8/30/06

An argument with Sirus Brightstar (3)

Blood magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by cydira
2. You state that the primary focus of rituals where in an animal or person are offered in sacrifice is not the flesh but the blood. What evidence can you present to support this argument? Is this the result of your personal experience in performing sacrifice? Is this statement the result of your study of such acts?

As I am not of the same perspective as you, Sirius, I must adapt this question as follows:
What is the primary focus of rituals involving the sacrifice of the body and bodily components?
What I have been able to determine via study is:

1. The use of the bodily components (blood, hair, nail clippings, etc.) of another person can tailor the spell being worked to action specifically upon that person.

2. The use of blood in rituals has a high affinity for agressive magic because of the cultural association placed between these. If the practitioner overcomes the culturally conditioned association, the use of blood in agressive spells has little if any conclusive differences compared to the use of blood in non-agressive spells.

3. There is a high degree of affinity between the use of bodily components in magic and all forms of magic that has an effect upon the body. This appears to be by virtue of what they are.

4. The use of animal or plant sacrifice in rituals focusing upon humans is inconclusive. Inital results make me inclined to state that it detracts the practitioner from focusing upon the person and should be replaced with poppets.

5. The use of bodily components in any form of magic is not the factor by which the success of any given spell is determined by. That is the focusing of the practitioner's mind upon the spell. The use of bodily components are only useful as props and aids to focusing the mind of the practitioner.

6. The primary focus of spells wherein bodily components or bodies are used is not the components of the spell but upon the stated goal of the spell.

An argument with Sirus Brightstar (2)

[quote=*SiRiUs* Bright_Star;2762523]Yuli: you seem to know much about backwards societies and cultures...

One final note on Yuli's argument and your response to it, Sirius. Archeological evidence and anthropological studies have repeatedly proven this argument.

Sacrifice means sacred. The term is misunderstood by killing an animal or person. And yes, the flesh is not the offering when making rituals... but the "BLOOD" (bodies and blood are sacred things to evil spirits).

I heard screamings yesterday evening.

As my sarcasm has been branded as offensive by several individuals, I will refrain from responding with sarcasm to your statement "I heard screamings yesterday evening." I will say, however, that this statement makes no logical sense and does not support your argument. As such, it is disregarded as a non-sequitor. I have already addressed the terms sacrifice and sacred.

To your statements specifically regarding blood magic, I ask:

1. What experience do you have in performing blood magic, non-specific to ritual or lack thereof?

2. You state that the primary focus of rituals where in an animal or person are offered in sacrifice is not the flesh but the blood. What evidence can you present to support this argument? Is this the result of your personal experience in performing sacrifice? Is this statement the result of your study of such acts?

3.You state "Bodies and blood are sacred things to evil spirits." If what you state is correct, then the deities pertaining to healing and sexuality (to name but a few) are then evil spirits and not deities at all? And I presume that by logical extention, any and all rites involving bodies, blood and potentially all other bodily fluids or components are evil as well? Thus the tantric practices are evil, not to mention any and all non-sexual practices that focus upon the body, bodily fluids, or bodily components. As well as any and all non-ritual and non-religious magic focusing upon these things?

Your blanket statement leads one to logically conclude that the only form of worship and ritual that is not evil would be in denial of the body and it's components, if not oppressive to those who engage in worship practices praising such things. I sincerely hope that you are not promoting such a mindset and worldview. This would be most unfortunate, as it is the precice perspective that many accuse Christianity of having and have begun practicing pagan beliefs to escape.

I am assuming that you would inturn demand that I answer my own questions to you, there by proving the grounds I have to challenge your statements and any authority with which I am speaking. As such:

Quote:
Originally Posted by cydira
1. What experience do you have in performing blood magic, non-specific to ritual or lack thereof?

I have roughly a decade of experience performing magic that includes, but is not limited to: necromancy, blood magic, aura and energy manipulation, earth magic (the use of gems, stones, and soil in ritual magic), roughly 17 different forms of divination, sympathetic magic (using poppets, photographs, and items belonging to the person in question), vocal incantations, fire magic (the use of flame and the act of burning in ritual magic), and vocal incantations.

My experiences in blood magic have included:
1. Ritual blood sacrifice
2. Non-ritual blood sacrifice
3. Ritual bodily fluid sacrifice
4. Non-ritual bodily fluid sacrifice
5. Animal sacrifice (lethal and non-lethal)
6. Human sacrifice (non-lethal)
7. Insect sacrifice (lethal)
8. Sympathetic blood sacrifice
9. Sacrifice of plant sap and material

I include the sacrifice of plant sap and material under the heading of blood sacrifice as they are the bodily components and fluids of another lifeform. The lethal animal sacrifice was a non-ritual event, tied to the use of a mousetrap and intended to banish all mice and vermin from the premise of my home. The insect sacrifice was that of mosquitos for the purpose of removing them from the premises where in I live and reduce their attentions where I travel. I have personally been the "victim" of a non-lethal human sacrifice multiple times. I also have been the supplicant of a non-lethal human sacrifice. All blood magic and magic involving bodily fluids I have participated in, I also contributed to.

Aside from my personal experience, I also have studied the use and execution of ritual practices involving this form of magic for several years. I have reviewed multiple anthropological studies discussing this matter, dates of these studies ranging from the early 19th century to within the last three years. I also have reviewed archeological studies of these ritual practices for Western Europe, specifically the regions of the Hyberdies isles and places populated by the Celtic and Germanic tribes. I've been endevoring to also deconstruct the mythology of these peoples to understand these ritual practices, among others.

This is where my authority upon this subject comes from.

My findings upon the matter of these ritual practices are presented in my next post.

An argument with Sirus Brightstar (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by *SiRiUs* Bright_Star View Post
Yuli: you seem to know much about backwards societies and cultures...

I'm rather amazed, if not horrified, by your elitist attitude. "backwards societies and cultures" you say? Sirius, I must ask you, who are you to determine the validity of a culture? Upon what grounds do you hold the right to judge other ways of life? Am I less of a person if I engage in worship practices different then your own? Am I some form of social burden for you because of this? The attitude about "backwards societies and cultures" was the same attitude used to justify bigotry, slavery, opression of indigenous cultures, and genocide around the world.

For a person who would present themselves as an enlightened individual, I find such statements of utter ignorance and blatant arrogant hostility to be offensive.

Quote:

Sacrifice means sacred. The term is misunderstood by killing an animal or person. And yes, the flesh is not the offering when making rituals... but the "BLOOD" (bodies and blood are sacred things to evil spirits).

