Author Topic: Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others  (Read 5791 times)

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Offline grrl1nside

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Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others
« on: August 16, 2012, 11:42:12 pm »
Well, I'm really interested in learning what others think on this. I am going to be fairly rough in my description of the issue that is bothering me so I can just get it out.

The Wiccan Rede at first glance seems very sympathetic to transitioning as it harms none in the literal sense so we should be free to progress down the path more or less. But, as in my case, many of us have partners and not just our family but in-laws. One of the things that I have struggled with is recognition that transition will be a major challenge to my partners family. My partner is very supportive but we both can see that her family relationships will be harmed as a result. Her parents while very nice and liberal in some senses are also very traditionally English and in their 70s. We see them once a year for about a month at a time. Unfortunately, we cannot imagine them easily coming round to acceptance. Although we may be pleasantly surprised, I would expect the opposite and it is hard to accept that transitioning should impact my partner's family relationships, but it likely will...

I wonder how others understand the notion of harm in transition and what we should do try to account for this. So yes, this is a coming out question, but I'm interested in the ethics of it to minimize harm from a Wiccan perspective. Any thoughts?... Hopefully, this makes sense. Much appreciated.

Offline Sephirah

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Re: Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2012, 02:09:16 am »
I don't know, I mean yes, transition does affect other people's lives but then it begs the question of where your actions end and others' actions begin. With regard to people being accepting or not... well, that's a choice they have to make for themselves. By your actions you present that choice to them, sure. But is that harm? I personally don't think so, since they ultimately have to make that choice of how they are going to deal with it. If they choose to be intolerant and make life difficult... is that a consequence of your actions or a consequence of the choice they've made? No one is forced into behaving a certain way.

How many people do you see yourself as being responsible for? I guess that's a question you have to think about.

Ms. OBrien

Re: Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2012, 10:01:45 am »
Does transition really harm anyone?  If people truly love you, they want the best for you. 

Those who are upset by your transition, are so by their own actions.  By turn their backs on you, disowning you, leaving you or abandoning you: They violate the Rede.  They cause harm to you.

Offline grrl1nside

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Re: Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2012, 09:44:09 am »
Sorry for the slow reply. I was out camping with the kids.

Honestly, I don't know that I will feel much harm in terms of the reaction from my own family as it is my family so what will be, will be... However, intolerance by the in-laws would be hurtful to my partner as it would likely impact the relationship between her and her parents. Asking the degree to which we are responsible for others is a great question and one that I do have difficulties with because if I were to over-extend that circle then I would become controlling versus just concerned. To be fair, it is one of my weaknesses because the borderline between control versus concern can become a fine one. 

However, I would also reframe the question to "To what degree are we responsible for the actions we take that impact others." When we act it doesn't just touch an immediate party but extends further and reverberates if you will (and this relates to how a Wiccan thinks about the idea of a threefold return if you put out negative/harm into the world). Now, I don't think transitioning is hurtful or negative but the consequences of that act may alter relationships which I am not sure that it is fair to be altering which both parties like and are comfortable with. In this case, the rules of their relationship would be impacted by myself and not be easily mended and that would hurt both parties although I am not sure that we would consider this harming them if they both recognized that they have different values and they changed their relationship as a result. Then I suppose it would be them choosing?...

I think too much...  :o

Ms. OBrien

Re: Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2012, 10:09:32 am »
<snip>

I think too much...  :o

Yes you do.  ;D  However look at it this way.  You work in a job that you can not stand.  You're stressed, unhappy, feeling tortured.  Do you continue in that job, because it may affect others?  Or do you quit that job to relieve the stress, unhappiness and the torture?

Of course you quit.  Otherwise you are doing more harm to others because your whole outlook becomes dark.

It is the same with transition.

As to the rule of three.  If you are unhappy and miserable, you project that in to the world and it comes back to you threefold.  If you project happiness and contentment, it to comes back threefold.  Which brings us back to the Rede.  Projecting the unhappiness and misery will bring back those threefold, thus you violate the Rede.  You are harming you and those around you.

Offline Sara Thomas

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Re: Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2012, 10:25:25 am »
There's always the Hedonistic Calculus...

