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Posted: Nov. 17, 2002
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The Ethics of Magick and Spellwork
Wiccans have the Rede and many other Pagans have similar ethical codes of conduct. But it isn't always easy to determine what the 'good of all' may be or even if it is a viable rule for each and every unique situation. How do YOU handle requests for spells? What about love magick, psychic weapons at high noon and the general use of magick and spells in your own spiritual life? How far would YOU go?
| Reponses: There are 43 responses posted to this question.
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| Not Being Wiccan I Don't Follow The Rede, Or Believe In The... ||Sep 20th. at 2:28:55 pm EDT|
|Ned Farnsworth (Lafayette, Indiana US) ||Age: 27 - Email |
Not being Wiccan I don't follow the Rede, or believe in the Threefold Law. Instead I take the simple view that all actions, mundane or magical, have consequences. You must try to be aware of the possible consequences of your actions, both for yourself and for others. Take each situation as it comes and act in accord with your conscence.
| I Am Retired From The Canadian Army (13) Years And Follow The... ||Sep 20th. at 2:21:47 pm EDT|
|Havoc (Salmon Arm, British Columbia CA) ||Age: 38 - Email |
I am retired from the Canadian Army (13) years and follow the path of Celtic Warrior as well as Celtic Crafstman. Many people would believe that the rede precludes things like using magic in defence and that witches should be pacifists. That may be the path that is right for some, but is not necessarily precluded for all. The warrior in ancient times was a proud and honourable tradition.
The rede often presents us with problems of ethic and none more so in the case of defence of the innocent. If I observe a person being mugged is it wrong to bind, or curse the assailent without his permission? It is certainly harmful to him. But at the same time inaction could result in serious harm to the victim. So the question is, if we must allow harm to the one in order to prevent harm to the other, what do we do?
I reconcile it this way. I am not harming the assailant by preventing him from commiting his crime. In a case that is even less clear cut, the right of the innocent not to be harmed of the assailant overrides the right of the assailant not to be harmed by my magick. Just as Celtic Warriors carried spells into battle we too also have the right, and the responsibility to protect ourselves, and the innocent, from injustice.
HAving said that, I also believe that the use of magick in cases where the rede is not clear cut must be an option of last resort. In the case above my size and training would probably allow me to physically intervene. That would be preferable for me rather than a spell. I could certainly enlist a spell to protect me from harm, which would certainly not cause harm to the assailant.
Finally, always listen to your conscience, that still quiet voice of the Goddess. Always be mindful of, and ready to accept, the consequences of your actions.
| I Think That Anything Negative Should Be Avoided, Including Magick That Seeks... ||Sep 20th. at 12:17:56 pm EDT|
|Xamien Mooncrow (Charleston, South Carolina US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I think that anything negative should be avoided, including magick that seeks to take control of others' minds. Of course, sometimes there just lines that are too thin to be seen so we can cross them without ever knowing it. That's why we have to be careful when we wish things, cast spells, etc, etc. We have to question our intentions behind a spell we wish to cast or a psychic effect. That's how we learn things, is by questioning them, so we'll learn where are hearts our when we wish something, cast something, etc. Just doing a spell out of the blue or just doing one for a request is something to be avoided. when we're asked to do a spell for someone, we have look for the purpose behind it.also, Dark Magick (not black magick; magick dealing with the human nature, looking into the past/future, stuff like that) is something to be careful with, too. That's just my two cents rattling in the jar, as the saying goes.
| Well I Come From A Family Of Pagans, You Could Say I... ||Sep 20th. at 9:04:34 am EDT|
|Djinn (Goldsboro, North Carolina US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
Well I come from a family of Pagans, you could say I am hereditary, I guess. My Grandmother was my teacher and she instilled in me a strong moral, as well as a strong since of honor and pride. But she also always told me to stand up for myself and to never roll over and think, Ň IŐll do nothing because some day they will realize what they did and apologize.Ó Although the rolling over approach works (sometimes), I believe in taking care of things for myself. So by now you probably think Im a psycho Celt that will zap you if you look at her cross-eyed. Well, no I very rarely use magick for that, unless the other party leaves me no choice. I prefer to settle things differently if possible, by talking it out or taking it to the back yard. The brawl in the yard does wonders and I have gone into fights as enemies and came out as friends. Im not saying this is a good solution for everyone and I know violence begets violence but it is my way. Im not a mean person, I have honor and pride. I would much rather have you set at my table as a guest drinking, drink and eating good food. I donŐt do love spells or anyone else or myself, its a waste of energy. I meditate and I am much more spiritual then magickal but I do use magick on a regular basis.