I heard screamings yesterday evening.

The origin of the term sacred is from the Middle English word sacren which means to consecrate. This word is derived from the Latin word sacrāre (to devote) that is a derivited of the word sacer (holy). The definition given for the word sacred is:

Quote:
Originally Posted by [URL="http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=sacred&x=0&y=0"
Dictonary.Com[/url]]
1. devoted or dedicated to a deity or to some religious purpose; consecrated.
2. entitled to veneration or religious respect by association with divinity or divine things; holy.
3. pertaining to or connected with religion (opposed to secular or profane): sacred music; sacred books.
4. reverently dedicated to some person, purpose, or object: a morning hour sacred to study.
5. regarded with reverence: the sacred memory of a dead hero.
6. secured against violation, infringement, etc., as by reverence or sense of right: sacred oaths; sacred rights.
7. properly immune from violence, interference, etc., as a person or office.

Sacred is an adverb, a term used to modify and describe a verb or noun. Now, when we look at the term it is derived from (holy) we find the following definition:

Quote:
Originally Posted by [URL="http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=holy&x=0&y=0"
Dictonary.Com[/url]]
–adjective
1. specially recognized as or declared sacred by religious use or authority; consecrated: holy ground.
2. dedicated or devoted to the service of God, the church, or religion: a holy man.
3. saintly; godly; pious; devout: a holy life.
4. having a spiritually pure quality: a holy love.
5. entitled to worship or veneration as or as if sacred: a holy relic.
6. religious: holy rites.
7. inspiring fear, awe, or grave distress: The director, when angry, is a holy terror.
–noun
8. a place of worship; sacred place; sanctuary.

This word is also derived from Middle English, the term holi. This is a more "modern" derivitive of the Old English term hālig which is a varient of the compound word hāleg. Which is comprised of the word hāl (whole) and the ending -eg (The equivelant of adding -y to a noun, thus turning it into an adverb.).

You may be asking why I've just delineated the origin of these two words and presented the definition. The reason is because in neither of these words, or in the synonyms presented (which does include the colloquial usage) for these terms on Dictionary.com (or in my copies of the Unabridged Webster's Dictionary and Oxford American Writer's Thesarus) is the word holy or its derivitive, sacred, presented as sacrifice. Now, when we look at the word sacrifice, we find:

Quote:
Originally Posted by [URL="http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=sacrifice&x=0&y=0"
Dictionary.Com[/url]]
–noun
1. the offering of animal, plant, or human life or of some material possession to a deity, as in propitiation or homage.
2. the person, animal, or thing so offered.
3. the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.
4. the thing so surrendered or devoted.
5. a loss incurred in selling something below its value.
6. Also called sacrifice bunt, sacrifice hit. Baseball. a bunt made when there are fewer than two players out, not resulting in a double play, that advances the base runner nearest home without an error being committed if there is an attempt to put the runner out, and that results in either the batter's being put out at first base, reaching first on an error made in the attempt for the put-out, or being safe because of an attempt to put out another runner.
–verb (used with object)
7. to make a sacrifice or offering of.
8. to surrender or give up, or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something else.
9. to dispose of (goods, property, etc.) regardless of profit.
10. Baseball. to cause the advance of (a base runner) by a sacrifice.
–verb (used without object)
11. Baseball. to make a sacrifice: He sacrificed with two on and none out.
12. to offer or make a sacrifice.

In the very definition of the word sacrifice is the inferred reference to the destruction of animals, people, plants, or property. Indeed, there is two references to destruction. Please note the 2nd definition of the verb as used with an object and the 2nd definition of the noun. The specific destruction of animals, people, plants or property is a compound definition comprised of the first and second definitions of the noun form of the word sacrifice or the use of the first definition of the noun and the second definition of the verb with an object.

The origin of the word sacrifice is descendent from Latin by way of Old French and Middle English. The Latin term is the compound verb sacrificium. It is produced by the combination of the term sacer (holy) and a conjugation of the verb facere (to make).

Now, as we're not discussing baseball but rather matters of religion, I ask you, how is the use of the word sacrifice in conjunction with blood magic incorrect? Is your objection to the use of the word sacrifice (which is related to holy, thru which related to the term sacred) to describe something that is not a religious act? For if this is the case, I refer you to the inferred definition for the word sacrifice as seen by combining the second and third definitions of the noun. This covers the useage of the word sacrifice with respect to blood magic.

Please, Sirius, be so kind as to illuminate which definition of the word sacrifice you are using. As the word sacred is not the definition of the term, as illustrated above.

I shall adress specifically your statements with regards to blood magic in my next post.

An argument with Carla O'Harris (5)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carla O'Harris View Post
[snipped links to books]

Thank you. I will be review them and resume the discussion upon those points upon completion.

Quote:
[link to definition]

Thank you for providing this, it helps me understand how you are using the term. I greatly appreciate it.

Quote:
You're using outdated ideas about Gardner. Gardner received his rituals, initiation, and ideas about the cult from the coven that initiated him that predated him. He had all kinds of ideas about witchcraft from wide reading, but the ideas about not causing harm came from the actual witches with whom he was in contact who initiated him. He was not arguing from other sources here. He was speaking from the tradition into which he was initiated.

The works of Ms. Murray were not primarily "unsupported conjecture", but fairly good conjecture at the time, and productive hypotheses that inspired important work such as Ginzburg's. What you may not be aware of is that I am working on a book which will champion the Neo-Murrayite viewpoint, which is a modification of Murray's work, demonstrating the important core of validity within it.

I am sorry that ten years of research has been so unfruitful for you. The research I have done over a smaller period of time has proven far more fruitful, and demonstrates that there is indeed a powerful historical precedent for the tradition into which Gardner was initiated. That tradition predates Gardner, and while we do not yet know how far back it stretched, there are precedents in the record for practices and ideas very similar which were practiced in Europe.

I propose that the discussion of the works of Gardner and Murray be held in a different thread. As I think it will be moving away from the primary theme of this one.

Quote:
I have already stated some of those : malice, resentment, envy, psychopathy, and vengeance.

I was not sure if this comprised your entire list.

I ask you, Ms. O'Harris, with the exception of psychopathy, would you agree that the stated attributes are emotions and not actions?

My next question for you, madam, is: is it the emotion that you object to or actions motivated from the emotion?

If the emotion is what you object to, I ask are you proposing regulation of emotion? I think that would be most impossible to achieve, as emotions are rather ephemeral things and more likely to change then the direction of the wind.

