Witch Law… Discussion

Witch Law…

In Robert Cochrane’s sixth letter to Joe Wilson, he named what he called the Witch “Law”:

Do not do what you desire – do what is necessary.
Take all you are given – give all of yourself.
“What I have – I hold!”
When all else is lost, and not until then, prepare to die with dignity.

I was just wondering, since there are many versions of witchcraft besides Robert Cochrane’s, what people think of these laws?

FFF
~Muninn’s Kiss

Edited By: Juniper
2010-01-23 09:20:37

“You will die many times to be reborn in this religion, and each little death is the resurrection of new hope and spirit.” ~ Robert Cochrane (Roy Bowers)

muninnskiss
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Re: Witch Law…

As with all laws, they depend on the interpretation of them.  For example, what would people here think is “necessary”?  I prefer to work out my own code of ethics, which isn’t as simple as a law but is something I know (most of the time) and when I don’t then I have to figure out the answer and make it one I can live with.

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Re: Witch Law…

 

Do not do what you desire – do what is necessary.
Take all you are given – give all of yourself.
“What I have – I hold!”
When all else is lost, and not until then, prepare to die with dignity

Sounds suicidal upon initial impression.

Upon further reading . . . . . wow  hit that one pretty close the guy did end up committing suicide

I think these words  will hold various meanings according to the place where the reader is in their own journey. One may see practical while another sees spiritual, – one  sees transparent while another sees opaque.

I am vaguely aware that he played an role in the revision of traditional witch craft in England . He  was also overtly intolerant of wiccian witch craft and was critical of Gradian.

So far as history goes he has not displayed any behavior I want to emulate personally. I find it difficult to apply  advice offered  by those whose behaviors or attitudes I  do not wish to have manifested in my own life.

What I have written is an initial impression based upon very  early  information therefore my opinion may change as my studies progress.

As far as laws are concerned I am probably in a blinded phase concerning  this because I am still  recovering from my previous spiritual path which was loaded down with  laws and forbiddances

*Freedom =   Letting go of what I should be, accepting who I am, endeavor to be become* mead original February 22,2010

mead
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Re: Witch Law…

 

mead wrote:

As far as laws are concerned I am probably in a blinded phase concerning  this because I am still  recovering from my previous spiritual path which was loaded down with  laws and forbiddances  [/color]

I don’t much like laws myself – I think of rules as more as guidelines (and no, I’m not misquoting from Pirates of the Caribbean!) as I reckon 9 times out of 10 the rules are right and the 10th time you have to break them because it’s necessary.

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Re: Witch Law…

Im a heathen witch a green Viking!

I use the Nine noble virtues

1.Courage
2.Truth
3.Honour
4.Fidelity
5.Discipline
6.Hospitality
7.Self Reliance
8.Industriousness
9.Perseverance

and environmentalism and fatherhood too

viking
I don’t HUG trees, I PLANT them.

Daxton
Green Viking!
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Re: Witch Law…

 

Im a heathen witch a green Viking!

I guess having an identity probably helps with the structure areas. I have read a few places that taking a year to identify with any particular practice /path  isn’t unnecessarily long – I hope not there is a lot to look into, research and read.

I have noticed green witches, kitchen witches, broom riding witches and even hedge witches but I have not seen much on  garage witches.

I relate to the garage more than the kitchen.  People are much  safer with me under the hood of their car than they are with me loose in their kitchen

and environmentalism and fatherhood too

Never been a father – only a “mother” and in more way than one.

I can relate to environmentalism though. My husband and I are in the recycling business – wood and metal. In essence recycling is my “life” so to speak.

*Freedom =   Letting go of what I should be, accepting who I am, endeavor to be become* mead original February 22,2010

mead
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Re: Witch Law…

 

I guess having an identity probably helps with the structure areas. I have read a few places that taking a year to identify with any particular practice /path  isn’t unnecessarily long – I hope not there is a lot to look into, research and read.

There  is more than 10 people could learn in their whole lifetimes, if they devoted everyday to the study and practice of witchcraft, let alone paganism.

It’s just darn … old and big …

That is where

Do not do what you desire – do what is necessary.

comes into play. What do you need, deep down? What fundamental things make you happy? If you really think about it, doing bad things doesn’t make you happy, certainly not in the long run.

As Buddha says,

the cause of suffering is desire

.

(A fav of mine)
I should not suffer for lack of a fancy sofa to sit upon, and really, deep down I do not. However, I DO suffer deep down when I desire LOVE and lack it…

That is how you choose what to study and how to practice.

