The Wiccan Rede, and How to Live by It

 

Reviewing past posts I found a promise I made in The Ethics of Hex and Curses; a promise I have yet to make good on. “Harm none, Do as thy will.” Is one of many modern interpretations of the Wiccan Rede, followed by countless Neo Pagans. The original, first seen in Green Egg (1975) under the title of “Rede Of The Wiccae” was a full length poem written by Gwen Porter and can be found republished and updated on the internet. The most common take away from Porter’s poem is the statement above; how far do we go with harm none is debated amongst its believers.

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A section of the full length poem Rede Of The Wiccae by Gwen Porter

Like many Neo Pagan beliefs the Wiccan Rede is not believed by all Wiccans and not limited to Wiccans. However the extent to which it is practiced differs wildly. A common way of implementing the Rede into life is to apply it to magick only but this does come with a problem. If a practitioner casts a spell to get a job and gets the job someone will not get it. Does that cause harm to the person who did not get the job? Yes, could harm to someone be avoidable with or without magick? No, but not all who look at the rede from a magickal stand point see it that way. Another view is to apple the Rede to daily life, but again to what extent differs among practitioners.

A large amount of Pagans limit the harm to no harm to the earth. Meaning they work very hard to minimize their environmental impact. You will also see Vegetarians and Vegan Pagans refusing to eat meat and animal products to limit harm to animals. Following the Rede may even drive some into the health care profession. My first life altering commitment to follow the Rede was to stop using make-up and beauty products tested on animals.  After doing a small amount of research I was floored by how many beauty companies still test their products on animals and how many lie about their testing practices. To go completely cruelty free I had to start from shampoo down with my beauty routine and now make no qualms about turning down free or gifted products that have been tested on animals.

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Leaping Bunny Program’s logo seen on certified cruelty free products.

The easiest way to pick products that have not been tested on animals is to look for the Leaping Bunny symbol on the back. The Leaping Bunny Program is a Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) created in the 90’s as a third party unit to define and regulate cosmetic companies that want to be certified cruelty free. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) also maintains a list on their website of companies that produces and distributes cruelty free products. Even with these resources it is not always easy to shop cruelty free on a drug store dime. Most of the quality cruelty free products are pricier then their common competitors and certain products are hard to find cruelty free. I am still struggling to find a box hair die with a pigment that lasts and is cruelty free.

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PETA’s logo for cruelty free products.

I have recently branched out from beauty products to house hold cleaners and goods such as candles. It took me a year or so to get beauty products that I liked cruelty free so I expect a similar curve with house hold goods. Other ways I work toward no harm include bringing reusable bags while shopping and refusing to use one-time-use straws. The bags have become common practice and the country of France recently outlawed one use shopping bags, but I still get strange looks for the straws. I recently made the commitment to stop using one-time-use straws after watching a YouTube video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck down his nostril. I am not above saying this video traumatized me into action.  I took a few days to become aware of how many straws I go though in a day and then reviewed an image I used in the previous post on recycling to see how long our one-time-use straws last.

In this time I decided there were instances that I favored having a straw and did not believe I could get around not having one so I purchased a pack of reusable straws from Starbucks. The pack I got had three green straws that fit in most medium to large beverages and the packaging fit into my purse. So like reusable shopping bags I started carrying around a pack of straws. After a month I saw myself getting better at refusing straws at restaurants and remembering to pull out my own straws for to-go cups, but I found smaller cups to be an excuse not to use my big straws. In response to that excuse I went back to Starbucks and got a pack of smaller straws to carry as well. I have every intention to minimize the amount of useless and unsafe trash I produce, at any cost. Some people do not like trading one type of plastic for another and for them there are plenty of stainless steel reusable straws out there for purchase.

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An Image from that video of Texas A&M University researchers removing a straw deeply in bedded in the nostril of a Sea Turtle.  If you want to support the Marine Biologists that saved this Turtle’s life please follow this link: https://www.gofundme.com/wuhvd6zj 

So as I have demonstrated there are many ways to do as you will without causing harm. You don’t have to do everything all at once but making small changes every day and becoming aware of the harm you can cause makes the world a better place.

How do you implement the Rede into your life?

Please share with me in the comment!

