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Pagan Ethics

Pagan Ethics

On this page:

A Wiccan Statement of Principles
The Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru
Druid Ethics

The ethics espoused in a particular Pagan tradition may be different, but there is a general common basis in honouring Nature and all Life.The foundation of Wiccan ethics is the Wiccan Rede - "an (archaic for 'if') ye harm none, do as ye wilt" - simple but far-reaching in its implications (both individually and collectively).The following are statements from specific Pagan traditions, but are representative of the general ethics that Pagans of all traditions attempt to live by.However, in most Pagan traditions, the individual is responsible for determining how their tradition’s ethic or principles are lived out in any given moment and situation – most traditions do not have ‘commandments’ that direct their personal decisions.

 

A Wiccan Statement of Principles

The following was put together in 1974 by a group calling itself the Council of American Witches.

1.

We practice rites to attune ourselves with the natural rhythm of life forces marked by the phases of the moon and the seasonal quarters and cross-quarters.


2.


We recognize that our intelligence gives us a unique responsibility toward our environment.We seek to live in harmony with Nature, in ecological balance, offering fulfillment to life and consciousness within an evolutionary concept.


3.


We acknowledge a depth of power far greater than that apparent to the average person.Because it is far greater than ordinary it is sometimes called 'supernatural', but we see it as lying within that which is naturally potential to all.


4.


We conceive of the Creative Power in the universe as manifesting through polarity — as masculine and feminine — and that this same Creative Power lies in all people and functions through the interaction of the masculine and feminine.We value neither above the other, knowing each to be supportive of the other.We value sex as pleasure, as the symbol and embodiment of life, and as one of the sources of energies used in magickal practice and religious worship.


5.


We recognize both outer worlds and inner, or psychological, worlds sometimes known as the Spiritual World, the Collective Unconscious, Inner Planes, etc. — and we see in the inter-action of these two dimensions the basis for paranormal phenomena and magickal exercises.We neglect neither dimension for the other, seeing both as necessary for our fulfillment.


6.


We do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but do honor those who teach, respect those who share their greater knowledge and wisdom, and acknowledge those who have courageously given of themselves in leadership.


7.


We see religion, magick and wisdom in living as being united in the way one views the world and lives within it — a world view and philosophy of life which we identify as Witchcraft — the Wiccan Way.


8.


Calling oneself 'witch' does not make a witch — but neither does heredity itself, nor the collecting of titles, degrees and initiations.A witch seeks to control the forces within him/herself that make life possible in order to live wisely and well without harm to others and in harmony with Nature.


9.


We believe in the affirmation and fulfillment of life in a continuation of evolution and development of consciousness giving meaning to the universe we know and our personal role within it.


10.


Our only animosity towards Christianity, or towards any other religion or philosophy of life, is to the extent that its institutions have claimed to be 'the only way' and have sought to deny freedom to others and to suppress other ways of religious practice and belief.


11.


As American witches, we are not threatened by debates on the history of the Craft, the origins of various terms, the legitimacy of various aspects of different traditions.We are concerned with our present and future.


12.


We do not accept the concept of absolute evil, nor do we worship any entity known as 'Satan' or 'the Devil' as defined by the Christian tradition.We do not seek power through the suffering of others, nor accept that personal benefit can be derived only by denial to another.


13.


We believe that we should seek within Nature that which is contributory to our health and well-being.

 

 

The Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru


1.


Courage
— By facing life's struggles with courage, we constantly extend our capabilities.Without courage, nothing else can be done.


2.


Truth
— Blind faith has no place in Asatru.No pie-in-the-sky; we must act in this world as we see it and as it really is rather than calmly wait for the next.


3.


Honor
— We must be true to what we are, and we insist on acting with nobility rather than baseness.Our standards must be banners held high in our hearts.


4.


Fidelity
— We stand true to our faith and our values.Loyalty is the basis for all enduring human activity, and we hold it in the highest esteem.


5.


Hospitality
— The isolation and loneliness of modern life is not necessary.The willingness to share what one has with one's fellows, especially travellers, is a vital part of our way of life.

6.


Discipline
— We hold to the discipline necessary to fulfill our purpose.We stand willing to exercise the self-control and steadfastness necessary in these difficult times.

7.


Industriousness
— Let us dare to be all that we can be.Let us take risks and taste the richness of life.Passivity is for sheep.We refuse to be mere spectators in life.


8.


Self-Reliance
— We depend on our own strength and character to achieve our goals.We seek only the freedom necessary to our quest, whatever it may be.

9.


Perseverance
— We hold to our path until its completion and are not ashamed to be strong.The cult of the anti-hero will find no support in us, and the gods we follow are not for the weak.



 

Druid Ethics

Isaac Bonewits, first Archdruid of the ADF (Ár nDraíocht Féin), in his paper "What Do Neopagan Druids Believe", says:-

Many of the members of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship,Inc. ("ADF") have come to accept most of the following beliefs.However, it's important to remember that not everyone would use the term "belief" in reference to these concepts, and that every concept mentioned has a wide variety of accepted interpretations within the organization.

