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About the threefold law

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About the threefold law

Postby Woodsmoke » Thu Aug 13, 2015 11:43 am

Greetings everyone!

While not ultimately a question in itself, for I believe myself in this law, I fell once while browsing on the internet on someone advocating foregoing the law entirely, for practitioners of Witchcraft or really, anything falling under such practices.

I know there is quite a wild range of opinion about it, and I made sure to read previous topics about it, but what about forgetting it entirely, in the principles it carries (ethical grounding, and just a good knowledge of what you will change or bring into this world) ?

Do you think it is safe, or a good "way" to introduce new people into witchcraft?
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Re: About the threefold law

Postby TwilightDancer » Thu Aug 13, 2015 1:05 pm

No matter what everything you do has an effect on other people or your surroundings or yourself. You can go without the threefold law all you want but it won't change the fact that actions have consequences, for better or worse.

While I don't personally follow the threefold law as it's written, I've been practicing my craft for long enough to know whether casting a spell is going to hinder or aid my spiritual growth.


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Re: About the threefold law

Postby Clairsentient_Wolf » Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:20 pm

Woodsmoke wrote:Greetings everyone!

While not ultimately a question in itself, for I believe myself in this law, I fell once while browsing on the internet on someone advocating foregoing the law entirely, for practicioners of Witchcraft or really, anything falling under such practices.

I know there is quite a wild range of opinion about it, and i made sure to read previous topics about it, but what about forgetting it entirely, in the principles it carries (ethical grounding, and just a good knowledge of what you will change or bring into this world) ?

Do you think it is safe, or a good "way" to introduce new people into witchcraft?


Have you ever seen that movie with Ashton Kutcher in it called "The Butterfly Effect"? Think of the Threefold Law like that. Every step you take, everything you say, every thought you have, every breath you take, every route you drive...all of it impacts everyone else in some way. Introducing people to Witchcraft by beginning to preach about the Threefold Law probably isn't the best way to do it. Once they commit to the Coven, they will learn and ease into it.

In my opinion, it exists and it always will. Call it Karma, call it Mother Nature, or call it the general cycle of the world...but never the less, it exists. It occurs on its own time - so if an argument breaks out between say yourself and your friend (assuming you are a Witch/Warlock) choose your words wisely and your actions just as well. Allow them to argue with you all they want but even one retort from you could put you in the Threefold bag.

You may not experience the consequences right away or even for years...but just know that at some point, the TL has got you in its cross-hairs.
Strong men run into battle and destroy their foes;
Wise men wait for their foes to destroy themselves.
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Re: About the threefold law

Postby HopefulChild » Wed Sep 23, 2015 12:32 pm

The first thing I would point out is that the three fold law is from fiction novel written by Gerald Gardner. "High Magic's Aid" - the protagonist undergoes a sort of initiation rite in which he is taught “mark well when thou receivest good, so equally art bound to return good threefold.”

It was later incorporated into the Wiccan charge of the goddess based on philosophical work related to the rituals taught by Gardner, to Buckland, and Wilson and so on.

The Wiccan reed ends with - An it harm none do what ye will -

This is similar to the idea of a ban on personal gain. Which as a concept came from the show "Charmed" and was literally added as a plot device because if those 3 witches were that powerful, then they wouldn't struggle with jobs and house work and so on. So the imposition of an artificial limiter was required to help make the show dynamic.

Now a better place to start answering your question is the actual root of the concept you are describing.

The Ethics of Reciprocity.
Look that up and come back to explain what you learned if you like.
I would love to hear your perspective after you dive into that subject, and compare it to the concepts you held before hand.

Most importantly, this is just my opinion. Though I think it important that any discussion of ethics should be supported by multiple schools of thought about functional ethics.
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About the threefold law

Postby mrsdavid1975 » Wed Sep 23, 2015 4:29 pm

I don't follow the redes. .. But I'm not Wiccan.

I DO however always give when I am blessed. I also don't do spells for more than what I need.
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Re: About the threefold law

Postby Jenny Crow » Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:05 pm

HopefulChild wrote:The first thing I would point out is that the three fold law is from fiction novel written by Gerald Gardner. "High Magic's Aid" - the protagonist undergoes a sort of initiation rite in which he is taught “mark well when thou receivest good, so equally art bound to return good threefold.”


Yes, I remember that part of the story quite well. Another story I heard about the 3 Fold Law though goes as follows:- Old Gerald was sitting in the local pub with a Witch friend complaining that a couple of his High Priestesses kept throwing curses at each other because they were always bickering and fighting, and over two or three more pints, between them they came up with the 3 Fold Law and so the 3 Fold Law was first written on a napkin in the pub :D
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Re: About the threefold law

Postby Kassandra » Tue Sep 29, 2015 12:39 am

HopefulChild wrote:The first thing I would point out is that the three fold law is from fiction novel written by Gerald Gardner. "High Magic's Aid" - the protagonist undergoes a sort of initiation rite in which he is taught “mark well when thou receivest good, so equally art bound to return good threefold.”