If it is the actions motivated by the emotion; I would know, Ms. O'Harris, who ultimately decides what actions are appropriate? What of the actions motivated by distressing emotions not listed, such as anger or deep grief?

On the matter of psychopathy, I think we can agree that this is a psychological illness. Individuals who are suffering from this are in need of care and help dealing with the problems that result from it. Unless you are working from a stand point that defines psychopathy differently then how it is defined within the psychological community, am I correct in understanding that is indeed the context you are working from with respect to this term?

Quote:
If someone is harmed and they file complaint under law against an assault and press charges, the burden of proof of self-defense as defense against the charge of assault, etc., is upon the defendant once the facts of the case have been established. As a procedure of evidence, indeed one is innocent until proven guilty ; however, that was not my point. Once the facts of the crime are established, the burden of proof is upon the person who committed the act of force.

Again, I contend that you are incorrect. I fear, however, that this is a point that I will be unable to persuade you upon. For it appears that this is an opinon that you are most fixed upon and I must respectfully disagree with you upon this. My disagreement is upon the grounds that such a stance "Once the facts of the crime are established, the burden of proof is upon the person who committed the act of force." is in direct opposition to the principles upon which our legal system is supposed to operate.

I will, however, admit that this has become the stance of the legal system du jour. As such, I would argue that our legal system has become corrupt and is now a tool primed for the abuse of the citizenry. That, however, is a topic for the Political Pagan forum.

Quote:
I think this is a ridiculously stated position. It already exists. It is called "the legal system". It exists as a set of institutions which may quite readily be drawn upon.

I contend that this is not irrelevant. Just as the legal system is the institution that is in play to regulate the society at large, within religions and various organized social groups, there is often an organized portion (that may or may not be a separate body) that is responsible for the establishment of norms, monitoring adherance to these norms, and the subsequent enforcement of them.

Quote:
These points are completely irrelevant. Maleficia was a crime in Germanic, Roman, and then later Christian law, when it was still believed to be an effective use of force. If it is not an effective use of force and only psychodrama, it is irrelevant to regulate it. But to the degree that it is accepted as an effective use of force, it is logical to regulate it.

Citizens have both a right and a duty to defend other citizens from harm. Such a legal place can be served by the old Anglo-Saxon custom of "hue and cry".

I do not aruge that citizens don't have a right and duty to do so. I apologize that I phrased my point so poorly. I ask, however, that you refer to my earlier point about the establishment and enforcement of norms within a group or organization.

Quote:
As successful as the maleficia in the first place. But there are all kinds of ways of discouraging anti-social acts, the most important of which begin in the social rather than legal realm. When everyday people discourage each other from anti-social acts, engaging in fierce reasoning, shaming, ostracizing, and even blocking, it becomes much more effective. That is why it is logical for a witch community to engage in such actions, and move on to magical-legal actions if necessary.

I will concede that the methods that you present are effective. Their effectiveness, however, is limited by the rather broad spectrum of points that frequently proves self-conflicting. Much like in our debate, it is difficult to hold a discussion when does not know the way all the terms are used. Each of the sub-cultures and religions that make up the witch, pagan and occultist community all have very specific terms. In many situations, these terms will be shared in the different groups. Unfortunately, they will not be used the same way and it makes for the discussion to be most difficult when each person approaching it have two different understandings of the word used and assumes that the other shares their own view.

Quote:
This is an extremist libertarian position that will never be held by the majority of this country or likely any other country. Why don't you go supply gangs with nukes while you're at it?

The idea that violence should be regulated is at the heart of any social community.

I shall presume that your sarcasm was said from fustration, as I occasionally do the same. As such, I restrain my sarcastic reply and will respond. You argue that my position will never be held by the majority of this country or of any other country. I will agree that as the world stands today, at the time of my typing this, you are most likely correct. This stance, however, was once held in this very nation. If you look at the political climate of the nation at the time of the Revolutionary War, you find that precise position.

As for your statement "The idea that violence should be regulated is at the heart of any social community." I would argue that you are incorrect. This, I argue, is not the heart of any social community or government for it does not address the primary motivation of said group. The primary motivation of any social community (and government) is the perpetuation of the community, the preservation of the community, and the accomplishment of the community's collective interests.

Furthermore, the regulation of violence is a secondary concern, falling as part of the preservation of the community. I am inclined to argue that the regulation of violence within the community is secondary to preserving the community from hostile external influences. My stances on these matters, Ms. O'Harris, are not extreme. I may sound extreme compared to others, but I assure you that I am not. The position I hold is grounded in the philosophical ideals that lead to the Revolutionary War and the rise of our form of government. If you would like to debate or contrast our views (as I see that yours is clearly dramatically different from mine.) I think it would be an excellent debate for Political Pagan.

Quote:
Freedom is not the freedom to violate, or engage in violence. Someone who refuses to abide by principles of law can be made an outlaw and live with the wolves. I am absolutely for wide and spacious freedom. But freedom is not freedom to violate.

If you claim that witches (and occultists, who I do not consider the same thing at all) are operating under the same common law principles that were behind the Revolutionary War, then it makes sense to have juries of witches to investigate and prosecute violations of rights.

I argue that freedom is indeed the freedom to engage in any act you so choose. You are responsible, however, not to enage in violations of the rights of others, including but not limited to violence against their person, interests, and dependants. You are also responsible for the defense of your freedoms, which may possibly include the defense of the freedoms of others. Thus, I argue that we have the right to yell "fire" in any setting we choose to but we have the responciblity not to do so in a crowded theater or otherwise incite a general panic.

If we engage in such an irresponcible act, we are then responcible for the payment of resitution to all whom are injured by it. This may be via fines, replacing destroyed property, or other socially agreed upon forms of compensation. I can not argue that the establishment of juries of witches and occultists would be a poor way to ensure that resitution is paid. I do argue, however, that until the specific questions of what consitutes harm and the mode of committing it are answered, such juries are useless.

When you consider this in the light of the earlier stated problem of ill defined terms in the discussion of these questions, it leaves the problem rather unresolvable. Much like the lack of a clearly defined and accepted definition for when life begins has hindered any and all reasonable legislation on the matter of abortion, contraceptives, and the rights of infants and parents.

