|Posted on February 13, 2017 at 3:50 AM|
What is integrity?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “integrity” means “the condition of having no part or element taken away or wanting; undivided or unbroken state; material wholeness; completeness; entirety”
Or better still, “The condition of not being marred or violated; unimpaired or uncorrupted; a condition of soundness.”
You have to know what it is you believe, before you can make a decision on what is right or wrong for you.
Many problems that now exist in the Pagan community would probably never have come about if some people had taken the time and made the effort to find out if Witchcraft really was for them BEFORE they made a commitment to it.
Instead they find themselves in situations where they have to either, 1. Admit they made a wrong choice or 2. Try to change the Craft to suit them.
So instead of transforming then, some attempt to transform the Craft to suit their particular needs and desires. They are continually re-inventing Witchcraft to suit themselves!
A Promise is a Promise
If you have decided that Craft is your path of choice, you have to commit yourself to following its basic principles.
One of these principles is of course, the Rede. If you are going to promise to abide by the precepts of ‘And it harm none’, have you worked out what you would do if someone attacked you? Or your child?
Do you think that it is even possible to ‘harm none?’.
Well that is what you are promising to do isn’t it?
Too often people make a promise in haste and then spend countless hours justifying why they had to break that promise “just this once” because of “conditions beyond their control”. They have their reasons, lots and lots of reasons.
The truth is they just didn’t give enough thought to their commitment BEFORE they made it. Unless you have given serious thought and reflection to both the results and obligations contained in a promise, do not make one! And certainly not to the Gods…….
Integrity Requires Three Things
1. The ability to discern what is right and what is wrong
This requires reflection, time and effort.
It is a difficult process, but one which cannot be avoided by anyone who truly wants to be a better person.
How much easier it is to find someone else to tell us what to do, what to read, what to think and how to act!
But then, who would actually be living you life?
Who would be in control?
Who is pulling the strings?
If you don’t think that you would enjoy being a puppet, then you simply must find out what your limits are, what you believe to be correct behaviour, and what you yourself are willing and unwilling to do.
Whether there is an ‘absolute’ right or wrong is something theologians and philosophers have been puzzling about for centuries.
The fact that very thought that they could be wrong keeps many people from being willing to take a stand on anything at all!
Carefully study, investigation, and thought, lessen the possibility of being wrong. Of course, you may be honest about a belief. Later you many find out that you were honestly wrong!
However, approaching each subject with an open mind; examining all the possibilities, answering all the ‘what ifs’ will help you sort this out.
Most people and societies do agree that some things are just ‘more right’ than others are. You need to find out the measure of your ‘rightness quotient’. You need to do the work of creating your own personal code of behaviour and ethics. Then you can use that as a standard for decisions for what Path, or group, is correct for you.
Maybe you thought that just finding a coven was hard! Finding the right coven, the right place, the right path can change your life for the better. The wrong choice can be devastating.
If you have not done this work, then you are basically leaving yourself open to follow anything, or anyone, and do anything that they tell you.
Witchcraft is a path of personal power and responsibility. If you are not willing to do the work of discernment and introspection – to formulate a set of integrated values for yourself then- the Witchcraft is probably not for you.
2. Acting on what you have discerned even at personal cost
Suppose the trainer that you have been studying with begins to introduce issues or behaviours that you just don’t feel are right. Suppose that you now find that having sexual relations are a part of this group’s workings? What is suddenly this loving coven wants you to do a death spell against someone who has given another covener a hard time? What about that ‘harm none’ thing? What if you don’t want to participate in this activity? But what if, by refusing to participate, you can no longer be part of this group? What will you do?
These people are your friends- maybe you even think of them as your ‘family’. Now you face losing all this and starting over. This group may say bad things about you if you leave. You may lose your friends and their support. You have to decide, do you stay and compromise your own code of right and wrong? Do you leave?
Where is your soundness, your faculty of judgement, your integrity now?
The truth is that most of us cannot say whether we really possess integrity until we are tested on it. Doing what we believe to be right as determined by the hard work of reflective discernment, even when it becomes personally painful, tells us if we have it or not.
This is a test. There will be others. Get use to it. Witchcraft is a way that requires that we as Witches are equal to the challenges that life brings our way. If you can easily compromise your ethical principles or can turn your back to what you know to be the right action, then this Way is not for you.
