Last year we asked the members of our circle to think about Pagan Ethics & Morals and what those words/ideas meant to them… Rowan expressed “One of the questions that people ask (or silently wonder about), especially in the ‘good ol’ South’ is something along the lines of, ‘if you don’t believe in the Bible, then where do you get your morals/ethics from?”, or ‘how do you know the difference between right and wrong?’”
Here were my thoughts on this topic:
My morals & ethical code don’t come from my spiritual beliefs, they come from my parents. I was lucky enough to grow up with parents who allowed me the freedom to explore many different spiritual paths as a child, but before they sent me out in the world to explore they made sure that I knew certain things about how to behave and the difference between right and wrong. My dad was in the Navy and appreciated a sense of order and his expectation was that respect was earned, not freely given (despite age/status/position). Both my mom & dad taught my brother and I to respect them through love, not fear or power. We learned early on that dad was easier to make budge than mom when it came to what we wanted, but they were both fair for the most part. I don’t remember them sitting me down to tell me what was right and what was wrong, but I do remember living & learning as I went.
If I made a mistake, i.e.: was sassy to a great aunt or grandparent, they would correct me and explain what was and wasn’t acceptable and over time I came to appreciate praise over reprimands. I was taught to share with others, to help when asked, to be kind to others, not to use language around other adults that I wouldn’t with my parents, to listen without speaking, not to steal, not to lie, leave the land as I found it, treat animals with reverence and kindness, say please and thank you, keep my hands to myself, don’t give up, try… try again, admit when you’re wrong & apologize… you know, all those things most kids learn without really realizing they were learning them.
As an adult and as a witch, I reflect on the times my parents, other family members, teachers or friends taught me a life lesson and I realized that not much has changed. Those are the same things I still try to strive for in my life today.
Kindness. Respect. Honesty. Integrity. Reverence. Hospitality. Perseverance. Love. Personal-Accountability. Fairness.
In addition to those, there is a code of ethics that I abide by as a nurse. It deals with treating patients with dignity, practicing with respect & compassion, treating patients as equals despite socioeconomic status, race, religion, gender, sexual identity, etc., about being an advocate for the patient, protecting health, safety and rights of the patient, to practice competently, collaborating with nursing peers, ancillary staff, doctors and therapies when necessary on behalf of patients, represent nursing positively through articulating core nursing values & maintaining the integrity of the profession and practices.
I think about what kind of example I want to be to others in my personal and professional life, as well as in the greater community. While I know that some of what I have learned has shaped the kind of witch and nurse I am, that has more to do with where I came from than what I learned from the Craft.
Recently Rowan & I have been talking a lot about leadership and what our roles entail. We’ve also been discussing how we’d like to expand on our knowledge as leaders and grow our circle. There are a lot of ideas being tossed around. We’re both ordained and considering what that could mean for our circle and our lives personally. While we hold the title, both of us want formal training and some guidance from other people in leadership roles. It’s one thing to call yourself a High Priestess and another to actually fill that role appropriately. I feel that we both live up to the standards of what I believe a High Priestess should be, however, it doesn’t hurt either of us to ensure that we learn how to better serve our community.
The other day we started talking about formal Pagan clergy programs. Most of them are geared entirely towards Wicca, require that you are there in person or require such far-fetched time periods (2-4 years) that neither of us were sure we were going to find something we could both feel comfortable paying money for & committing to. It was about the time I thought screw it, that Rowan was thinking up ways to create our own training program… And then I remembered Covenant of the Goddess.
Prior to moving overseas I had considered joining CoG and went so far as to ask for letters of recommendation from my circle mates who were already members. They had provided me with them… and then life happened (divorce, move back to the states, being without my belongings for months) and I completely lost sight of that goal entirely.
A few days ago I asked a former circle mate who had previously vouched for me, Lady Justice, if she’d do it again and she said she’d happily write me as many letters as I needed. (Goddess blessed me with amazing friends!) She also mentioned that Merry Meet (annual CoG shindig) was going to happen this year in Albuquerque, NM. That just happens to be where my friend, Lady Justice, and her adorable family all live. Not only did she mention that Merry Meet was happening in her town, but extended an invitation to Rowan & I to stay with her, eat her food & get carted to and from Merry Meet via her chariot if we got our booties to Albuquerque for August 16-19th. Yikes! That’s only a little over a months time to save up. After figuring our travel expenses, overnight lodging in a hotel 1 night on the way there and 1 night on the way back, food/snacks on the road, general entrance fees for Friday/Saturday & the leadership conference… we estimated about $500 each. Gas alone is going to be about $400 because we’re driving 1,900 miles roundtrip.
Never fear… Bridey has a plan, because while I think we’re quite capable of saving $500 each, I’m not sure we can both do it in 6 weeks time. Well, not on our own.
SO, this is where you come in. If you think you’d like to help us make our way to Merry Meet for a much needed leadership getaway, then click on the little link provided below & contribute to our cause! Not only will you be helping our circle here in Beaumont, Texas thrive, but you’ll also be supporting the greater Pagan community when we become recognized clergy too!
Thanks in advance & Blessings,