cultures, but it's just merely a word classification.
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Ashe Isadora

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Re: The Lord and The Lady
« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2014, 05:02:26 PM »

Michael, I never thought of serving our gods outside of ritual as part of our praxis but that's great food for thought.

I'm not surprised that some don't consider the Rede a part of Wicca since it seems to have been written well after the religion was founded.  It is lovely though, and I'm glad Doreen Valiente or Lady Gwen Thompson ( or her mom) wrote it.  The context of the words is critical though, and that often gets lost.  But like I said, it's good advice for all and the poem in it's entirety is certainly a classic. 
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alyceavary

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Re: The Lord and The Lady
« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2014, 07:02:19 PM »

I have spent all day trying to figure out how to properly respond to this. You wanted me to cite sources, so I have gathered 3.

From: The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-Paganism by Raymond Buckland Pages 511-512:
There is only one law, which is known as the Wiccan Rede: "An' it harm none, do what thou wilt." The word 'An' means 'If', so it is saying that you may do whatever you like just so long as what you do harms no one. That "no one" includes yourself.

From: A Witch's 10 Commandments: Magickal Guidelines for Everyday Life by Marian Singer Page 123:
It is truly sacred ground upon which we walk every day. Respect for nature and every inhabitant of this planet is part of living our path. With that in mind, the prudent witch not only "does unto others".........but also does unto the earth as he or she would wish to be treated.

From: Solitary Wicca for Life by Arin Murphy-Hiscock Page 9:
Quoting John Coughlin who was referring to Gardner himself: "Do what you like so long as you harm no one." But they believe a certain law to be important, "You must not use magic for anything which will cause harm to anyone, and if, to prevent a greater wrong being done, you must discommode someone, you must do it only in a way which will abate the harm." This involves every magical action being discussed first, to see that it can do no damage, and this induces a habit of mind to consider well the results of one's actions, especially upon others. (Gardner pg 127)
Page 10: Taken literally, the code dictates that you may not take any action if it causes harm.
Also key to this law is respect for the self, a belief inherent in the practice of Wicca. Undertaking action that harms the self is as wrong as undertaking action that harms another. The moral and ethical guidelines set out in the Rede are further developed by the second most often quoted couplet: "Ever mind the rule of three: what you send out comes back to you times three."


Again, I KNOW that the Rede is a set of guidelines to be interpreted individually, much like the Pirate Code. However, it is wrong to say that the one edict that EVERY major player in the Wiccan religion has set down is "nothing major" is egotistical.

As far as integrity, you ASHE, are a moderator of this board, regardless of how anyone may feel about how that happened, you are held to a higher standard than any other member of this board. All Mods and Elders are, that is the nature of the beast. (With great power comes great responsibility) IF this board is to TRULY hold to the notion that was originally set forth to EDUCATE on the Craft, then you MUST hold dear to what has been handed down through tradition as truth. Harm None has been steadfast throughout the centuries, simply because EVERY religion has their own version of it. If one person of power of this board takes it upon themselves to state something as blatantly hypocritical as you did, then you are causing harm to EVERY person who reads this thread. You can claim that the Harm None rule is a misconception, but I would suggest that when you are making such a personal claim/view, then note that it is YOUR personal opinion. What if a newbie came here, read what you wrote and took it to be COMPLETE truth, without knowing the history or WHY you feel that way, and took it to a coven? Or worse, if said newbie went and killed someone and claimed that nothing wrong was done in the name of Wicca? Clearly someone who has 15 years of more experience than I have should know the basic tenets of the Craft, right?
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Sage

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Re: The Lord and The Lady
« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2014, 11:45:08 PM »

Aly, you are flipping the words of the "Rede" around, which I think is where your confusion stems from. "An it harm none, do what ye will" does not mean the same thing as "Do whatever you like just so long as it harms none". The Rede was created to basically to say that all the harmless actions that many mainstream religions condemn, such as having premarital sex, eating pork, etc, is OKAY since it is not harming anyone. The rede does NOT say anything about what you can't do, however. Basically, the Rede leaves the decisions to do right/wrong up to the practitioner. It lets you have a mind of your own rather than listing out rules for you to obey.