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com

Refuse Single Use Plastic: http://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/

 

My Morning Prayer

In a lot of the beginners books on Wicca there is an emphasis on creating a daily practice, and I always brushed it off as something I would work on down the line. A daily practice wasn’t something I wanted to focus on right now, I just didn’t have the time, I’m to inexperienced; were my excuses. Its surprising now to think I didn’t really have to “work at” adding prayer to my morning. I clock in at 7 am five mornings out of the week and find myself four stories up looking at Camelback and the Papago Mountains between 8 and 10 am.18342211_10155333921268417_6852586912892122644_nMost practitioners prefer to ground on solid ground but seeing the largest representations of earth for my region above the building is very humbling to me. It is hear where I focus my breath and release all that will not serve me though out my day. Then with my head down and eyes closed I send my attention to the four cardinal directions, calling the elements in my minds voice as I go. Once I have a circle I call the Goddess and God to help me though my day. Normally asking for attributes I feel I need for that day or their protection. Then I thank the spirits of the land I live on for nourishment, ending with a chant of “may the summer be short” repeated once.15941431_10154943040248417_8857899218113315545_nI then close my circle and go about my day. This practice does not take long and does not effect my work, but it is quickly becoming not enough. I have only been unable to complete this practice at work once and it has become such an important part of my day when I don’t work I feel like my day got off on the wrong foot. Sadly I have only ever noticed this is the cause of the feeling until evening and not the time for a day starting prayer. Also, before starting my prayer every morning I think to myself that I should also be doing a end of day prayer to thank the Goddess and God for their gifts but the memory to do so does not stick. I hope to expand this practice in these ways. I actually feel more focused and clear after my prayer and would like that feeling to wash over to days I do not work and before bed.

 

Do you have a daily practice? Do prayers or devotions? How would you like to expand on these?

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com

Back and Ready to Write

Hi All,

Sorry for the long absence. Between my life getting busier and the ever changing political environment writing seemed harder and harder, but I’m ready to start posting again. I have been in a stand still with my magickal practice as well. My work scheduled has made it difficult for me to go to ritual, I was stuck in one book for almost two months, and my book club has been woefully neglected. You could say this witch has fallen off her path. Well its time to dust off my pointy hat and get back on the broom. I know I don’t tend to post personal stories but coming out and clean about my absence is how I see myself restarting. I hope you don’t mind!

I personally feel a type of spiritual practice is necessary for our mental health and when you let it fall from the level you are happiest at it leads to downfalls in other areas of life. So hear I am taking the rains back and saying I’m in-charge! Who’s with me? Coming up you can expect from the IronWolf Circle a look into the American legal battles and what protections they granted Pagans, how I incorporate the “Harm None” clause into my daily life, and Initiation. Please feel free to contact me hear or though email.

Blessed Bee,

Autumn Wolfe

autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com

How to Handle Protesters at a Pagan Event

It’s that time of year again! When Pagan Pride Festivals and open rituals start popping up in our communities, and with them all the problems of being pagan in public. In light of the protesters visiting Nashville’s Pagan Pride day I thought it would be fitting to give some advice on how to still enjoy your day out with fellow pagans while protesters try to ruin it. These suggestions are for attendees and not organizers and I do encourage all to follow the rules set forth by the event coordinators, but sometimes everyone is following the rules and there are still gray areas on how to deal with these issues.

