Earth day- secular call-to-action or Pagan holiday?

Quick points on Earth Day

  • Started on the 22nd of April, 1970
  • Date was chosen around American college schedules, NOT Pagan holidays
  • Was founded by two United States federal politicians: Gaylord Nelson and Pete Mc Closkey
  • Was founded in reaction to the amount of pollution and industrial waste causing health and safety concerns in the US
  • The Name Earth Day was created by an advertising executive as it rhymed with ‘birthday’
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Image source

Happy Earth Day 2017 (or for those not yet into the 22nd of April Earth Day-eve). For myself, and I would imagine many of those within the Pagan-based faiths, the concept of Earth Day is welcomed and cherished. We believe that there is a direct connection between ourselves and nature at-large. Our faith ties us with nature, and harming the environment is like harming ourselves. But, just because Pagans relate to, and welcome, Earth Day does it mean that this global call-to-arms was a Pagan-inspired creation? On my look around the web I found a few links to some who would say yes, Earth Day is a means to force Paganism onto well-abiding Christians. Honestly, before researching this blog I had no idea of the foundations of Earth Day; so for the benefit of myself and the greater community I will give an account of Earth Day’s beginnings, the background behind the event, and current beliefs around the day.

History of Earth Day

GaylordNelson
Gaylord Nelson

Earth Day was founded on the 22nd of April, 1970 by a United States senator from Wisconsin named Gaylord Nelson. A self-proclaimed environmental activist Gaylord felt that America was destroying its environment through industrialization and current societal practices. Two events in particular led to his decision to move forward: an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California and a river which caught on fire due to oil in Cleveland.

Gaylord teamed up with Denis Hayes, the organization’s founder, and Pete McCloskey who was a congressman from California. The original idea for Earth Day was to be a one-time call-to-arms situated across college campuses in the US to highlight the need for environmental protection and working towards sustainability. The actual day, April 22nd, was chosen by Gaylord as it fell between the typical final exam week in American universities and the spring break festivities. The actual name ‘Earth Day’ was created by Julian Koenig, an advertising executive who stated that the name sounded like ‘birthday’ and the name stuck.

Since it’s inception Earth Day has become a global effort. Celebrated across the world it’s efforts have brought about many changes in how America and the world approach the environment and relevant issues of renewable energy, recycling, sustainable growth and waste/garbage disposal. According to the Earth Day Network site:

Earth Day Network is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 50,000 partners in nearly 195 countries to build environmental democracy. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. We work through a combination of education, public policy, and consumer campaigns.”

Religious ties to the foundation of Earth Day?

So through all of my research not once has the concept of religion, any religion, entered into either the foundations of Earth Day, nor it’s current form. Yes, there are some Pagan organizations who relate to Earth Day in relation to their Pagan beliefs or simply use the day as a way of bringing to their conscious a connection with nature. In his book Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca and Pagansism in America Chas Clifton made reference to the fact that modern Wicca transformed from a magical-based religion to more nature-based in reaction to

220px-Her_Hidden_Children
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Earth Day. But these are anecdotal connections, just as the Easter bunny is now associated with the holiday it shares a name with. The concept of the Easter bunny was created to serve a purpose from the holiday, not define it.

The idea of Earth Day being considered a Pagan holiday was challenged in New York on March 29th 2001 when a group of parents described as of Christian faith brought a suit against the Fox Lane High School stating that their Earth Day activities were promoting Pagan and earth-based religions. Justice Kearse compared Earth Day festivites to that of displaying and paying respect to the American flag:

“An objective observer would not view these detailed prescriptions for honoring the American flag … as an indication that Congress … has established flag worship as a religion,” Judge Kearse wrote. “We conclude that an objective observer similarly would not view the School District’s Earth Day ceremonies as endorsing Gaia or Earth worship as a religion.”

http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/pagan-and-earth-based/2001/04/court-earth-day-not-pagan-public-schools-may-celebrate.aspx

The court found also found that the use of the term ‘mother nature’ was not a reference to a goddess or other diety, but a phrase similar to ‘father time’ used to describe a concept. Here we find objective heads prevailing to prevent a rather narrow-minded group of individuals from ruining what is a good public service in the form of Earth Day activities.

My take on Earth Day

I could also present here the critics. To be fair most have Christian backgrounds (at least according to the publicly stated information). But I do not feel such ignorant musings need a forum. As you can see even the Pagan faiths have looked to tie-in with Earth Day, however it was NOT founded on Pagan beliefs nor by any person who has ties to the Pagan community. Earth Day was a reaction by a well-meaning group of politicians and activists to raise awareness of industrial practices which could ruin our only true home- the planet.

