This Maxim is pretty self-explanatory. I don’t have much to say about it.
It’s a very different emphasis from Wicca, which emphasizes doing your will, or Aradia which with it’s encouragement to poison the rich makes the most tense Occupy protest look like a kindergarten play.
I guess in a way this is a very useful thing to remember today. Pagans have to obey the law too. They have to pay taxes. They have to stop at stop signs. They have to keep on the sidewalks.
There is a mode of thought in Paganism that thinks that because what we are doing is spiritual or boldly transgressive that it’s above the law. That’s patently ridiculous. Trespassing on private property is wrong, whether you’re tipping cows or drawing down the moon. You have to get the appropriate business licenses, zoning permits, and planning permissions as everyone else. Our non-profit orgs are expected to adhere to standard accounting practices and fiscal transparency. Your spirituality and intention don’t mean diddly-squat when the IRS comes knocking at your door.
Obey the law, keep the receipts and double-check your permits. I don’t think the Gods will come to your aid for stealing from a national park because you tried to smuggle a wild flame azalea out to grace the southern quarter of your circle, and the park rangers won’t give a damn about how you’re a fire sign.
I’m sure in ancient times the sages and priests probably thought it was really ridiculous that they had to tell people to obey the law. I feel kind of silly writing this post, because it’s common sense.
“Oh, but what about unjust laws?”
Like the ancient Greeks, we live in a democracy. Write your representative, educate your community and VOTE. Run for office if you can. Be an active force of justice in the world.