The biggest, and I mean hugest, problem I have with writing down my personal code of ethics is the “what if” factor. What if it comes off as pretentious? What if I make a fool of myself? What if I say something “wrong”? and Gods in Heaven forbid; what if I can’t live up to it?
Of all the things I have, and may yet, put out on to this blog this post has been a nail biter and the preceding two weeks has been classic procrastination and avoidance and I may have distracted myself once or twice in tge last week to avoid writing it. The time has come to bite the bullet! This by no means covers everything that I think/feel/believe by any stretch of the imagination, these are the points which I could neatly fit under the umbrella term “pagan” without side tracking or risk going off on one by drilling into an off topic point too deeply.
I try to practice my spiritual path with as little impact on those around me as I can. Okay so the number of little “shrines” in my house may be increasing and impacting on my atheist/agnostic husband (he’s undecided as to his label) but that’s not really what I mean by “impact”. By impact I am referring to the effect that my practice and spellcraft has in the real world. “Harm ye none” is a wonderful ideal but you can really take it a mite too far. I work as is needed, in the full and accepting knowledge that at times my actions are going to impact on the lives of others either by accident or design and the form of that impact may not always be within my control. That means that I always try to be mindful of the consequences of my actions.
On a day to day basis I don’t set out with the intention to harm or negatively impact, similarly it is rare that I set out with such intentions when I am working magically with exceptions. I am willing, and adept, in hexing and cursing. If someone actively seeks harm towards me or someone I love then I will not stand idly by and allow it to a) happen and b) go unpunished. When I take the decision to hex someone I do not take it lightly, and I seek to be laser-like in my aim and impact. Nature is red in tooth and claw and on occasions so am I.
Paganism has a reputation for inclusivity and yet some individuals, groups and organisations struggle to be open and inclusive. You can look at the recent storm in the pagan corner of the internet over the comments of elders regarding the Trans community. Some reactions were positive some merely created a bigger divide. Diversity and inclusivity isn’t just limited to LGBT(QI) issues. The issue of respecting alternative religions and cultures often comes up within Paganism, particularly with regards to Abrahamic faiths and cultural misappropriation.
Whether the issue of diversity and inclusivity is around gender, sexual orientation, religion, culture, (dis)ability (on and on and on) I believe that everyone has the right to be included in society/spirituality and to be treated with respect and humanity. I judge on how people behave, not only towards me but others as well, and not on their appearance and label.
At the core of most pagan streams is a consciousness about Planet Earth. Whether that is expressed as a form of seasonal worship, involvement in or care about environmental issues or it takes some other form it is a fairly common thread and for me it ties in with Impact. I attempt to live the maxim of “leave only foot prints”, and practice (and live) in a way with has minimum impact on the world around me. Another important phrase that I feel ties into my practice comes from Bob the Builder “Reduce Reuse Recycle”. Okay so Reuse isn’t something that can be religiously practices (sic) in paganism as there is often cause for items to be single use only however wherever possible I will put this in action, for example saving altar/unconsecrated candles for re-melting into something new and different. It is easier to minimise items used in practice, and a lot of my equipment is repurposed from the charity shop.
As Raven K says in his Rökkatru ethics –
“there is no such place as Away, so be careful what you throw there.”
Dedication is a word that get bandies around quite a bit. Dedication to a patron deity goes without saying; dedication to the path you walk is another must, as it dedication to your group or coven though as a solitary practitioner this element has less impact on me. I also find that dedication in my spiritual practice has to extend to learning. If I am going to practice something I have to learn about it, and follow all the threads along their twists and turns. Nothing is static as a result of this.
This fact is an expression of my dedication to my path, and it expands to other areas of my life even if the period of dedication is short.
If someone does something nice for me I will always offer something in return. That might be payment for services rendered or goods provided or exchanging energies even in cases where the other person has said “no it’s okay”. Even if I don’t thank them directly I will try and pass on that good deed by doing something for someone else in return (the concept of Pass It Forward) In the case of worshiping deities the same is also true. Normal ritual interaction aside if I perceive that Hekate (or any deity) is working in my favour/life then it is up to me to offer thanks or energy in some way.
The truth is that you rarely get something for nothing in this life and even if you are lucky enough to experience that it is something that should be passed on to others.
Moderation is all sense of the word is something that I try for and in regards to my spiritual path it is doubly important because I need to recognise that my solitary nature. Even though my children are interested in my pagan path neither are entirely enthusiastic because they are too young to have made up their own minds. I am being moderate in my approach to their learning both about my spiritual path and those of other religions in the world so that they can be informed in years to come. Equally I need to be moderate in my practice in order to be balanced between my internal spiritual life and my home/work life. I am not in a position mentally or materially to jack it all in and pursue everything I want to in one go, as temping as that is, so I must take a moderate approach.
Moderation in all thing, both the good and the bad. This is something that extends to other areas of life and interaction and the moderate stance is important to me.