Welcome to the Jungle

When I first thought about ethics in magick, my reaction was one of "to each their own." I assume that I have no place dictating what others believe or why they believe them, or why they act accordingly. As I thought about it though, ideas of people such as David Koresh or Charles Manson floated into my head. These men, did they think they were wrong? Did they follow societal standards of ethics? And do I want them running around free simply because it was decided that since their ethics are different - so they weren't wrong? Clearly, I had more thinking to do.

It's almost impossible to look at ethics in an objective light. There is no such thing as black and white, Good and Bad. Everyone has a subjective viewpoint. These viewpoints are created by the way we're brought up, our environment, the chemicals in our brains, and our current situation. Many people would be first in line to say that killing is wrong - but those same people, placed in a "kill or be killed" situation, would also be first in line to defend killing as a method of self-defence. It's all subjective to the moment we're living in.

From this statement, we can argue that ethics therefore has no place in magick. That because no one single "code of honor" will ever be adopted, that ethics cannot possibly be included. I will disagree with this as well. Simply because there are specifics that change from moment to moment in our lives involving our personal ethical code, this does not mean that we have no guidelines or rules our conduct should follow. Guidelines is probably a better term for them, since many will cry out that magick has not one solid set of rules.

So how do we define the guidelines that most magick users follow? It's another question of the personal ethics of each user, for the most part. Mostly, what I see are magick users invoking the "Law of the Jungle" which truly is a kill or be killed mentality. When broken down though, it becomes it's own form of ethics within itself. Killing is meant for survival; hurting is meant to ward off danger; running is not shameful. This seems to be a pretty set ethical standard. Most creatures in the jungles are animals which don't plot for revenge or reach for spiritual evolution. This makes ethics easy in that respect.

So, overall, where do ethics stand within magick? Ethics stand with the user. No one can assume anything about another person's ethics or morals, and no one can presume to attempt to change them. Law of the Jungle, the laws of man, the Threefold Law, the Commandments, Kosher laws - all of these are held differently in people's hearts. They all make up a person's ethics and define how they act and react in situations. There's nothing wrong with that. The only thing that needs to be kept in mind is that not everyone follows the same code of conduct - and that can make all the difference.

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