3. Integrity means keeping your promises. You openly declare where you stand.
Now we get to the Horned God and the Goddess (whatever or whoever They may be or however you perceive Them). Do you still think that you are prepared to stand before Them and pledge your life, your heart and your hands to Their service? For that is what the journey of the Craft is all about- SERVICE.
It is not about gaining power- although that will certainly be part of your magical life. It is about enabling others to learn ways to empower themselves.
It is not about ‘getting more’ for you- although you will benefit in untold ways. It is about ‘giving more’ to others in their Names.
It is not about changing others to suit you- it is about changing yourself, so you are better equipped to do the work of the Old Ones on this Earth.
It is not about fame, although others may seek you out. It is about being available to help those in need.
It is not about pulling others down- although what is not working will fall before you.
You are stepping out into a Path which will change your Life and not only your life. It can drastically alter your outlook on life, your relationships, your personal desires and objectives. It can lead you into lonely ways, along paths of despair, scorn and derision, rejection by those you love and isolate you form the familiar.
It can guide you to wondrous places, but it can show you madness.
You may well find loving companionship but equally you may have to walk alone up the treacherous path of knowledge.
Magic of any sort requires commitment and just like taking on a new job or house you will be sensible if you check out the terms and conditions of any agreement you make and this is especially true of any involvement in the Occult world.
There are several levels of commitment and you will be wise to look at these in turn as all of them have some effect on your life and ambition.
The first commitment is to yourself, which has several levels in itself.
There is the practical matter of your job, your family, your home and your circumstances. How will you be able to share out your time between things already established and the new time consuming things such as meditation, study and attending meetings?
What are your family’s views on Witchcraft? If they fear or distrust or openly object, what are you going to do about it?
Are you going to ride roughshod over their feelings, however valid they may be?
Are you going to demand your ‘rights’ for quiet, for entertaining your weird friends, for spending money n books with strange sounding titles.
Are you going to share your new found views with your nearest and dearest? Will your views upset them?
Do you have the right ti upset others?
If you are sensible you will take your raining period at a steady pace, being certain you have mastered one art or concept before moving on to the next. It is not a race. There is no prize for getting there first. Lay firm foundations on which to build the rest of your magical life.
The skills of the Craft have taken centuries to evolve and cannot be learned in five minutes. Be patient and persevere with the basic before rushing on to the more exciting things like making talismans, casting spells and exciting rituals.
Learn to walk before you run
One of the first lessons you will learn is that of disillusionment.
Magic requires VERY HARD WORK, not just a week or two but for years!
If you want to learn a musical instrument you do not expect to have mastered it after a few lessons, yes you may be able to play a simple tune, but to really exploit the full potential of that instrument takes an awful long time and so it is with the Occult.
You get ow’t for now’t.
If you put in no effort you will get no results, except upset psychic senses and delusions of fear or grandeur. The work is hard and steady but the final results will amaze you.
Take time to choose wisely the Path that you will walk. Think of what it stands for, what it wants of you, and what you want of it before making your commitment. The work will demand time, effort and dedication to the Old Ones, so think and meditate before making any form commitment.
Becoming a member of this group will demand things of you that maybe you have never have to do before. It is more serious a move than getting married. So think before you commit.
Will you be able to keep any promises that you make? Will you be able to sustain your efforts?
Any decent group is choosy about who it asks to join, you have passed the first of many tests. There is no failure, just maybe disappointment if you see initiation. By the way it is Ok to stay and attend the classes without seeking initiation. It’s too far away to even contemplate it yet and I would remind you that it is the Gods who confer this, not us.
You may have to make a decision to change religion, or adopt one if you don’t have one now. Are you ready for that, with all the guilt feelings that will accompany that move? You will have to get to know the Goddess and God of the Craft rather than ‘God the Father’; this will take time and a change of mind set.
You cannot take the Gods for granted and once you have made some sort of promise to them, even a sort of half-hearted dedication or what, they will be there, to talk to, to influence you and perhaps guide you. Do not take the God’s names in vain, and that includes using them as magical names if you are a novice. They have more power than you might think.
You will have to make the commitment to your trainers and to your fellow students. This is not a social club where you can drop in when you fancy it.
If you do not attend on a regular basis you are disrespecting the Craft, your trainers, those who have gone before and your companions here. Not only are you making a commitment to attend but also to participate. No free rides.
Join the discussions; do your homework and the projects. If you don’t you will be the one losing out.