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Finding Your Pagan Moral Compass: On Forgiveness

By Deborah Castellano

Sometimes being a Witch is challenging. We have a much murkier moral structure than many other world religions, especially if you don’t subscribe to one branch of spirituality like I do. Sometimes, I miss being Catholic, in my own way. While it wasn’t always easy to adhere to the belief structure, there was a structure to follow for everything. You could expect Mass to go a certain way, you could expect sinning to go a certain way, you could expect forgiveness to go a certain way and you could even expect death to go a certain way. As a creature of habit and structure, I miss those certainties even if they weren’t always necessarily certain in my own head as when I was a Catholic.

When I learned about the Japanese tea ceremony, learning all the structure to it seemed very daunting to me. There are so many nuances to it. But it made sense when it was explained to me that this was how many people in Japan relax. The structure dictated literally everything that happened during the ceremony, from the conversation to how you held your teacup. That meant that you could relax because there was no uncertainty. Everything was decided before you even stepped foot into the teahouse. As someone who is incredibly anxious and who is triggered by uncertainty, it made sense to me.

Setting up your own moral compass is challenging, which is why a lot of people prefer a pre-fab version, even in Paganism. Some subscribe to a general rule of three and/or some kind of karmatic system. I don’t actually really personally subscribe to either of those. I don’t disbelieve in it or anything; it’s just not for me.

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