I am rather Confucian in my ethics, which means I fully understand the need, importance and significance of rules.
I also believe I carry the rules in my heart. What I don't remember is probably a silly man-made rule which is mostly a nuisance and in worst case harmful. Nevertheless, it is not a stupid idea to think about your rules, the ones you do carry in your heart, that is, your values and ethics and moral laws.
I have studied the Gardnerian law, and found that rather stupid.
I have studied the Alexandrian law, and that is just as stupid.
Most Wiccan laws are based on these two and the changes made haven't made the laws any less stupid, at least when it comes to those I know of. I have been talking about this earlier, several times.
"Underlying all such rules is one basic concept that is also adhered to by virtually all Pagans: "Harm None"."
Bull, I say.
That doesn't mean that I think it would be okay to harm others - or oneself, but that I think it's impossible to live without harming others. I cannot live without eating, and I have to end a life to feed myself. It is only if I was a fruitarian, that I could live without killing an animal or plant to feed myself, and there are very few true fruitarians in the world.
Which is actually a diet I would love to follow... lacto-fruitarian. I'd be happy as a fox in henhouse :-D (Except that I need to give up my tea... :-()Nevertheless, I cannot live without harming others. I do consider other lifeforms others, not only other humans. There are so many different ways of harming, Ariadne counts "emotional, physical, financial..." And what about self-defense and the duty to help? Am I to put myself in harm's way to protect someone else from harm? And what about surgeries and other such things when you are supposed to harm someone in order to get good consequences? Like interventions, or exercise and such?
I don't consider "capturing and imprisoning other species, and taking their milk" in any way morally questionable.
There are species that cannot be tamed. Bovines are not among them. Human can provide bovines a comfortable living environment, and provide them shelter, protection and food in exchange of their milk. A lot of human beings choose this kind of relationship with another human being. Every SAHM, for example.
We have Yvonne, the Runaway Cow. Obviously they can leave the relationship if they choose to do so.
Naturally I don't want "factory milk", and I want my milk raw, but that can be arranged, and the more people want this, the more the dairies are going to provide this. Besides, we have future farmers who have sane ideas and attitudes when it comes to animal husbandry, and I think this should be supported.
Last thing is that I am a big supporter of animal conservation, and I am very worried about the hundreds of domesticated animal breeds that are disappearing as we speak. "Enslaving" and "imprisoning" animals is the only way to protect these breeds. You might think it's a worthless cause, I don't.
And what is going to happen if I'm "mean"?
Like "kick puppies" mean? Are you even aware how common animal abuse is? So common the minor offenses aren't even counted as animal abuse. Are you aware how common such human abuse and torture as bullying is? It's not only some misunderstood kids who bully others, even grown up, "normal" people do that. It's not even considered child abuse to physically "discipline" your children, and no-one cares one bit when parents mentally abuse their children, in a way, that if they'd do it to another adult, people would be horrified... And the consequences? None.
So, who is "mean", "evil", "malicious"? Some people say we Pagans are, just by refusing to not be Pagans. Some people would say a psychopath serial killer is evil. Or mafia bosses. Or drug lords. The Power Behind Power, who rules everything and decides who lives or dies... you know, all the conspiracy theories. So - what are the consequences of their actions? They might get to jail if caught? Or?
If your heart tells you it's okay to be "evil", be "evil". There are reasons and consequences for everything. If your dream in life is to be a Grey Eminency, go for it. Now, I don't think you are reading this blog, then, but - who knows. I'm just a little... you don't need my permission to do anything, nor should you decide to do something because I said so. Follow your heart wherever it takes you, even if it takes you to abyss. I just keep thinking about Alistair Crowley, The Wickedest Man in the World. :-D
"At the very least, your laws should state that the Goddess and God are deserving of worship, and remind you to be worshipful"
If I need to be reminded of this, do I really believe in God? I don't think so. I couldn't forget that there is Goddess deserving to be worshiped, and worship her with my whole being with every breathe I take, because it's part of who I am.
I have been blessed with a week of atheism. For a week I didn't believe. Where God used to be was... not nothing. No void... just... everything else filled the space. The thought of Goddess didn't fill me with awe, worship, praise and gratitude. It just was. My own place in my life grew to take the place of Goddess, and I realized how very much responsible I am to answer my own prayers... that is the most valuable lesson from the Week of Being Atheist.
I was relieved when I noticed that I believed again, and Goddess was an inseparatable part of my life and being...
Funnily, even though I know Goddess is there to listen to my prayers and to answer them, I also know that my most important mission in life is to be Goddess' tool in my own life.
I am the only human being constant in my own life. I cannot depend on my parents, siblings, children, husband, lovers, friends, relatives, neighbors, or anyone, because none of them is a constant in my life... I am. I am put here to love me. I am put here to see my needs are fulfilled. I am to feed me, dress me, shelter me... and I have been given the talents and skills I have so that I can do that the best possible way. *I*, no-one else.