| I Use Magick And Spells Everyday, As A Matter Of Keeping My... ||Sep 19th. at 11:15:09 pm EDT|
|Draeka (Long Island, New York US) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I use magick and spells everyday, as a matter of keeping my mind active. They're usually just psychic exercises (like playing with a candle flame, a blue sphere, etc.) but it's magick none the less. As far as for other people, now that's a different story. I absolutely refuse to send out any type of negative energy (intentionally, although I am an Aries and sometimes Aries girls explode...) and I refuse to do any type of spell that interferes with another's free will. I know it's getting to be cliche, but Love Spells are among the worst. When people ask me to "do a spell thingy" for them, I usually respond by saying that I'm not soliciting my belief system and that there are people that would be willing to do so. If he/she is really that desperate, they could go find one. The idea of actually having to go search for someone to do it seems like too much work for them, and they usually get discouraged and forget about the idea within the next 15 minutes.
Psychic Defense. It's sad to say that I've had to defend myself several times psychically, a few times from teenagers just discovering what they're capable of and deciding to "test their limits." Basically, my philosophy is if someone comes after me, I will use any means necessary (without excess force) as defense against the attack. No more, no less. Martial Artists (I am also a Martial Artist) use the same philosophy, which tends to work out well.
| Will I Have To Say That I Won't Cast Spells For Anyone... ||Sep 19th. at 8:48:43 pm EDT|
|Lyonness (Everett, Washington US) ||Age: 24 - Email |
Will I have to say that I won't cast spells for anyone, they have the power to do it themselves. I also don't cast spells on other people and feel that anytime you cast a spell on another person no matter how much good you think your doing, you could be getting yourself into trouble. Just my little take on it.
Washington State Director of W.A.R.D.
| Merry Survey! I Have In The Past And Will Continue In The... ||Sep 19th. at 2:05:44 pm EDT|
|Bal (Florissant, Missouri US) ||Age: 40 - Email |
Merry Survey! I have in the past and will continue in the future to cast healing spells on loved ones without their knowledge. It's not a no-no. For one, it's worked 9 out of 10 times, and for two, my father's not Wiccan, but I know it's not against his will to be healthy. Thanks and Blessed Be, Bal.
| Absolutely Not! I Don't Do 'spells' For Anyone For Any Reason, And... ||Sep 19th. at 11:20:23 am EDT|
|Sunfell (Little Rock, Arkansas US) ||Age: 40 |
I don't do 'spells' for anyone for any reason, and I haven't picked up the Wand for myself in ages, either, unless its a crisis or emergency, and even those are few and far between. I suppose my use of active spells can be compared to one who has been in Martial Arts for a while- when I was younger, I played with it every chance I got, and did little workings all the time. But as I got older and gained experience, insight, and most important, wisdom, I realized that doing spells of any sort was really unnecessary, and that the consequences of errors were greater as I got older. The same would apply to a martial arts expert- where the beginner wouldn't hesitate to try a move on someone, the Master is extremely aware that she is capable of doing extreme harm with the same move.
As a beginner, it is important to learn and understand Magick from a ground-level point of view. Most spells given in the books are fairly harmless- like those involving yourself, your home, or immediate environment. It gets ethically sticky if you begin to aim any working at anyone besides yourself. Even if requested by another, it should not be done. Even if they 'think' they need a spell done to or for them, it isn't your call to do it. They should do it themselves. Remember, magick is an INTERNAL operation, with external effects. The longer you work with it, the more deeply you will understand this, and with that understanding comes the wisdom to use it very sparingly.
| When Others Ask Me For A Spell, I Take Time In Meditation... ||Sep 19th. at 7:08:36 am EDT|
|Erianne Eaglewing (Kansas City, Missouri US) ||Age: 38 - Email |
When others ask me for a spell, I take time in meditation to determine the proper course. As an example, recently a co-worker asked me for a spell to help her get pregnant. After meditating for grounding and guidance, I instead created a charm bag for her to carry. It's purpose was healing and peace, so that if bad health was her problem it would be helped. By the same token, if it was not meant for her to become pregnant, she would find personal peace with that fact. In my personal opinion, there is always an alternative path that allows me to give help to those who ask it of me, yet not bring harm to others. I strive diligently to follow the Rede in all things.