  • A majority of the time protesters will not be aloud into the event or will set up “shop” at the front entrance to discourage attendees from entering. For the protesters this tactic can be very effective, especially on people who would be coming to their first event. As an attendee of a Pagan event the best way to handle this type of protest is to walk by without acknowledging the protest. I suggest eyes down, ears closed till you get into the event or the sign-in table. If the protesters signal you out, physically touch you, or otherwise make your entrance difficult inform organizers, police, or event/ venue staff as quickly and calmly as possible.
  •   Sometimes, with open public events protesters are able to walk in and attempt to disturb the event from the inside. This can be the most difficult time when dealing with protesters; since they are not just using volume to disrupt but their persons. As with the Nashville Pagan Pride these protesters could also video tape their actions. If you are “in the broom-closet” this can be terrifying. I do want to take a moment and remind you that in some cases when going to an event you are giving permission to be photographed or video taped. Before going to an event check their rules to be sure this is explained for the event its self. When done for the event or vendors they normally ask before the picture is taken and give you a chance to move. However, when the protesters are video taping it is best to just turn your back and let them pass by. You can find the video the Nashville protesters posted online and  see individuals that can be identified are clearly standing in front of the protest. Other attendees are not identifiable. I would not suggest going up to them to engage or trying to impend traffic though the event.
  •    When protesters become verbally or physically violent the best thing for an attendee to do is to get out of the way. Let the police handle the assault and give a clear and calm description of what you witnessed when asked by police or organizers. If you were involved or saw what happened do stay at the event to give your account. Help injured or angered friend remain calm and walk a safe distance away from the altercation. Do not describe parties involved by religion or group when giving police statements. Describe by apprentice from foot to head. If people fled or left this is extremely important for police follow up as they can get group names from people involved in the groups but not always personal descriptions. Remember in the aftermath most parties are going to protect their own. This includes lying about who started what and who was involved. If you give a clear, impartial, and honest statement you will be presenting the event well and help police better investigate and prepare for next year.
  • When you see a person you know involved in the protest do not walk up to the individual or engage with them later on the issue. Maintain distance and and if they notice you be polite and do not confirm your reason for presence. This is especially important if you know this person from your place of employment. Say hello, it was nice to see you, then move on. If this person later attempts to reveal your presence at the event you can then go to your HR department and honestly state you never confirmed or denied your involvement in the event while reporting the inappropriate work place behavior.

Most importantly while attending a Pagan event remember you are representing all attendees, the event its self, and Pagans. The best way to do so is with positivity and light. When our events end up on the news because of protest mainstream media will take anything to make Neo Paganism look bad. So don’t be the one to give them fuel, only give them the story of protesters came and were handled by the appropriate authorities or left out of boredom. Have a fun and safe festival season!

Do you have any stories about protesters at pagan event?

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com

 

Fluffy Bunny, How Pagans Bully

“That group is full of fluffy bunnies, look at their cloths!”

“She is such a fluffy bunny, I can’t carry on a conversation without her insisting Margaret Murray’s Witch Cult was real.”

“Oh, I’m not a fluffy bunny. I embrace the dark and the light.”

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  Upon entering a new community you start to pick up on the lexicon, different terms used to express ideals, stereotypes, and common experiences.  The same is true with Pagan communities, whether online or in real life you learn the difference between a bolin and an athame fairly quickly; but what about insults. Words thrown around to distinguish the others or less then. The ones you are not. You will hear them but are they always defined?In Christianity you will hear someone called a “rainy day Christian” or a “Christmas Catholic” both are terms used to describe a believer who only shows up to service when it suits them. In Paganism we may have a similar term, but an even more hurtful insult is being called a “fluffy bunny”. I have seen the fluffy bunny insult used in three different ways but it always is meant to distinguish an individual or group that is not authentic or a real Pagan.

The three common uses for the term fluffy bunny are: 1. The first and most common is to describe the dabblers, or the Pagans that have read one book and they know it all (IReadits) and the fad followers. These are the ‘kids’ (can be adults) who wear all the jewelry they can get their hands on and buy up all the fancy tools. 2. The second are the Pagans that don’t like to think about the dark side. The Pagans who are all rainbows and sunshine and never would talk about the negative. Peace, Love and keep all the underworld away from me. 3. The third are the Pagans willing to throw away all recent historic findings to embrace the rhetoric brought forth in the early years of Neo Paganism. These Pagans refuse to hear about the Burning Times, Gerald Gardner,  and Margaret Murray in any capacity then how they see it.

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You will encounter people who fit in to these three stereotypes and want to call them a fluffy bunny. You will hear other Pagans use the term and now know what they mean, but should you repeat it? With Neo-Paganism being so open to all walks of life and personal interpretation do we even have the right to bully others for practicing in a different way or choosing what they are about? I had a hard time dealing with the “Wiccans” described in the most common use of fluffy bunny when I was younger. I believed not only “Fluffy Bunnies are frequently attracted to Wicca for the sake of appearance” but anyone in my age range was as well. Anyone in my school who said they were Wiccan got lumped in with the goths, emo kids, and attention seekers. If I knew the term I would have spat it at them just as frequently as I was called a weirdo and loser.