"[W]here [do] your actions end and others' actions begin[?]" I think that this is very thought-provoking, Sephirah... I really like it.

I personally feel that I have a certain obligation to my Lady: she didn't sign on to be with a woman, and while she does accept me - I would never do anything to cause her grief: there's simply no amount of self-fulfillment that could out-weigh causing her the slightest intentional harm.

But you know... she is the only one I feel that way about: secondary to her, if I were to take transitioning to its conclusion, everyone else would simply have to deal with it.
I ain't scared... I just don't want to mess up my hair.

Offline cynthialee

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Re: Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2012, 10:27:59 am »
The only way in which we actually impact others is that they must change their gender pronouns and name they use to adress us. Other than those who are our sexual partners this is the only real impact on others.
Do some people get mentaly harmed and freak out when one of us transitions? Yes. But that is all on them. It is an internal reaction to our defying gender norms.

As our transitions actualy only impact peoples language they use to adress us and refer to us then it must logicaly be determined that we do not in any apreciable way impact others. We cause no actual harm and it is the internal issues of others that brings emotional pain.

If others are going to get so worked up over someone transitioning then they need to get into therapy and work on their self and not worry about the transsexual in  their life.
So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
Sun Tsu 'The art of War'

Offline PrincessDayna

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Re: Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2013, 06:54:06 pm »
Super old entry, but lemme say being mixed scottish and native american and having studied wicca from its roots up in a family trad, the simple answer is as above, so below. Take it also into perspective of the fact that sometimes, aforest must burn to grow new trees. Thats what transition is, in the end, the purging for new appropriate growth. The redeis more of an implication of proper ritual and daily interaction but mirrors in with the rule of three. It is not defined out in any aspect of being trans*, upon which self emergence over rules harm to others as a forest fires new growth after replenishes that eco system without regards otherwise. Animals find new habitat temporarily. So do relationships, which in the end get replaced with those not strong enough to have regards to our own deeply seated personal overuling needs. If they leave from simple transition, they needed to anyways...just saying.
"Self truth is evident when one accepts self awareness.  From such, serenity". ~Me  ;)




Offline Gothic Dandy

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Re: Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2014, 04:38:18 am »
Not sure if anyone is still interested in this topic (I'm sure the OP figured herself out by now), but here's my 2 cents.

The rede is technically meant to discourage witches from casting spells that would cause deliberate harm to others. I expand on this and say as long as you aren't doing something specifically in order to hurt somebody, you're in the clear.

Transitioning isn't something meant to hurt others. It's an attempt to make your own life better. It may hurt others in the process, but that's not the goal, and it's dependent upon the other person's reaction to your action upon yourself. It's impossible to go through life without ever hurting others, even accidentally, because you can't control how they react to everything you do. I'm not saying be reckless and screw whatever anybody else says--of course you should act responsibly and be held accountable for your actions--I'm saying you can't live to please everybody without sacrificing your own genuine needs.
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Offline Illuminess

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Re: Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2014, 06:49:57 pm »
The Wiccan Rede is actually a play on the Thelemic motto, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law; love under Will."

A lot of people misunderstand what that means and assume that Crowley was insisting that all should do as they please with no regard to others, but this is incorrect. This motto is saying that one should follow their true path — or True Will — with Love (Agape) as your foundation. It is also the message of Thelema that to interfere with the Will of another is the ultimate sin. That includes both harm as well as magickal healing. The only time one should ever use their ritual and intent for another's benefit is through their direct permission.

I like to think of Wicca as Thelema's little sister. Wicca deals primarily in Low Magick while Thelema focuses on High Magick. Both are valid paths; even complimentary. Plus, Thelema is immensely inclusive of all walks of life, sexual orientations, gender identities, and other unique expressions of the Self.

Some might think that transition would go against the True Will, but I disagree. I believe that it could very well be in line with it. After all, the True Will is one's ultimate destiny. "Every man and every woman is a star." We all have our own unique and individual orbits in the spiritual cosmos. How that manifests in this plane should be irrelevant as long as all that we do serves our own evolution which in turn serves the evolution of everyone else.
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Offline PrincessDayna

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Re: Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2014, 06:24:36 pm »
Being an i itiated Alexandrian Priestess who has ran her own coven 12+ years I digress that we do not practice high magick at all- in fact in Alexandrian Witchcraft we are loaded with it.

