A Witch’s Responsibilities

June is International Pagan Values Blogging Month and Pax from Chrysalis issued a challenge to his “fellow Pagan netizens” to write about the morals and values that we have found along our Pagan paths.  If you are interested in reading some essays by other authors, check out MetaPagan.

Pentacles

In my early exploration of the Craft I ran across a statement that said to become a Witch one need only declare out loud “I am a Witch” three times and it is done.  I am certain the original author did not mean to imply that walking the “path of the Wise” was a choice to be made capriciously or that the path itself was easy.  However, in my naïve stage, I truly believed that being a Witch was as easy as making a statement.  What I quickly learned is that becoming a Witch is like eating the forbidden fruit from the mythical Garden of Eden.  Upon embracing the path of the Witch, the blinders were off and I could truly “see” the world.  There’s a great deal of responsibility that comes with awareness.

Having chosen a path that worships nature and finds the Divine in all things, I believe it is my responsibility to steward the planet and all life on it.  I cannot, in good conscience, ignore the consequences of my actions.  The more I learn about Nature and her interconnected workings, the more aware I become of how far-reaching my actions can truly be.  If I know an action is harmful to the planet, cruel to animals, or unjust to people, I feel obliged to look for an alternative.  In this way, I am tempering myself into a more compassionate and respectful human being.  Ignoring the consequences of my behavior corrodes my spiritual core, allowing my thoughts and actions to become increasingly self-serving – like a negative, downward spiral.

Adopting stewardship as my golden rule has greatly changed my life.  I returned to a vegetarian lifestyle after six years of eating meat not because I think eating meat is wrong (on the contrary I rather enjoy it), but because I know that the conventional meat industry is cruel, inhumane, and unhealthy.  Until I can find a farm where the animals are well treated and allowed to live out their lives healthily and naturally, I have chosen to abstain.  I have made similar decisions regarding eggs, which I now get directly from a local farmer that allows her chickens to roam free, and dairy.  As in nature, I have found that one lifestyle choice always impacts another part of my life.  My choice to humanely source animal products for my dietary needs has led to my supporting local farmers who desperately need the financial backing of their community.  I have also sought out others in my community who are seeking to make their lives more sustainable.  Now I am establishing connections and friendships with my neighbors, something that is becoming increasingly rare in inner city communities.  When I choose to follow my heart and do what I believe is right, I am rewarded ten-fold.  This is my interpretation of “harm none” and my way of honoring the Mother who so generously takes care of us each day.

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