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.
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 someone is avoidable with or without magick? No, but not all who look at the rede from a magickal standpoint see it that way. Another view is to apply 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 healthcare 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.
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 dye with a pigment that lasts and is cruelty-free.
I have recently branched out from beauty products to household 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 household 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 through 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.
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!
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Refuse Single Use Plastic: http://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/