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Predestination and Wicca

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Predestination and Wicca

The juxtaposition of predestination with the exercise of free will is as old as human thought itself.  Prior to Western civilization, the disperse pagan world, at times, (conveniently) embraced the idea of predestination and, at other times, (conveniently) rejected the idea of predestination.  It was widely believed that certain Pagan gods actively meddled in the affairs of human lives and human events.

Today, however, most Wiccans don’t believe in predestination (or other kinds of determinism, not inclusive of broadly accepted (loosely defined) karma).  The idea of a predestined elect was a gnostic idea.  That said, most Wiccans honor and revere a Goddess and God, there is a strong knowing among practitioners that they are free souls with full control and responsibility for their individual lives, actions, and consequences. The rational Wiccan, whether a believer in Transmigration of Souls or not, sees each new life as a tabula rasa, a clean slate, and shuns all beliefs that smack of predestination.

 

Predestination and Wicca

By Richard Wermske1

 

The Wiccan ideal of morality is simple:  do what you want, as long as you harm none.  This rule contains another unwritten condition:  do nothing that will harm yourself (as “harm yourself” is inclusive in “harm none”).  Thus, if you as a Wicca abuse your body, deny it the necessities of life, or otherwise harm yourself (or harm others, see inclusivity above), you are in violation of this principle.

This is more than survival.  It also ensures that you’ll be in good condition to take on the tasks of preserving and bettering our world, for concern and love for our planet play major roles in Wicca.

Considering it irresponsible, most Wiccans abhor the notion that one can blame fate for one’s actions.  Every second of every day they believe they are creating their futures, shaping the courses of their lives.  Once a Wiccan takes full responsibility for all that she or he has done (in this life and past ones) and determines that future actions will be in accord with higher ideals and goals, magic will blossom and life will be joy.

This perhaps is at the core of Wicca—it is a joyous union with nature.  Wiccans listen to nature.  They don’t shut out the lessons that She is so desperately trying to teach.  When a Wiccan falls out of accord with nature, they lose touch with deity.  This ia a truism of Wicca (and not the only one); the rituals and myths are secondary to truism and serve merely to celebrate Wiccan ideals and truism.

The Law of Return, the belief that what you put out comes back to you, is often mistakenly called karma. The Wiccan version of karma can easily be used by the confused as a tool of victimization. Much of the confusion arises from the mistaken belief that karma and reincarnation are temporally linear. Such ignorance abandons nature-centered reasoning for self-centered reasoning and feeds the fallacious reasoning that leads to "anything bad must be your fault, if not for a wrong you've done, than something you've brought upon yourself for any number of other reasons." This is not only wrong but harmful practice -- it is antithetical to good practice that perpetually adds trauma and contributes to the Law of Return.

Consider that unlike karma as experienced by Buddhist and Hindu peoples, in Wicca, both the belief that the evil that occurs in ones life as a learning experience and the belief that one is punished for misdeed in prior life arises from Theosophy. Put another way, the Law of Return does not insulate or protect someone from the inherent chaos of the universe, but it does give one the tools to better deal with the effects of that chaos. While there are may versions of the Law of Return, no version requires or intimates a concept of divine judgement.

The Wicca acknowledge a supreme divine power, unknowable, ultimate, and from which the entire universe sprang.  The notion of this power, far beyond comprehension, is continuously on the brink of being lost in Wicca because of the difficulty of relating to the unknowable.  Wiccans; however, create a link with this supreme divine power through their deities.

The closest one may approximate predestination within Wicca is the unavoidable draw to accord with nature and practice.  It is often said by many that they had an irresistible pull to the faith; once exposed, faith and practice was absolute and joyful.

The Wiccan has no abiding belief in a heaven or hell (nor a concept of sin) – the modern understanding of which is lifted from Abrahamic faith constructs.2  After death, a Wiccan has a chance to consolidate lessons learned or perform (incomprehensible to us) “otherside” work.  Then, when ready, to return to this existence in another body.  This is irreconcilable with doctrinal beliefs in divine [pre-]deterministic judgement.

An exception does exist; the often misunderstood and paradoxical aspect of the Goddess in her aspect as fate.  She is rarely invoked because, as previously stated, Wicaans do not believe in predestination.  The aspect of fate is paradoxical because to believe in or to invoke fate is to cross a spiritual “event horizon” to an inescapable spiritual otherplace of discord, entropy, or oblivion.

Many Wiccans accept that the Goddess can manifest her will through the aspect of fate; however, this is not predestination in the normal sense.  In this understanding, She insures a constant availability of lessons and allows the Wiccan to fail when (free-will) choices are made that fall outside Her accord.   

 


Footnotes

1 Extensively plagiarizing diverse Wiccan doctrine, historical archives, and online communities for Wiccans and Pagans. Some (but not all) sources are listed below. No attempt is made to assert ownership or originality of the ideas presented herein.  The reader is encouraged to independently verify all assertions.  The author makes no claims of belief or non-belief for any theological arguments presented.  This document exists as a fit-for-purpose thought exercise and not intended to be authoritative.

2 For the purposes of brevity and succinctness, I stipulate to the existence of upper and lower planes of existence in ancient mythology.  Academically, it has no bearing on the premise of a modern-day Wiccan’s rejection of such locales.