What matters? What is necessary?

For myself, it is service to my gods, helping animals, being a steward of the land, living on a mountainside at the edge of the forest.
My clan, kith and kin, my ancestors, my community.
Being but one more person out there doing my own thing, adding my voice, my vote, living as green as I can, being one more blade in the grass roots movement that is modern paganism and Earth centered spirituality.
It is connecting with the land, contacting the divine, being one with nature, walking in Otherworlds.
Seeking near forgotten lore…

These things are what I need to grow and live and love and laugh as human and spiritual being.

Also, you do not choose a Path and then conform yourself to suit it. Rather you first must

Know Thyself

(a personal favourite of mine, found in many traditions, including many witchcrafts trads. Also one of the mottos abouve the entrance to the Oracle of Delphi)
and then choose a Path that fits the best, the conform it to suit YOU.

And expect to grow and change lots along the way.

Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
Don’t claim them.
Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent.
~ Rumi

Juniper
Hedge Mistress
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Re: Witch Law…

 

muninnskiss wrote:

Do not do what you desire – do what is necessary.
Take all you are given – give all of yourself.
“What I have – I hold!”
When all else is lost, and not until then, prepare to die with dignity.

I think for witchcraft I can see how it makes sense. We dont really need to do love spells do we maybe he is saying we should only do magic when we need to and not just cause we wanna? But I dunno about everyday life though.

Take all your given sounds greedy but maybe its not and giving all of yourself is dangerous people who do that get burned out. and walked all over.

What I have I hold sounds greedy and immature to me but maybe Im missing the point. How do you give all of yourself and hold what you have?

I like the last one it makes me think of knights and paladins. I think its saying  that you should fight until you cant and then go with dignity.

I like the Wiccan Rede but I know a lot of nonwiccans dont. I also like know yourself.

*
Plants cry their gratitude for the sun in green joy.  ~ Astrid Alauda
*

Dizzy Witch
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Re: Witch Law…

 

Dizzy Witch wrote:

I like the Wiccan Rede but I know a lot of nonwiccans dont. I also like know yourself.

I like both the wiccan rede and know thy self for their simplicity. I don’t have to contemplate and speculate for six months to figure out what the “fry” they mean.

Wisdom is taking the complicated and simplifying it to the point of useful revelation. So I do agree with your preference for the direct approach. Writing in ambiguity  serves to increase confusion which in my opinion doesn’t take much in the way of wisdom. I say this as some one who is naturally confused any way which probably accounts for my preference for the direct approach to revelation

Juniper wrote:

There  is more than 10 people could learn in their whole lifetimes, if they devoted everyday to the study and practice of witchcraft, let alone paganism.
It’s just darn … old and big

You have a valid point ,  there is a lot  more than I will probability learn in my life time Yet it seems the more I read the more I feel  all paths are part of the same whole.

The words I would use to describe what I am feeling is that there are more facets to God than I can possibly learn in a life time.

juniper wrote:

Do not do what you desire – do what is necessary.

They are one in the same thing to me, which  possibly why Cochrane’s words made no sense. The above quote is written as if the two are  two separate entities.

I had not thought about them being separate

Some times I can be so clueless of the obvious so the clarification is appreciated.

juniper wrote:

then choose a Path that fits the best, the conform it to suit YOU.

I admit this is opposite than what I have been taught up until now. As a person  I am so tired of trying to conform to some ones else way. To be honest this is the single most exciting thing about  leaving the Christian path.

It is individualizing my path from the inside out that makes all the  discomfort of being new to this approach worth while.

*Freedom =   Letting go of what I should be, accepting who I am, endeavor to be become* mead original February 22,2010

mead
Shadow Walker
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Re: Witch Law…

 

juniper wrote:

Being but one more person out there doing my own thing, adding my voice, my vote, living as green as I can, being one more blade in the grass roots movement that is modern paganism and Earth centered spirituality.

There is still identity to a group larger than ones self that provides a certain amount of structure in beliefs and perhaps in spiritual practices. {individual mileage may vary}

In the expression quoted above it is called modern paganism and earth centered spirituality – Of the former I am unsure of my placement as of yet  but of the latter  the decision was made before I was born . I have always known God in nature – I still look at sun sets, storms ,  the land, all that is to life   and wonder how people can see such and even be a part of that which is yet  still claim there is no God.

