“An ye harm none, do what ye will.” is the one and only Law of Wicca. What exactly does that mean? On the surface it looks pretty obvious. The truth is, it can mean different things to different people. I had one student ask if that meant we even had to watch everything we said so it didn’t offend anyone. Oh, my! That would have us being mind-readers 24/7, trying to figure out what offended whom or else we would never open our mouths and say anything for fear of unintentionally hurting someone’s feelings in one way or another.
Did you notice I said “unintentionally”. Whether we’re talking about what we say, do, or the magick that we work, it’s all about intention. If you’re intention, magickal or otherwise, isn’t to purposely harm someone and that person or persons take offense, you aren’t responsible. You are only responsible for what you intend with your words, actions, and/or magick. You know what your intentions are. Be honest.
The words we speak, the actions we take, and the magick we work are all energy. That energy manifests results in the outside world. Karma comes from the intention behind them. Quite frankly, I came to resolve my karma from past lives, not create more – especially of the negative variety.
One of the other things that has surprised many a student and follower of Wicca is the concept that “An ye harm none, do what ye will.” doesn’t just mean to others. It means harming oneself as well. Accidents happen and illnesses occur, but when we intentionally harm ourselves through abuse of our bodies and minds, we are breaking that One Law. Here again, you know your intent. When you are fully aware that an addiction or bad habit should be stopped for your well-being, but you continue to follow that same path, knowing the damage it’s doing, that’s intentional.
Let me put it another way. Although there is no purely white or black magick, there are varying shades of gray. When you intentionally wish ill to someone or yourself, you are working the darker shades of gray that have come to be known as “black” magick. The karma you create is of the negative variety and, if it doesn’t come to get you in this lifetime, it will surely come for you in another lifetime. Why would you want to do that to yourself?
Whether you are a follower of Wicca or feel you are more Pagan or even just think of yourself as a magician or sorcerer/sorceress, the fact remains you create karma with your thoughts, words, actions, and magick. Creating good karma and dispelling bad karma is the reason we are here.
That brings me to another point. Have you ever had someone come to you and ask if you would work a spell for them? It can be anything from a spell to stop an ex-girlfriend from messing with their man to wanting to bind that lover to them so they never want to leave or it can be as benign as wanting you to do a healing spell for a family member. Besides the fact that karma is connected with any action you magickally take, in the case of the first two situations, you really aren’t emotionally invested in those cases, so why would you want to become karmically entangled in that energy? Vengeance spells and love spells are really best done by the person who is emotionally invested in the situation. Even then, teaching someone how to do that magick has some karma attached to it. The choice is always yours. I personally would recommend you think long and hard about it before committing to becoming part of it.
I mentioned healing spells as well. This is a whole other thing but still should not be done lightly. Helping to heal someone is usually a positive action. I remember a discussion once where we talked about sending healing energy assuming the person wanted to be healed. I know you’re thinking, “Why wouldn’t someone want to be healed?” That person could be well aware that their time in this incarnation is at an end and that this illness has come to be the method for their departure from this life. Yeah, I know. Most of us don’t stop to think about that. So, while I’m always willing to send energy for someone’s healing, if that’s what they want, I send it with a disclaimer. “If it is their will, let this energy be accepted by _____, for the healing of their being. If it is not their will, let it find a home wherever it is needed.”
I know some will say I’m being overcautious. Perhaps. I think I would rather err on the side of caution than create karma I don’t need. I would rather be a responsible practitioner of Wicca and magick than an irresponsible on. Many would disagree based on their belief that it is their right to use magick any way they see fit. While free will is a God-given right, literally, the choices we make do determine what the rest of this life, and our lives to come, will be like. Whether you want to believe it or admit it, the privilege of working magick comes with a HUGE amount of responsibility.
Here’s another way to look at it – magick is that tool that you only use when everything else seems to have failed. Have you tried approaching the problem from another perspective? If it involves another person or persons, have you tried to discuss it openly with the idea of coming to an agreement that may or may not include a compromise from everyone concerned? In some cases, it may be better to approach it from a legal perspective and call a lawyer or a cop. In any event, before you turn to candles, incense and other items, try every possible avenue and approach the mundane world has to offer. Only when all that has failed should you go to your Altar and use magick.
Bide the Wiccan Rede ye must,
In perfect love and perfect trust,
Eight words of Wiccan Rede fulfill,
“And ye harm none, do what ye will.”
Lest in thy self defense it be,
Ever mind the Rule of Three.
Follow this with mind and heart
We merry meet and merry part.