Terminology

Wicca is a recently reconstructed Neopagan religion based largely on elements of an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic religion. It is thus both a very new and a very ancient religion.

Wiccan is a follower of Wicca. They form the largest single religion within Neopaganism. These terms are well defined and have single, unambiguous meanings. However, there are many traditions within Wicca, just as there are many denominations within other religions. Each has its own unique beliefs, practices and rituals. All share a recognition of the God and Goddess, a respect for nature. Most respect males and females equally. Their main rules of behavior are the Wiccan Rede, and the Three-fold law (or the Law of Return).

Sources

Cunningham, Scott. Living Wicca: A Further Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1993. Print.

Cunningham, Scott, and Sylvie Fortier. La Wicca: Guide De Pratique Individuelle. Paris: J'ai Lu, 2013. Print.

Curott, Phyllis W. Witch Crafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic. New York: Broadway, 2001. Print.

Fritscher, Jack, and La Vey Anton Szandor. Popular Witchcraft: Straight from the Witch's Mouth. Madison, WI: U of Wisconsin, 2004. Print.

Grimassi, Raven. The Wiccan Mysteries: Ancient Origins & Teachings. Woodbury, MN, U.S.A.: Llewellyn Publications, 1997. Print.

MacMorgan, Kaatryn. All One Wicca: A Study in the Universal Eclectic Tradition of Wicca. San Jose, CA: Writers Club, 2001. Print.

O'Gaea, Ashleen. In the Service of Life: A Wiccan Perspective on Death. New York: Citadel, 2003. Print.

Read 460 times Last modified on Sunday, 13 March 2016 05:01
Rich Wermske

My pedigree and bona fides are published elsewhere. That said, I respect that a few may wish to learn more about the private person behind the writing.  While I accept I am exceptionally introverted (tending toward the misanthropic), I do enjoy socializing and sharing time with like-minded individuals. I have a zeal for integrity, ethics, and the economics of both interpersonal and organizational behavior.

The product of multi-generational paternal dysfunction, I practice healthy recovery (sobriety date December 11, 2001).  I am endogamous in my close personal relationships and belong to a variety of tribes that shape my worldview (in no particular order):

☯ I participate in and enjoy most geek culture. ☯ I am a practicing Buddhist and a legally ordained minister. I like to believe that people of other spiritual/faith systems find me approachable.  I am a member of the GLBTQA community -- I married my long-time partner in a ceremony officiated by Jeralita "Jeri" Costa of Joyful Joinings on November 18, 2013, certificated in King County, Seattle WA. We celebrate an anniversary date of February 2, 2002.  I am a service-connected, disabled, American veteran (USAF).  I am a University of Houston alumnus (BBA/MIS) and currently studying as a post baccalaureate for an additional degree in Philosophy and Law, Values, & Policy.  I am a retired Bishop in the Church of Commerce and Capitalism; the story arch of my prosecuting and proselytizing the technological proletariat is now behind me.  I am a native Houstonian (and obviously Texan).  At 50 years old, I am a "child of the sixties" and consider the 80's to be my formative years.

As I still struggle with humility, I strive to make willingness, honesty, and open mindedness cornerstones in all my affairs. Fourteen years of sobriety has taught me that none of "this" means a thing if I'm unwilling, dishonest, or close minded.  Therefore I work hard on the things I believe in --

  • I believe we can always achieve more if we collaborate and compromise.
  • I believe that liberal(ism) is a good word/concept and something to be proud to support.  The modern, systematic corruption of liberal ideas is a living human tragedy.
  • I believe in a worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality. The pragmatism of this site and my journey is rooted in both classical and social liberalism.
  • I believe in democratic elections and institutions including a media free of commercial and governmental bias.  Liberty and equality perish when a society becomes uneducated and/or ill-informed.
  • I believe in diversity of life and ideas.  Life and ideas can only flourish when the gene pool is vast and abundantly differentiated.
  • I believe in advancing balance in civil, social, and privacy rights such that all of humanity is continuously uplifted.
  • I believe in separation of church (spirituality) and state (governance) -- with neither in supremacy nor subjugation.
  • I believe in private (real or tangible) property explicitly excluding ideas, knowledge, and methods; such non-tangibles, by natural law, being free for all humanity and emancipated at conception.

While change and the uncertainty of the future may be uncomfortable, I do not fear the unknown; therefore:

    • I believe I must be willing to make difficult choices, that those choices may not be all that I desire, and that such may result in undesirable (or unintended) consequences;
    • I believe we must be willing to make mistakes or be wrong; and I am willing to change my mind if necessary.
I undertake to abide the five precepts of Buddhism; therefore:
  1. I believe it is wrong to kill or to knowingly allow others to kill.
  2. I believe it is wrong to steal or to knowingly allow others to steal.
  3. I believe in abstention from sexual misconduct.
  4. I believe it is wrong to lie or to knowingly allow others to lie.
  5. I believe in abstention from non-medicinal intoxicants as such clouds the mind.

Suicide, major depression, borderline personality, and alcoholism are feral monsters ever howling at my doorstep. However, despite my turbulent and tragic past, rare is the day where I have to rationalize, defend, or justify the actions of that person I see looking back at me in the mirror...

Website: www.wermske.com
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