This is a Paganism 101 Essay/Lesson
Ethics and Morals Part II
© Shauna McShane
Now that we have discovered ourselves, let us discover our moral paths.
Pagan ethics and morals are very broad ideals. Some adhere strictly to a set of rules, while others do not. The main part of the Pagan path is that we are required to think, and our ethics and morals are directly affected by our thoughts on issues, world events, and the world around us.
On Pagan may not eat meat because they adhere to the Wiccan Rede which says "Harm none". A thinking Pagan, though, realizes that vegetables are also living creatures, and may interpret the Rede to mean to think before they act, and accept the consequences of their actions.
Here are some definitions from Dictionary.com:
|1.||(used with a singular or plural verb) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.|
|2.||the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.|
|3.||moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.|
|4.||(usually used with a singular verb) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.|
|1.||of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.|
|2.||expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work; moralizing: a moral novel.|
|3.||founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom: moral obligations.|
Why are our moral guidelines so hard to follow? Because we need to aspire to be better than we are. We need to write it down in catchy phrases so we can remind ourselves daily to compare our actions to it, and see if they measure up.
Read the Pagan laws and rules below.
By: Scott Cunningham
* We are of the Old Ways, among those who walk with the Goddess and God and receive Their love.
* Keep the Sabbats and Esbats to the best of your abilities, for to do otherwise is to lessen your connection with the Goddess and God.
* Harm none. This, the oldest law, is not open to interpretation or change.
* Shed not blood in ritual; the Goddess and God need not blood to be duly worshipped.
* Those of our ways are kind to all creatures, for hurtful thoughts are quiet draining and aren't worth the loss of energy.
* Misery is self-created; so, too, is joy, so create joy and disdain misery and unhappiness. And this is within your power. So harm not.
* Teach only what you know, to the best of your ability, to those students who you choose, butteach not to those who would use your instructions for destruction or control. Also, teach notto boost pride, forever remember: She who teaches out of love shall be enfolded in the arms of the Goddess and God.
* Ever remember that if you would be of our way, keep the law close to your heart, for it is the nature of the Wicca to keep the Law.
* If ever the need arises, any law may be changed or discarded, and new laws written to
* replace them, so long as the new laws don't break the oldest law of all: Harm None.
* Blessings of the Goddess and God on us all.
* The Power shall not be used to bring harm, to injure or control others. But if the need rises,the Power shall be used to protect your life or the lives of others.
* The Power is used only as need dictates.
* The Power can be used for your own gain, as long as by doing so you harm none.
* It is unwise to accept money for use of the Power, for it quickly controls its taker. Be not as those of other religions.
* Use not the Power for prideful gain, for such cheapens the mysteries of Wicca and magick.
* Ever remember that the Power is the sacred gift of the Goddess and God, and should never be misused or abused.
* And this is the law of the Power.
By: Ed Fitch
Insofar as the Craft of the Wise is the most ancient and most honorable creed
of humankind, it behooves all who are Witches to act in ways that give respect to
the Old Gods, to their sisters and brothers of the Craft, and to themselves.
Therefore, be it noted that:
Chivalry is a high code of honor which is of most ancient Pagan origin, and must
be lived by all who follow the Old Ways.
It must be kenned that thoughts and intent put forth on this middle-Earth will
wax strong in otherworlds beyond, and return...bringing into creation, on this
world, that which had been sent forth. Thus one should exercise discipline, for
"as ye do plant, so shall ye harvest."
It is only by preparing our minds to be as Gods that we can ultimately attain
"This above all...to thine own self be true..."
A Witch's word must have the validity of a signed and witness oath. Thus, give
thy word sparingly, but adhere to it like iron.
Refrain from speaking ill of others, for not all truths of the matter may be
Pass not unverified words about another, for heresay is, in a large part, a thing
Be thou honest with others, and have them known that honesty is likewise
expected of them.
The fury of the moment plays folly with the truth; to keep one's head is a
Contemplate always the consequences of thine acts upon others. Strive not to
Diverse covens may well have diverse news on love between members and with
others. When a coven, clan or grove is visited or joined, one should discern
quietly their practices, and abide thereby.
Dignity, a gracious manner, and a good humor are much to be admired.
As a Witch, thou hast power, and thy powers wax strongly as wisdom increases.
Therefore exercise discretion in the use thereof.
Courage and honor endure forever. Their echoes remain when the mountains have
crumbled to dust.
Pledge friendship and fealty to those who so warrant. Strengthen others of the
Brethren and they shall strengthen thee.
Thou shall not reveal secrets of another Witch or another coven. Others have
labored long and hard for them and cherish them as treasures.
Though there may be differences between those of the Old Ways, those who are
once-born must see nothing,and must hear nothing.
Those who follow the mysteries should be above reproach in the eyes of the
The laws of the land should be obeyed whenever possible and within reason, for
in the main they have been chosen with wisdom.
Have pride in thyself, and seek perfection in body and in mind. For the Lady has
said, "How can thou honor another unless thou give honor to thyself first?"
