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June is Pagan Values month, and I was reminded thereof by a message sent to my husband and I recently .  I shan’t go into details, as that would convulute where I’m heading with this blog.  I shall, instead, simply quote a couple of lines:

“please also keep it in mind that we will not spread gossip, slander, or havoc wreak – be it physical, metaphysical or other… we would appreciate it if you would have the courtesy to do the same for us.”

Now, before some of you think I’m slandering or gossiping by using the quote above as a discussion point, I’m not.  I’m utilising a statement made, in the proper manner of a quote; to illustrate what I’m trying to convey.  It is posted up as it was written to us, without addition, grammatical or spelling changes and without identification of the writer(s).   I’m not spreading malicious or defamatory information (the definition of slander paraphrased) and I’m not imparting information in a salacious manner intended to cause shock, harm or upset (definition of gossip paraphrased).  I’m direct quoting from a message received, and writing my blog accordingly.  Rather similar to an academic essay – you write your opinions and add quotes that are relevant to illustrate your point/findings.  Having got the legalese out of the way, I shall continue with my blog, which is simply my opinion upon the general points in the quote.

For me personally, values and morals often run concurrent, and at times, overlap.  After all, aren’t things that are good (ie: morals such as honesty, reliability) valuable?  That would also make them values to my reckoning.  I’m happy to be corrected on my description there, naturally!  For me, part of my moral/value compass is my pagan belief, and it forms a large part of how I behave, how I react and at times how I view the world.

As I’ve stated in blogs in the past, things I do magically (or metaphysically, to use the term in the quote above) are at times “grey areas” and if I’m doing them, I’m willing to wear the supposed karma return for them.   In that, I make a moral/values judgement for myself.    I know that many of the pagan paths (particularly I’ve found, Wiccans) feel that it’s all about karmic return and that “harm none be the whole of the law” is how they live.   I admire them for that moral stance.  But I don’t adhere to it myself.  I’m more a ‘sometimes you have to be willing to take whatever/if any return to have the desired effect, but don’t deliberately do something nasty because you’re pissed off’.   To assume that I would create a magical effect beyond something for self-defence (my moral right and obligation) because the situation has reached toxic levels is offensive to me.   It would, if I fully subscribed to the “karmic return” theory, simply kick my backside and harder than how I sent it out, yes?  So who in their right mind would be that foolish?  Certainly not me.  Just because I’m pissed off, doesn’t make something justified.  Nor does it make it right.  So my ‘metaphysical response to the situation is simple – increase protections, wardings and wish them nothing more than what they wished us in their final paragraphs of the messages.  Why nothing more?  Because to wish them more than they wished us is to reward the offence.  If I robbed a bank, the police wouldn’t give me the money to keep, so I won’t be giving people who offend me a pretty gift in return.

As for physical responses to negative situations, it’s much the same.  There are times I misjudge the situation – generally if my health or well-being is compromised – and those are also times I’m willing to accept consequences.   And if we’re all honest, who hasn’t made a faulty judgement when they’re “under the weather” or sick?  True, this doesn’t excuse physical responses (aside perhaps from vomiting, since it’s one of the very few things any of us can really control?) and most of us – and I include myself in that – would apologise eventually for it (including the vomiting!).   I shan’t go into justified physical responses such as kicking a rapist in the balls and running, as that’s not really required in this discussion I think!

To keep with the terms in the quote; “gossip, slander, or havoc wreak” – a dramatic turn of phrase indeed! – all three of those are also things that fall under morals/values.  Having been the victim repeatedly of malicious gossip and also of slander, I have felt and seen the havoc they can wreck.  As a result, why on the Goddess’ green earth would I want to engage in such an unholy trinity?  Granted, I’m guilty of such everyday ‘gossip’ as “did you see last night’s episode of Supernatural?” over the phone or in person.  But who isn’t?  OK, maybe people who don’t watch TV, but you get my overall meaning!  And if discussing a stressful situation with people you trust to ensure you aren’t getting the wrong impression/idea or in response to their request for clarification of the situation is slander or gossip, then clearly the dictionaries need to rewrite their definitions.  As do the law books.

I admit however to some confusion over the “or other” aspect of the quote.  What are they suggesting we might do; talk to a lawyer? A priest?  A government agency? The FBI?  The CIA?  MI5?   Or are they suggesting that we’re going to unleash flying monkeys? A balrog?  The nazgul?
If they’re concerned we’ll talk to a lawyer/a government agency/FBI/CIA/MI5, do they have something to hide?  If so, what?    If there’s concerns about us talking to a priest…well, we’re pagan, it’s not terribly likely that Father O’Flaherty (a totally fictional priest for the purposes of this blog) will be hearing from us.
As for the flying monkeys/balrog/nazgul ideas; sorry, if we did that we’d be plagiarists.  Something that I as a hobby-writer won’t engage in full stop.  Besides, Peter Jackson does a much better job of creating balrog and nazgul than we ever could! 🙂

So in closing, I say this:  we do – as both pagans and as ordinary people – have the courtesy to not engage in all the acts and attitudes listed in the quote, as our personal values and morals preclude it.  There may be however, others who are pagans and ordinary people who don’t have the same values and morals guiding their actions.  All I can comment to that is I am sorry if the writer(s) quoted have come across such individuals, but would like to strongly request that my husband and I are not included amongst them.  Furthermore, to suggest that we are such individuals, is in fact, slander.  And by putting it in writing, you have created libel.
We are however, morally allowed to protect ourselves by any means within the law of the land.  We value that right.  We shall exercise it, ignoring your recommendation that we should deliberately fail in our moral obligation to behave in a safe and sensible way.

Happy Full Moon and Eclipse! 😀