It was later incorporated into the Wiccan charge of the goddess based on philosophical work related to the rituals taught by Gardner, to Buckland, and Wilson and so on.

The Wiccan reed ends with - An it harm none do what ye will -

This is similar to the idea of a ban on personal gain. Which as a concept came from the show "Charmed" and was literally added as a plot device because if those 3 witches were that powerful, then they wouldn't struggle with jobs and house work and so on. So the imposition of an artificial limiter was required to help make the show dynamic.


It's amazing how much the media is an influence on (and often the source of) concepts that people mistake as being "ancient," or "traditional" in witchcraft.





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Re: About the threefold law

Postby Chalice » Tue Sep 29, 2015 7:10 pm

I don't follow the 3 fold law or the rede. I'm not a Wiccan, but a regular old witch (long story).

I'm still a good person, I value certain things.

I'm not anti-3 fold law etc, I just don't think they are the truth, for me.

I still want people to act justly, obey the laws of the land and not to harm each other. To me, there is just no cosmic law about it all.
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Re: About the threefold law

Postby SnowCat » Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:52 am

As far as I know, Newton's third law still holds. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That may vary on other planes of existence.

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Re: About the threefold law

Postby HopefulChild » Wed Sep 30, 2015 10:27 am

A synthesis of what Chalice just stated and what Snowcat just stated is the platform I work from.

The threefold law, and the rede are "guides"...good solid guides. At the very least they ask you to consider your actions and the implications of your actions. If you can do that with the knowledge or acceptance that magic and science are not in opposition but complimentary, then what Snowcat stated should have a much more profound impact on your decision making.

And if you at all consider balance to be a fundamental state that the universe as a whole is constantly striving to simultaneously maintain and achieve, then even something as plebeian as giving back the overage that the cashier gave you in change at the grocery store will have an impact down the road or somewhere. Do you keep the change and lose something else along the way or do you give the change back and have a similar event happen to you in turn.

Opposite doesn't have to carry a connotation of negativity.

In my opinion.
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Re: About the threefold law

Postby Imperious » Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:28 am

Kassandra wrote:It's amazing how much the media is an influence on (and often the source of) concepts that people mistake as being "ancient," or "traditional" in witchcraft.

I've mentioned it before, but the mid-nineties explosion of interest in Witchcraft thanks to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed and (particularly) The Craft effectively brought a lot of youngsters into a religion that wasn't ready for them. Sadly, certain authors took advantage of this lack of leadership and effectively poisoned the proverbial well with pop-culture, and no real consideration of ethics or responsibility.

One could argue that there have, so far, been two generations of Neopagan Witchcraft: the Coven-central initiatory groups favoured by the first British traditional witches and their European counterparts, and the pop-culture dominated generation that treats Witchcraft as a hobby. With no real bridge between the two, I do wonder when the next generation will pop up and what it'll look like.

I have my fingers crossed.

Chalice wrote:I still want people to act justly, obey the laws of the land and not to harm each other.

Causing harm isn't beyond justification.

Remember - the balance factor will find the solution to your problem.
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Re: About the threefold law

Postby SnowCat » Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:02 am

I'm not personally in favor of causing harm. I have days when that becomes more difficult to follow. I agree though, that balance is a key component to everything. Surgery causes harm, in order to heal. When I give someone an insulin injection, I cause trauma at the injection site. But without the insulin, the patient could die. It's about balance and perspective.

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Re: About the threefold law

Postby Kassandra » Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:19 am

.


Imperious wrote:no real consideration of ethics or responsibility.
I don’t think these concepts exist in Hollywood. Whenever we’re talking about 'witchcraft in the media," we’d do well to remember to keep our (third) eyes on the invisible hand rocking this cradle, and be aware of how very much it likes to make money, lots of money. Ethics and responsibility aren't requirements for that endeavor.


Imperious wrote:I do wonder when the next generation will pop up and what it'll look like.
Look around you, see the video gamers, and you see that generation. It is here, and this has its pros and cons, lots of both. I’ll leave it at that, for now. As one of Hitler's buddies famously said, "Control the message, and you will control the masses." Books and televisions have been replaced by the computer screen as the principal tool of social engineering, for now. :wink:

Also, it's my contention there is not necessarily just one hand rocking the aforementioned cradle.



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Re: About the threefold law

Postby Imperious » Tue Oct 13, 2015 5:09 am

SnowCat wrote:I'm not personally in favor of causing harm. I have days when that becomes more difficult to follow. I agree though, that balance is a key component to everything. Surgery causes harm, in order to heal. When I give someone an insulin injection, I cause trauma at the injection site. But without the insulin, the patient could die. It's about balance and perspective.

I know discussing the finer aspects of cursing and hexing is generally frowned upon on this forum but, suffice it to say, the moral implications of going down that route are challenging for a lot of people to reconcile; especially with how they view Witchcraft from the wider social vista it inhabits.