Because of their efforts we have seen an amazing transformation of our planet since the 1970s. I was born in 1972 (shhh, makes me old), and can remember the days of smog alerts and oil spills. We live on a better planet because of the efforts of Gaylord Nelson, Denis Hayes, Pete McClosky and all of the other men and women who have taken their time and efforts to focus the world’s attention to the environment. Let us not ruin their efforts by putting religion squarely in an area where it is not relevant.

If religious faiths choose to use Earth Day as a reminder of their connection with Mother Earth great. We also have several other holidays that are similar. Likewise even Christians can, should they choose, use the day to strengthen their belief in god. But let us keep the focus of Earth Day on it’s original purpose.

Until next time,

Garrettlonewolfe

Articles for reference

Earth Day Network

Wikipedia- Earth Day

Envirolink site with commentary from Gaylord Nelson regarding the foundations of Earth Day

Livescience: Earth Day Facts and History

Vision.org- Gaylord Nelson: Founder of Earth Day

Uppity Wisconsin: The First Earth Day and Gaylord Nelson’s Environmental Legacy

Wikipedia- Gaylord Nelson

Huffington Post: Eight Ways Pagans Celebrate Earth Day

The Wild Hunt- Happy (Pagan) Earth Day to you!

Beliefnet- Court: Earth Day Not Pagan Holiday, Public Schools May Celebrate

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Easter- a Christian holiday with Pagan roots?

Another Easter has passed. Filled with bunnies, eggs (both chocolate and decorated hard-boiled) and baskets. As we well know that according to Christian tradition Easter is known as the day of Resurrection for Jesus Christ. However, Pagans can rejoice in the knowledge that the foundations of this Christian holiday have very Pagan roots.

1. The day Easter falls

As we know Easter falls on different Sunday’s each year, sometime from late March to late April. Why a different date? Wouldn’t the date remain static each year, the same as Christmas? According to a news report by ABC news the method of determining Easter Sunday began according to the first Council of Nicea in 325AD. The council determined that Easter Sunday was the first Sunday after the full moon following the Spring Equinox. This places the Sunday anywhere between March 25th and April 25th each year.

Pagans everywhere can associate the wheel of the year and the equinoxes with harvests and our spiritual growth, death, and re-birth. Additionally, the moon cycles resonate with us around our beliefs of the goddess. However, neither of these important Pagan principles are mentioned in the Bible.

2. The origin of the Easter bunny

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That all to recognizable fabled animal who defies logic in producing eggs (either golden, decorated or chocolate). A popular theory in history is that the Easter bunny originated from Germany where it was known as the osterhase. The original mention of the Easter bunny comes from Georg Franck von Franckenau’s De ovis paschalibus in 1682. The Easter bunny was similar to Santa Claus in that he brought eggs to the children. The Easter bunny was seen as representing fertility and life as bunnies are known to have multiple liters of offspring.

 

 

 

 

3. The famous Easter egg

Originally having eggs was seen as a treat after Lent. The eggs needed to be hard-boiled to keep in the time before refrigeration, and the decorations were seen as a way of making them special for the holidays. Again the history points to this being a German tra

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dition where the decorated hard-boiled eggs were a treat after Lent, and it appears that the Easter bunny would leave the eggs out in his pre-Easter delivery.

In fact the belief is that the origins of the famous chocolate Easter eggs comes originally from the German immigrants who brought the Easter bunny tradition to the US via Pennsylvania in the 1700s. The Cadburry company took the idea (originally the eggs were hard-boiled and decorated) and turned the Easter egg into today’s delicious treat.

4. The name Easter

In fact the name of the holiday, Easter, has been associated with Pagan links. Nowhere in the bible is the name of this holiday listed. However, history has shown some association with the greek god Eostre. Again a Germanic link Eostre was seen as a Saxon god of questionable origin, however it was suggestive of the Equinox and celebrations of new life. Most likely Eostre was celebrated as a time when winter was ending signalling the growth of crops and increasing activity of livestock meaning food would be available soon. Eostre also has links to the Pagan spring equinox hoiday of Ostara.

So while Easter in today’s times is associated strongly with the different Christian faiths, never forget that like all similar celebrations this holiday firmly has roots planted in Wiccan traditions. Again I must re-state that I have no issue or complaint with Christians celebrating this holiday as their own, it just gives me a grin knowing that our two differing faiths have more in common than they would like to believe.