Those who seek the mysteries should consider themselves as select of the Gods,
for it is they who lead the race of humans to the highest of thrones and beyond
the very stars.
By Jim Weaver
-Never let anyone coerce you into joining a magical group you don't feel comfortable about.
-Never let anyone force you to do any type of divination when you're tired or just don't feel like it.
-Never perform a spell to help someone when they haven't asked you. This is a form of manipulation.
-Don't brag about your magic--besides being rude, blabbing about your magic weakens it.
-Never use magic to harm a person, animal, or plant.
-During a love spell never mention a specific person.
-Do give thanks when a spell has brought your desire into your life.
-When people ask you to perform any type of divination, don't let them become too dependent on you.
The Witches' Code
2. Refrain from speaking ill of others, for not all truths of the matter may be known.
3. Pass not unverified words about another, for heresay is, in a large part, a thing of falsehoods.
4. Be thou honest with others, and have them known that honesty is likewise expected of them.
5. The fury of the moment plays folly with the truth; to keep one's head is a virtue.
6. Contemplate always the consequences of thine acts upon others. Strive not to harm. Unless, in rare occasions, it is needed to heal. (See Thirteen.)
7. Diverse covens may well have diverse rules on love between members and with others. When a coven, clan or grove is visited or joined, one should discern quietly their practices, and abide thereby or remove thyself.
8. Dignity, a gracious manner, a good humor, and impeccable manners are much to be admired.
9. As a Witch, thou hast power, and thy powers wax strongly as wisdom increases. Therefore exercise discretion in the use thereof.
10. Courage and honor endure forever. Their echoes remain when the mountains have crumbled to dust.
11. Pledge friendship and fealty to those who so warrant. Strengthen others of the Brethren and they shall strengthen thee.
12. Thou shall not reveal secrets of another Witch or another coven. Others have labored long and hard for them and cherish them as treasures.
13. Though there may be differences between those of the Old Ways, those who are once-born must see nothing, and must hear nothing. Those who follow the mysteries should strive always to be above reproach in the eyes of the world.
14. The laws of the land should be obeyed whenever possible.
15. Have pride in thyself, and seek health in body and in mind. For the Lady has said, "How can thou honor another unless thou give honor first to thyself?"
Those who seek the mysteries should consider themselves as select of the gods, for it is they who lead the race of humans to the highest of thrones and beyond the very stars.
1. Courage — By facing life's struggles with courage, we constantly extend our capabilities.Without courage, nothing else can be done.
2.Truth — Blind faith has no place in Asatru.No pie-in-the-sky; we must act in this world as we see it and as it really is rather than calmly wait for the next.
3.Honor — We must be true to what we are, and we insist on acting with nobility rather than baseness.Our standards must be banners held high in our hearts.
4.Fidelity — We stand true to our faith and our values.Loyalty is the basis for all enduring human activity, and we hold it in the highest esteem.
5.Hospitality — The isolation and loneliness of modern life is not necessary.The willingness to share what one has with one's fellows, especially travellers, is a vital part of our way of life.
6.Discipline — We hold to the discipline necessary to fulfill our purpose.We stand willing to exercise the self-control and steadfastness necessary in these difficult times.
7.Industriousness — Let us dare to be all that we can be.Let us take risks and taste the richness of life.Passivity is for sheep.We refuse to be mere spectators in life.
8.Self-Reliance — We depend on our own strength and character to achieve our goals.We seek only the freedom necessary to our quest, whatever it may be.
9.Perseverance — We hold to our path until its completion and are not ashamed to be strong.The cult of the anti-hero will find no support in us, and the gods we follow are not for the weak.
Live and let live, fairly take and fairly give.
Form the circle thrice about, to keep all evil spirits out.
To bind ye spell every time, let ye spell be spake in rhyme.
Soft of eye, light of touch, speak ye little, listen much.
Deosil go by the waxing moon, singing out ye Witches’ Rune.
Widdershins go by the waning moon, chanting out ye Baneful Rune.
When the Lady’s moon is new, kiss your hand to her times two.
When the moon rides at her peak, then ye heart’s desire seek.
Heed the North wind’s mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.
When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss thee on the mouth.
When the wind blows from the West, departed souls may have no rest.
When the wind blows from the East, except the new and set the feast.
Nine woods in ye cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
Elder be ye Lady’s tree, burn it not or cursed ye’ll be.
When the wheel begins to turn, soon ye Beltaine fire’ll burn.
When the wheel hath turned to Yule, light the log the Horned One rules.
Heed ye flower, bush and tree, by the Lady blessed be.
Where the rippling waters flow, cast a stone and truth ye’ll know.
When ye have and hold a need, harken not to others greed.
With a fool no season spend, nor be counted as his friend.
Merry meet and merry part, bright the cheeks and warm the heart.
Mind ye threefold law ye should, three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is anow, wear the blue star upon thy brow.
True in love ye must ever be, lest thy love be false to thee.
In these eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill,
‘An ye harm none, do what ye will.
