Still knocking these out, one by one.
Today’s journal prompt: What would you consider your “code of ethics” for your path?
Well, as I have said before, I’m an avid Pinterester, and fairly early on I came across the (seemingly standard) 13 Goals of a Witch, which are
- Know yourself
- Know your Craft
- Learn and grow
- Apply knowledge with wisdom
- Achieve balance
- Keep your words in good order
- Keep your thoughts in good order
- Celebrate life
- Attune with the cycles of Earth
- Breathe and eat correctly
- Exercise the body
- Honor the Goddess and God
Now, these aren’t exactly a code of ethics in the traditional way; I mean, there are some ethics in here, like treating yourself well. But on the whole, there are no rules–only goals. If I wanted to look at a code of ethics, I suppose I could reach over to the Wiccan Rede, but I don’t really identify as Wiccan, so that would be a bit beyond what I subscribe to.
So, to be honest, I kind of just use the moral code of, well, myself. Maybe that doesn’t suit some people (which is probably why we have organized religion), but even back when I was a staunch Catholic, part of me wondered why I didn’t just do what my heart said. Part of me thought, “I know this is right, but God says it’s wrong.” This strong sense of morality that I find within myself has been the basis for much of my religious searchings (and really, the rejection of religion). This, as well as the inability to believe in God, has really shaped my path.
This is one of the reasons that I’m hesitant to say, “I’m a Wiccan,” because, for me, saying that I subscribe to Wicca would be like foregoing the two fundamental reasons for my giving up of Catholicism, just to join another religion (even if they are totally different). While I can’t deny that Wicca is undoubtedly more fitting in my mind than Christianity, I also don’t want to look at the Rede and say, “Yes, these are rules that apply to me, just like the Ten Commandments.” Similarly, I don’t want to look at the idea of the Goddess and God and say, “I believe in these deities the way that Christians believe in God and the Son of Man.” Because, really, I can’t shy away from one idea of God and then turn to a different one, because the idea of a god in general was what I couldn’t get behind. I can see that the universe might hold some great cosmic power that I don’t understand, but I don’t believe that there is a God out there who is in charge of it all.
Similarly, I believe that my own ethics provide a sufficient source of morality for my actions. Now, perhaps I’ve been taught this by society, because my views tend to be on the liberal side, but man, if Republicans these days are getting their morals from the Bible, that is not the book that I want to follow (although I’ve read the Bible, probably far more than many Republicans–or my conservative friends–and I have to say that, on the whole, it’s not that much better or worse than any religious text). I just wish that we could be decent human beings. Why do we need religion to tell us right from wrong? Of course, we can be pretty selfish, irrational, and emotional in life–nobody’s perfect–but I do kind of think karma is a factor (you know, the Rule of Three), and honestly, if you are awful to people, people will probably be awful to you.
One of my other friends also said I’m a “relativist,” meaning that I believe everything is relative to who you are and the society you were brought up in. This friend is a fundamental Catholic who seriously posts some of the worst stuff on the Internet. We’ve had hours-long conversations about life, religion, and pretty much every topic, but after knowing her about a year, I finally told her, “Do you know what is the hardest thing about being your friend? I know that no matter what I say, you will never believe me. You will always look at me and think you know more than I do. It’s not a give and take.” I’m still in that friendship, though I don’t know why.
Anyway, if she wants to call me a relativist, she can, but I believe that’s just the way things are. You can never have one big “Truth” with a capital T, because different things are true for different people. It’s the same way that one religion will not work for all–and, as it seems, will not work for me.
So I guess I’m trying to figure out what my ethics are, exactly, but so far my own internal code has not led me too far astray. The 13 Goals of the Witch are kind of right in the sweet spot–they remind me of what I should be doing, without saying, “Do it or you’ll go to Hell.” So maybe that’s why I want to be just a Witch, and not necessarily a Wiccan. Part of me feels like I’ve had enough religion for a lifetime.