Blessed be,

Garrettlonewolfe

For your reading here are the articles used for this post:

Origins of Easter from the ABC News

The Easter Bunny- Wikipedia

The Easter holiday from History.com

The Easter holiday from Heavy.com

Easter symbols and traditions from History.com

Eostre- Wikipedia

Pagans seventh largest religion in the UK

Beltane celebration            Pagan pride picnic

Credit: Pagan Nature Celebrations               Credit: Pagan Pride Picnic 2009: Nottingham

According to the 2011 UK census Pagans represented the seventh most popular religious faith according to a report in an article in the Chronicle live. While total numbers of respondents were not stated in the article it did report that 1802 people did identify themselves as Pagan in the North East.

The trouble with this story is the difficulty of identifying what constitutes a ‘Pagan’. Of the 1802 people in the North East who stated they were Pagan 456 ( 26%) identified themselves as Wiccan. However, the actual paths of other Pagan faiths was not identified. The report described Paganism as ” according to the Pagan Federation, the term covers a vast number of traditions or “paths” whose central idea is that there is a divine force inherent in nature. Pagans celebrate events such as the summer and winter solstice by gathering before sunrise in gardens, forests, hilltops or beaches for organized rituals or their own personal reflection.” While giving a very nebulous idea that we are somehow in-tune with nature the description fails to identify any true religious principles other than our belief in a divine connection with nature.

From my standpoint one of our great assets as a set of religious beliefs is also our downfall. There are quite a few spiritual sects which serve to fall under the Pagan definition, but that variability leads to confusion when interacting with non-Pagans. To their credit the Pagan Federation of the UK does try to define and explain Pagans and Paganism on their webpage. The one sentence statement is: “A follower of a polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion.” Further on the same page it states that Paganism is “the ancestral religion of the whole of humanity. This ancient  religious outlook remains active throughout much of the world today, both  in complex civilisations such as Japan and India, and in less complex  tribal societies world-wide. It was the outlook of the European religions  of classical antiquity – Persia, Egypt, Greece and Rome – as well as of their “barbarian” neighbours on the northern fringes, and its European form is re-emerging into explicit awareness in the modern West  as the articulation of urgent contemporary religious priorities.”

The issue with these types of depictions are that they do not address the areas of concern for those who are concerned about our beliefs. Questions like: do you have a moral code of non-violence and piety, why is nature so important within your religion, and how does your religious beliefs teach regarding interaction with other non-Pagan faiths? Could it be that a general discussion of Paganism cannot formulate such central answers to these questions, as has been accomplished for other mainstream religions?

Simply a question, however is Paganism too inclusive? Could it be that our quest to encompass those religions who are nature-centric and do not fall under the umbrella of the major faiths causing isolation and removal from acceptance? Especially in this day and age of sound bytes and definitive statements to explain somewhat complex ideas is Paganism serving to be one of its worst enemies?

Link to the Chronicle live story: http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/pagans-demand-greater-respect-revealed-3658870

Link to the Pagan federation page on introduction to Paganism: http://paganfed.org/paganism.shtml

Until next time,

Garrettlonewolfe

Retrospective repentence for Pagan ancestors?

Now for those that have followed this blog for the short period of time it has been in existence, firstly I would like to thank you, I have stated I try to bring at least semi-intelligent discussion into the debate between Pagan beliefs and other ‘mainstream’ (primarily Christian) religions.

One of the often recurrent themes of these mainstream religions is the belief that Pagans are ill-informed and simply lacking in firm beliefs. We are represented as those fringe-dwellers amongst the religious community. However, sometimes even the mighty Christian faith- the most popular religious faith in the world- has its share of those who can be considered one verse short of a psalm (sorry for the bad pun- just could not help myself).

Cindy Jacobs  Cindy Jacobs

A ‘television prophet’ named Cindy Jacobs has posted a video amongst her “10 minute prayer school” series stating that Native Americans, Mexicans, and all others with Pagan descendants must repent retrospectively for their forefathers. As reported in the Huffington Post Jacobs has stated that a spirit named Leviathan “…is very territorial, very active and has ‘supernatural’ powers”. Wait, a Christian prophet stating that a spirit has supernatural powers? Isn’t that something that is against their doctrine?

I will not go on with the comments made, as they are simply ludicrous. However, in reading the comments from the story Bert Dodson stated ” ah do Americans of European descent need to ask forgiveness for their ancestors pagan past? either in ignorance or due to malice she has forgotten that no one in the world was Christian before the 1st century C.E. and everyone who profess Christianity descends from a pagan of some sort or other faith system?”