I have the necessary qualifications to make me happy... because God made me so. It is sort of... destiny, but not quite. You see, Goddess heard my prayers already before I was born, so that She could find me the best possible family, heritage, genes, upbringing, environment and all, so that I would be what I need when I need it. Now, it's not fatalistic, because I have the free will - I choose if I will be there for me or not. Get it? I have the necessary talents, but it's my choice if I learn to use them, or if I choose to use them when time comes. I get the chances, but it's my choice whether I take them or not. I write the manuscript for my own life. Not God. God doesn't know what I will choose when the time comes, because it's my choice, not God's... God is there to see that what ever I choose, it will all be good in the end. (And if it's not good, it's not the end... so don't go killing yourself just because everything seems lost at the moment. Your day WILL come - if you choose to live.)
I have no problems with blood magic. I don't even have problems with animal sacrifice. Or human sacrifice. As long as it's consentual ;-)
Magic is not some magical thing that disappears if you abuse it. Magic is a skill. If you are a witch, you should be able to get paid - one way or another - for the magic you do, you should be able to use magic to protect yourself and others, and if you have no scruples with it, use black magic. It doesn't make your magic magically vanish, it doesn't kick back, or anything like that, just as little as using your sword to kill people makes you forget how to use the sword, or makes the sword bite you back. Magic is a tool, nothing else, nothing more, nothing less. So - you use magic the same way you use all the other skills and tools you have, and follow the same "rules" you do with everything else. Another thing I don't think you need to write down.
If you want to boast, boast. If you want to treat others badly, do so. You will take the consequences of your actions, just as everyone else on this planet. There are no revengeful Gods watching you in the corners, planning on throwing some mysterious "karma" your way, "three-fold law" is BS. If you treat others badly, people will think you're a ---, and will treat you the way they treat ---s, all according to their own ethical rules. It's not that "if you're nasty to people, people are nasty to you, if you're kind to people, people are kind to you". The world is full of nice and kind people who get treated like crap, and nasty people who get treated like something wonderful.
It's just that it's best for your own serenity to be kind, tolerant, respectful and considerate when dealing with others, be their humans, animals, plants, fairies, dragons, ghosts or what ever.
And the way to get there is not by telling yourself that you MUST be kind, tolerant, respectful and considerate, and inventing some punishments if you fail.
The way to get there is by knowing yourself and being all right with what and who you are, and if you are not happy about something in your life, knowing you can change it, and you will change it.
You are not envious of anyone else, because your life is just as you want it - because, you were made for the life you want - and you are not angry with anyone, because their opinions and actions have nothing to do with you.
You don't harbor revenge, because there is nothing to be revenged.
You don't hate, fear or despice anyone, because their lives and choices have nothing to do with you.
You know there's enough of everything so that everyone gets what they want. One person's success doesn't take away your possibility to succeed. There are hundreds of stars, celebrities, artists, writers, fashion designers, beautiful people, mothers, presidents, astronauts... what ever you want to become, you can become. What there is only one of, is you. There is only one you in the whole world, and you are amazing, wonderful, perfect you :-) Just like everyone of us... and as you remember this, you have all the kindness, respect, tolerance and consideration to all other perfect yous of the world. Goddess made us all, to be what we are, with our unique qualities, special designed for us alone, so that we can be the best us...
Anyway, this "to really gain acceptance, we must act acceptable" is just as offensive and wrong and "blame the victim" as "women get raped because they act provocatively".
If I break no laws in my worship, you have no right to judge me, because I worship differently from you. You have no right to deem my morals and ethics less valuable as your own, or my "conduct" less "acceptable" as anyone else's. Frankly, what is my life and my choices any of your business? Mind your own. Live your own life.
Frankly, one of the worst things that happen in this world, is when someone starts excepting everyone else follows his/her rules. "Everyone must believe this way, worship that way, be dressed in this and act like that, and eat their spenach and go to school and brush their teeth and be white and not be Communists and..." BRRR
People who think Pagans are "not acceptable" won't think we are more acceptable, even when we try to live by their rules of what is "acceptable". The Jews tried that with Europe and Christians more than 1000 years, and that lead them to concentration camps and gas chambers. I will not play that game with intolerant, prejudiced and hateful people.
"Some laws state that all who express interest in Paganism should be taught."
No-one needs to answer any questions if they don't want to, or if they don't feel qualified to answer, or if they just don't feel like it. There's plenty of information to answer all the questions people might have, and I believe my faith and being a witch is my private matter, and not much of interest to anyone but me. I will answer sincere questions to my best ability, of course, but I try my best not to engage in conversations with idiots. Of course, I'm just a human being, so sometimes I can't stop myself from doing things I know I better not do.
So - after all this "Pagans are reminded to keep the law and not allow it to be broken"... *sigh*
Or what? You go to hell? Threefold law comes and kicks your ass with karma? You're a bad person and should be ashamed?
In all... you have the law written in your heart. Follow it, and you'll be fine.