Plus, it is literally impossible "to not take any action if it causes harm". You are causing harm in a sense all day long. If you drive a car, eat meat, step on bugs, or take antibiotics, you are harming living things in some way. If the Rede meant that you could do nothing that caused harm, you would literally have to cease existing to obey it.
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Micheál

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Re: The Lord and The Lady
« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2014, 12:20:48 AM »

Michael, I never thought of serving our gods outside of ritual as part of our praxis but that's great food for thought.

Apologies, I should have worded it to show I was actually emphasising acknowledging specifically within a ritual context.
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Ashe Isadora

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Re: The Lord and The Lady
« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2014, 12:27:50 AM »

Well darn Michael, I kind of liked the idea of redefining what praxis means.
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Micheál

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Re: The Lord and The Lady
« Reply #25 on: May 07, 2014, 12:35:51 AM »

Again, I KNOW that the Rede is a set of guidelines to be interpreted individually, much like the Pirate Code. However, it is wrong to say that the one edict that EVERY major player in the Wiccan religion has set down is "nothing major" is egotistical.

It is true that the Rede was a later addition to the Craft by Doreen Valiente. Gardner himself only mentioned Witches having a similar moral code to the fictional King Pausole in his "The Meaning of Witchcraft."

[Witches] are inclined to the morality of the legendary Good King Pausol, "Do what you like so long as you harm no one". But they believe a certain law to be important, "You must not use magic for anything which will cause harm to anyone, and if, to prevent a greater wrong being done, you must discommode someone, you must do it only in a way which will abate the harm."

Keep in mind that at the time of writing witchcraft was tainted very negatively and throughout that whole book he was trying to show otherwise. With many authors that have followed, Wicca's material can only be touched on so much in order not to elaborate on oathbound material, and authors tend to insert a lot of their personal interpretations in place. That is if they're actually initiated Wiccans to begin with, as many are not. When it comes to actually learning the tradition, the Rede serves little purpose other than being a line some may copy in their coven's Book of Shadow's. As mentioned, there are initiates that don't believe it to be Wiccan in essence at all. In fairness these DYI books are a bad influence on newbies.
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Micheál

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Re: The Lord and The Lady
« Reply #26 on: May 07, 2014, 12:37:08 AM »

Well darn Michael, I kind of liked the idea of redefining what praxis means.
Maybe it's possible lol
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Ashe Isadora

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Re: The Lord and The Lady
« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2014, 04:59:39 AM »

To me it's kind of interesting that the Rede, which is actually a statement of empowerment and tells us what we can do, has been reduced to the two words "harm none"  which is usually quoted out of context to the rest of the sentence. I think at some point the Rede was conflated with the oath of Hippocrates.

But many, especially Seekers, need a concrete guideline for personal ethics so it has probably served it's purpose in the community. But what constitutes harm, and that some harm may be inherent in any act of magic, can become a very complex subject.  The Rede serves as a useful touchstone.
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Kiara

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Re: The Lord and The Lady
« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2014, 09:59:42 AM »

Perhaps I do not belong in this thread, since I am not Wiccan.  I am, nevertheless, interested in learning about and understanding Wicca – if at all possible.  I find threads such as these quite confusing.

I was under the impression that Raymond Buckland is an expert on Wicca.  It is my understanding that it was he who brought Gardnerian Wicca to the United States and founded the first Wiccan Coven in America.  He has been called THE leading authority on Wicca in the United States.  I hope that I am not misinformed.

