Today I’m taking my next step in being a witch in this day and age: passing what I know on to the next generation. I was approached by a young person to teach them what I knew about the Craft and the place it holds in the world and what that means to a practitioner of the Craft. I’m starting off with what some consider a strange place to begin, ethics. The ethics of teaching the Craft, standards I must be held to, and then the ethics of using the Craft in the world. Until I’m convinced my student understands these things I will not teach anything more. I hope my reasons will be obvious to all concerned.
“Seekers on the pagan path are in an extremely vulnerable position. In their quest for fellowship and teaching, they risk encountering those who use faith to prey on others. To empower the Seekers of our community, a Seeker’s Bill of Rights has been drafted. This tool will help to alert Seekers of a problem if a group or teacher violates any of the ten rights described. It will also serve to remind Seekers that while they do not have “degrees,” they are still human beings with rights and dignity. (Written by Charles Mars, Texas Local Council Member and 1999-2002 National CoG Board Member)
I. The Right to Verify Credentials
Seekers shall not be obstructed from substantiating claims made by a teacher or group. In the case of Elders that were inspired to create a new tradition, the Seeker has the right to know the circumstances surrounding the inception of that tradition.
II. The Right to Anonymity
Seekers have the right to keep their involvement in the occult a secret to preserve their personal & professional lives.
III. The Right to Financial Stability
Seekers shall not be required or coerced into taking on any financial burdens on behalf of a teacher or group.
IV. The Right to Compensation for Professional Goods & Services
Seekers have the right to be paid for goods produced and/or skilled labor from which they would normally receive an income. Seekers shall not be required or coerced into providing discounts or “freebies” on behalf of a teacher or group.
V. The Right to Sexual Freedom
Seekers shall not be required or coerced into sexual relations with unwanted persons, nor shall Seekers be restricted from sexual relations with consenting adults.
VI. The Right to Physical Well-Being
Seekers shall not be required or coerced into submitting to any form of physical injury or abuse.
VII. The Right to Abide by the Law
Seekers shall not be required or coerced into committing any illegal act.
VIII. The Right to Consistency
Seekers have the right to expect consistency in policies by a teacher or group. Seekers should be formally informed in a timely manner of any policy changes.
IX. The Right to Separation with Impunity
Seekers have the right to discontinue association with any teacher or group without fear of harassment or reprisal.
X. The Right to be at Peace with One’s Conscience
Seekers shall not be required or coerced into committing any action contrary to their own sense of ethics and morality.”
These are the standards that I must uphold and abide by to teach the Craft. There is no certificating agency or organization that forces me to do this, just my own sense of morals and ethics. That I was able to <Ctrl C> <Ctrl V> these into this document only speaks to how widespread not having morals and ethics was early in the modern era of the Craft.
This next part I can’t copy and paste because this isn’t universally agreed upon, yet. This is the ethical and moral use of magick, using one’s will and tools to inflict change upon the world and the people in it. It is far from a settled question, with many arguments about it from many different angles on the same situation. So these ethics about the use of magic are shared with a few people, and when pressed about it those who don’t share my opinion will say that these are not bad aside from being overly restrictive.
Magick is your will, exercised freely in accordance with your desires.
You have a right to not use magick under duress. No one can force you to use magick against your will to do things you do not agree with. This is pretty universal.
You may not use magick against the will of another person except to save a life or prevent harm.
This one is where things start getting contentious. Some people say that using magick is how to dodge the use of physical or financial power of others so using against the will of another is “just how things are”. There are others who say that saving life is the only reason to use magick against the will of another person, that unless life is in immediate peril than ethics prohibit them from using magick even if someone is injured because of inaction. Also there is some disagreement about the definition of “against the will”. My personal definition is “to enact action that is counter to the desires” of the targeted person.
A good example of this is the use of love spells. Using a spell or set of spells to force someone to love you is a violation of this by my standards. Making them horny so they jump your bones is fair, because the decision to jump your bones is still under their control, not yours. You hope you will be the target of their desire, but you can’t make them desire you specifically. Making yourself change so that you are irresistible to them is fair, because again the choice remains with the person you desire to fall in love with you and the changes are made to you and not to them. Now I want my student to be able to tell me why this is important, in their own words, and to give other examples of using the Craft that might violate this standard.
A good criterion for use of magick in emergency situations is would you be allowed to use a gun if you had a concealed carry permit? This is a “bright line” standard. Where things are more murky is doing something against something that is not an immediate danger but more of a long-term threat. Example for this is Ethan Crouch, the teen “suffering” from “affluenza” in the deaths of 4 people and the permanent maiming of 2 more when he stole beer, got roaring drunk, drove one of his father’s trucks, and hit a group of 7 people at the site of a broken-down vehicle partially in the road. Would you use magick against Ethan to make him conscious of what he did? Why or why not? Would you make him more than just “conscious” of what he did and try to inflict a little punishment on him? Why or why not? Explain and use examples.
Thus endeth the lesson.