The Ordains: Part 9 – We Both Have Truths
This is the ninth 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 know that there are no absolute truths.”
This title would have worked better a couple of entries ago. Still, as I said in that post, I can’t help but think of Pilate’s line whenever the question of “truth” comes up. That entry offers a pretty in-depth look at my personal views on truth, so I won’t repeat it all here, but I did mention my belief that all of our ideas of truth are filtered through personal experience.
One of the reasons Pilate’s line struck such a chord with me is because I already followed this tenet. The idea that there are no absolute truths guided me through childhood, though it was often a struggle for my black-and-white mind (itself a symptom of my inability to gauge subtlety from others) to fully accept.
Even as I struggled with the idea, I knew it to be true. At an early age, I learned that what looked red to me might look pink to someone else. As I approached adolescence, I began to think more deeply about truth. More accurately, I began to question the truths everyone around me believed.
A couple of years after my father passed away, my mom took my little sister and me to live in Mississippi. Most of our years there were lived in a small, close-knit, very Christian town. There were many things I loved and hated about living in Eupora, but my least favorite was the tendency all small towns have for extreme groupthink.
So, when I started to question my Christian upbringing—started to pull away from the accepted “truths”—I became more aware of how a differing understanding of truth affected every interaction with other people.
In addition, my truth and beliefs had changed and, as ever, I sought to understand why. In response to my changing core beliefs, I dove deeper into the sciences on the search for more concrete truths. I wanted something to rely on.
At first, the natural sciences provided some needed comfort. I could be satisfied knowing the facts of things like birth and life and death. These truths I knew to be absolute. They happened regardless of one’s beliefs about them.
Even now, these are the only truths I know to be undeniable, but the circumstances around them are murky still. The way we handle birth and death in this country leaves much to be desired. And nearly everyone in my generation seems to have some general struggle as they attempt to ‘understand’ life.
So, even these things I feel to be undeniably true are filtered through a billion different eyes—measured under a constant “what if?” What if we could live forever? What if we’re reborn after death? What if life exists in forms we’ve yet to discover?
It’s that constant “what if” which lives at the heart of this witches’ law. No matter how much we learn, there will always be something we don’t know. There will always be unattained knowledge. And the pursuit of that knowledge is an endless pursuit that means we can never know anything completely.
As a lover of both magick and science, I’ve come to accept that I know nothing. No matter how much I study, no matter how much information I try to shove into my brain, I will never know enough. I will always be learning, and therefore, must remain ever open to the changing nature of “truth.”
So long as I do my best to be an ethical and honest person, I can carry this law in my heart without abusing it. While I can acknowledge there are no absolute truths, I won’t pretend that this amounts to a go-ahead to tell lies. It’s not.
This law serves as a simple reminder that truth comes in many forms. I believe it’s a witch’s duty to figure out the most ethical and spiritually sound truth and to pursue that.
What do you think it means when one says there are no absolute truths? Do you think this is meant literally or in a very specific context? Please share in the comments or on the Maiden’s Circle Facebook page!
P.S. I’m in the process of starting a charity that offers aid to people who are homeless. Would you be interested in participating in a grassroots endeavor to create care packages for New York’s homeless?
The idea would involve bags of essentials including blankets, non-perishable food, feminine hygiene products, and more to help someone navigate life without a home. Homelessness can happen to anyone, so I want to do my part. If you’re interested, email me here and I’ll let you know how you can help!
Lady Morgana Brighid HP MCCA
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