| Let Me First Start Out By Talking About My Opinion On The... ||Sep 19th. at 12:01:14 am EDT|
|Melissa Carsey (Tampa, Florida US) ||Age: 25 - Email |
Let me first start out by talking about my opinion on the wiccan rede ... the rede, written by Gardner, was IMHO simply good PR. It was a way to let the "cowans" out there, see there were no "evil forces" at work within the pagan community. I also know many pagans that follow that way of thinking, and don't always pay much attention to the rede. I do, however, feel it helps serve a purpose, especially for newbies to the craft. It helps them stay within certain guidelines, until they themselves come to a greater awareness and respect for the magickal energy they utilize.
Now, onto "requests" of spells... I do not give out spells to people I do not know well enough, to know whether they understand what they are doing or not. As far as doing a spell for a friend.. I will do helpful things as long as they do not cross any moral line to me. Like love spells... I absolutely believe in a person's free will, and will not tamper with it.. but, certain love spells that only help open a door, to pave the way for honesty of feelings with the "love" the person wishes to be with, does not take away free will.
As far as my own use of magick in my own life, I find it to be a very small part of my spiritual path as a whole. I use magick when I find it to be necessary, and on esbats... but not on a daily basis.
| This Is A Very Interesting Question Indeed! I Would First Like To... ||Sep 18th. at 8:06:45 pm EDT|
|Simona Elda Marseglia (Duluth, Minnesota US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
This is a very interesting question indeed! I would first like to note that I am a *Stregherian Wiccan, * meaning I follow a basic Path of Aridian Stregheria while adding my own words to it since all of my possibly Strega relatives have passed from this incarnation, which makes me Wiccan, because I am the first *living* person in my family to practice the Old Religion. I know that's a confusing definition to some, but I wanted to make it clear why I "label" myself this way...
Now, onto more impertinant things--the questions:
1) How do YOU handle requests for spells?
Since I started formally practicing (like many Wiccans, I was raised Christian), I have noticed a great deal of requests for spells by two groups. The first group are Catholics/Christians who don't seem to have enough faith in their own religion(s) to trust their own prayers to their own god. Either that, or some of them who know I'm Wiccan think it's "cool, " or some such nonsense and want me to utilize my powers to help them. I usually tell them that magick is not something to fool around with. A lot of Catholics/Christians seem to think we are like children playing some sort of a game with the Universe, and don't understand how serious magick is--that it is not a toy to take out and play with when the mood strikes. I mean, certainly magick can--and should--be fun and joyful at times, but I often find that one has to teach Catholics and other Christians as little children. They want the excitment of ritual magick without the responsiblity of it. This is often the reason they come to us asking for spells while at the same time looking down their noses at our religions. I realize I sound a bit sour here, but I am only speaking from personal experience, and I imagine many of you have had similiar experiences. I always tell them "no, " or at least explain to them what exactly it is they're asking me to do so that they understand the implications if something doesn't turn out the way they expected. Almost exclusively I advise them to rely on their own religions instead of borrowing from ours, because it's your faith in your own religion that's going to help them through, *not* mystical things which they may not fully comprehend.
The other group of people I often see spell requests from is the Pagan/Wiccan/Witch community itself. I cannot tell you how many times I have logged onto a Wiccan message board only to see mostly scads of spell requests among a few scattered "serious" messages. To these people, I usually say, "Believe in *yourself.* Ours is a difficult path because there is no laity in true Pagan traditions." If a specific prayer for specific healing is asked for, I usually attempt for that. But these "how can I land a job spell, " or "how can I find out if my ex was cheating on me spell, " I feel, are a waste of time and taking advantage of magick in what should be taken care of by "mundane" means. I put this in quotes because, if done appropriately, the mundane can become the magickal, but I find that, too often, people are trying to use magick spells to *avoid* the pratfalls of every day life--things that take courage like tactful confrontation and the like. They are limiting themselves from the human experience by focusing only on the Spiritual. To embrace the human incarnation one is in, one *must* strike a balance of both. Now I admit that I, as everyone else does from time to time, lag in this area. When that happens, I pray, using a focus point such as a candle, a personal amulet, a rune or a rock to focus my energy.
