The “Three-Fold Law” and “Harm None”
I’ve seen many a cruel, twisted and venomous debate between various Pagans and Witches over the so call “Three-Fold Law” and the tenant of “harm none” in my many years of practicing the Craft. Be warned I’m going there and a few minor curse words are coming with me. You’re entitled to your opinion and welcome to comment as long as it is kept civil.
Rather inevitably in the “Three-Fold Law” conversations I see words like White Witch and Gray Witch tossed about, causing my right eye to twitch. No, I’m not being sarcastic in this one instance my right eye does have a tendency to twitch when I see those labels.
I’m not Wiccan, though my practice involves many Wiccan overtones.
I’m not a Traditional Witch, though my faith is based on pre-Christian Pagan faiths.
I’m not a White Witch, or a Gray Witch, nor do I practice black magick, though I do practice magick.
You can, I’m sure, guess where this is going…I don’t believe in or abide by the “Three-Fold Law.” Gasp, the horror, hide your children, lock your doors and pour your salt.
The “Three-Fold Law,” for anyone who’s been on a walkabout for the past several years, is a Wicca specific thing and not all Pagans acknowledge it. White/Gray/Black/Dark, all these terms are pure b.s., magick and Witchcraft are natural and while I know it’s been said before apparently it needs said again, nature is neither good nor bad. The Concepts of good/bad or in this case white/gray/black/dark are all human constructs that we impose upon nature, which is all of these things. It is good and bad and there is no separating the two; well at least without complete world ending disaster. Balance people, it’s about balance. Back to the main topic, just because we don’t follow this Wiccan creed doesn’t make us less or bad Pagans. What’s so great about this “Three-Fold Law” anyway?
So in a faith that promotes taking responsibilities for ones own actions I’m supposed to sit by and do nothing while someone pokes me with hot irons (metaphorically) and wait patiently for some imaginary shit train called Karma to come by and give them their load? First of all has anyone wondered why Wicca, which is supposed to be based on pre-Christian Pagans in the British isles and parts of western/northern Europe, holds tighter to a Hindu belief than I hold a steering wheel in a snow storm? I realize that England had tons of contact of course with India by the time Gerald and his peeps were doing their thing but in all the eclectic vs pure tradition arguments how can any claim to be pure? I digress again.
I believe in taking control of my life, it’s one of the reasons I came to Paganism. Christians have two contradictory sayings, “it’s in god’s hands” and “god helps those who help themselves.” To me the “Three-Fold Law” can be equated to the first, that’s just not me. I believe the gods help those who take their own initiative. I don’t believe that because you’re such a good person you can just sit back and have the gods hand everything to you, there is effort required on your part. I also don’t believe that if you do something “bad” that the gods are going to smite you with lightning. Whatever we do to others we also do to ourselves for we are all connected, we are all the children of the Divine. This is my personal belief. There are consequences to every action you choose; those consequences could be pleasant or painful. Let’s talk about pain shall we? One of my biggest gripes about the whole “harm none” thought.
How exactly do you intend to get through life without harming anyone? Do you believe criminals should serve jail time and pay restitution? Yes, well then you are part of a system that harms criminals everyday. Those people in those cells are treated to a great deal of harm but our society says it’s an okay harm because it’s for the greater good.
So do you side with “Harm None” or is it okay to harm some? Right out of the gate the ambiguity of the tenant causes philosophical conundrums. What is harm? Is any level of harm okay? What is the acceptable level of harm? Is harm to preserve the greater good okay? Does it apply to animals as well? What about cockroaches? If I forget to water my forget-me-nots and they die did I break the tenant? I had to kill the black widow that could have killed my child, didn’t I? Wow for a religion that is supposed to be without the guilt of Catholicism I’m sure having a lot of guilty feelings.
If a boss wrongfully fires an employee and the court system can’t help the injured party; why would it have been okay for a court to order him harmed through financial means but it not be okay to put a hex on him to reveal his unfair business practices. I could make an argument that the hex would actually be getting off light.
You have a friend at school whose parents don’t allow her to wear shorts but her gym teacher will fail her if she doesn’t wear them to class. You give her a pair of shorts to wear but her father finds out and beats the tar out of her. I could keep going with these examples but to make my point you can’t go through life without harming anyone. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do our best to try and limit the amount of harm we do, it just means that we’re setting ourselves up for failure if we think that we can really get through life “harming none.”
Here’s the real kicker the Wiccan who says, “I harm none,” but sits back and laughs with glee at the thought of Karma harming said person. I’m just not even going to touch the hypocrisy here.
Let’s go back to the boss referenced above and the concept that we are all connected and everything we do to others we also do to ourselves. Let’s look at this story from the boss’s side, he harmed the employee thereby harming himself. Who’s to say the divine beings that are don’t want me to be the one to restore the balance by casting the hex on him? If we are all the children of the Divine then why can we not also be instruments of the Divine? Again nature and the Divine are not inherently good or evil they all have both to some extent.
In summation, if you choose to live a life by the “Three-Fold Law” and “Harm None” philosophy that is certainly your choice and I will fight to the death to defend it. Please though try to understand that it is all philosophy and subjective, put on your clothes Godiva, get off your high horse and quit harming the rest of us when you put us down or say we’re bad Pagans because we don’t follow your impossible and ambiguous moral code. That’s all we want, honestly, just stop chastising us and we’ll leave you to do your thing.
©2014 Raven Rin’s Pagan Nest all rights reserved