While I can agree with the sentiment of these “Commandments”, I do have some serious issues with most of the statements and I feel guided to address them with you. The first issue I have is with the use of the title “The Ten Wiccan Commandments”. This is, in my opinion, misleading to those who may know nothing of Wicca. Unlike numerous Christian religions, Wicca has no “Commandments” that must be followed. We are not commanded, ordered, or instructed, to do anything, by anyone, unless of course, you have been Initiated into a Coven; that Coven may have rules that you must follow in order to remain in that Coven, however, many Wiccans do not belong to a Coven and thusly don’t adhere to any Commandments, instead we are
The first "Commandment" (Don’t judge others’ lifestyles or their spiritual path) I have no issues with and I agree this is a very important belief to hold within Wicca.
“Commandment” number two (Cause harm to none (only in cases of protection), is a paraphrase of The Wiccan Rede, “An it harm none, do what ye will”, which many pagan individuals are familiar with whether they are Wiccan or not. The issue I have with this statement as written above is that it interprets the Rede in a way I do not believe it was meant. The word rede means “advice” or “counsel” not commandment. Wiccans are guided to do that which harms none as they Will. The Rede doesn’t give us advice on what we should do if or when we encounter a situation that may cause harm. The above “Commandment” suggests that it is acceptable to cause harm “only in cases of protection”. I wonder exactly what would I be protecting and what am I protecting it against? Does it matter?
Number three (Don’t manipulate a person’s free will through magic) commands that I do not manipulate a person’s free will through magic but what I am unclear on is if it is acceptable to manipulate a person’s free will with intellect? Through emotions? What about physical force? Those all seem to be acceptable according to the Wiccan Commandments. It is only unacceptable to manipulate someone using magic.
I’m honestly not sure what to say about number four (Don’t be greedy and tip the balance of Nature) because I’m not entirely sure what the statement is intending to convey. Greed is defined as intense and selfish desire. Nature is the composition of the physical and non-physical worlds around us, which includes us (humans), plants, animals, as well as, the Earth Herself. If greed is a characteristic of humans and humans are a part of Nature, then how can we tip the balance of Nature? It is my belief that Nature will always maintain balance no matter what humans do, or how much effort we put into something because we are of Nature. I don’t see how we cannot truly tip the balance. This leads nicely into the next “Commandment”: number five (Don’t magically go against Nature (black magic).
Magic is the art of manipulating Will, emotions and energy in order to bring about change within an individual’s reality. Energy is the force that unites everything because everything is made of energy. This is precisely why we are able to manifest our desires because we are able to manipulate energy. As Wiccans we understand and recognize this fact. Energy is nondiscriminatory. We can use energy to power our computers but we can also use it to electrocute someone. It is not the energy that is ‘good, white, creative’ or ‘evil, black, destructive’ but the intention or purpose it is used for. There is no such thing as black magic though, I would agree that there is healing magic and harmful or baneful magic and yes, there are those practitioners that would identify with the label of black magician.
Frankly I would rewrite the sixth “Commandment” (Don’t mess with the spirit world without proper knowledge) to read: Don’t mess with anything (not just the Spirit World) without proper knowledge. To Know is the first point in the Witch’s Pyramid.
Whenever I read the seventh “Commandment” (Don’t self harm or have self doubt) it strikes me as patronizing. I think it is a bit redundant since we already had the conversation about harm although at this point I might interject this question: what if I had an illness, condition, or disease that would require treatment that might harm me in order to ‘cure’ me, am I not allowed to harm myself? Or does that fall under the caveat of “only in cases of protection”? And I would rather encourage Wiccans to be confident in themselves and their abilities instead of condemning them for having self-doubt, but that’s just me, I guess.
I must admit that when I read the eighth “Commandment” (Don’t use a curse or hex on someone undeserving) I snickered to myself. I do believe this commandment contradicts Commandment number three which stated: “Don’t manipulate a person’s free Will through magic”. Now, here in this “Commandment” Wiccans are being told that it is perfectly acceptable to use a curse (or hex) on someone who deserves it. I do believe that this action will purposefully manipulate that person’s free Will. A curse is a spell (a form of magic) with the direct intention for adversity to befall or attach to a person or object and I am almost certain it will be done without that individual’s consent or agreement. I also wonder who is the authority that decides if a person is undeserving of such manipulation? And how is this “Commandment” reconciled with “Commandments” number two and five?
The last two “Commandments” (Protect the Earth and those weaker than you. What you give out comes back on you good or bad.) I don’t have major issues with though anything that is stated as a Commandment within Wicca I cannot agree with due to my understanding of Wicca as I previously stated here in this article. I think there are other, perhaps more important or significant concepts or core beliefs of Wicca that could have been noted here but perhaps I would have called them:
The Ten Wiccan Tenets
- Honor and cultivate a relationship with Nature.
- Maintain personal responsibility for yourself, your actions, and your words.
- Respect the body as sacred.
- Celebrate life.
- Honor death.
- Observe The Wiccan Rede.
- Remember The Law of Return.
- Live The Witch’s Pyramid.
- Aspire to The Eight Virtues of The Goddess.
- Understand The Laws of Magick.