The ideal representation of this was a phrase I discovered in Etain McCoy book today. She was discussing how love spells towards a particular person control other people’s free will and that is against the Pagan Rede.
A huge proportion of neo-pagans believe that all pagans follow the Wiccan rede. A person who discusses witchcraft that does not follow the Pagan Rede are often scolded by well meaning neo-pagans who truly believe its a universal law and rule.
I have lately run into dear friends who want to unite factions of paganism. Traditional Witches, Recons, and Great Goddess religion, Pop culture pagans and Wicca (the popular form, not jsut the coven based initiate form). They are under the impression that we should be united. It frustrates them to see infighting. And they scold us to stop fighting!
Look its not infighting. We are not the same group and we don’t want to be. Large groups of neo-pagans do not abide by the Pagan Rede. In fact it is not the Pagan Rede, it has no historical precedence, the modern novel in which it originates comes right out and says it is not a traditional value or rule. Its special to the setting of the novel.
There is not a pagan community, there are pagan communities. Many of them. We form around shared values. There are many different value systems in paganism. We have anti-racism values. We have color blind values. We have warrior values. We have harm none values. We have universalist values. We have difference values. We have magic values. We have prayer values. There are Christan values. There are Heathen values. There are dualistic values. Unity values. Multiplicity values. Many of these values are diametrically opposed.
So why do all these weirdos hang out with each other? Because we see divinity differently enough from the mainstream religions that we need to meet up outside them. We didn’t grow up in a society with these values for the most part. And so we are like, well I have more in common with these people than I do with the other choices. If we all get in a room with a hundred pagans we have a hope of finding one or two people we can practice with. It works. Its fine. We don’t all have the same values, but we congregate in the same places and then splinter off because that model is effective.
So its all good okay. There is no Pagan Rede. And there won’t be.
But do not despair dear friends who worry we are just as bad as other religions with our infighting. Don’t worry we aren’t!. I feel safe with you most the time. (Though some groups get a little freaky with the sexual pressure, but there is usually someone there who wingmans with me). You never threaten me with a lake of fire for eternity. You don’t threaten me with harm. Flame wars is a misnomer. There is no fire. There is real fire in world religion fights. There is real death. Our fights are just talk and posturing. Scold me with your Pagan Rede all you want. I know there is love there, you aren’t going to burn a religious symbol in my front yard. You aren’t going to tell me I am going to hell. You are able to recognize the divinity in me and I see it in you.