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Ethics
by Paul Hume

(From a message posted on Magicknet, date unknown)

George -
The outcry at the end of your last post of three: does this belong on Mundane or are ethics central enough to religion (presumably Wiccan religion) to stay on Magicknet, triggers this response in my guts: If ethics are not a central consideration in magico-religous dialog, we are all in the wrong line of work.

What indeed are the ethics of the witch/mage/shaman? Most of the principle guides to our behavior are "shorthand," almost koans, which guide the "initiate" but are meaningless or even scary/dangerous to the "common man."

"Do what thou wilt..."
"An it harm none..."
"The eightfold noble path"

It is all well and good to say "listen to the inner voice." When the inner voice (or a plausible imitation) says "Kill them all, let God sort them out," what then?

Can occult ethics generate an ethical code for the non-occultist? Crowley tried his hand at this, and some of the modern Wiccan writers do, as well as assorted New Age writers, whose stuff at least has the advantage of innocence as a rule.

My aikido sensei recently remarked "What we do is not for everyone." This was not in defense of excluding anyone from the dojo, but rather to answer the puzzlement of several people when a person who'd seemed quite interested observed class, and left with some denigrating observations on the "wimpy" nature of our style. Heaven knows what he thought aikido was.

Not only our magick but our lifestyle is not for everyone. The terrible burden of freedom from authority, of distinguishing ethics from morals, of fixing the eye on the star of the Will and steering by that alone: these scare the excrement out of many people. "I don't KNOW what's right," they cry! "I need someone to tell me."

Our perfect world contains people who perform right action automatically, by virtue of training themselves to do so. Your "good practice" rather than "good law," to paraphrase you and Confucius.

The Rede, Thelema, etc. are enough for their adherents - they are not enough - cannot be enough - for anyone who has not taken that first step onto the path of initiation (I use the term in its widest sense - not just "formal" initiation into a trad., order, etc.).



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