Experienced witches and warlocks know that the balance factor simply goes in with the most appropriate and meaningful resolution to whatever you will into existence. Sometimes, a benign working causes harm – at this point, you need to decide whether the intent or the result is more important to you. The joke about two behaviourists having sex, and the man asking the woman how it was for him, is valid here. Equally, a curse or hex can appear to have a positive impact on the subject… At least for a while.

If you approach justification for workings in a way that trusts the balance factor, you’ll have little trouble sleeping at night. If I have the intellectual capacity to morally conclude that a person deserves magical help, then it logically follows that I can make the same judgement about people who deserve magical retribution. And because I don’t know how my working will turn out in any event, given the erstwhile discussed balance factor, it’s simply bad practice to assume that a specific morality is more appropriate than any other.

Magic works with nature, and nature doesn’t have the same social codes that we might apply. All we can really do is properly foster our intent, build it into a meaningful emotional working, and then let nature do its thing.

Sadly, a great many witches and warlocks are simply unable to accept that love and hate are the two most powerful motivators. Dismissing one due to finding it morally questionable is a great loss to your magical repertoire.

Kassandra wrote:I don’t think these concepts exist in Hollywood. Whenever we’re talking about 'witchcraft in the media," we’d do well to remember to keep our (third) eyes on the invisible hand rocking this cradle, and be aware of how very much it likes to make money, lots of money. Ethics and responsibility aren't requirements for that endeavor.

I completely agree, but would probably go one further and say that they’re concepts that barely exist in today’s society at all. Just about everything that’s provided by modern civilization is provided in a way that monetises it for people who already have more than they can ever spend. The current global economy is designed around funnelling more and more wealth to the top percentage that are likely to use it less and less.

Some individuals have enough wealth to cancel the debt of entire nations, or feed millions of hungry people. That very concept absolutely blows my mind. The media, unfortunately, works to make people consistently uncomfortable in their own skin, so that they consistently make consumers of them. The fashion industry is the most blatant example of this, but is far from the only one.

“You’re out of style”.

This isn’t an assessment, it’s a command to go and buy clothing or shoes that are going to be up to date for an already pre-determined period of time. Once that time has elapsed, you’re going to be looking at the next set of advertisements telling you to get new shoes.

Sadly, this inherently disposable society is creating almost wholly disposable people. I don’t mean that genocide is in some way a good idea, I mean that people are getting their heads filled with utterly transitory nonsense that’s of little or no value.

Kassandra wrote:Look around you, see the video gamers, and you see that generation. It is here, and this has its pros and cons, lots of both. I’ll leave it at that, for now. As one of Hitler's buddies famously said, "Control the message, and you will control the masses." Books and televisions have been replaced by the computer screen as the principal tool of social engineering, for now. :wink:

I’m with you.

This is, ultimately, where I think the most harm has been done to the Neopagan movement as a whole. The “message” has been contaminated by popular culture, which sends youngsters into the hands of “authors” like Silver Ravenwolf who offer little of actual relevance or value. They do, however, make money for publishers… Which means a market for that product needs to be sustained.

The big question, ultimately, is how do you present the message properly, and in a way that competes with what mainstream media can vomit into existence? Publishers and studios aren’t stupid – movies like The Craft were so successful precisely because they presented a version of Witchcraft that, very clearly, very much appears to be the real thing (although superficially).

Forums, blogs, pods and video casts are all very well, but the lack of moderating means that the signal to noise ratio is always terrible and there appears no obvious way to deal with that. Everything Under the Moon is a prime example of how challenging this is, because the people who know what they’re talking about on this forum are overwhelmingly outnumbered by those who don’t.

Those who already know something about Witchcraft can differentiate the wheat from the chaff. Those new to Witchcraft… Well, they struggle.

If you, or anyone else for that matter, have a means of solving this then believe me - I’m all ears.

My own personal view is that the better ways of dealing with the issue are wildly unpopular.
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Re: About the threefold law

Postby HopefulChild » Tue Oct 13, 2015 11:08 am

Imperious wrote:With no real bridge between the two, I do wonder when the next generation will pop up and what it'll look like.

I have my fingers crossed.


My sincere hope is that the next generation will understand the immediate limitations of the systems "we" have access to and will take those concepts and look at them objectively to be scaled up.
The systems we have are so very limited because the people who began working them out, did so with so much less information other than what they could see, taste, touch, hear and smell and intuit.

Technology should have been advancing our standards of occult discovery and theory. Instead it has been applied to limit and marginalize it.

That should be one of "our" goals as current occultists. Convince the next generation that it is their responsibility to integrate technology with the occult to bring the occult up to date and to discover new things where the two intersect.

Instead we seem to be telling them that "it's my way or the highway"...which is more likely to lead to a collapse of occultist culture and then it will be "rediscovered" again down the road.

This is one of the reasons I believe fire isn't one of the elements.
It was a peak in technology at one point in human development, but once we discovered how to generate static electricity, the occult world should have looked more closely at "the spark"...if we can move forward with the idea that electricity is indeed more fundamental than fire, then we can look at "old magic" and see how it can be integrated into new technology since we have "spark" aplenty these days, and less actual space and time to work with "fire".
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