Image result for fluffy bunny pagans

Which brings me to my point. As teens most of us were bullied. We know the sting for being called names and as teens expect it. As adults, in a complicated community that does require some level of maturity to participate should we be throwing around insults like fluffy? I agree the “fluffiness” needs to combated, but how many people who are insulted for a lack of knowledge suddenly become deadly serious to learn? Instead of insults and saying behind these bunnies backs they are”air-headed idiots more at home in a Walt Disney cartoon than in the Pagan community” Why can’t we give the opportunity for dialect and education?  I bet some of these fluffy bunnies were never given the opportunity to brush down their fur.

Sources:

http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/fluffy.shtml

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/msg0019.htm

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com

 

 

I Stand With Those Against the AFA

#notinmypaganism

In case you have not seen or heard of the Asatru Folk Assembly and their bigoted Facebook statements look below.

As you can read this “pagan” organization has publicly used religion as their defense for racism and bigotry. It pains me to know these people truly believe Gods I love would stand by enforcing gender roles, homophobia, and racism. That is not my Paganism, and so I stand with The Green Wolf and countless others in the pagan community as say no.

#notinmypaganism

Paganism is for love

Paganism is for the earth

Paganism is for everyone period.

To see the blog post by the Green Wolf and more information please follow this link: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/25811799/posts/1129667114

Blessed Be,

Autumn

High and Low Magick

At my first Pagan gathering I was sitting around the sacred fire with the High Priestess of my coven and few others who, like me, were unwilling to move from the warmth of the blaze. When, a class just happened to be scheduled for that location began; the class was Magick 101. Since I was already there I decided to stay in my seat and listen politely to the instructor. The first thing the instructor did was ask each of the people around the fire their level of knowledge. Some people where members of different covens, others were solitary, and I was honest about being new to my coven and serious study. The next thing the instructor did was ask “What is the difference between High and Low Magick?”

Que me slinking farther in to my blankets and hoodie, it was going to be a long class discussing the same information I just wrote a three paragraph essay on for the woman equity buried in microfiber beside me. The instructor looked around the circle, and the second answer he received is one I remember shaking my head to. The High Priest of I don’t remember coddled his answer in the form of a story with an ending moral of High Magic was when you impose your will on someone else. I guess I was to noticeably surprised, or disused by the implications of his answer since I felt two pairs of eyes on me. My High Priestess wanted me to speak up and the instructor wanted the “new girl” to give a go. I untangled my moth from my cave of fuzzy materials to be heard and gave a short one sentence answer, before like a grumpy dragon retreating to her cave gave the instructor the floor to continue. I will not be giving you readers just the one sentence answer I spewed on that 19°F October afternoon. Instead lets brake down these forms of magick to understand better what they are.

Low Magick also referred to as Nature Magick, is any magick performed using tools of nature to incite change on this plane of existence. High Magick is ceremonial magick intended to bring the practitioner closer to deity. Normally very strict in performance or done on the astral plane. So, as you can see the high/low is not in reference to a hierarchy but the plane in which the magick is intended to affect. Almost all magick a witch performs can be considered Low Magick.

Historically speaking Low Magick was preformed by the healers and cunning folk of the village. You needed your crops blessed, your child healed, the pests out of your home; the magick preformed was to affect your plane of existence and preformed by someone of similar social standing as you. So, another way to look at why they are distinguished in High and Low is noticeable. High Magick took training and time, everything had to be preformed perfectly, and the magician was of high stature. Not to be bothered with issues of the common folk but communing with the Gods for King and State.

The first book Gerald Gardner published on Wicca was “High Magic’s Aid”. Published at the time as fiction, Gardner’s book divulged methods of Magick he learned from his time with the Golden Dawn, and how modern pagans open and release circle can be traced to High Magickal practices. So, where the distinction of high and low is not an indication of strength or one being better then the other, it does assist the practitioner in understanding the differences in both practices.

Blessed Be,

Autumn Wolfe

As always please feel free to comment and share! If you have any questions or wish to get in contact with me please email me at autumn.ironwolf@gmail.com