31 Days of Witchcraft: Day 6

Are you a Solitary witch or have you worked with others in a Coven?

Short answer: yes.

Longer answer: I have been solitary, worked in looser groups, and worked in a coven.  I would say there is nothing quite like the depth and strength of energy that can be raised in a coven, the deep-plunging nature of the work, the egregore of the group.  I currently work alone, partly due to circumstance and partly due to inclination, and find that my spellcraft and devotional work (as opposed to other magical work) are best this way.

(A coven breaking up non-amicably is also a horrible, horrible experience, comparable to the breakup of any intimate relationship.)

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31 Days of Witchcraft: Day 5

5 – Do you have any ethics or moral codes that you follow?

I think I stuck at this one, which is (together with some serious Life Stuff) why I didn’t go any further with this back in the spring.  I kept starting to go beyond strictly craft stuff into broader life stuff – and there is no true separation (as in this post) but it just became too long and complicated to manage…

I do bear in mind various F(a)eri(e) tenets that I was taught (“never submit your life force to anyone”, “neither coddle nor punish weakness” etc), but what it comes down to for me is:

Do what needs to be done.  The bedrock of the craft for me.  And that can be anything from magic to helping a friend get to psychiatric emergency to legal advocacy to [fill in the blank here].  (Bear in mind it can also mean self-care, if that is what you need.)

Other thoughts might be: Honour your word to your gods and powers, though there is no shame in breaking a wicked vow.  Be kind where you can.

And I come back to one of my favourite quotes, from one of Terry Pratchett’s books (though not the Tiffany Aching ones, the latter two of which contain, to my mind, the fundamental spirit of traditional land craft).

“There is a very interesting debate raging at the moment about the nature of sin, for example,” said Oats.

“And what do they think? Against it, are they?” said Granny Weatherwax.

“It’s not as simple as that. It’s not a black and white issue. There are so many shades of gray.”

“Nope.”

“Pardon?”

“There’s no grays, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.”

“It’s a lot more complicated than that—”

“No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.”

“Oh, I’m sure there are worse crimes—”

“But they starts with thinking about people as things…”

A fierce and fundamental truth there: sin is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. 

Bear in mind that I’m an animist, and to me “people” goes a long way beyond human people.  It’s a challenging morality to live up to in a world that objectifies so much.  But I do strive to.  Do what needs to be done.  Be kind when you can.  Sin is when you treat people as things, including yourself.

UPDATE: I found an earlier answer I wrote to this elsewhere:

Many, but not any codified rules.  They mostly boil down to: do what needs to be done, strive not to be a dickhead or an oppressive fuckmuppet.  Neither coddle nor punish weakness.  Honour the ancestors, the land, the gods.  Know thyself.  Claim your power.  Be ugly; know beauty.  Where there’s fear, there’s power.

(Hat-tip to, among others, the late great Victor Anderson and Mark Aguhar)”

Pagan Blog Project 2014

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So I’ve decided to sign up for the Pagan Blog Project 2014, to try and get me posting over here again as well as just on my tumblr.  Look for the first post later this week!  I intend to mirror posts over on tumblr, too.