I accept that others see various gods and goddesses  and the balance  between male and female deities makes perfect sense. The more I learn of paganism  oddly enough the more I understand the Christian faith I left

I also understand why church leaders see paganism as such a threat. It isn’t the difference they feel threaten by it is the similarities

juniper wrote:

Also, you do not choose a Path and then conform yourself to suit it. Rather you first must
Quote
Know Thyself

I believe that I do – some times better than I present as language is not an easy thing for me.

juniper wrote:

What matters? What is necessary?

Being, experiencing, knowing, expressing  and caring .

*Freedom =   Letting go of what I should be, accepting who I am, endeavor to be become* mead original February 22,2010

mead
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Re: Witch Law…

 

I like both the Wiccan Rede and know thy self for their simplicity. I don't have to contemplate and speculate for six months to figure out what the “fry” they mean.

I like the Rede, though my one main complaint about it is that you can go through your whole life and never harm anything … and also never DO anything too. I am perhaps a little more proactive than that.

Also, you can swear on the Hedge, we just don’t do it very often. (look Ma, no fucking censors!)

Wisdom is taking the complicated and simplifying it to the point of useful revelation.

Actually, that is understanding and also teaching (of knowledge). Wisdom is the application of said knowledge/revelation.

Writing in ambiguity serves to increase confusion which in my opinion doesn't take much in the way of wisdom.

I agree

I say this as some one who is naturally confused any way which probably accounts for my preference for the direct approach to revelation

Welcome to a Mystery Tradition. It’s a little different than a revealed religion. We don’t have all the answers, we don’t even know all of which questions to ask.
We are all just fumbling along through the woods as best we can.
The greatest guru in the world could reveal everything thing he knows to you, and in the end, you’d just be left with the understanding that you know next to nothing.
Enjoy.

Yet it seems the more I read the more I feel all paths are part of the same whole.

Truth. All Paths lead to the Divine.

The words I would use to describe what I am feeling is that there are more facets to God than I can possibly learn in a life time.

Oh yes, but what fun exploring the ones I can in this life. Especially the part of the divine that is within me.

It is individualizing my path from the inside out that makes all the discomfort of being new to this approach worth while.

Breath the free air my friend!

I have always known God in nature – I still look at sun sets, storms , the land, all that is to life and wonder how people can see such and even be a part of that which is yet still claim there is no God.

Your preaching’ to the choir sister!

The more I learn of paganism oddly enough the more I understand the Christian faith I left

I hear that a lot from former Christians.

I believe that I do – some times better than I present as language is not an easy thing for me.

And hence, a Mystery Tradition. How does one put into something as meagre and awkward as word the moment you feel that connection with something greater than all of it … how do you describe the divinity of a tree?
Ahhh though I do try …
This is why so many pagans resort to poetry I think.

Being, experiencing, knowing, expressing and caring

Simply, Yes.

Also, on the topic of Virtue:

http://www.deos-shadow.com/?p=68

Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
Don’t claim them.
Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent.
~ Rumi

Juniper
Hedge Mistress
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Re: Witch Law…

 

There is still identity to a group larger than ones self that provides a certain amount of structure in beliefs and perhaps in spiritual practices. {individual mileage may vary}

http://blog.beliefnet.com/apagansblog/2 … liefs.html

(double posts are allowed here because I do it plenty lol)

Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
Don’t claim them.
Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent.
~ Rumi

Juniper
Hedge Mistress
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Re: Witch Law…

 

I like the Rede, though my one main complaint about it is that you can go through your whole life and never harm anything … and also never DO anything too. I am perhaps a little more proactive than that.

Perhaps it is a mater of perspective – this is where language often fails us all. Harming none could be as you say due to lack of activity or  the activity could be implied in that through your activity harm none.

Above all do no harm is part of the medical oath taken by doctors and it is a given that they are actively participating in life

Also, you can swear on the Hedge, we just don’t do it very often. (look Ma, no fucking censors!)

LAMO
Hmm locating clearer for my monitor must mop up  soda spew

And hence, a Mystery Tradition. How does one put into something as meagre and awkward as word the moment you feel that connection with something greater than all of it … how do you describe the divinity of a tree?
Ahhh though I do try …
This is why so many pagans resort to poetry I think.

I do enjoy the writing of others  and have enjoyed your on several occasions  . .

double posts are allowed here because I do it plenty lol

Cool – I enjoying not having to worry about it . . . probably the same as you do  when you visit the flip side. It is nice to have some one else be at the helm.