Quote:
Ummmmm .... maleficia by definition is molesting the business of others. The right to self-defense is not the right to self-prosecute. I have made it clear that binding -- ie., limiting spells that are purely for self-defense and which preclude any harm to the object of the spell -- are fine forms of self-defense encouraged by Gardner in the appropriate circumstances. But people becoming judge, jury, and executioner and setting out on punitive actions is not a right held within the principles just stated. In fact, part of the limitations of our activities that you mention are limiting ourselves from punitive action, said action only allowed within the limits of due process of law.

I will agree with you that we choose to limit our actions to operate within the scope of due process of law. I argue, however, that in areas which are not the current purview of the law (such as occultism, which I use to include any and all forms of magic and spiritual practices that may be used to enact harm to others) we are forced to act on our own. We do not have the recourse of the law or of a governing/regulating body within the community (due to the lack of organization).


Quote:
I didn't say that Christian laws about maleficia should be enacted. I referred mainly to Roman and Germanic laws against maleficia, which were strictly defined as acts of harm, not the Christian expansion and distortion which used this as laws of religious persecution. As a supporter of religious freedom and paganism especially, I am obviously not suggesting laws against the practice of paganism -- within the law, of course.

If you are referring to the Roman laws against maleficia, I then ask what period of Rome's history? Or, if I may extend this some, if you are referring to the laws of antiquity from any of the cultures of the pre-Christian era, what of the laws prohibiting the practice of religions not of the State religion?

Looking specifically at the Germanic laws, I ask you, Ms. O'Harris, are you supporting the revival of the practice of weirgeld? Or perhaps the Celtic digal? It is a risky thing to embrace the practices of the old religions for they are from a time where nations marched to war more frequently then they do today. Much of the old laws, I have found, tend to encourage the attitude that one does have the right to smite their foes with any and all means possible, limited only in your culture by the person at the top of the heap with more power then you have. In essence, they support a very different social structure then the one we operate in, or at least are supposed to operate in according to the principles our nation is founded upon.

In either situation, the modernization of Christian, Germanic, Roman, or other ancient laws can only result in a gross array of opportunities for all who practice magic to be oppressed. As such, I include witches, other pagans, and occultists in this discussion. To ignore them would be as foolish as it was of the Founding Fathers to ignore the people groaning in slavery at the time of writing the Declaration of Independence, indeed it would smack of hypocracsy.

Quote:
Let self-policing occur on the social level according to the principle of preventing maleficia, and this won't become an issue.

Please refer to my earlier statements with respect to self-policing. Thank you.

Quote:
I am not concerned with spiritual beings per se, but the ethics of the actions of human beings. Someone can love the most malevolent character in the history of villainry, and as long as their actions (and I include magical actions) cause no harm to others, I could care less what they do. It is when they cause harm that it becomes an issue.

Gardner's phrasing of his witch tradition's feelings about this is extremely libertarian : An' ye harm none, do what ye will. Do what you want, and the libertarian ethic applies, so long as none are harmed. Step over that line, and there's trouble.

I ask you, Ms. O'Harris, please confirm for me, you are not invalidating the right to self-defense or the defense of others, correct? I also ask, what of accidental harm?

Quote:
Opinion about this is divided. There is evidence for some sacrifice. How prevalent it was is a matter of debate. That the Druids provided solidarity for Gaulish resistance to Roman invasion was the key issue, just as the Imams providing solidarity for Iraqi resistance to American invasion has been of some concern. Of course, the Romans, like the Americans, were engaged in imperialistic adventures, but generally speaking, as long as a religion didn't oppose Roman supremacy, the Romans were surprisingly tolerant.

I can find other examples of cultures and religions oppressed via propaganda by the Romans, other cultures in antiquity, or even by the United States of America. I do see that you can see the parallel that I'm striving to draw here. I don't suspect, however, that my intentions in this illustration were as clear as I thought they were. I will try to rephrase it.

Propaganda is a powerful tool. Public opinion, is in many respects, the hive-mind of a nation and it's life-blood. It is also a very fickle thing and easily manipulated by propaganda. I am extremely apprehensive with the idea of regulating magic as it is an integral part of the religious practices of many individuals. (Depending upon your definition of magic, you could argue of all religions. That's a different discussion, however.) Regulation of the elements of a religion is the same as regulation of religion itself when you take one of the core elements of the religion in question.

It would be like telling a Catholic that they are not permitted to partake of the Eucharist because the communal sharing of the Blood of Christ is a violation of health codes. This is one of the foundational sacraments of Catholicism, take it away and you have a very different religion. In one fell swoop, you have just outlawed Catholicism in practical terms, even if you haven't done so by writing a law specifically naming the faith. You also have outlawed any and all other religions that engaged in the same practice.

The same risk is at play in the regulation of magic. If you do not permit a person to burn a woman shaped candle in the effort to curse a woman's ovaries to wither and make her unfertile, then you also do not permit a person to burn a woman shaped candle in the effort to assist in conception for a woman with polycystic ovary syndrome.

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And minimizing the violation of other beings is part of the social contract of being part of a community. While it may not be possible to eliminate all harm, that is a far cry from those who deliberately set out to cause harm in a punitive, malefic way, declaring themselves gods able to be judge, jury, and executioner.

I've addressed this point earlier in this post. Please refer to the discussion of the primary goals of a social group or government. Thank you.

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I consider anyone who cannot keep within non-injury of others, especially when it comes to dealing with the Shadow, to be riding a psychopathic edge that is very dangerous. Psychodrama is one thing. Illegal, intentional infliction of harm is imposing upon others and violating them.

I thank you for your honesty in expressing your opinion. Your statement, however, presents the impression that you are arguing against the defense of self, one's rights, and others.

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I don't. But maybe I'm a little sharp on the learning curve.

But even if you meant that sometimes suffering is a part of the equation of growth, "suffering" is a completely different category than "intentional harm". There is an overabundance of suffering in the world without human beings having to add to that equation.

I am glad that you were able to learn from and rise above oppressive situations that caused you suffering.

Again, I will with hold my sarcasm. Though, I must say, it is difficult for I see opportunities to jest here. I will not do so, and there by prevent the misinterpretation of my words in response to your initial statement here.

I will, however, put to you these questions: As you were learning to ride your bike as a child, did you fall off? Did it hurt? Would you agree that pain is suffering?

Your earlier statements with respect to harm painted the incidental suffering that is a natural result of being alive on the same moral ground as intentionally inflicted harm. In your most recent statement about the "overabundance of suffering" in the world, this apparent stance is represented. I will assume, however, that it is due to my misinterpreting what you are saying.


