Guest Author - Leslie Ravenwing
One aspect of Paganism that draws people to the religion is the seemingly lack of dogma and strict set of rules that other religions hold their members to. There are many core beliefs to all Pagan paths but not every Pagan follow each of their rules. What sets Wicca apart from other paths is what is called the Wiccan Rede. The rede, for short, states "An it harm none, do as you will." You may find many versions but they all mean the same.
If you are new to the Wiccan religion, this statement may first appear as a free ticket to run wild, creating havoc, and unbridled self-centered activities. For those of us who have been around for awhile know it is far from that free ticket! The Rede teaches us to think before we act. I may want that expensive outfit in the mall but I can't afford it. Does the Rede mean I can do what I want to get that outfit by the action of stealing? No. I must stop to think how having that outfit for free will affect my environment. If I steal, the store loses money. The store losing money can cause the cashier to lose her job. Or the prices of everything goes up to cover the cost of my theft. if prices go up, customers stop shopping in the store. This can cause the store to close and many people will lose their jobs.
The Wiccan beliefs (and all Pagans really) make each individual person responsible for their own actions. We Wiccans can not place blame for our wrong doings on a scapegoat such as the devil, satan, or another human! Only you can be responsible for the positive and negative actions you perform.
We must always be mindful of how we can cause the least harm to the planet around us and even to our own bodies. Avoiding recreation drugs, drinking alcohol excessively, and smoking cigarettes are all ways we harm our bodies. Killing animals for sport is usually looked down upon by Wiccans. In fact, many Wiccans become vegetarians of some degree because of the way animals are treated for food products. Wiccans and Pagans have a high reverence for nature. Recycling and reusing items is an obvious way to cut down on the harm done to the Earth. Making compost from food scrapes is a great way to give back to our Earth.
Have you harmed none, including yourself, today?