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The Ordains 22: Follow the Rules or Be Banished From Earth

This is the final entry in a series on a set of Pagan guidelines known as the Ordains. The Ordains, as we know them today, can be found in the works of Gerald Gardener, Aleister Crowley, and more. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.
Read to the end for a special note!

“A Witch who knowingly breaks the Law (Ordains) will not be permitted to incarnate on Earth again.”

I can already hear the collective groans. The notion that breaking a certain list of rules will lead to some sort of cosmic punishment is reminiscent of certain dogmatic religions. Because of my upbringing, the first to come to my mind is Christianity, but there are tons of religions that uphold a similar concept.

Don’t fret, witchlings. Even though the intro for each entry has stated that the Ordains in their current form represent our core beliefs, this one doesn’t actually fit that mold. This last Ordain won’t be found in the Maiden’s Circle Book of Shadows. It was included in this series to demonstrate how everything must evolve with time, including religion.

Personally, I believe that, without change, there can be no growth.

Rules change and, while most of the Ordains are essential to my own practice, this one reminds me to accept those changes. They’re not only inevitable, but they’re necessary for us to fulfill our various paths throughout our lifetimes.

The men who created most of our laws lived in a different era. Their views about the world are old and outdated today. Even in their time, people were already beginning to question these kinds of ideas. And the idea of a witch simply deciding these Laws aren’t for them leads to their soul being forced into some arbitrary quarantine from Earth—well, that idea has no place here.

In my own practice, I believe that a soul will reincarnate if it needs or wants to, regardless of what choices were made in its previous life cycle. Of course, if it chooses to, I believe they may need to face karmic consequences. This leads into the second reason we’re including this Ordain in our series.

It makes us question what really happens after life ends, and what the consequences may exist for breaking the main Law of “Harm None.” No one alive can say for sure what happens after we die, though plenty will tell us their theories. Whether it’s ascension into some netherworld, reincarnation, or oblivion, everyone has some belief concerning the afterlife (or lack thereof). I shared some of mine above.

This old law is just one belief, representing the mindset of a man from another time.

Throughout this series, I hope I’ve demonstrated how no law is 100% all the time. I believe that goes for all laws, especially those of men. Occasionally, this puts us in a grey area. Who decides which laws are to be followed and when? I feel that, if we follow the most important one, “An ye harm none,” and if we let ourselves be guided in love, we might make the right choices. If we try to live in a way that helps other people and is good for our planet, breaking the Ordains or other written laws isn’t going to lead to any sort of punishment—at least not spiritually.

(I am in no way suggesting anyone engages in illegal activity, just to be clear.)

What I believe in is the freedom to choose. No spiritual law written by humans can dictate what our souls are called to do. The only law that must be honored in the Maiden’s Circle tradition is that you harm none, save for in defense of yourself or others who request your aid. Naturally, though, it’s up to each of us individually to decide what that means for us.

What do you think of this or any of the past Ordains? Do you believe we face punishment or banishment from Earth if we break this or other spiritual laws? If so, why? Is there something we must do to be allowed to incarnate again? Do you believe in reincarnation?

P.S. This is the end of our series on the Ordains. This has been such an interesting journey, and I sincerely hope it was educational and entertaining for you. Stick around. Next week, we’ll have a brief update before moving into our next series. See you there!

P.P.S.

Please forgive me for posting this so late in the week and missing last week’s post altogether. For the last month or so, I’ve been considering closing the blog. I have posts planned until next year, but in two years, I just haven’t seen the growth I’d hoped for. I love writing about Pagan things and feeling like I’m providing a service to my community. Over these last two years, however, I’ve added so much to my life—all of it I adore. Some things just take a little more out of me than others, and I’m searching for the best way to manage it all while still taking care of myself.
In any case, I’ve decided to continue this blog for as long as I have ideas. That’s how I feel for now, anyway. Sure, there may be only about three of you out there who read it, but all three of you are appreciated! And in the future, I know it’s going to be a valuable resource for the Covenpath students. Plus, writing this blog is good for my practice. It forces me to routinely check in with myself, which I believe is a good thing.
So, I’ll have to ask you to forgive me when the blog is occasionally late. I tend to take days off to care for myself when I notice stress or depression creeping up, and that’s not likely to change. It’s the best way I know to keep stable. But I will make sure you get something from me every week. If not a full blog entry, I’ll drop in with something.
Thank you so much to those of you who are here, and who encouraged me to keep going. And thank you to those who’ve been here all along, lurking in the shadows.
I love you and blessed be.