Quote:
Acts of self-defense are legitimate justifications for the appropriate use of force proportional to warding off the threat. I never disagreed with the right of self-defense ; my point is that it, too, is regulated by law and the principle of proportionality.

Your arguments, Ms. O'Harris, presents at times the impression that you are arguing against acts of self-defense. I see quite clearly that you feel that there is a need to use force in appropriate proportionality to the force used against the person defending themselves. I question, madam, whom has the right to determine what is the correct amount of force to apply in defending yourself within the context of magic and what is the correct mode to be used?

I will agree that there is such a thing as excessive force in defending yourself. When you kill the mugger, and the situation was such that breaking their arm would have been most sufficent for preserving your life and liberty, I agree that there is a need for an inquiry into the situation. I do not believe, however, that the person defending themselves are to be assumed as in the wrong from the beginning of the inquiry.

In such a situation, the evidence must speak alone as to where the fault lies. For the initial situation may be such that your killing of the assailant looks to be an excessive response but the subsequent investigation may present that the party had threatened your life in a manner that necessitated your killing them. The impression you present, Ms. O'Harris, is that the assumption is made that the person who killed the mugger is initially at fault for the act of killing and that this assumption is made within the legal community in all acts of self-defense. I argue that this is not the case, as I have been personally informed by members of law enforcement, the military, and professionals that teach self-defense.

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I do not know what you did, but assuming it was entirely within a reasonable limitation of self-defense, if the other suffered consequences of their own criminal actions and your reasonable defense against them, the responsibility is theirs.

Continuing upon the assumptions presented above, I ask: If I had not given you all of the contextual information for the situation, would you have assumed that I was acting in the wrong?

As for what I did, I reported the person in question to the Board of Trustees and the President of the College for their actions. Failure on the part of the administration of the college and the Board of Trustees would have resulted in my making a public complaint via the local media and then initiating a class action lawsuit with other students who had been subjected to the misbehavior of the administrator in question. [shrugs] I ran the risk of getting thrown out of college for the sake of doing the right thing. It seems to be an unusual trait. It makes me feel sad about my generation, but that is a different topic. If you'd like, I would tell you the whole story about the incident at some point.

Quote:
And you are legally responsible for those actions. You are answerable to a community for them. And if your actions were reasonable and within the limits of law, you will have no reason to worry. But making a decision to harm someone in self defense in an emergency is a different thing altogether than an intentional invocation of magic, which can most certainly be more imaginative than someone caught in a moment of attack.

Madam, I content that every act of self defense is of equal nature. And the limit of your mode of self defense if that of your imagination, thus why there are sections of self defense classes devoted to the use of and identification of unconventional weaponry. Most people might beable to consider using a fork to defend them selves, but with the correct mindset, even a blanket or a peice of paper can be used. The question is to what extent are you willing to go to defend yourself.

All invocation of magic is intentional. It is simply how it works, you can not use it with out intention. Your intentions may not be clear or may not be well thought out, but you intend to use magic, thus you do so. And I have, as well as probably many others, used magic in emergency situations to defend myself. Sometimes, that is what it takes to give that little bit of "luck" you need to avoid grevious injury. I adamantly reject the contention that all magic requires a ritual. That, however, is based in my view of how magic works and functions, which is in a different thread.

Quote:
I am invoking important legal principles to provide perspective in this debate, and to demonstrate why the Gardnerian "harm none" doctrine is extremely important.

In fact, you are responsible to the community and the law for your actions.

I am truly sorry for the violations you have suffered, and without declaring you a victim in the larger connotation of the word, I recognize, at least according to the description you have given, that you were the victim of a series of violations, which, as a member of the human community, I am very sorry for, and embarassed by the actions of my fellow humans who have treated you so horrendously. I applaud your character and ability to rise above this history. (Not that you need any of that -- I'm not attempting to be patronizing -- but you did mention these incidents and I do not want to be cold to your history, as your rights have been violated.)

If you are engaging in actions governed by conscience, good judgement, and a consideration of principles of proportional justice, respect of rights, and self-defense, then you are engaging in ethical action. But this is a different thing altogether than perpetrating injurious actions upon others.

It is kind of you to offer your sympathy for the suffering that I've experienced at the hands of others. I also appreciate your recognition of my efforts to survive, heal and rectify the situations. I empathise with the embaressment and disappointment you feel for humanity at large, as these individuals reflect poorly on our species.

I, ask you, Ms. O'Harris, however, how can you tell that one is perpetrating injurious actions upon others with magic? And when those actions are or are not done in self-defense and in an ethical manner.

An argument with Carla O'Harris (4)

(Written by Carla O'Harris)
Quote:
Originally Posted by cydira View Post
Please, present the evidence supporting this statement. Until I see it, I will not beable to agree.

Carlo Ginzburg, The Night Battles. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/080...081658?ie=UTF8, ISBN: 0801843863)
Carlo Ginzburg, Ecstasies. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/022...e=UTF8&s=books,ISBN: 0226296938)

Please pick up these books and we will recommence this part of the discussion.

Quote:
Also, please define "Maleficia" as I am not familiar with this term in this context. I would like to know what definition you are using, this way I understand precicely what you are expressing.

Start here : http://perseus.uchicago.edu/hopper/t...ma^le^fi^ci^um

Quote:
maleficium ī, n

1 maleficus, an evil deed, misdeed, wickedness, offence, crime: conscientia maleficiorum: admittere, commit: in maleficio deprehensus: convictus malefici.—Mischief, hurt, harm, injury, wrong: Pro maleficio beneficium reddere, T: sine ullo maleficio, Cs.: malefici occasione amissā, L.—Enchantment, sorcery, Ta.



Quote:
Ms. O'Harris, you are aware of what precicely Gardner's sources were for his work? You are familiar with the vast amounts of material that he reinterpreted from the Order of the Golden Dawn and the associated occult organizations? And I also presume that you recognize that a large percentage of what he presented as "historical" evidence for his works were flawed due to the sources being third and fourth hand sources, filled with a great deal of speculation on the parts of the previous authors and bias.

You're using outdated ideas about Gardner. Gardner received his rituals, initiation, and ideas about the cult from the coven that initiated him that predated him. He had all kinds of ideas about witchcraft from wide reading, but the ideas about not causing harm came from the actual witches with whom he was in contact who initiated him. He was not arguing from other sources here. He was speaking from the tradition into which he was initiated.





