Pagan Blog Project, Week 9 — E is for Ethics

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I often joke that I have very few ethics. It is somewhat true, especially in comparison to many reconstructionist folks. I give no fucks about Laws of Three, ‘Noble’ Virtues, or Redes of any kind. My ethics are short and to the point, and rely only on my own logical conclusions. They are also mutable and subject to change, so if you’d like to question, poke holes in, or discuss any of these, feel free!

  • Hospitality — this has both historical precedent in myths and modern importance to me. The attitude that ‘any visitor could be a god in disguise’ is an intriguing and practical one, though I am quick to reprimand or remove those who violate the rules of hospitality (e.g. don’t put your nasty shoes on my fucking coffee table, y’all) or put my family in danger. The same goes for myself. When I am a guest in another’s home or space I try to show deference and respect as much as possible. It is very important to me to recognize the boundaries between my space, public space, and private space of others. This applies even when I am in public, as every individual has their own private space bubble around them. It seems that many folks do not understand this nowadays, which frequently leaves me feeling miffed/violated after being in public for a long time. I suppose I am quite sensitive to my personal space, and I try to give the same consideration to the personal space of others.
  • Honesty — Now this one comes with a caveat, as most morals must. I make it a point to be straightforward, blunt even, and to get my point across with as little bullshit as possible. To me, it’s a sign of disrespect to sugar-coat things and beat around the bush with information. But my own safety and the safety of others comes before total honesty, so in certain situations I will lie my ass off to avoid danger. This does not mean that I am not truthful when I am in the wrong, but rather it means that I will conceal certain information to avoid danger (e.g. don’t tell them you’re a witch if you’re in the middle of an evangelical church, yo). Otherwise, I do make it a priority to speak my mind (when it’s appropriate) and to make myself clear and straightforward in my message. I have little patience for social niceties and small talk beyond a certain point (though some must be used to maintain hospitality, of course, it’s a big complicated thing).  I have often been accused of being too blunt, but I take it as a complement.
  • Self-Responsibility — Similar to honesty, in that I believe one must take responsibility for one’s actions, words, and deeds inasmuch as one is capable of doing so. I do not hold the exclusive and hurtful belief that one should be totally self-reliant and depend on no one etc, etc, as that is ignorant of those whose abilities and disabilities exclude them from “independence” as some “warrior”-minded folks would have it. This includes myself, though I do not abdicate moral responsibility for my actions, at times my illnesses do not allow me to be fully independent, and there is no shame in relying upon those who are willing and able to support you.  (This has turned into a bit of a ramble).  In short, one should be as answerable as possible for their actions, whether for good or bad.
  • Non-oppression — This one has the potential to be very long-winded, but I will try to keep it succinct. As a white, cis-passing, settler who is privileged in many areas, it is highly important for me to check my privileges as much as possible. This is honestly more of a “minimum standard of human decency” than an ethic, but I figured I’d include it here because many of those in the witchy and pagan community don’t know shit from Shinola when it comes to NOT being oppressive appropriative asshats. Non-oppression includes active and fervent opposition to: cultural theft, appropriation, racism, sexism, transphobia, transmisogyny, ableism, heteronormativity, identity-shaming, cisnormativity, neurotypical-centric thinking, and a whole fuck ton more that I can’t list here right now because my brain is not fully awake.
  • Chosen Family — I see a lot of recon and heathen types getting up in arms about kith and kin, and to be quite honest it makes me a bit nauseous. I have never been able to find a religious group that I felt fully comfortable in, and the thought of considering people my kin just because they share similar beliefs makes me revolt instinctively. I am a big advocate of chosen family, and that includes the right to choose not to have a family. I swear no fealty to any leader, king, or priest. I swear no fealty to those with whom I share blood simply because we are genetically similar. I am loyal to those who are loyal to me, but honestly (and many will call me a hard-hearted bitch for this) I do not hesitate to remove toxic people from my life, no matter how much “friendship” they claim between us or how much blood is shared. But those that do win my friendship will find themselves in relation with one of the most giving, generous allies that they could know. (This is not meant to be bragging, but whatever) I will literally give the shirt off of my back and money from my pockets to those who have earned my trust and admiration. I have learned that my very strong devotion in friendship can cause me hurt when it is not reciprocated, but I would rather be hurt than not extend the full power of kinship and friendship to those who deserve mine. I still do not like the term ‘loyalty’ because, to me, it implies some sort of oath that does not have exceptions. No matter how close you are to me, if you break my hospitality, if you break my boundaries and hurt me, I have no qualms about kicking you out of my life (after some very intense discussion of course). My first priority is my safety and the safety of those I love.
  • Oath-keeping — This is somewhat related to the above. I don’t believe in swearing fealty to leaders or religious groups. It’s just a recipe for hurt and loopholes galore. But the few oaths that I do swear I aim to fulfill to the fullest extent. My word is worth its weight in many precious stones, and I’d like to keep it that way. To undermine an oath is not only to mar my reputation, but also to break the power of my own word. I swear very few oaths, but those that I do swear I aim to keep at stake of blood. (Similarly, I have very few friends, but those that I do keep are worth risking many things for). It is not often that I extend oaths, though, and I am especially wary of it between gods, spirits, and those who are not chosen kin.

At the sake of not sounding like a hard ass drama pants, I think I’ll stop there. I will add a bit of a note on cursing ethics. I find nothing wrong with binding or hurting those who have crossed me. I try to keep it in equal measure. I don’t kill for kibble, you know, but I also am not opposed to fighting back or reprimanding those who have crossed boundaries and hurt myself and others. I do try, however to avoid exploiting privilege in my curses, and to not let them follow oppressive narratives. This is one of the reasons that I will not, under any circumstances, facilitate any sort of questionable consent. Sexual intimidation and harassment are not things I would wish on anyone.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts, counter-arguments, and critiques. Like I said, these are just a vague outline I cobbled up, I don’t really have an official list o’ ethics, but I do value learning the flaws in my thoughts and making changes to fix them. Sorry I’m a day late. Toodles.

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