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Section: words

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And it Harm None, Do as You Will

Author: Gaianist Free Church
Posted: June 19th. 2011
Times Viewed: 2,694

…And it harm none, do as you will.

Growing up, my parents taught me that these words held the highest of all values. They explained to me through their words and actions how living with honor and showing no ill will made a difference. How looking at all situations as they arose and working through them with an open mind could positively impact everything around you. They gave me the freedom to explore and learn, to grow into my own person… but they also taught me to never judge. I learned to see things more clearly, to look at everything as something new; not allow preconceived ideas to color my view. Most of all, they taught me to never impose my will on another.

This ideal of Harm None extended to all things, not just people. I was taught the importance of giving thanks to all things used. If I took a portion of a plant, I was encouraged to give thanks for that gift. When we would hunt, we always gave thanks to the animal taken for its sacrifice so that we would have sustenance (and we would waste nothing) . Although I am not against hunting, I have given it up after seeing the wastefulness’ of man.

Throughout time, this seems to have been the case for those walking the Pagan Path. In days of old, even when our kind was being persecuted, many came to us when they were ill or injured seeking healing. Did we send them away simply because of who they were or how they thought? No, we took them in and did what we could. As a people, we have always been accepting of others, helping when needed and expecting nothing in return.

Each of us sees the world differently. If we did not there would be no diversity. It is that diversity that makes us who we are and adds interest to our existence, envision a world where we were all the same… it would be pretty boring. Each of us believes things in different ways. Does that give any of us the right to judge someone else for how they believe? Does our belief make us superior to someone else? Can we justly condemn someone because they do not believe as we do?

As Pagans, we know that the Goddess allows each of us to see things in our own way, but has always cautioned us against making judgments or hurting others. This is a principle that was always upheld; it needs to continue today.

We as Pagans have traditionally accepted others at face value, regardless of who they were, accepting their ideals and beliefs. We have always been open to new and different ideas. Many of us have adopted and integrated the different views of others into their basic philosophy. We have incorporated ideas and practices from Hinduism, Buddhist philosophy and many others. The ability to change and grow has always been an integral part of our beliefs. We have prospered inwardly because of this. Our openness to new ideas is an important part of who we are.

Lately though, I have noticed something that bothers me a great deal. Traveling, as I do, and attending many Pagan events and festivals, I have noticed that an increasing number of people are looking at others with disdain. Often commenting about their difference. Some being quite vocal in their judgment. Taking on the “They don’t think/dress/act or look like us so they can not possibly be true Pagans”. Various cliquish groups join together and actually shun those different from themselves.

This attitude does not demonstrate the core Pagan value system. Actually, it resembles another belief system entirely. Just because an individual chooses to practice as a “Solitary” or follow a Tradition not the same as our own, does not make them less or wrong.

We spout statements like “as above, so below” and “it harm none, do as you will”. Strange that even though many espouse these words, they turn around and demean others. Before we act in this way, we should ask ourselves does this cause harm? The Rede makes this statement quite clearly, “Live ye must and let to live.” Would we want this treatment from others?

We all know the “Rule of Three”, what we send out (good or bad) will be returned to us. We have been told, “This lesson well ye must learn, ye only get what ye do earn”. This simple phrase has always made me stop and think before saying or doing anything. During a lapse on my walk through life, I learned quite quickly the accuracy of the rule of three. Although not devastating, it did remind me to be mindful of what I do and say.

Honor seems to be fading in this modern age. We appear to be acting more and more like those who have persecuted us for our beliefs for so long. Ours has always been one of acceptance and compassion, it should remain as such. I hear the term “Witch Wars” more and more each day and as a Pagan and a Witch, that term is a source of embarrassment to me. If we turn on each other, ultimately, we loose. We become nothing more than those who despise us for our belief. We prove to them (in their minds) that they were right all along. Why would we do something like that?

If we simply strive in life to consider the consequences of our actions, before we act, then we might return to what we are supposed to be.

As individuals, we should look inside ourselves and find out if the core values we as Pagans have successfully followed for so long have true meaning to us. Should it be an issue that we are not all clones? Are we following our Path because it truly touches us or are we just trying to make a statement?

May the Light of the Lady shine upon us all.






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