Thanks for the links -

*Freedom =   Letting go of what I should be, accepting who I am, endeavor to be become* mead original February 22,2010

mead
Shadow Walker
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Re: Witch Law…

 

mead wrote:

I have always known God in nature – I still look at sun sets, storms ,  the land, all that is to life   and wonder how people can see such and even be a part of that which is yet  still claim there is no God.

Because they’re not properly seeing.  However, I know witches who don’t have any deities and who am I to decide that they need to have a deity in their life?  If the deities want to contact them, they will.

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Re: Witch Law…

Nope I am not a member of deity enforcement – I agree that this is and always should remain an individual freedom

I am just amazed that some things that is obvious to me would be missed by any one – but I am also the type of person who would fall over an elephant in her livingroom for lack of noticing – I have a small livingroom

*Freedom =   Letting go of what I should be, accepting who I am, endeavor to be become* mead original February 22,2010

mead
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Re: Witch Law…

 

mead wrote:

but I am also the type of person who would fall over an elephant in her livingroom for lack of noticing – I have a small livingroom

:lol  I generally need to be hit over the head by deity before I notice them

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Re: Witch Law…

 

Juniper wrote:

I like the Rede, though my one main complaint about it is that you can go through your whole life and never harm anything … and also never DO anything too. I am perhaps a little more proactive than that.

This is perhaps the main reason that I do not subscribe the Wiccan Rede. I also think we should have more positive, proactive values.

Writing in ambiguity serves to increase confusion which in my opinion doesn't take much in the way of wisdom.

In relation to that point, this might interest you:
“<i>To be deep and to seem deep. – He who knows himself to be deep strives for clarity; he who would like to seem deep to the masses strives to achieve obscurity. For the masses regard as deep whatever they cannot see the reason for; the masses are so fearful and go so unwillingly into the water.</i>”
- Nietzsche, <i>The Gay Science</i>, § 173.

Thank you for posting the link to the interview with me on Deo&#39;s Shadow! :-)

WickedRabbit
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Re: Witch Law…

 

muninnskiss wrote:

In Robert Cochrane’s sixth letter to Joe Wilson, he named what he called the Witch “Law”:

[etc.]

This is a curious statement. Part of the point of witchcraft, understood from an anthropological point of view, is that witchcraft has no laws – it is, after all, the practice of magic by people who, because they practice magic, are outsiders (to say nothing of the practice of malicious magic). I wonder if Cochrane mentioned this law in order to merely <i>describe</i> how witches behave, or if he felt he was <i>perscribing</i> how they <i>should</i> behave.

Anthropology aside, I don’t think that our values should be expressed in the form of laws anyway, or perhaps I should say our <i>highest</i> and most spiritual values shouldn’t be expressed as laws. But having said that, perhaps the idea of law can be used as a poetic device? In that way, perhaps it could be compared to Kipling’s “Law of the Jungle”, which is a poetic expression of the importance of social co-operation. Here’s a link:

http://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/k … ungle.html

WickedRabbit
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Re: Witch Law…

I do not take all that is given I suppose I look gift horses in the mouth. Some gifts are more – or less – than you think they are.

The truth is all witch “laws” are mandates to think for ourselves. There are no absolutes in witchcraft. The world is a balance of light and dark and the shades between.

Religion can bring out the best or worst in human nature. A community needs moral codes an individual needs personal ethics.

I live my life according to my personal ethics, not the rules created by another.  And certainly not rules created by such an odd and troubled young man as Cochrane.

I have responsibilities to the Land first and foremost.

Understanding of the consequences and motivations of your actions is key.

I learn from nature.

I honor the gods and the dead.

I protect and defend what is mine and what I believe is good and right.

Know what you are doing. Act with eyes wide open.

Treat others the same way you would want to be treated.

“We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.”
From The Tempest

Broom Riding Vikki
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Re: Witch Law…

What I have – I hold!

What I have I am responsible for. I should not let it be taken away but give it freely as a gift or not at all.

hmmm…..

Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
Don’t claim them.
Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent.
~ Rumi

Juniper
Hedge Mistress
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Re: Witch Law…

Although it is not traditionally associated with Witchcraft I like Crowley’s  Thelema

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. … Love is the law, love under will”

It ties in quick nicely with “Know thyself”

Bless your bees.<br /><br />Dan

SeekerInTheHedge
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Re: Witch Law…

I agree. Know who you are and the motivations behind what you do, and make those motivations be based on love and confidence in your self and your will. For at the very core of all of us, we are creatures of love and seeking love  smile

Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
Don’t claim them.
Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent.
~ Rumi

Juniper
Hedge Mistress
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