In my last post I was making a point about books on magic always having to have statements on ethics lest people complain. My point was that people often treat ethics of magic as completely separate than other activities AND that the ethical statements which appear in such books are often short-sighted and sophomoric.
Some people it seems have interpreted me as saying that there is no need for ethics or ethical codes. That is NOT what I said.
If you want to see how important I consider ethics (or if you want to see two of your favorite Magi get their bible thumping on) go over to Frater RO’s blog today to read us going round for round about the role of ethics in Christianity.
To be clear: I am a believer in having a strong ethical code. I just don’t think that a book of Sorcery is the place you should be looking for it.
I am NOT for the sort of “whats good for me IS good” type of ethics, but I understand those that are.
My own personal ethics keep me from taking on a LOT of spellwork for people. I do not work on custody cases. I do not do break up or reconciliation spells. I do not curse outside of protecting from dire threat of physical harm.
In fact the last person to announce to me that they cursed me (because I did a protection spell to protect their wife from their abuse), I simply wrote back and assured that I would do nothing extra or retaliatory other than what my guardian spirits do and that I would try to keep my guardian spirits from retaliating too harshly.
I am a Christian and a Buddhist. I take ethics very seriously. When I said that looking to a book on magic for your ethics was the wrong place, I meant because you should take them more seriously than the few paragraphs you might find warning you to harm none.
Now, the other thing I wanted to say is that I have states time and again that the ethical considerations of magical actions and mundane actions are the same. While this is true for many situations, it is not true for all, and it was actually Conjureman Ali’s comment that triggered this realization when he mentioned that people who approach hoodoo from a neo-pagan background sometime claim that there are a lot of sociopaths in Hoodoo.
The fact is, that based on many conversations I have had with people, there ARE more than a few sociopaths in Hoodoo*. I have been privy to conversations, even on open groups, where people are discussing work aimed at seriously harming or even injuring people over comparability small things. They would not be talking about cutting the break lines to someones car or poisoning them, but only because that would open the possibility of being caught.
Magic opens the possibility of doing damage to someone that you would otherwise get arrested for, and getting away with it because the law does not have a mechanism for dealing with magic. This does in fact make the ethical considerations somewhat different.
* This is not an indictment of Hoodoo or any other tradition. Nor am I saying that most or even many practitioners are sociopaths. I am however saying that I have been witness to more conversations, field reports, and back and forths about this than I am in other fields.