The Laws of Wicca
by Grey Cat
I would like to make a rather deeper examination of Wiccan "laws." I don't think anyone on this list will really argue with me a whole lot that *An ye harm none, do as ye will* is inadequate instruction for living a righteous life.
I think folks would assume that The Laws of the Wicca or The Wiccan Rede would surely include some thoughts on interpersonal relations. Well, I scanned through ALL of the versions of the rede and law at the ethics web site [ http://members.tripod.com/Grey_Cat/ ] and, except for the set re-written (and written) by Lady Galadriel in Atlanta, none of them make any real mention of personal behavior to others *except* with regard to the High Priestess (Priest).
I feel sure that all of us have had our times of being profoundly shocked at the willingness of some Wiccans to lie openly and harmfully just to advance some personal agenda.
From time to time you do see an article or discussion on "honor", usually with a high faluting definition of what they interpret honor to be (actually, how you could write about having honor without mentioning say honesty, keeping promises, etc., I don't pretend to know. I have, however, seen it done.lol)
We're left, in our religious training, with really only one mention about truth, honor and so on: in general at some point someone will write or say that your ability to work magic can be lost or lessoned if you tell lies or fail to keep your word.
Anyway, I read through all the versions of the law on the ethics web site and even found half a dozen more at a new URL I've collected. (Going on the ethics site tonight or tomorrow if I can remember how.) The only one which mentioned these concepts was THE NEW BOOK OF THE LAW from Lady Galadriel and a portion of MY CRAFT ETHICS Copyright by James T. Crowley III 1986).
"THE WORD OF A WITCH NEED NO BOND OR CONTRACT. IT IS NECESSARILY TRUE AND FREE OF EQUIVOCATION."
We make it clear to all around us that we do not tolerate lying. If it is on the part of a friend or an acquaintance, we will cease contact with them, if necessary. If it is a member of the craft, we do not willingly stand in the same circle with them. If they are a student, this is one of the few areas that we will invoke banishment as a punishment (or, if there are extenuating circumstances and the person is of extreme value to the coven and the Craft, we will consider corporal punishment or an equivalent alternative proposed by the student to balance the wrong done to the Coven, in lieu of banishment). If they are an Initiate, it is necessarily more harmful to the family, and therefore, more serious."
Actually, just about every time I've been aware of a group invoking the Laws of the Wicca, it has been for a use extremely similar to the uses to which Gerald Gardner set them (and in the beliefs of an enormous number of Wiccans, he wrote them for the occasion.)
Even outside of my thesis that the Laws of the Wicca are insufficient to give guidance to Wiccans on right behavior, it IS my belief that they were created no longer than 40 or 50 years ago. And clearly, a good deal of the things they speak of are of nor relevance to our lives, nor to the lives of the Witches who used them first. lol
For years we seem to have assumed that anyone involved in Wicca is going to be someone like "us" and is someone who just naturally now that he or she has found our religion, their behavior is going to be upright, honest, honorable, responsible and dependable. I think we're mistaken in that belief.
And, to lighten the atmosphere a bit; here's one entry in a collection of the Laws of the Wicca that I thought you might find amusing!
ALTERNATIVE CRAFT LAWS
from John P. McClimans
13. Because each member of a coven is responsible for self and coven, the only authority the coven can exercize is authoritative authority.
c 1999 by Grey Cat. Used with Permission.