My point with this posting is that when a faith which is fundamentally different from Christianity attempts to enter the public arena either by a public gathering or through media representation those leaders of the Christian faith are quick to condemn. However, when someone like Cindy Jacobs looks to use the religion of Christianity to proclaim very hurtful and otherwise delusional comments to others she is not reprimanded by these leaders, and instead is given a publicity on a respected site. Where is the condemnation, where is the exclusion of Jacobs from those within the church?

There is one thought that comes to mind: silence is as much an indication of acceptance and agreement as the most well constructed remark.

Until next time,

Garrettlonewolfe

Link to the Huffington Post news story: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/05/cindy-jacobs-native-americans-repent_n_3390601.html

Monotheism, Polythesim, or other? The existence and belief in gods

Wiccan five elements 1
Wiccan five elements 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The definition of theism, according to Oxford online dictionary, is ” belief in the existence of a god or gods, specifically of a creator who intervenes in the universe: there are many different forms of theism” http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/theism

That started me thinking, am I a polytheist, as some may suggest (believing in multiple gods). As to the idea of a creator I must admit I take a more Darwinian approach- a belief in the Big Bang and subsequent genetic mutation and improvement based on survival of the fittest. This is in line with the Wiccan connection with nature and the natural process of life. So I do not believe that there is some ‘master plan’ with a conscious entity at the helm.

Another question exists in the term ‘god (God)’. I don’t think this fits either. I believe that there is a spiritual energy which surrounds and is included within all things- but this spiritual energy does not have a mind of its own, and does not have any purposeful control. Often it is talked about as Wiccans and other faiths celebrating the God and Goddess- this I do not question. However, to me this is the human mind trying to describe and comprehend the infinite. The God and Goddess are simply differing vibrations in the spiritual energy- not specific entities in their own right. They represent the qualities spiritual energy in relation to gender  and personality traits.

As to the intervening portion, I think this is rather obvious. You reap what you sow- as the Wiccan Rede describes. Therefore, we intervene in our own future with every action we take.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God

Until next time,

Garrettlonewolfe

Is there enough room for Pagans- part 2

English: Religious symbols from the top nine o...
English: Religious symbols from the top nine organised faiths of the world according to Major world religions From left to right: 1st Row: Christian Cross, Jewish Star of David, Hindu Aumkar 2nd Row: Islamic Star and crescent, Buddhist Wheel of Dharma, Shinto Torii 3rd Row: Sikh Khanda, Bahá’í star, Jain Ahimsa Symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Various neopagan religious symbols (from left ...
Various neopagan religious symbols (from left to right): 1st Row *Slavic Neopaganism (“Hands of God”) *Celtic Neopaganism (or general spiral triskele / triple spiral) *Germanic Neopaganism (“Thor’s hammer”) 2nd Row *Hellenic Reconstructionism *neopagan pentagram (or pentacle) *Roman Reconstructionism 3rd Row *Wicca (or general Triple Goddess) *Kemetism (or general ankh) *Natib Qadish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In part 1 I discussed the Pagan’s place amongst the major religions of the world, particularly the Christian religion as it is the largest with the most members. In part 2 I am considering some issues, and advantages, we face in the present societal context.

First and foremost Pagan beliefs do not consider themselves to be the ‘one and only’ religious faith and all other faiths lead those who follow to wreck and ruin. In other words we keep an open mind. Along with this is the notion that Pagans do not openly proselytize, this has both good and bad aspects. Good as the Pagan followers are more committed than other religions; bad in that our numbers are arguably small and we lack a strong public voice.

Secondly, we do not have any codified belief text or purpose-built buildings with which to conduct ourselves. The bible (I am using this merely as an example please do not get me started on the merits of its validity) serves to solidify the various Christian sects, however this same text can be an issue.

Thirdly is the requirement amongst the Christian faiths to have trained heads, and in so doing the requirement for funds to the church. By reinforcing the need for believers to give money to the church, and governments to give tax breaks to them, a large amount of funds can be amassed by these organizations for publicity. Likewise the appointed leaders and hierarchy can concentrate on duties which serve to maximize the political and public standing of their church over other religions.

We can do things to further acceptance of the Pagan faiths amongst the various religions of the world. Although the bible solidifies the Christian faith, it also helps to make it obsolete. Pagan faiths, from my point of view, are more savvy in communication through the internet and social media than other faiths. Although we are very much solitary practitioners we are good at connecting at least in part.