Quote:
If you're not aware of this, I would be happy to direct you to the information supporting this. As I know that most people are not aware of this fact, much like they are not aware that the works of Ms. Murray (the God of the Witches and the Witchcult of Europe) were primarially unsupported conjecture on the part of the author. I can not, in good conscience, say that Gerald Gardner's work can be upheld as evidence of historical witchcraft. The last ten years that I've been researching this work, I've been unable to find any conclusive evidence supporting this. It would be irresponsible of me to do so, as an author and researcher of academic integrity.

The works of Ms. Murray were not primarily "unsupported conjecture", but fairly good conjecture at the time, and productive hypotheses that inspired important work such as Ginzburg's. What you may not be aware of is that I am working on a book which will champion the Neo-Murrayite viewpoint, which is a modification of Murray's work, demonstrating the important core of validity within it.

I am sorry that ten years of research has been so unfruitful for you. The research I have done over a smaller period of time has proven far more fruitful, and demonstrates that there is indeed a powerful historical precedent for the tradition into which Gardner was initiated. That tradition predates Gardner, and while we do not yet know how far back it stretched, there are precedents in the record for practices and ideas very similar which were practiced in Europe.


Quote:
The only part of this statement which I agree with is the clause stating "I am advising community self-policing and against an 'anything goes' mentality" as the subsequent portion of your statement assumes that we are all familiar with what you view as the dangers and agree with your assumption of certian behaviors and thought patters as the "worst and lowest of human impulses."

I have already stated some of those : malice, resentment, envy, psychopathy, and vengeance.



Quote:
Out of respect, I refrained from expressing the initial sarcasm I had to the first portion of your statement here. The burden of proof is not uppon the person who had comitted the act of force to prove that it was justified self-defense. The burden of proof rests upon the prosecutor's office to prove that said action was committed with the intent to cause assault or attempted homicide. Thus the innocent until presumed guilty as supported within the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments of the Constitution.

If someone is harmed and they file complaint under law against an assault and press charges, the burden of proof of self-defense as defense against the charge of assault, etc., is upon the defendant once the facts of the case have been established. As a procedure of evidence, indeed one is innocent until proven guilty ; however, that was not my point. Once the facts of the crime are established, the burden of proof is upon the person who committed the act of force.





Quote:
I believe that you can agree with me, Ms. O'Harris, that until these questions are adressed we will be unable to obtain a satisfactory answer to what must be the mode by which the community may self-monitor, establish limits, and establish a punitive system to deal with those who exceed the limits of undesired activities.

I think this is a ridiculously stated position. It already exists. It is called "the legal system". It exists as a set of institutions which may quite readily be drawn upon.


Quote:
I contend that this is not, as it is part of a parallel which was initally being drawn by yourself. Within our society (I presume that you are also a resident of the United States of America), it is agreed within the implied social contract that the hiring of mercenaries and assassins is not an activity to be supported. In recognition of the necessity of persons performing such socially frowned upon activities, we have regulated them and made unregulated activity an illegal act.

The boundries of the social contract within our society have been defined to state that these acts are unacceptable. This is then supported by the government that functions to support and protect our society, which establishes regulations and laws that are aligned with the socially defined peramiters. Within the community of witchcraft and other occult practitioners, there is no such defined stance. Also, there is no form of government, theocracy, or other central organization to support the agreed points of the social contract with legislation, dogma, or other decree.

In short, there is no Pope in witchcraft. There is no Council of Elders. There is no President, Senate, Congress, and Judiciary. As a result of this, there is no institution to uphold the boundries agreed upon within the social contract of the community. To engage in self policing with out such a degree of organization across a community as broad and varied as the one which we are a part of, Ms. O'Harris, would require a monumental amount of agreement, effort, and tolerance. It would also demand very liberal interpretation of the agreed upon points that allows for all ideological and theological stantpoints to be accomodated.

These points are completely irrelevant. Maleficia was a crime in Germanic, Roman, and then later Christian law, when it was still believed to be an effective use of force. If it is not an effective use of force and only psychodrama, it is irrelevant to regulate it. But to the degree that it is accepted as an effective use of force, it is logical to regulate it.

Citizens have both a right and a duty to defend other citizens from harm. Such a legal place can be served by the old Anglo-Saxon custom of "hue and cry".

Quote:
The end result of such a thing, Ms. O'Harris, unfortunately, is that such self-policing is highly ineffective. Thus, you must work within the sub-groups of such an organization and then you have a remote chance of seeing some form of success. Even then, however, it is doubtful. Logic dictates, madam, that success in this venture (which is a most noblely minded one and well intentioned) is not a likely outcome.

As successful as the maleficia in the first place. But there are all kinds of ways of discouraging anti-social acts, the most important of which begin in the social rather than legal realm. When everyday people discourage each other from anti-social acts, engaging in fierce reasoning, shaming, ostracizing, and even blocking, it becomes much more effective. That is why it is logical for a witch community to engage in such actions, and move on to magical-legal actions if necessary.



Quote:
Ms. O'Harris, something you will notice is that I am a woman who frequently uses sarcasm. It is a part of my personality that is rather deeply ingrained. Seeing that it offends you, I shall endevor to restrain this. This said, the idea that the application of force must be regulated is ... is a point that I must state I find objectionable. It is a blanket statement and is opposed to the values that I hold highly. The application of force, in my opinion, must be applied in accordance with necessity and only when all other options have been exhausted.

I believe that if the citizenry of our nation (the United States of America) had access to advanced military technology we would not live in a nation that was so quick to strip us of our rights. We have the right to own and bear arms not for the sake of providing for ourselves via hunting, as many people like to state was the intention of the Founding Fathers. Nor is it for the intention of having a ready military, but for the expressed purpose of defending the people from the government. Just as we have a right to defend ourselves from assault by another person, we have the right to defend ourselves from assault by the government.

This is an extremist libertarian position that will never be held by the majority of this country or likely any other country. Why don't you go supply gangs with nukes while you're at it?

The idea that violence should be regulated is at the heart of any social community.

Quote:
This, however, has no longer been taught to the people of our nation, and the view of our right to defend ourselves in any fashion necessary has become abridged. You speak of understanding principles. I ask you, Ms. O'Harris, what of the principles upon which our nation was founded? What of the principles that prompted the Revolutionary war? These principles are also at play within the community of witches and occultists, if anything, within our country.

Freedom is not the freedom to violate, or engage in violence. Someone who refuses to abide by principles of law can be made an outlaw and live with the wolves. I am absolutely for wide and spacious freedom. But freedom is not freedom to violate.