Thou Art God/dess

We believe that divinity is both immanent (internal) and transcendent (external), with immanence being far more important for us to pay attention to at this crucial phase of human history.Deities can manifest at any point in space or time which They might choose, including within human beings (through the processes known as "inspiration," "channeling," and "possession"). 

Goddesses and Gods

We believe that divinity is as likely to manifest in a female form as it is in a male form, and that the word "Goddess" makes just as much sense as "God."Women and men are spiritually equal, and "masculine" and "feminine" attitudes, values, and roles are of equal importance.

 

Polytheism

We believe in a multiplicity of gods and goddesses, as well as lesser beings, many of Whom are worthy of respect, love and worship We have a wide variety of nonexclusive concepts as to the nature of these entities.While some of us believe in a "Supreme Being," Neopagan Druidism is emphatically polytheistic.We have no figure of ultimate Evil.

 

Nature Worship

We believe that it is necessary to have respect and love for Nature as divine in Her own right, and to accept ourselves as part of Nature and not Her "rulers."Many of us accept what has come to be known as "the Gaia hypothesis," that the biosphere of our planet is a living being, Who is due all the love and support that we, Her children, can give Her.We consider ecological awareness and activism to be sacred duties.

 

Cautious Technophilia

We believe in accepting the positive aspects of Western science and technology, but in maintaining an attitude of wariness towards the supposed ethical neutrality of that science and technology.We also consider it important that scientists (like everyone else) pay as much attention to their means as they do to their goals.

 

Religious Freedom

We believe that monolithic religious organizations and would-be messiahs and supergurus are a hinderance to spiritual growth.We believe that healthy religions should have a minimum amount of dogma and a maximum amount of eclecticism and flexibility.Neopagan Druidism is an organic religion, and like all other organisms is growing, changing, and producing offshoots.

 

Positive Ethics

We believe that ethics and morality should be based upon joy, love, self-esteem, mutual respect, the avoidance of actual harm to ourselves and others, and the increase of public benefit.We try to balance people's needs for personal autonomy and growth with the necessity of paying attention to the impact of each individual's actions on the lives and welfare of others.

 

Religious Toleration

We believe that it's difficult for ordinary humans to commit offenses against the Gods and Goddesses, short of major crimes such as ecocide or genocide.Our deities are perfectly capable of defending Their own honor without any need for us to punish people for "blasphemy" or "heresy."

 

The Good Life

We believe that human beings were meant to lead lives filled with joy, love, pleasure, beauty and humor.Most Neopagans are fond of food, drink, music, sex, and bad puns, and consider all of these (except possibly the puns) to be of spiritual value.However, we do not approve of addictive or compulsive behavior and we support people with dysfunctional histories who have entered appropriate recovery programs.

 

Magic and Mystery

We believe that with proper training, art, discipline and intent, human minds and hearts are fully capable of performing most of the magic and miracles they are ever likely to need.Magical/miraculous acts are done through the use of what most of us perceive as natural (some say "divinely granted") psychic talents.

 

Liturgical Art and Science

We believe that there is an art and a science to creating, preparing and performing worship rituals.Our worship celebrations are continually evolving as we search for the most intellectually satisfying, artistically beautiful, spiritually powerful, and magically effective rites possible.

Connecting to the Cosmos

We believe in the importance of celebrating the solar, lunar and other cycles of our lives.We consciously observe the solstices, equinoxes and the points in between, as well as the phases of the moon.Such "rites of intensification" are human universals, as are the various ceremonies known as "rites of passage" -- celebrations of birth, puberty, personal dedication to a given deity or group, marriage, ordination, death, etc.

 

Born Again Paganism

Many of us believe in some sort of afterlife, usually involving rest and recovery in the Otherworld before reincarnating.We have no concept of "eternal" punishment, refusing to worship deities who could be that cruel.

 

Hope and Action

We believe that people have the ability to solve their current problems, both personal and public, and to create a better world.Our utopian vision, tempered with common sense, leads us to a strong commitment to personal and global growth, evolution and balance.

 

Mystic Vision

We believe that people can progress far towards achieving personal growth, evolution and balance through the carefully planned alteration of their "normal" states of consciousness.We use both ancient and modern methods of concentration, meditation, reprogramming and ecstasy.

 

Community Responsibility

We believe that human interdependence implies community service.Some of us are active in political, social, ecological and charitable organizations, while others prefer to work for the public good primarily through spiritual means (and many insist on doing both).

 

Authenticity

We believe that if we are to achieve any of our goals, we must practice what we preach.Neopagan Druidism, like any other religion, should be a way of life, not merely a weekly or monthly social function.So we must always strive to make our lives consistent with our proclaimed beliefs.

 

Cooperation and Defense

We believe in cooperation and ecumenical activities with those members of other faiths who share all or most of these beliefs.We also believe in resisting efforts by members of dysfunctional religions who seek to persecute us or suppress our human rights.

Blessed Be