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Pagan Values Blogging Month #2: The Wiccan Rede

To me, the Wiccan Rede is one of those things that works in theory, but is not always practical. To live, we harm other living creatures. We take up space and resources, which means some other creature has to give up resources and has to move over. Now, I don’t go around rampantly destroying living creatures. I’m not out there eating the last of a species or sport hunting or burning ants with a magnifying glass. I’m not a murderer. As far as lesser transgressions go – harming others by being abusive, breaking someone’s trust, taking more than I need to deliberately deny someone else a share of something… I try my best not to do it. Not because I’m a reformed Wiccan, or because I adhere to the Wiccan Rede, but because I generally try to be a civilized human being. I understand that I am connected to all living creatures on this big blue ball we call home, and I try not to infringe too much on the rights of others to simply exist. I’m even taking steps to ween (wean?) down my possessions so I will take up less space.

Anyone who knows me & is reading this is probably thinking, “Oh, no fucking way, Janelle. You’re mean to people, you deliberately say and do things to piss other people off, you neglect your friends and family, and you have no compassion.” You’re right. I am mean, I deliberately incite riots, I’m a bad friend, I lack compassion and I hate most of my family. I admit it. I also know that I am changing things about myself and these things may not always hold true about me. It is hard because it has been my nature for a long time. I don’t always enjoy company. Many times I think my presence is harmful in and of itself because I am always unhappy and I do not have many nice things to say about other people and trying to get me to do something for someone else usually involves a chainfall or a lit torch aimed at my head. It entertains me to get people riled up over trivial bullshit, just as much as watching someone about to do something very stupid and get hurt entertains me. I value compassion and random acts of kindness but it’s one value that I cannot live up to well or often. It gives me something to work towards.

I also feel that sometimes, strict adherence to the Wiccan Rede or any of the other ‘ethics of reciprocity’ can open the door to someone becoming a doormat. Why are there so few rich Pagans? Because, in general, Pagans look down on accepting payment or charging for their services, and they look down on those who charge for spiritual services. In general, Pagans think those who charge for spiritual services are con-men, selling snake oil. It’s a big difference between Vodou and Wicca. I remarked in a reply to someone else’s journal that in the Vodou world, payment is not only acceptable, it’s expected. It’s part of the bargain made with the lwa. You pay for their protection and aid. You may not actually hand money to someone being ridden by a lwa, but you pay the mambo or houngan, you buy the animals to be sacrificed, you feed the lwa and the community gathered to the celebration, you pay the drummers, you pay for the space. It may not be in cash, it may be by volunteering your services and time, it may mean a year or a few years of hard labor, depending on the favor being granted. It may be bartered goods or skills. To not offer payment is the unacceptable thing.

Read the original article at: Changing Seal Woman

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