While churches of major faiths can collect sums of money they also have vast amounts of infrastructure and assets which require maintenance. Again we are able to adapt to changing times. As our path is aligned with nature we understand intrinsically the idea of adaptation and survival.

Finally, our conviction to the Pagan way is our most important asset. We chose our Pagan ways- it did not recruit, badger, or goad us into joining. A founding principle of this path is for followers to become independent practitioners free from required ‘learned men’ who must be a conduit for our relationship with the higher power. That drive and devotion to our ways has overcome past attempts to silence and stamp out Pagan ways and failed. Let us make sure it does so in the future.

One of the most important (from my view) methods we can employ to spread our faith and increase acceptance is through sharing of knowledge. As much of the material on Pagans is found through the internet the knowledge of what websites exist are important. To that end I am posting two sites which I have found of value over the years, and invite others to share websites which would be of value to the wider community:

The Pagan Awareness Network is a Sydney-based site devoted in part to media awareness of the facts surrounding Pagan beliefs:  http://www.paganawareness.net.au/PAN/

The Witches Voice is a site devoted to articles of a Pagan nature on various aspects of natural spirituality and is worth a look: http://www.witchvox.com/

Until next time,

Garrettlonewolfe

“Living in a pre-Christian age”

An interesting story from the website Catholic online regarding Paganism in our modern society. While the rhetoric talks of converting a Pagan to Christianity some of the more subtle items in the article are of note.

Written by Deacon Keith Fournier the article describes this era in society as a time in which the Christian churches must win over the hearts and minds of others- particularly mentioned was Pagan (exact meaning not stated) believers. He admitted that the Christian church could no longer simply expect people to follow their faith.

Another interesting item was the description of the conversion of Justin- an individual who moved from Paganism to Christianity. The article describes how Justin did much searching for his belief system: studying Greek philosophers, investigating various religious beliefs, and openly listening to the views of others. Eventually, according to the article, Justin converted to Christianity.

The moral I think is important for this forum is the fact that individuals like Justin actively search out their path, instead of simply accepting blindly the views of others. It is easy to follow the spiritual path of those around you- for acceptance is a core societal goal. However, for those of us who feel that the ‘mainstream’ faiths do not fit we have the courage to travel our own path. I do not object to others holding firm Christian faiths- I do object to those individuals not feeling it necessary to accept mine.

Until next time,

Garrettlonewolfe

Link to the story: http://www.catholic.org/homily/yearoffaith/story.php?id=51198

Is there enough room for Pagans? Part 1

A map of the world, showing the major religion...
A map of the world, showing the major religions distributed in the world as of today. A different type of map which views only the religion as a whole excluding denominations or sects of the religions, and is colored by how the religions are distributed not by main religion of country etc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let me start this post with a few figures:

– There are more than 7.12 billion people. http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/
– Approximately 190 countries exist

http://www.worldatlas.com/nations.htm
– Although figures varies there are approximately 19 ‘major’ religions currently
http://www.religioustolerance.org/worldrel.htm 

– Religions affilliated with Christianity are the most popular wofldwide http://www.religioustolerance.org/worldrel.htm 

I start with these facts to illistrate several points to be made in this post and the next. Christianity is by far the most prevelant religiln in the world, but in no way is it the only religion. Why, then, does it seem that there is constant friction between Christians and Pagans. Maybe it is just me, and others can correct me if I am wrong, but it seems as though we do not hear the same rhetoric from Muslims and Jews as we do from Christians?

After all, what is a religion? To me a religion must have the following:

1. Answer the ‘big three’ questions: where did we come from, why are we here, and where do we go when we die.

2. Have some acceptance and belief in a ‘higher’ power.

3. Subscribe to at least a basic set of values- I have deliberately left out moral in this term as it seems the people’s view of moral varies wiedely.

Taking these three items into account both Pagan and Christian religions fit the bill. However, there are some fundamental issues which I feel causes the friction.

The initial rift between Christianity and Pagan beliefs started, based on historical accounts, when the Roman empire moved away from the polytheistic Pagan beliefs and accepted Christianity. The patiriarchal and all-encompassing nature of Christianity purposefully excludes other religions. In some ways I also feel that Christianity feels under threat with the current nature of our society, especially in light of current issues within the Catholic church and falling participation numbers, and could believe that ‘alternative’ religions such as those of the Pagan ways could start to become more prevelant.