If you claim that witches (and occultists, who I do not consider the same thing at all) are operating under the same common law principles that were behind the Revolutionary War, then it makes sense to have juries of witches to investigate and prosecute violations of rights.



Quote:
Those principles state that a person has a right to live, engage in commerce, persue happiness, and otherwise carry on their personal business unmolested by others, including the government. They also state that a person has the right to defend themselves, their families, associates, and interests from said molestation. We agree to limit our activities and to support the government for the sake of securing our right to these things.

Ummmmm .... maleficia by definition is molesting the business of others. The right to self-defense is not the right to self-prosecute. I have made it clear that binding -- ie., limiting spells that are purely for self-defense and which preclude any harm to the object of the spell -- are fine forms of self-defense encouraged by Gardner in the appropriate circumstances. But people becoming judge, jury, and executioner and setting out on punitive actions is not a right held within the principles just stated. In fact, part of the limitations of our activities that you mention are limiting ourselves from punitive action, said action only allowed within the limits of due process of law.

Quote:
You mention that there were laws in Europe on the matter of your ascribed maleficia. Have you reviewed these laws, Ms. O'Harris? I have, as part of my research into the history of witchcraft. I must say, madam, you must have incomplete information if you are stating that such laws must be ressurrected. I give below one such law:
'Not only celebrating feasts in the abominable places of the heathen and offering food there, but also consuming it. Serving this hidden idolatry, having relinquished Christ. If anyone at the kalends of January goes about as a stag or a bull; that is, making himself into a wild animal and dressing in the skin of a herd animal, and putting on the heads of beasts; those who in such wise transform themselves into the appearance of a wild animal, penance for three years because this is devilish.'
Looking at this law, one asks the following questions:
What is the objective of this law?
Why is this law in place?
What actions are objectionable in the light of this law?
How would this law be applied today?
Does this law serve to prevent said maleficia?
The objective of this law is to prevent the worship of heathen idols and devils. It is in place because said worship is a mode by which actions of harm and malevolence were perpetuated within the nation of question. The actions objectionable within this law are: frequenting locations associated with said worship; engaging in and consuming feasts at said location; engaging in the rites of said worship; relenquishing Christian belief; and engaging in ritual dress of animal skins, primarially of herd animals.

I didn't say that Christian laws about maleficia should be enacted. I referred mainly to Roman and Germanic laws against maleficia, which were strictly defined as acts of harm, not the Christian expansion and distortion which used this as laws of religious persecution. As a supporter of religious freedom and paganism especially, I am obviously not suggesting laws against the practice of paganism -- within the law, of course.



Quote:
This law, however, can be abused greviously and result in the oppression of all witches and occultists.

Let self-policing occur on the social level according to the principle of preventing maleficia, and this won't become an issue.



Quote:
We can not state with certianty that all of the spiritual beings that are traditionally ascribed to have such malevolence truly are of that mindset.

I am not concerned with spiritual beings per se, but the ethics of the actions of human beings. Someone can love the most malevolent character in the history of villainry, and as long as their actions (and I include magical actions) cause no harm to others, I could care less what they do. It is when they cause harm that it becomes an issue.

Gardner's phrasing of his witch tradition's feelings about this is extremely libertarian : An' ye harm none, do what ye will. Do what you want, and the libertarian ethic applies, so long as none are harmed. Step over that line, and there's trouble.



Quote:
Look at the Romans and the Gauls, it's a great example of just this situation. The Romans stated that the Gauls, more specifically the Druids, regularly engaged in ritual human sacrifice of a rather horrific nature, burning people alive to be precise.

I don't know about you, Ms. O'Harris, but my research has shown that the ritual human sacrifice via burning was not as frequent as Julius Ceaser stated in his Gallic Wars. Indeed, from what I've been able to peice together from the evidence that I've studied from the anthropological studies and the various second hand sources from the Greeks and other Roman writers aside from Ceaser, it appears that what Ceaser witnessed was a rare event and was committed possibly to appease a deity and punish criminals. Much like some of the gladitorial combats that Rome engaged in at roughly the same period in history.

Opinion about this is divided. There is evidence for some sacrifice. How prevalent it was is a matter of debate. That the Druids provided solidarity for Gaulish resistance to Roman invasion was the key issue, just as the Imams providing solidarity for Iraqi resistance to American invasion has been of some concern. Of course, the Romans, like the Americans, were engaged in imperialistic adventures, but generally speaking, as long as a religion didn't oppose Roman supremacy, the Romans were surprisingly tolerant.



Quote:
Ms. O'Harris, while it is kind of you to state that you do not wish to bring more harm into the world, and most kind of you to caution others against doing so as well, I do not believe it is within your ability or that of others, to do so. Harm, pain, and suffering are a part of being alive.


And minimizing the violation of other beings is part of the social contract of being part of a community. While it may not be possible to eliminate all harm, that is a far cry from those who deliberately set out to cause harm in a punitive, malefic way, declaring themselves gods able to be judge, jury, and executioner.

Quote:
I find your sentiment that engaging the shadow portions of the human psyche must be within certian "boundries that do not harm" to be offensive.

I consider anyone who cannot keep within non-injury of others, especially when it comes to dealing with the Shadow, to be riding a psychopathic edge that is very dangerous. Psychodrama is one thing. Illegal, intentional infliction of harm is imposing upon others and violating them.


Quote:
We must suffer a certian degree of harm to grow.

I don't. But maybe I'm a little sharp on the learning curve.

But even if you meant that sometimes suffering is a part of the equation of growth, "suffering" is a completely different category than "intentional harm". There is an overabundance of suffering in the world without human beings having to add to that equation.

I am glad that you were able to learn from and rise above oppressive situations that caused you suffering.




Quote:
Instead, I faced a great deal of suffering and worked to reverse the psychological conditioning of fear and submission that was beaten into me by a man that I was repeatedly raped, choked, and psychologically abused by for roughly two years.

I am very sorry to hear about this. You were subject to violation of your rights in the most egregious way. Pursuing compensation and proportionate justice under due process of law is most certainly your right, and binding the perpetrator(s) from causing further harm is certainly a logical action.

Quote:
In other instances, I was forced to cause harm to another for the sake of protecting myself and associates of mine who were unable to defend themselves.

Acts of self-defense are legitimate justifications for the appropriate use of force proportional to warding off the threat. I never disagreed with the right of self-defense ; my point is that it, too, is regulated by law and the principle of proportionality.