Check out our Monday to Friday Tarot readings here, and subscribe to catch them every week! Check out our forums and say hi! Have any questions or topics you’d like to see on the blog? Interested in writing a guest blog? Let me know in the comments or reach out through the contact page! PLUS Did you know we have an MCCA newsletter? Sign up to get updates whenever there’s a new blog post and any other MCCA news. Sign up now!

The Ordains: Part 16 – Keep An Open Mind

This is the sixteenth entry in a series on a set of Pagan guidelines known as the Ordains. The Ordains, as we know them today, can be found in the works of Gerald Gardener. Maiden’s Circle uses a simplified version that has been edited and altered to reflect our core beliefs.

“Witches should never close their minds to knowledge.”

This seems like a simple concept: Keep an open mind in all things. Versions of this tenet can be heard all over the Pagan community. In fact, long before learning of Gerald Gardner’s Ordains, this has been a stable belief in my life. The belief, of course, being that taking in knowledge constantly is a basic part of being a witch.

I’d go so far to say it’s a need. That’s how it’s presented for me, in any case. Even as a young child, I devoured new knowledge. Books, documentaries, magazines, television, overheard conversations, and exploration of secret places—I did everything I could to consume a constant stream of information.

Some people say it’s a Gemini thing.

Whatever it is, I certainly leaned into the Jack-Of-All-Trades archetype, and that’s likely a huge reason my practice is so eclectic. Even now, there are only a few topics in which I consider myself deeply educated, my religion being one of them. Often enough, I’ll gain as much information as I need to be proficient in something before I’m ready to move on to the next pursuit.

I find this trait common amongst those who call themselves witches. We are a people of varied interests. It seems that nearly every witch I meet has her finger in at least three cauldrons. Nearly.

It’s easy to think that every single person in the witch community is open-minded and loving, with no trace of hatred or judgment in their hearts. However, there are those practitioners who believe their way is the only way. It’s unfortunate, and the rest of our community has a way of ignoring that those people even exist.

I think it’s important that we acknowledge them, though. The idea that Paganism doesn’t have these kinds of people is dangerous in that it allows them to flourish unchecked. If no one’s paying attention to them, then there’s no one to help them see that their unwillingness to accept others or other ideas is ultimately harmful. And the more closed-minded people there are, the less safe our community will be.

That’s more my interpretation of keeping an open mind, and I realize this tenet seems more about the general absorption of knowledge. But I think it’s wise to look at these tenets a little deeper than at face value.

Being open to understanding another person’s experience is necessary for growth, especially now when it seems that many people struggle with empathy.

At it’s core, this tenet reminds me of something I’ve always believed: knowledge is power. This belief came from a funny place, I think. Long before I knew anything about religion other than what I’d been told, I heard that phrase and taken it on as my own personal mantra.

It was the motto of the popular Schoolhouse Rock children’s series.

I see this as another example of how this path chose me just as much as I chose it. I could have latched onto any other aspect of that show, any other motto. But I chose “knowledge is power” to guide me. (Not to mention the song about the number 3; it truly is a magick number!)

It’s my firm belief that a person who is always learning is always growing. A person who’s always growing is always improving. And a person who’s improving themselves is more capable of improving the world around them. This is necessary for the future of our world.

We can gain knowledge by listening quietly when others speak, even insofar as to wait until they’re finished to ask questions. We can read any and every book that catches our eye, regardless of the reviews it may have. (The worst that can happen is that we don’t like the book.) It’s our job as witches to take in information, verify and confirm the truth of that information, and add it to our personal knowledge base.

You never know when it might come in handy.

Are you open to learning new things? What is one thing you learned this week that you never would have considered? Imagine you could live forever—what sorts of knowledge would you pursue with infinite time? Share your responses in the comments or on Facebook. Check out the Maiden’s Circle Learning Collective while you’re there!

From my open mind to yours,
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA

Check out our Monday to Friday Tarot readings here, and subscribe to catch them every week! Have any questions or topics you’d like to see on the blog? Interested in writing a guest blog? Let me know in the comments or reach out through the contact page! PLUS Did you know we have an MCCA newsletter? Sign up to get updates whenever there’s a new blog post and any other MCCA news. Sign up now!