In part 2 I will talk about some issues with the Pagan faiths which could be inhibitting us from greater recognition and acceptance.

Until next time,

Garrettlonewolfe

What’s in a name: prayer and spell casting?

prayer                                                  pagan altar

One of the items which seems to cause concern and wonder amongst the non-Pagan community is that of casting spells. Somehow this process is able to shift space and time, to defy the laws of physics and matter to achieve feats that no mortal could. Nothing can be farther from the truth.

Yes, those of Pagan faith do talk of energy-shifting or focusing as part of the spell-casting process. Simply put this is the act of focusing your internal energy, while attracting like energy from the universe, towards an intended goal. The same is done with sports psychologists who work with players, golfers of note, in focusing their energies on the perfect shot or play. It is the power of positive thought. We do think a bit outside of ourselves as Pagans know they are connected to the energy of the universe, and can harness that energy to aid them. However, as Pagans we also know that we must work with nature and the natural laws- for they serve as a foundation for our spiritual path.

I can draw a similar comparison to my Christian brethren when discussing prayer. What does one do when they pray to their god? They oftentimes kneel or sit (coming closer to the Earth), clasp their hands ( creating a connection between the two halves of their body), close their eyes (this is a common method used in metaphysical practices such as meditation to help focus our mind and remove distractions), and then look to speak to their god and generally with the purpose of asking or attempting to influence a particular result (I would call that focusing energy towards an intended goal- wouldn’t you).

After the spell is cast and the prayer is given both Pagans and Christians do the same thing- wait. They wait and have faith that their devotion to their spiritual beliefs and their devoted process will yield a result which is in their intended favour. Just because we take different paths does not mean we do not end up at the same destination.

Until next time,

Garrettlonewolfe

Where’s hell again?

 

Ok, so I cannot say I am so naive as to not know where hell is. However, whenever I have concerned Christians discussing my Wiccan ways they always come back to the same theme- that I my eternal soul is going to hell. While I must say that these individuals (some of whom are not related and are pure strangers to me) do seem to generally have my welfare as their concern there is a fundamental flaw in the conversation, I as a Wiccan (and pagans from a greater sense) do not believe in a hell as described by the Christian community.

This shocks my cross-bearing brethren when this truth is known. How can anyone not subscribe to the belief that a pit of eternal damnation exists for those who have sinned on earth? Well… it’s true. Is it because my Wiccan beliefs leave me without a moral compass to guide me through the path of right and wrong? No, in fact that cannot be further from the truth. While I do believe in transcendence of the soul after death (more on that in a later post) our deeds, both good and bad, are settled in this life- freeing up the soul to continue its journey either up or down the tree of life. So let me explain three Wiccan beliefs to contextualize my moral compass and how I choose to gauge my thoughts and actions.

Karma

While popularly noted as originating in eastern religions the idea of Karma is firmly rooted in Wicca. Simply put it is the rule that states whatever you may do, both good and bad, comes back to you in some way. I think of it as a behavioural bank account- constantly being weighed with good and bad actions, thoughts, and words. These items are weighed on the severity scale, and returned in like means. Therefore, if I steal a pen at work I might lose a favourite DVD; should I look to donate time at the local food bank I may find that a small windfall of money appears when I need it most. This is in conflict with the Christian belief of sins and asking forgiveness. As we answer to ourselves and the universe there is no pity, we simply reap what we sow.

The Law of Three

But our behavioural bank account is not that simple. The law of three takes the idea of Karma one step further to say that whatever you do both good and bad is returned to you three-fold. Makes a pretty good case for good, doesn’t it? Therefore, that pen stealing incident could turn into a failed work proposal. The food bank charity may turn into several friends assisting on short notice when we are in desperate need of child-minding.

I believe it is these two principles which hold Wiccans (and pagans generally) to a higher standard. We do not get a ‘penance get out of sin free’ card. Responsibility must be accepted for all of our actions. Because of this many pagans are very humble, aware of their footprint on mother Earth and mankind. We are in many ways passive knowing that aggressive action does not help us down the track. With Karma and the Law of Three a final rule is formed: the Wiccan Rede. Simple to say, but difficult to practice the Rede guides us as a mantra through our daily lives.

The Wiccan Rede– ‘And it harm none, do what ye will.’

Of course almost every action, every sentence, and sometimes our thoughts can have an effect on others. However, it is the constant process of weighing up the benefits and consequences which keep me in check. If you would like some more information about the Rede here is a link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiccan_Rede.

Until next time,

Garrettlonewolfe