Dear Jasmine: The Rede

Dear Jasmine,

I am wondering about The Rede and “Harm None”, and how it works with yourself. Is intentionally harming yourself with toxins (cigarettes, alcohol, pills) fall into the category of harm none?

Sincerely,

Pixie

Dear Pixie,

First off I will start by saying that I do not use the Rede in my practice. I have however put a lot of thought into that choice and its usage in Neo-Paganism and Wicca. I do feel that using the Rede is a very personal choice that can only be determined by the individual. This includes how you use it. How you use it is also tied into why you choose to follow the Rede, and which version you follow.

My personal choice to not use the Rede came from my education, which is very heavily tied into science. Newton’s third law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This has played heavily into my choice and views. Every action you take as a person has a opposite action and result. For every breath we take we not only continue our life processes but we also destroy oxygen molecules and create carbon dioxide molecules. If we are constantly in a state of destroying oxygen molecules, are we not in a constant state of harming? When I look at the definition of “destroy” the answer is yes. This is my truth and my path and I fully embrace my scientific mind as part of that. And to me if I am in a constant state of harm the Rede in itself becomes negated as an impossible task that we can never strive to fully live up to. Most people would disagree with this and say I was looking into it too much. But this is my choice and how I choose to live my life and path.

I think it is also important to remember that not all Wiccans follow the Rede, nor do they all follow the same version. My tradition does not teach the Rede and encourages people to find and follow the morals dearest to their heart. However, some traditions and lineages have very specific versions that they teach and use for all students. These differences come from the fact that the Rede was written by Doreen Valiente in 1964 which she derived from the notes and works of Gerald Gardner. This was written after Wicca itself was already being practiced.

If your goal is to try and live to the standard of never causing harm to another creature or the planet or anything than it is your choice and your standard to live up to. If you personally view these to be part of that then yes they are included. I would say that a person on this sort of path would also have to consider things like diet and exercise, chemicals used in the home and more. If we choose to never harm our bodies then it does become an all encompassing lifestyle to live up to. I applaud anyone who does this. Just remember that the beauty of being a pagan is that we take our spirituality into our own hands and hearts and can live to our own standards. No one can tell you what to believe in or how you interpret it. They are your choices to make and they are all valid.

Blessings,

Jasmine

Jasmine is a 15 year veteran pagan and Wiccan High Priestess and has been a leader in her local pagan community and done spiritual counseling. To submit questions please email JasmineMoon@gmail.com.

About Jasmine LunaMadre

Jasmine is one of the founders of a The Prairie Earth Society, a local pagan group in Eastern Iowa. She is also a mother of a 3 year old son, and a wife to an agnostic. Jasmine is one of the rare pagans that can say that Paganism was her first faith. She was raised in an Italian-American, Roman-Catholic family, that decided to let her choose her own path. They were not expecting her to start studying Wicca when she was in her late teens, or to continue for over 15 years and counting. When she went on to college she studied Anthropology and Education. While there she also began studying the Gardnerian Tradition, and was initiated in 2001 at the age of 21. Jasmine was further trained about folk magic by her mentor who is a master herbalist and family traditional kitchen witch. She moved to Iowa and began to practice as a kitchen witch herself, specializing in incense making and Italian-American cuisine. She is now a 2nd degree High Priestess of Enchanted Fire Dance Grove and teacher of the Gardnerian Tradition. Jasmine is also the Author of the blog, www.TheSpiritualMother.com. Jasmine has also attended many pagan festivals over the years such as Phoenix Phyre and Pagan Spirit Gathering and numerous British Traditionalist Wiccan fests and local gatherings. She also plans local workshops and classes and runs a local New Age Book Club. She is experienced in networking and conversing with many pagans from all over the country.

  • lynn

    in relation to your “destroying oxygen molecules” and therefore “in a constant state of harming” statement, id like to say, in a very limited sense, yes, we are. but, at least in my belief, were all connected…everything. with this belief you cant simply look at it as “me” or “you” or “us” because that simply, in reality, doesnt exist. in your scientific education [which you said was a base for your beliefs], that same idea exists in the “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” everything would be linked. so not only are you taking in oxygen to sustain your life, you are destroying oxygen molecules. but youre not just destroying oxygen molecules, youre also giving life to plants. but plants arent just living, theyre “destroying” carbon dioxide molecules which then give life back to you via the oxygen. the same can be said for other human and animal and plant and EVERYTHINGS biproducts…because were all linked somehow. because for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/JasmineLunaMadre Jasmine Lunamadre

      Exactly my point.. every action is a moment of creation and destruction.. our symbiotic relationship to the universe is rooted firmly in neutrality and thus making the Rede an impossible guideline to live by.  

  • yewtree

    The way I see the Rede is this:

    Part 1: If it harms no-one… (as you rightly say, this is impossible)
    Part 2: do what you will (it follows from part 1 that you can’t do exactly what you want, so you must act responsibly).

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