2) What about love magick, psychic weapons at high noon and the general use of magick and spells in your own spiritual life?
I *never* perform love magick. Love is free, and should be treated as such. To enslave love is to take away the true Spririt of it. Love of specific other beings will come and go in one's life, but the Spirit of it never dies, nor can it be captured. I don't use psychic weapons per se. I have banished certain people from my life, but not to cause *them* harm, only to *avoid* harm to myself. I always make whatever Deity and/or energy I'm working with knows this, for I firmly believe in the Law of Return. I know that if I am purging myself of someone, it is not to wish them any hurt, but simply that I don't want them clouding *my* psyche any longer.
Other than that, I rarely do spells unless I feel is it absolutely necessary and I *never* perform them for others.
3) How far would YOU go?
This question is very timely for me. Recently I felt some *very* negative energies coming from my mother, who has not been happy with my Path (she's a Fundie Evangelical Christian) since I announced it to her this past spring. The urge to curse her was very strong in me, because I felt that she was trying to curse me, altho she did not know it. She's been disappointed in me, so she says, and has made it known that she is praying for me everyday (so that my soul won't be lost--isn't that sweet? Side note: what strikes me about Christians, even the most open-minded ones is that they are so *wrapped up* in following Jesus and worshipping the human aspect of him that they completely ignore his *message!*). Now this thought did form in my head, and I worked very hard scribbling in my journal to let it pass out because I did not want it to manifest into a harmful energy toward my mother. I love my mother, despite her limitations, and I wish nothing but gentleness and kindness for her. But some imp was really playing eight ball with me that day, and I openly admit it because, as somebody else on this board has mentioned, mistakes and bad feelings are part of our human experience, and to pretend we're infallible is to deny that in us which is human. Needless to say, I did not curse my mother, and the feeling eventually worked itself out.
Well, as per usual, I've dribbled on longer than I should have, so I will say a fond farewell until next time!
| Hi Ho... So Far I "don't Do" Magick For Others... Which Is... ||Sep 18th. at 6:20:30 pm EDT|
|Shawn (Victoria, British Columbia CA) ||Age: 30 |
So far I "don't do" magick for others... which is to say nobody ever asked...
Well, hmm, I suppose Reiki is a wavelength of magick and therefore... except I only do hands on treatments and that is a whole nother kettle of fish. But as for doing magick lets say a love spell, or a find spell etc. Nothing. Nobody ever thought to ask. I do however get a whole lot of questions on "how to do this and that". I try to be as concise as possible, and be helpful. Or I just say "I don't know", if I don't. If I was asked? I wouldn't do it. I would show them how, guide them throught it... pointe them in the direction of texts... and above all make sure they undestand clause 32... and harm none...
even self... :)
An harm none... I find it fairly easy. I don't do things that would normally harm people. Ah, yes, but then there are the requests... money, power, sex, love etc... one must know that all these things can be freely distributed by the boundless resourses of our universe without anyone doing without, or being hurt in the process. And above all, I believe one should not think of specific individuals in the process of such things. If you think of someone, you might just be focusing your spell on then and takeing their stuph or changing their mind. I don't need things and love from a certain individual that is un willing when Universe knows that these things can be freely and lovingly given from other sourses... and power... a fools game, that can be won with practice, patients, meditation, schoolastic trainig and otherwise general hard work that is ultimately more rewarding than the fast track down the dark path... :)
Here is a good one... Psychic weapons at high noon... I have seen such between native shamans... amusing to watch from a distance but something that ain't pleasant up front... Normally the more someone decides to fight the more I bless them and wish them well. They tend to gow away after a while. Most people will never run into anyone with any skill high enough to be a dangerous threat psychically. Usually the oponent will resort to more mundane measures sooner or later, and for that there is legal recourse. As long as you kept nice and friendly both publicly and privately in anycase you should be allright...
However there are some things that can be done: Pick up the books by Denning and Phillips and Marcia L. Pickands and other on Psychic Self Defense and practice the protections. Draja Mickaharic has good books on cleansing house & home wich also helps. But above all, Meditate, keep happy and be good and you will fare the storm. As for attacking? Only someone on the level of Don Juan from Carlos Casteneda need concern his or herself with such things!
How far would I go? As far as wisdom suggests, and no more. :)
Shade and Sweet Water...
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