A lot of people in the Wiccan community focus on the first part of the Rede: Harm none. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it is an incomplete interpretation. It’s only half of what the Wiccan Rede is all about. The Wiccan Rede is a double edged sword: It cautions you not to harm others, at the same time urging you to be all that you can be.
My Order of Scáthach focuses on both halves of the Wiccan rede. The Wiccan Rede is a cornerstone of our practice in the Order of Scáthach. Harming none is very important, but so is being all that you can be. Wicca is about empowering yourself, so that you can reach for your dreams. If you are not being all that you can be, you’re not entirely living up to the spirit of the Wiccan Rede. The Order of Scáthach insists that it’s members use both halves: We strive to be glorious.
The Wiccan Rede requires Wiccans to use their heads instead of someone else’s list of rules. It requires us to take responsibility for our actions rather than relinquishing this responsibility it to someone or something else. Wicca is not a Zoroastrian system like Christianity having only extremes of light versus dark, good versus evil, right versus wrong. That sort of system is an approach which requires no thought. There are no shades of gray. It is composed of long lists of rules and rigid codes. Our path, unlike the Christian one, is not based on guilt. The Judeo/Christian system can be summarized by the expression “Thou shalt not”. Our system can be summarized by the expression “I will not”: It is based on responsibility, not guilt
The Wiccan Rede is not a rule. It is a statement counseling us to think. Personal responsibility is the basis of the Wiccan ethical system. We must take responsibility for our actions and think about what we are doing. Rules are for training young children to be adults. At some point you must grow up and understand the reasons for the rules. This understanding should replace the rules. Wiccans don’t steal because it is illegal: Wiccans don’t steal because Wiccans understand that stealing is wrong.
About the Author:
Kerr retired from the Vancouver Police Department in November 2005 after serving 29 years with them. He was awarded the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal. Kerr’s past job assignments within the VPD include the Emergency Response Team, Hostage Negotiator, Child Abuse Investigator, Gang Crime Unit, and the Mental Health Emergency Services Unit. Kerr is currently working as a police dispatcher for ECOMM for Southwestern BC.
Kerr has been a Wiccan for 39 years and has been involved in anti-defamation activism and hate crimes investigation for the Pagan community since 1986. Kerr was awarded the Shield of Valor by the Witches League for Public Awareness. Kerr is the author of the “Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca”, “Witch Hunts”, “Wiccan Warrior”, “Full Contact Magick” and “Magickal Self Defense”. Kerr has a column on anti-defamation issues and hate crimes on The Witches’ Voice web site called Witch Hunts. Kerr is the former Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon, an organization representing Neo-Pagans professionals in the emergency services (police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians).
To learn more about Kerr, visit his website.
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