The Bean Tighe (pronounced ban tig) is a helpful spirit that is likely one of the inspirations for the "fairy godmother" type donor/patron from faerie and folk tales. She is the one who makes it possible for others to achieve their potential ... whether it be helping with the maintenance of one's home, one's finances, or the ability to make one's dreams come true.

Friday, February 3, 2012

PBP: Week 5 - In Good [C]onscience ...

Not being Wiccan, I often find myself running afoul of the perceptions of the mainstream (both the uninformed non-pagan, and the fluffies who haven't realized that there are almost as many flavours of witchcraft out there as there are at Baskin-Robbins, and then some) where the "Rede" is concerned.

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, An it harm none do what ye will.
~ Doreen Valiente, 1964

That's just not how I do things ...

My personal view, where that particular piece of prose is concerned, centres on a perception of the time period within which Wicca emerged into the public view. I strongly suspect that those publishing companies which are currently responsible for the fact that the Craft has become a money making fad (indeed, almost a fashion statement instead of a true belief pattern) likely found it easier to risk themselves upon those books where the common Christian perception of the evil witch casting hexes was refuted and the would-be neophyte was represented as pacifistic to the point of near-apathy. It just never rang true to me and, really, it put me in mind of the very Christian concept of "turning the other cheek".

My ancestors are not a peaceable people. Neither they, nor their gods, were prone to letting slight, insult, or wrong go unanswered. The concept of Face/Reputation is a very important one and children are still, even now among the diaspora of the Irish and Scots, taught that we need to behave always in a manner that would bring honour to our great-great-grandchildren. Gaels have VERY LONG MEMORIES and your wrongdoings can and frequently will be held against your descendents. (Don't believe me? Ask a MacGregor or a MacDonald about the Campbells ... a clan often shunned even now in the twenty-first century for crimes perpetrated in the 1600-1700's).

No, rather than allow myself to be a doormat for people who mean me harm to wipe their feet on in passing, I choose instead to exercise "good conscience". The concept that comes along with the idiom "in good conscience" is a simple one. I know what is right ... I know what is wrong ... I am aware of the difference between the two and to do wrong causes me to bring dishonour upon myself (and, hence, upon my descendants).

I can, in good conscience, no more allow a predator to prowl in my community -- being that I do have means at my disposal to address the criminal's actions and presence -- than I would allow someone to just break into my home intent on harming myself or my family. I know how to gather, marshal, and direct subtle energies. I know how to craft protective charms, amulets of warding and talismans to frustrate certain actions. I have known for a very long time how to spin the aether to create my desired outcomes. I participate in my Neighbourhood Watch and, while my children were growing up, the neighbourhood kids knew that my home was the refuge to come to should they need help.

To believe that the "universe" would punish me for exercising what I perceive as my responsibility as a member of my community is, to me, ludicrous. An old and common adage is "the gods help those who help themselves" and I agree totally. The same is true when the wrongdoing takes place within my home or work environments ... the main difference there being that, in those cases, there are usually more direct action that can be taken to redress the issue. I can confront a dishonest or disruptive individual. I can choose to de-friend a person who does not comport him or herself in a manner that I can approve of. I can opt to quietly walk away from an individual who does not live up to, at very least, their own personal code. Being that I can choose how to interact (not not-interact) directly, it only stands to reason in my mind, that the same choices exist in the indirect.

I have the right to exercise judgement and discernment as part of my information gathering tools. It seems to me that, as the neo-pagan movement became popularized, there has been much noise made around the idea that a "good" pagan doesn't pass judgement upon other people or ideas. I cannot accept that ... I haven't had the "don't judge me" mentality since I grew out of being an adolescent. I recognize that, in order to be able to make correct decisions, each person needs to engage in critical thinking. If I am doing something that makes me concerned enough about whatever it is that I need to demand (or expect) that others not judge me for it ... odds are that's not something I really believe I should be doing.

When I am behaving in harmony with my personal code and my conscience, what others think about my actions or myself have no import or impact upon me. I hold myself up to a high standard of right action and believe that I have a right to expect similar high standards from those people I choose to have in my life, in my family, in my circle of friends, or in my community. In this way, I ensure that I surround myself by individuals upon whom I can depend to be there for me, as I would be for them in time of need.

The heraldic motto belonging to my Father's family is "Go dtugtar breith orainn dá réir ár ngníomhartha" which is Irish Gaelic translated from the Latin "Spectemur Agendo" and roughly translates as "Let Us, By Our Actions, Be Judged". It is not difficult to understand why, the older I get, the more I come to understand those words and the more I strive to abide by them. The fact that the motto is connected with our family's Coat of Arms, gives me a pretty good indicator that this is something that was viewed as of great importance by those who came before me. A message, sent across the centuries since the device was registered with the College of Arms, to let descendants of our family line know what is expected of them.

So long as my choices fall within my sense of 'good conscience", you can rest assured that I will act on them. I will live my life in a manner that brings honour to my great-great-grandchildren and their descendants so that I may face my ancestors proudly, secure in the knowledge that I will be judged well according to how I have acted.

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