The basic tenets – the universal truths – of Wicca are easy to understand. I have spoken of many in one way or another, above. Yet, there is one rule which resides above all: And it harm none, do what you will.
This can mean stepping up when no one else will. This may also mean standing back and allowing things to progress without your interference. The choice is sometimes all too easy, but other times, it will be the hardest decision that you can make. Following the path of least harm is not always simple. But it is what we – as Wiccans – strive to do.
That being said, there is one more thing that must be known of the faith. A covenant, handed down from generation to generation, between us and the gods.
And thou who thinkest to seek for Me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not, unless thou knowest the Mystery: that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee.
My path is unique, special. My teacher is not just the man whom I call my High Priest. My teacher is the wind and the trees. It is the thoughts of my ancestors. It is the tears I shed over the death of loved ones. It is the joy in an orgasm and the wholeness I feel while racing down a hill on a bicycle, wind rushing through my hair, life running through my veins. It is my stress over college and life and it is my determination, my will. My teacher is the Universe.
It is wrong of me to say that my teacher comes from several different pagan lines, taught by both his ancestors and people outside of his bloodline. To say I am part of an ancestral tradition takes away from it – because I am not a descendant of my teacher.
Our path is rooted in one simple question: Why? We seek through our religion, meditation, thought and action, to answer the questions that come to us, no matter how trivial. We seek to gain knowledge from the simplest events in life. We tend to be interested in the conceptual truths – the patterns – instead of the practical, here and now truths. We would rather discover what it takes to make a boat float, than just be told how to build one.
What of God? The Gods? Many of us have creation stories, and perhaps there is a bit of truth to all. Regardless, we do not view God/s as separate. Instead God is within us, outside of us, and all around of us. There is god in a rock, and fire, and the beauty of the sunset. We – all of us – are parts of God, like a mirror broken into a billion pieces.
Many choose pantheons to best represent their beliefs. Some leave it vague, “the gods put me on this path.” Regardless, we all agree that there is a divine energy in the universe, and it is, in some way, a part of us.
We believe in magic. We define magic as the inherent ability of an object to influence its environment. Magic is as much being able to walk as it is being able to attract new sources of happiness to your life.
We do not deny the skeptics. Our most fervent believers may define their belief in magic as energy that they can see, feel or touch. And our skeptics insist that we are so able to meld our minds around an idea that we unconsciously work towards the expected outcome. Regardless of how the belief is interpreted, it cannot be denied that we believe in and work with magic.
Along with the belief in magic comes a goal: That we may be the rock in a great sea; to be master of our surroundings and not be mastered by them. Becoming the one to influence – the magician, the hermit, the priest and the priestess – has a cost. We believe that the Universe recognizes intent as action, and acts accordingly. And so, ill wishes bring ill back to us three times over. Likewise, good acts bring good to us three times over. And though we do not see things as black and white, the rule of three and karma still remain as fundamental to our practice and beliefs.
Wicca is not exclusively a religion. The term religion was most aptly described, I believe, by Richard Geertz:
(1) a system of symbols which acts to (2) establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by (3) formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and (4) clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that (5) the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.
In other words, a religion is a set of symbols that order our existence and cause our conceptions, moods, and motivations to seem unique and realistic. This definition has been disputed. One dictionary defines religion as follows:
A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
This is closer, but still incorrect. This particular definition neglects the placement of the word “dynamic” before the word “beliefs.” Wicca is ever changing, unlike religions which proudly state that their religion has been passed down from generation to generation.
We do not believe in a static universe, static beliefs, or a static god. We walk a path – many of us with common beliefs on how the world is ordered. We often live by a common code – but the words may differ. And the code is not interpreted as one right way.
We believe in balance. We believe in science – that for every action, there is a reaction, and often it is much stronger than we can perceive. We believe in responsibility, and in a debt owed to the earth and matter which supports our existence.
Well guys, it’s friday, and I finally get a long weekend to try to catch up on everything that I need to do – school wise. National Novel Writing Month is right around the corner – not sure if I’m going to head down the nonfiction or the fiction route for the month. In any case, you can be sure to get more updates during that month, since I tend to look for anything to distract me from my crazy ideas and ambitions.
In any case, have a great day, and I’m sorry about lack of content recently. Yell at my professors for the 25 page research paper, 3 labs with continuous write ups, and the ever popular test and quizzes.
I think this post is going to start a series of posts relating science and religion in ways you may have never wanted to see them related. But, as one of my stipules of life is to do just that – relate everything back to the way I see life – to challenge my ideas and to improve my sense of the world around me and world view – it seems that that is the direction that I am headed in today.
Anyway, today we get to the definition of life. It is usually one of the first things that a biology class goes over. Of course, “biology” does mean study of life, so it would only make sense. A lot of people probably get over that question real quick, but viruses are that half and half thing that make the definition relatively important.
For me, the definition got old about four years ago in the sophomore year of high school. It was “wow, cool” and then nothing more. Granted, I’ve seen the exact same definition in about 5 different college level science classes. But nonetheless. The definition of life normally includes the following factors: metabolism, growth, movement, communication…
But what about us? We tend to view the world as living. The entire world. The rocks and the trees and the fire and the wind. How do we get these two views to mesh?
I suppose when I can get my thoughts in order, I’ll answer that.