Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Wiccan Rede: Ancient Laws, Perfect Love and Perfect Trust

(This is a continuing discussion line by line of the full Wiccan Rede.  See the first post in February for the full rede and beginning of the discussion.)

Bide the Ancient Laws ye must, in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

Advice of the Ancients

Bide the Ancient Laws ye must,

Wait a minute, what the heck is an ancient law?  We are talking about a religion that has officially been around since 1950.  Even though we understand that the concepts and practices have been either handed down through time, reconstructed from information available,  drawn from the collective unconscious or "downloaded" from the Divine.   I haven't seen any scroll hanging out with ancient laws!

Ancient laws are not the laws of man, but more specifically the laws of the universe or universal laws. 
The Universe uses natural and moral laws combined with regulatory vibrations to maintain balance.  Just as with current, when you work within the flow of a current (such as swimming), your actually expend less energy, and generally attain a positive outcome,  within a smaller space of time.  (think swimming in a river with the current) Now think about working against the current.  As a swimmer it is harder, if not impossible, to move forward, and if it is done, it is with considerable energy cost, and outcomes are not always as positive.  It is not to say that you can never work against a current, simply that it is much more difficult.

There is much debate on how many or what all the actual universal laws are.  A few that you may or may not be familiar with would include Karma, Harmony ( Balance), Manifestation, Resistance, Attraction, Magnestism etc.

Ancient Laws are laws of interaction, more specifically personal interaction and magick.

In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust

"Perfect", where did that word come from.   Perfect as a concept, that we are taught from child hood, is unattainable.  The highest form, most correct or beautiful state. That's an interesting idea .  Lets dive into this a little more. 

What is perfect:  As defined by Miram- Webster perfect is:
a : being entirely without fault or defect : flawless <a perfect diamond> b : satisfying all requirements : accurate c : corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept <a perfect gentleman> d : faithfully reproducing the original; specifically : letter-perfect e : legally valid 2: expert, proficient <practice makes perfect> 3a : pure, total.
There are some big and scary words in there when we look at doing something in perfect love or trust.  Flawless comes to mind first.  Thinking on perfection, and periods of perfection in your life. do they exist?  A point at which things have just come together and fit, result in a STATE of Perfection!  That's the idea!  Perfection, comes in periods, bursts, more like the AHHH! moment, the epiphany.  It is transient and in it's transience, it motivates us to work towards achieving that state again and again.  So by it's very nature perfection,  perfection propagates itself by motivation, through desire.

What about Perfect Love?  Erich Fromm, a psychologist and social philosopher, in his 1956 book The Art of Loving,  observes that real love "is not a sentiment which can be easily indulged in by anyone, regardless of the level of maturity reached by him. All his attempts for love are bound to fail, unless he trys most actively to develop his total personality, so as to achieve a productive orientation; that satisfaction in individual love cannot be attained without the capacity to love one's neighbor, without true humility, courage, faith and discipline. In a culture in which these qualities are rare, the attainment of the capacity to love must remain a rare achievement. Or anyone can ask himself how many TRULY loving persons he he known."  Fromm goes on to state  that the " active character of true love involves four basic elements: care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge". That is a bit interesting to see from a pagan standpoint!  It also correlates to our elements; care (water), responsibility (earth), respect (fire) and knowledge (air).  Each of these elements will vary  markedly from person to person, based on the people involved and circumstance within their lives at any given time.  Seen in this way we find that love is hard work, however it is the most rewarding type of work!

 Fromm also addresses self love.  To love one's self, applies the same elements: caring about   oneself,  taking responsibility for oneself, respecting and knowing oneself. For example, be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses.  To ever truly have the capacity to love another, first one needs to be able to love ones self in this way.

"Love is an active power in man, a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from his fellow men, which unites him with others; love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity. "  Fromm

Well this is all fine philosophy, but what does this have to do with hoping into a circle with Perfect Love?  One of Fromm's points is that modern humans are alienated from each other and from nature, I will go on to conjecture, from the Gods. .  We tend to seek refuge from our aloneness in romantic love and marriage.  From the point of view of a Priestess,  when we enter circle, most of us will go through the motions of Perfect Love, however, it is truly something for which we long.  We long to be united with others, the elements, the gods, to have our sense of aloneness and alienation drop away, and feel the magick and power in our unification.  Perfect Love is that active power of love.  It is each one of us stepping into that circle with care, respect, responsibility and knowledge of our fellow circle mates, the elements and the Gods , as well as ourselves!

So we have love down, what about trust?  Mirram-Webster defines trust as an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength and truth of someone or something. One in which confidence is placed, as well as responsible charge or office, and care or custody.  Any of this sound familiar yet?  Perfect trust "blossoms" from love.   Through our active power of love, the ability to trust springs forth.

We step confidently in our circle, knowing that our ability to love, frees us to unite with our circle mates, the elements and the Gods.  Through our power to love and unite we are assured that the strength and truth of those will act in our best interest, and that they as well, are working towards perfect love.  Because our of care, responsibility, knowledge and respect we have the foundation upon which to lay our trust, as we come together to work in the most intimate way, to touch each other with power and magick, to join and become one.

So mote it be!

( Next Blog: Fairly Take and Fairly Give)
Fromm, Erich;  The Art of Loving , circa 1956
Sutphen, Dick;  Lighting the Light Within May 1997, Vally of the Sun Pub. Co.

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