The following quotes are from Wicca for One: The Path of Solitary Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland*:

“This idea of the working of retribution contributes to what is the only “law” of Wicca.  That law, known as the Wiccan Rede, is “An it harm none, do what thou wilt.”  (The meaning of the old word “an” is “if.”)  It is saying that you can do whatever you like, just so long you do not harm anyone.  That includes yourself, of course….it should be obvious that the only magic that is done in Wicca is positive magic.  No magic is ever done that would harm anyone in any way.  Negative, or black magic, is only done by magicians who do not share the Wiccan beliefs.” – page 37

“Another thing to be considered – in fact the most important thing – is who will be affected by your magic?  We have the one true law of Witchcraft: “An it harm none, do what thou wilt.”  To repeat what I’ve said before, so long as you don’t harm anyone, you can do what you like.  That means do whatever magic you want to do.  But there is that precautionary tag:  not to harm anyone….So if your magic in any way affects another, look at the situation from all possible angles to determine whether you are interfering with another’s free will.  If you are, then DON’T DO IT!” – page 126


*Buckland, Raymond.  Wicca for One: The Path of Solitary Witchcraft. Kensington Publishing Corp., New York, 2004.



Personally, I find Aly’s integrity and passion for this topic commendable.  I was recently admonished by a Catholic priest for my interest in Wicca.  Please remember that this thread can be read by anyone on the Internet – guests, seekers, outsiders – anyone at all.  Those in a position of authority are indeed perceived as experts.  What is written here can certainly matter.
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Micheál

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Re: The Lord and The Lady
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2014, 12:16:37 PM »

Perhaps I do not belong in this thread, since I am not Wiccan.  I am, nevertheless, interested in learning about and understanding Wicca – if at all possible.  I find threads such as these quite confusing.

I was under the impression that Raymond Buckland is an expert on Wicca.  It is my understanding that it was he who brought Gardnerian Wicca to the United States and founded the first Wiccan Coven in America.  He has been called THE leading authority on Wicca in the United States.  I hope that I am not misinformed.
You absolutely belong in this thread then! Anytime something is confusing then it's even more reason to have these discussions...

You're not far off at all. Wicca has a hierarchy structure within its individual covens, however I wouldn't say it has "experts." Certainly elders with enough time and experience can speak with a bit of authority,  but it wouldn't overshadow that of someone else equally with the same. It's true that Raymond Buckland brought Gardnerian Wicca to the States, and for a long time his line was very influential to Wicca over there, however in the family tree he is just one of many. In Europe(especially here in the UK where Wicca originated), Gardner worked with many other Priestesses, and there are numerous other lineages that have spread throughout the world. Since Buckland, other lines and trads have hit U.S shores as well.

The example listed names "Solitary Witchcraft," which is a break from what Wicca is traditionally. It would seem natural to include things taken from Wicca that could be adopted for solitary practise in that case. If not focusing on its orthopraxic nature, something like the Rede is something one can adopt individually. The problem is in Traditional Wicca the Rede is not a "Law." Books like Buckland's big blue book are good recomended reads, however Buckland isn't without his flaws. Some of his later work, like his "Scottish Witchcraft" one is completely terrible where it's clear he probably had to crank another book out to pay rent. (I have no intention to discredit him by the way, as his credentials are strong elsewhere,  and he is who he is. I learned a lot from his books myself starting out)

In regards to Buckland, there are initiates  of his own Long Island line that don't even believe the Rede to be Wiccan in essence. I'm across the pond in Ireland where he has no relevance to my trad, and when it comes to authority there are things in my Farrar upline written in books that I wouldn't agree with. Janet herself has said she has written things in the past that she no longer believes. I only speak as one initiate, where I'm sure there are others that wouldn't believe opinions of mine, but regardless in Wicca we all share the same core praxis in which the Rede isn't a "Wiccan" law though it's sometimes named as such and considered a tenent elsewhere.

It's hard to clear up misinformation that has been mass published. For a seeker just learning, they can read numerous sources describing the Rede as a law, and if they want to adopt it as such then fair play, however it's true that if they were to move onto seeking out a traditional Wiccan coven then they'd have a different experience with it......as we all have.
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