What the Rede Means to Me
Article ID: 10781
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: July 9th. 2006
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In thinking about what the last line of the Rede means to me; at first, I had a hard time coming up with anything other than, “I think it is pretty self-explanatory” to describe it. Then the more I got thinking, I thought to myself, “You cannot use that to explain it, there are many people who probably do not even have the first clue what the Rede is. You cannot just leave that as the explanation.” Therefore, I delved a little deeper and thought about all the things I have been taught throughout my life and my journey down the Pagan path and began to compare all of that to the last statement of the Rede. I began thinking in terms of cycles, and how each one of us is connected to one another and all the elements and creatures of the Universe.
Some would say that the Rede is the Wiccan “Golden Rule,” but I would have to say that it is more than that. Although I am not sure we can live without harming anything, I do think that we can minimize the amount of harm we cause to other people, animals, or things. I think that the Rede implies that we have to take into consideration the following four elements, which all lead in a circle back to one or the others. The four words that can be used to better describe the last lines of the Rede means to me are respect, responsibility, control, and discretion.
The first word respect, to me means that we have to respect not only people, but animals, nature, and most importantly ourselves. When we do not take into consideration all aspects of how our actions affect everything we do, we are failing to respect the world all around us and those who inhabit it. We must also learn to respect others' feelings. By this I mean that if someone does not want our help, magically speaking, then we must respect his/her decision. Others might not want or feel comfortable discussing particular issues; if this is the case, we must respect their personal boundaries and not push them to do something they do not want to do. If we are planning to do magick that takes from the elements of the natural/spiritual world (which everything does), we must remember to be respectful and thank whatever we use to aid us in our magickal pursuits. Animals too deserve our respect. Without them, the world would not be the same. How would we survive if we did not have things to eat and drink? This is why it is important that we give thanks for what we take. Having respect for oneself is also important because if one cannot respect oneself, then one will not have the ability to respect anything else. We can show that respect for ourselves by practicing good personal hygiene, exercising, eating healthier, and maintaining a mindset in which we can see the importance of ourselves in the world around us. We must learn that respect is important and if we are going to move forward on the path to greater enlightenment, we must have respect for all aspects of life and existence.
The second word, responsibility, means that one must always be willing to face whatever the consequences are for one's actions. There is a consequence for every action, whether the consequence is good or bad. Generally, we reap what we sow and if what we sow are the elements that make for positive living, then we will reap the positive. However, if what we sow is negative and causes discord, then it should not come as a shock if what is wrought from that is not so nice. If one is not willing to take personal responsibility, then one is not only not going to make it on the path to enlightenment, one will not make it in the world in general. Responsibility goes much further then just decision-making: it involves being aware of those things that have no voice and being responsible in knowing that it is up to us to help those things when the need calls for it. Responsibility is important because it teaches us how to have respect for the world.
The third word, control, means that one must exercise a certain amount of self-control. If a person chooses to live on the Pagan path, s/he is taking on a great amount of responsibility. If a person chooses to cast spells, s/he must realize that spells all have repercussions and can be overdone if used for everything in our lives. We must also realize that we cannot use magic to control others, because taking away from another’s free will is taking away from the fabric that shapes and molds the world around us. Control also means that we have to take control over ourselves and not let others dictate what it is we are going to do or be. If someone says to us “be this way” or “this is the only way,” it is up to us to determine if these people are truly worth our time and energy; most definitely, if the words “or else” ever appear in a conversation, it is time to re-evaluate the situation. This leads back to taking personal responsibility for ourselves and for the world around us. No one can make us into something we do not want to become.
The last word, discretion, means that we have to use wise judgment when making decisions. It also means that when we make a decision, we take all the necessary precautions to make sure our actions will not harm anyone or anything. Although sometimes harm is not always avoidable, this in turn leads back to responsibility. We all have a duty to uphold what is generally “good” in the world, and sometimes to uphold that “good” things will get hurt in the process. Not because we always want to cause hurt, but because sometimes we have to hurt to learn a lesson. I think, too, that we must also use discretion when determining what is worthy of our energy and time and what is not. If we exercise discretion, we will have more control over ourselves and no one will be able to sway our good judgment.
So in the end these four things are what I think the last eight words of the Rede mean. I am still not sure we can live our lives and not harm anything at all, but I do feel that through using the four elements, maybe we can minimize the amount of disorder caused by our actions. If we all exercise a little bit of respect, responsibility, control, and discretion, the world may be a nicer place to be.
Location: Great Falls, Montana
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