We also are not Thelemas little sister, wicca is and will always be its own initiatory path with many seperate mysteries of its own. :)

As for harm non, lol. We were never taughtthat nor is it in Gardnerian or Alexandrian covens. With 22 years in the BTW community, it just doesnt exsist. Hell a protection spell can cause harm to another, their fault. Id say we are more a "harm none but take no <poo>" tradition.

We also have no three fold law, it is not taught either and never was in traditional Wicca. As for other neo pagan groups that call themselves Wiccan with no lineage traced to Gardner or the Sanders, well; thats all them and I cannot speak for them.

BTW is Wicca. Off shots that call themselves wicca without that lineage, are, well, contemporary witches who like the term.

So all the talk on the rede as it stands is actually traced to Valiente, but in essence NOT Wiccan, itis contemporary neo paganism flying itself under the banner and title of Wiccan.
"Self truth is evident when one accepts self awareness.  From such, serenity". ~Me  ;)




Offline Gothic Dandy

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Re: Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2014, 11:17:12 pm »
I agree with most of that. You don't even have to be initiated to know those things. You just have to read the right books and talk to the right people. That being said, I obviously disagree that one must be lineaged to be "Wiccan," but I know who you're trying to distance yourselves from.
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Offline AbbyKat

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Re: Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2015, 09:08:56 pm »
If a person is "harmed" by changes made to you, they need to look within themselves.  It is not you harming them, it is their own ignorance and prejudice.  The exception, of course, are people who are actually affected by your gender (like a spouse).

Think about it the other way.  Your transition doesn't actually harm them but their rejection of you will harm you.  Who's causing the actual harm there?  I can say with zero hesitance that your transition will in no way violate the Wiccan rede in and of itself. 


Offline PrincessDayna

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Re: Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2015, 04:28:45 pm »
IMO, and most real traditionally lineaged Wiccans, you must be PPIACSAI and initiated by a priest/ess who has their lineage legit and traced through to SAnders or Gardner. Without such, one is not Wiccan, but a Pagan who likes the term and philosophies there of. Blaim fluff bunnies for the BTW reclaiming our title. You want it? Find a coven and earn it the hard way as we all have.
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Offline VeryGnawty

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Re: Wiccan Rede, Harm, and Transition impact on others
« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2015, 04:40:25 am »
Other than perhaps demanding that people refer to you using different pronouns, I don't see how any part of transition can even qualify as harm.  Transition is something that you do to yourself, for yourself.  If you don't request that other people use certain pronouns, then transition actually has nothing to do with them in any way, whatsoever.  What you are calling "harm" is actually other people taking offense at something which has little or nothing to do with them.  Since it's 99% them doing it to themselves, it doesn't really qualify as harm, and it certainly doesn't qualify as harm sourced by you.

Think about it this way.  Let's say I have a deep hate for apples.  I go to lunch with someone and they eat an apple.  I make an ugly face and I proclaim, "That apple disgusts me.  You should eat an orange."

Have they harmed me, or am I just being an oversensitive prick?

Now replace the word "apple" with "male" and "orange" with "female" and you'll get an idea about how much "harm" you actually do to people by transitioning.  The "harm" is all in their own heads.  You haven't done anything to hurt anyone.  You haven't initiated violence.  You haven't even done anything which directly affects them.  They perceive that what you are doing is wrong, and they take offense at what you do based on their own subjective perception.

It would be like my being offended by a painting and claiming that the painter harmed me.  In reality, the painter never harmed me in any way.  I merely took OFFENSE to the painting.  In reality, I have not been hurt or harmed in any way.  Only my feelings have been hurt.  But, emotions are irrational.  People can take offense at ANYTHING.  Therefore, the fact that someone takes offense at something is essentially meaningless.  You can't define "harm" based on someone's personal subjective feeling about something, because then "harm" can mean anything.
"The cake is a lie."

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