Wow. Has it really been almost a year since my last post? I apologize and blame the latest round of elections. I had taken a strongly political slant, and I had never wanted this blog to be all about politics. However, I was never able to get my mind away from politics to deal with other topics. So, let me see if I can now start fresh with a new topic.
Among many religions is a principle of non-violence, of what you do coming back to you, and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. With the modern re-emergence of many of the old Pagan beliefs, we have gained a modern expression of this ideal in “An it harm none, do what you will.” Of course, this is an added criteria to Mr. Crowley’s “‘Do what thou Will’ shall be the whole of the law. This rule is, actually, the big difference between those Pagans who call themselves Wiccan and those who do not.
Wiccans follow this rede. I would hope many of them put the thought into what it means to “harm none.” Ultimately, everything you do harms someone. Thus, the standard response to that argument will always be “Well, it refers to doing magickal workings and ritual.” Of course, even this logic falls flat. If you do a working to give a friend good fortune with their job interview, and they get the job because of your working, what about the person who would have gotten the job if not for your intervention? Did you not harm them and their family? I believe that every religion has its conundrum that really exists to cause soul searching. Buddhism has its idea that suffering comes from desire. Christianity actually has its concept of repentance. Islam has its actual concept of Jihad(the holy, internal war against the influences not of Islam, for which each resolution is supposed to be personal). Ultimately, the Wiccan Rede is there, and should be there, to make Wiccans think about their actions, see how they can harm others.
For non-Wiccans, though: what holds them back? The ones who go to Crowley’s Law?They can do what they want, unfettered by anything but their own desires and whims, right? Not really. You see, Crowley’s Law refers to Will, to your Enlightened Will. This is a concept that there is a something greater then yourself, but also an obligation to yourself. You need to understand that your Will is not just your desires, other wise that is what would have been said. It is the power to mold and shape reality, for good or ill. You cannot choose your desires. It takes concerted effort to exercise your Will. More then that, your Will can be used for good or ill, and your Enlightened Will is the truest expression of yourself.
There is an old song by Kenny Rogers called “The Coward of the County.” It tells the story of a boy who father died in prison, but made his son promise to avoid trouble, turn the other cheek, and basicly just let the world do what it would to him, and not raise a hand against it. In the song, his girlfriend or wife was gang-raped by three brothers, and our hero went and beat the tar out of them. One line that always stuck in my head from this song was “20 years of crawling were bottled up inside him, he was holding nothing back, he let them have it all.” I have always seen this song as a summation of the three ways things can be done. You had why the hero was called a coward: he would do nothing to cause harm. He stayed to his promise for 20 years. That was not a coward, as it takes someone especially brave to not raise a hand when the world is against you. The Bad Guys were the example of what happens when one uses their Will for bad. Sure, the got what they wanted, but then the hero came and gave them their just desserts. Finally, you have the hero of the song showing that the world was not black and white. You can use your Will to harm others for a Just Cause. There is nothing wrong with it. It also shows that the rule of Three still holds: if you do work for ill, it will come back to you.
Which brings us, ultimately, to the thing that keeps Wiccans and other Pagans and Heathens in check with what they do: the Rule of Three, that everything you do comes back three-times. Some argue this is just magical workings, some say that it is everything, some say it is just the negative you put out that comes back. However, the concept exists across the board. Now, since a Wiccan would never do anything that would need them to worry about the negative side, but this rule exists even among them, it is obviously not something they teach just to say “Don’t do bad things.” They likely teach it because of the connections between Gardner and Crowley in many of their magickal practices, and because of their own modification of Crowley’s Law into the Wiccan Rede. Those who’s tradition or philosophy traces back to Crowley are inherently aware of the Rule of Three, because it represents so much more then what you do coming back to you. It represents that point where your Will crosses and interacts with another’s Will. It is the evils of Slavery, Oppression, and Falsehood. It is also Freedom, Elevation, and Truth. If you work on another, you are doing one of these 6 things to them. You are either enslaving them to your Will or freeing them from the shackles that bind them. You are either oppressing them beneath your heel, or you are elevating them, raising them up from the hardships of the world. You are either blinding them with falsehood, deceiving them to your views, or you are removing the lies of others from their vision, that they may make decisions based on Truth. One one hand, you can be suppressing their Will, subsuming it for your own. On the other hand, you could be assisting them, aiding them in implementing their Will upon the world. To make it even more complicated, there can even be valid reasons to suppress rather then assist. Those who reject the Rede in favor of the Law have much more to think about before they do anything, if they truly understand the Law.