From the Speculum Principis
(The Brehon Laws of Druidry)
Let him magnify Truth, it will magnify him.
Let him strenghen Truth, it will strengthen him.
Let him guard Truth, it will guard him.
Let him exalt Truth, it will exalt him.
For so long as he guards Truth, good shall not fail him and his rule shall not perish.
For it is through the ruler's Truth that great tribes are governed.
Through the ruler's Truth massive mortalities are averted from men.
Through the ruler's Truth mighty battalions [of enemies] are drawn back into enemy territory.
Through the ruler's Truth all the land is fruitful and childbirth worthy.
Through the ruler's Truth there is abundance of tall corn.
Declaration of Innocence Before the Gods of the Tribunal
(Kemetic Ethics, translated by Allen and Faulkner )
Hail Fire-embracer who came forth from Kheraha, I have not robbed.
Hail Nosey who came forth from Hermopolis, I have not been rapacious.
Hail Swallower of shades who came forth from the cavern, I have not stolen.
Hail Dangerous One who came forth from Rosetjau, I have not killed men.
Hail Double Lion who came forth from the sky, I have not destroyed food-supplies.
Hail Fiery Eyes who came forth from Letopolis, I have done no crookedness.
Hail Flame which came forth backwards, I have not stolen the god’s offerings.
Hail Bone-breaker who came forth from Heracleopolis, I have not told lies.
Hail Green of Flame who came forth from Memphis, I have no taken food.
Hail You of the cavern who came forth from the West, I have not been sullen.
Hail White of teeth who came forth from the Faiyum, I have not transgressed.
Hail Blood-eater who came forth from the shambles, I have not killed a sacred bull.
Hail Eater of entrails who came forth from the House of Thirty, I have not committed perjury.
Hail Lord of Truth who came forth from Maaty, I have not stolen bread.
Hail Wanderer who came forth from Bubastis, I have not eavesdropped.
Hail Pale One who came forth from Heliopolis, I have not babbled.
Hail Doubly evil who came forth from Andjet, I have not disputed except concerning my own property.
Hail Wememty-snake who came forth from the place of execution, I have not fornicated with a child.
Hail You who see whom you bring who came forth from the House of Min, I have not misbehaved.
Hail You who are over the Old One who came forth from Imau, I have not made terror.
Hail Demolisher who came forth from Xois, I have not transgressed.
Hail Disturber who came forth from Weryt, I have not been hot-tempered.
Hail Youth who came forth from the Heliopolitan nome, I have not been deaf to words of truth.
Hail Foreteller who came forth from Wenes, I have not made disturbance.
Hail You of the altar who came forth from the secret place, I have not hoodwinked.
Hail You whose face is behind him who came forth from the Cavern of Wrong, I have neither misconducted myself nor copulated with a boy.
Hail Hot-foot who came forth from the dusk, I have not been neglectful.
Hail You of the darkness who came forth from the darkness, I have not been quarrelsome.
Hail Bringer of your offering who came forth from Sais, I have not been unduly active.
Hail Owner of faces who came forth from Nedjefet, I have not been impatient.
Hail Accuser who came forth from Wetjenet, I have not transgressed my nature, I have not washed out the picture of a god.
Hail Owner of horns who came forth from Asyut, I have not been voluble in speech.
Hail Nefertum who came forth from Memphis, I have done no wrong, I have seen no evil.
Hail Tempsep who came forth from Busiris, I have not made conjuration against the king.
Hail You who acted according to your will, who came forth from Tjebu, I have not waded in water.
Hail Water-smiter who came forth from the Abyss, I have not been loud-voiced.
Hail Prosperer of the common folk who came forth from your house, I have not reviled mankind.
Hail Bestower of good who came forth from the Harpoon nome, I have not been puffed up..
Hail Bestower of powers who came forth from the City, I have not made distinctions for myself.
Hail Serpent with raised head, who came forth from the cavern, I am not wealthy except with my own property.
Hail Carrier-off of His Portion who came forth from the Silent Land, I have not blasphemed God in my city.
Nothing Too Much
Shun unjust acts.
Acknowledge sacred things.
Hold on to learning.
Accomplish your limit.
When you err, repent.
Consider the time.
Worship the divine.
Accept old age.
2. Do not tell your troubles to others unless you are sure they want to hear them.
3. When in another’s lair, show him respect or else do not go there.
4. If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy.
5. Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal.
6. Do not take that which does not belong to you unless it is a burden to the other person and he cries out to be relieved.
7. Acknowledge the power of magic if you have employed it successfully to obtain your desires. If you deny the power of magic after having called upon it with success, you will lose all you have obtained.
8. Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.
9. Do not harm little children.
10. Do not kill non-human animals unless you are attacked or for your food.
11. When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.
1) Using the definitions provided, are you ethical or moral? Why?
2) Which of the laws do you like best? Why?
3) Are there any laws you disagree with? Why?
4) Can you find any other Pagan ethical guidelines or laws?
5) Write a poem or article about which laws and ethics you follow on your Pagan path.