By Brother Moloch
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This is not a lecture on ethics. I think that subject has been over-done in the Pagan community and if you pick up any 101 book on the Craft, the largest chapter in the book is usually about ethics. My opinion is that ethics is a lame subject for Philosophers to have something to argue about.
First off I'd like to dispel some of the myths about Sorcery that put off most people from ever learning it or studying it.
#1 "Sorcerers are selfishly motivated" - okay so we are. Whoopee. Although what's wrong with looking out for number one? Plus how can I help make the world better if my own personal universe is all in a shambles? How can one be spiritual if one does not have the money to pay the rent, bills, to buy needed medicines? Rather than be a pariah upon society, the Sorcerer is one who first looks out for him/herself THEN takes an active role in helping others around them.
#2 "Sorcery is evil" - Nonsense! Sorcery is merely a system of practice not a religion. To become a Sorcerer all one needs to do (in theory) is dedicate himself to bettering his life with the aid of Magical rites, spells and ceremonies. Are there evil sorcerers? Sure! But there are also crooked cops, quack doctors and stupid people in this world so don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. But not all who practice the arts of Sorcery are evil.
#3 "To practice Sorcery I must sell my soul to a Demon" - again this pure bullsh*t! If someone tells you this don't buy it! It's nonsense. Occasionally you may summon one to ask some questions or bargain for some needed help in a sticky situation but to sell your soul? No. The selling of one's soul is a lurid fantasy for those bored with their lives or half-rate hucksters of dime store Enquiring minds genre.
#4 "Sorcerers don't care who they hurt on their way to Occult mastery" - another unsupported myth. There are those who abuse the arts just like there are those who abuse the laws of the land with loopholes. I've heard Sorcerers likened to the 1980's corporate raiders - heartless, cold and cruel. Again there are "some" Sorcerers out there who don't care about trampling anyone in their way to their goals and that includes other Sorcerers who get in their way!
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Sorcerers DO believe in taking responsibility for their own actions - this may come as a surprise but we do have a conscience. We have to be able to sleep with ourselves at night. We may not buy into the eastern concept of 'karma' nor do we believe in any 'threefold laws' but we also don't believe that it's okay to go around bullying others just so you can get your own way.
No one likes a bully. In the annals of the Occult, there have been many tales of Sorcerers who've met their demise due to their bullying others less fortunate. Bullies rely on the weaknesses of others for them to feel superior. Once you stand up to one, even on the occult planes of existence, then you'll find they're not as tough as they'd have you think they are.
We don't live by any 'thou shalt nots" nor do we ascribe to 'karma' but we do ascribe to the Modified Golden Rule. "Do unto others as they do unto you!"
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If you cast a spell for a job promotion and Gwynneth gets fired, your actions are not necessarily the ones that 'caused' that to happen. Why?
#1 Perhaps it simply was Gwynneth's time to go?
#2 It is foolish to think that every spell you send out will always work - spells do sometimes fail!
#3 It is equally foolish to think that every spell you cast will cause misfortune to another especially if the spell was done in a positive or personally selfish manner
#4 There could be other factors at work, either systematic or purely chance and random that were unknown to you causing the Infinite to deal out Fate as it was dealt to Gwynneth. You cannot know-it-all nor SHOULD you know-it-all.
Do not fall into a trap of thinking "Gee I'd better not cast that spell in cause it might fail or someone might have something bad happen to them or I might...." See what I'm getting at? Continually Second Guessing yourself is both an excuse and a reason for laziness.
1. Plan your spells!
Finally, if you're seriously hung-up about ethics, then I suggest read 'Situational Ethics' by Joseph M. Fletcher. Fletcher shows you how to apply ethics to a given situation rather than as some sort of ultimate moral code or cosmic lesson. Just use good old common sense, your noggin and you should know right from wrong.
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