Knowing me, I have written about this before, but we live in such turbulent times it just felt right to talk about it again.
I haven’t always been Wiccan. I was baptized Southern Lutheran and attended many different denominations of Christian churches over the years prior to finding Wicca. During that time, I clearly remember being taught “The Golden Rule.” You know? The one that goes, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” In other words, if you want respect, you have to give respect; if you want kindness, you have to give kindness, etc. It seems pretty clear to me.
In Wicca, our one law is “And ye harm none, do what ye will.“ and it says the same thing, going just a little further. We believe the “harm none” also includes ourselves. Both the Golden Rule and the Wiccan Rede are related to the Ethics of Reciprocity that can essentially be found, in some form, in all of the world’s religious texts. What it boils down to is reminding believers to treat other people decently. While many still believe in and practice this with both their minds and hearts, what has happened to so many others?
How did we get to this place of “us and them”? What’s made people turn against each other just because of a different lifestyle. political viewpoint, moral standard, or philosophy of Life? We were once a people who welcomed diversity and, even if we didn’t agree, stood up for each other’s right to hold those opinions and philosophies.
The last fifty years have been startling to witness. We’ve gone from agreeing to disagree to a place where we hate and kill each other for being different or holding a different perspective on things. Where has our compassion and our tolerance gone? Is there no room in our hearts for those who are not seeking to convert us or harm us but just want to live a life that is different than our own? My heart is breaking at the misery and pain all this hate, anger and intolerance is causing. We – all of us – are so much more than that.
Does my lifestyle and beliefs, or those of others, threaten your sense of security and well-being so badly that we must cease to exist in order for you to feel comfortable with your own ideologies? Then I have to ask, what threat do you feel we pose to you and why do you feel that way? Although I may not understand your lifestyle and beliefs or have any desire to be part of them, I would fight to my dying breath to defend your right to live that life and hold those beliefs. Everyone is entitled to that.
No matter what you call the Deity of your spiritual path, the fact exists that we are ALL children of the Creator of All-that-is. No one is more so a child of their God than the other treading a different path. Some philosophies and spiritual paths even see us as pieces of the Creative Force come here to experience Life from different perspectives, in order to learn and understand. Perhaps this is the real reason we are told we are all Brothers and Sisters.
In the interim, while we are all fighting amongst ourselves, those in power, who would control us and create a world in their own image, laugh as their plan appears to be working out just fine. We are insignificant to them. Our survival means little, if anything, to them. Bit by bit, they continue to take from us and tear apart our planet. What do we do? Blame each other and continue with the hate, the anger, and the intolerance. How’s that working for you?
There is another way. It involves sincerely following the Ethics of Reciprocity of whatever religious/spiritual path we follow. It also involves love rather than hate, calm rather than anger, and tolerance rather than intolerance. It’s time to get back to agreeing to disagree and to not feeling threatened by another’s way of life, beliefs, or opinions. It’s time to get back to rejoicing in our diversity, for it was diversity that built this country.
Can this happen? Yes, but not overnight. Where we are wasn’t created overnight. The mere conscious effort, on the part of each of us, to join hands in our diversity and create a country and world where everyone is welcome to live in peace, no matter if living differently from ourselves, does two things: 1. It says we are ready to lift ourselves up in love, compassion, and tolerance, and 2. We want to live in a world we create, not one forced upon us by others who care nothing for us or our world.
The Wiccan Rede, along with similar statements throughout the world’s religions, is a standard to live in peace and harmony with each other. To intentionally speak or act in manner that is harmful to anyone or anything (animals, plants, the Earth itself), is speaking loudly and clearly of the disdain a person has for all but themselves. This makes no one nor nothing “great.” It demeans us all.
To live in the Light, rather than the Darkness, is the path each of us came to do. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience. We must never forget that. Let us not continue to turn against each other. Instead let us turn toward each other, speak our truths, in Love and Light, and agree to disagree, but fight to defend that right for all of us.
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.”