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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mailbag Monday: A Question of Karma

From time to time I get questions sent to me either through my website or my Facebook fan page and many of these questions often serve as the inspiration for some of my blog posts. 

Therefore I've decided to begin a new feature here at Sex, Magick, and the City in which I answer your questions about Wicca, Witchcraft, Hoodoo, Rootwork and related topics which I have covered here in this blog. 

Today's question come from Karen who writes...

I spoke with two Wiccans who indicated that they refrained from harming people because they did not wish to be on the receiving end of karma. I am also familiar with the Wiccan Rede,  'an it harm none, do what thou wilt.' I believe I may have seen examples of karma. I have also seen some people commit violations against others and I am of the opinion that they seemed to have gotten away with their crimes. My query is has it been successfully proven that karma works 24 hours a day? How can we be 100 % sure that what goes around comes around?


MM Karen,

First of all I believe that there has been some misinformation regarding what has been called karma within the context of the Wiccan religion. First of all what some people refer to as Karma when speaking about Wicca is actually a reference to the Three-Fold Law which states that whatever you do for good or bad will come back to you in this life threefold. 

Karma, on the other hand is an Eastern concept that states that your actions in this life will return to you in the next life. According to A Dictionary of Some Theosophical Terms, by Powis Hoult...

"In Indian beliefs, the karmic effects of all deeds are viewed as actively shaping past, present, and future experiences. The results or 'fruits' of actions are called karma-phala"

The Threefold Law and Karma are two separate things.

I also feel that I should point out that you have Witches who are not Wiccan who do not believe in either concept and who actively practice cursing on the basis that it is justified. Justified being the operative word here and in these cases they often let the punishment fit the crime.

You say that you believe that you have seen examples of karma, so I can only assume that you know what a person did in their previous life to warrant some "punishment" in this life. The reason that you may have not seen the results of karma for some people is simply that you will have to wait for them to die, and then reincarnate. You'll then have to find out who they are in that new life and wait them to reap the consequences of their actions.

Now if you are speaking in terms of the Threefold Law, many people think that it is literal. For example, if I walk up to you and slap you then I'll get slapped myself by three times or one time three times as hard. It doesn't work that way. When the consequences of our thoughts, words, and deeds come back to us it is not always in the same form as we sent it out.

Think about it, if I slap you it may hurt, you may be humiliated, you may be reduced to tears, etc... However, if you slap me I may have a high tolerance for pain, my disposition may be such that I laugh off the incident thinking that its pretty funny. The action does not have the same consequence. Therefore, when our actions come back to us the punishment is sometimes much more subjective.

Lastly, you ask me if it has been successfully proven that karma works 24 hours a day? How can we be 100 percent sure that what goes around comes around? I ask you, has the existence of Heaven or Hell been scientifically proven to exist? Has science successfully proven that there is a one true religion and if so what is it?

Clearly the answer is no, of course not.There are very few things that this world's major religions can agree upon; and Wicca is a religion and like all other religions on the face of the earth it does not have all the answers, but our beliefs require a certain amount of faith. It is perfectly natural to want to see those who have wronged us punished for their actions against us. However, no where in any sacred text that I know of does it say that we will always be there when our enemies actions catch up to them.

As Wiccans we do not have to be doormats, there are systems in place both magickally and in the mundane that are at our disposal. If someone has committed a crime against you, call the police. If you fear that you are the target of negative energy, you have other choices as well. They include:

  • Shielding spells to protect you. 
  • Reversing spells to send the energy back to its source.
  • Binding spells to prevent the person from being able to attack you. 

Depending on their interpretation of the Rede, some Wiccans will opt for only shielding themselves believing that reversing and binding is actually doing harm; while other Wiccans do not regard reversing and binding as violations of the Rede.

Ultimately, we as humans have free will. It is up to the individual to make informed choices about their actions for they are the ones who will have to live with the consequences.


Carolina Dean

If you have a question related to any of the topics covered in this blog, feel free to contact me and your question may be answered in a future blog post.


1 comment:

AmethJera said...

We all learn about the Rede when we first become Wiccan, but we are taught to interpret it as meaning "rule"( as per Gardner,who was following the social structure of the day by writing 'laws' as absolutes) rather than it's true meaning which is "advise". I take it to mean that we are limited by the consequences of our actions, therefore we must examine our intentions thoroughly and apply a liberal amount of discernment before acting. Even though the Three-fold Law isn't Karma per se, it still holds the essence of a karmic action in the minds of many. Framing it as such, it becomes a theory of punishment, and to my mind it makes a pretty poor case for ethics-" I won't do *this* because *that* will happen."
This perpetuates a mindset of fear, and ethics born of fear rather than regard for immanent divinity is a hold over from patriarchal religions such as Christianity. " Do this and God will get you." That sort of thinking simply negates the presence of the Divine in the Nature. That's not to say allow yourself to be trampled on, because as you mentioned, there are some very good alternatives that are ethically sound.