Quote:
My actions resulted in the loss of a job, social standing, and a great deal of emotional suffering for the person in question.

I do not know what you did, but assuming it was entirely within a reasonable limitation of self-defense, if the other suffered consequences of their own criminal actions and your reasonable defense against them, the responsibility is theirs.

Quote:
Ms. O'Harris, you may find my standpoint offensive. I will not apologize for this. Given the choice between causing harm and being harmed myself, I will cause harm. I can always work to rectify the damage I do and pay reparations. My actions are such that I am reluctant to cause harm, for I recognize that I must be responsible for the results. Everything I do will come back to me, it's a simple fact. I'm left to decide, is the action I'm taking worth the consequences.

And you are legally responsible for those actions. You are answerable to a community for them. And if your actions were reasonable and within the limits of law, you will have no reason to worry. But making a decision to harm someone in self defense in an emergency is a different thing altogether than an intentional invocation of magic, which can most certainly be more imaginative than someone caught in a moment of attack.

Quote:
My biggest objection to the activities of other witches and occultists is to those who do not consider the consequences of their actions. My next objection is to those who propose to tell me that the decisions I make based upon my conscience and good judgement are incorrect due to their experties. In all places, I decide what is best for myself and my interests. I have the most intimate knowledge of my needs and goals. No other person can tell me what is good for me, they can advise but they can not dictate to me anything on that front.

And that, Ms. O'Harris, is what you appear to be doing.

I am invoking important legal principles to provide perspective in this debate, and to demonstrate why the Gardnerian "harm none" doctrine is extremely important.

In fact, you are responsible to the community and the law for your actions.

I am truly sorry for the violations you have suffered, and without declaring you a victim in the larger connotation of the word, I recognize, at least according to the description you have given, that you were the victim of a series of violations, which, as a member of the human community, I am very sorry for, and embarassed by the actions of my fellow humans who have treated you so horrendously. I applaud your character and ability to rise above this history. (Not that you need any of that -- I'm not attempting to be patronizing -- but you did mention these incidents and I do not want to be cold to your history, as your rights have been violated.)

If you are engaging in actions governed by conscience, good judgement, and a consideration of principles of proportional justice, respect of rights, and self-defense, then you are engaging in ethical action. But this is a different thing altogether than perpetrating injurious actions upon others.

An argument with Carla O'Harris (3)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carla O'Harris View Post
Ginzburg found parallel structures to the Benandanti all over Europe. And all over Europe were found structures for prosecuting maleficia.

Please, present the evidence supporting this statement. Until I see it, I will not beable to agree.

Also, please define "Maleficia" as I am not familiar with this term in this context. I would like to know what definition you are using, this way I understand precicely what you are expressing.

Quote:
As far as Gardner's work, let us quote :
[snipped quotes of Gardner]
I think that's pretty self-explanatory. Not only is the Coven to debate situations that may involve harm, but every witch is enjoined to strongly work against any ill-workings.

Ms. O'Harris, you are aware of what precicely Gardner's sources were for his work? You are familiar with the vast amounts of material that he reinterpreted from the Order of the Golden Dawn and the associated occult organizations? And I also presume that you recognize that a large percentage of what he presented as "historical" evidence for his works were flawed due to the sources being third and fourth hand sources, filled with a great deal of speculation on the parts of the previous authors and bias.

If you're not aware of this, I would be happy to direct you to the information supporting this. As I know that most people are not aware of this fact, much like they are not aware that the works of Ms. Murray (the God of the Witches and the Witchcult of Europe) were primarially unsupported conjecture on the part of the author. I can not, in good conscience, say that Gerald Gardner's work can be upheld as evidence of historical witchcraft. The last ten years that I've been researching this work, I've been unable to find any conclusive evidence supporting this. It would be irresponsible of me to do so, as an author and researcher of academic integrity.

Quote:
I am advising community self-policing and against an "anything goes" mentality that allows the worst and lowest of human impulses to wield dangerous technologies.

The only part of this statement which I agree with is the clause stating "I am advising community self-policing and against an 'anything goes' mentality" as the subsequent portion of your statement assumes that we are all familiar with what you view as the dangers and agree with your assumption of certian behaviors and thought patters as the "worst and lowest of human impulses."

Quote:
While I have no intention of legally educating you, here is a beginning :

[snipped links to definitions]

Please note that the burden of proof is upon the person having committed the force to prove that it was justified on grounds of self-defense.

Out of respect, I refrained from expressing the initial sarcasm I had to the first portion of your statement here. The burden of proof is not uppon the person who had comitted the act of force to prove that it was justified self-defense. The burden of proof rests upon the prosecutor's office to prove that said action was committed with the intent to cause assault or attempted homicide. Thus the innocent until presumed guilty as supported within the 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments of the Constitution.

Quote:
These are good questions for the community to explore.

I believe that you can agree with me, Ms. O'Harris, that until these questions are adressed we will be unable to obtain a satisfactory answer to what must be the mode by which the community may self-monitor, establish limits, and establish a punitive system to deal with those who exceed the limits of undesired activities.

Quote:
Well, in our society, the hiring of mercenaries and assassins is regulated and illegal. Such things happen, but they are not legal. And they can be prosecuted. If there were a situation of completely unregulated mercenaries and assassins, the level of mayhem would be far greater than it is.

Your assumptions about what I usually think about or do not think about are inaccurate and irrelevant.

I contend that this is not, as it is part of a parallel which was initally being drawn by yourself. Within our society (I presume that you are also a resident of the United States of America), it is agreed within the implied social contract that the hiring of mercenaries and assassins is not an activity to be supported. In recognition of the necessity of persons performing such socially frowned upon activities, we have regulated them and made unregulated activity an illegal act.

The boundries of the social contract within our society have been defined to state that these acts are unacceptable. This is then supported by the government that functions to support and protect our society, which establishes regulations and laws that are aligned with the socially defined peramiters. Within the community of witchcraft and other occult practitioners, there is no such defined stance. Also, there is no form of government, theocracy, or other central organization to support the agreed points of the social contract with legislation, dogma, or other decree.

In short, there is no Pope in witchcraft. There is no Council of Elders. There is no President, Senate, Congress, and Judiciary. As a result of this, there is no institution to uphold the boundries agreed upon within the social contract of the community. To engage in self policing with out such a degree of organization across a community as broad and varied as the one which we are a part of, Ms. O'Harris, would require a monumental amount of agreement, effort, and tolerance. It would also demand very liberal interpretation of the agreed upon points that allows for all ideological and theological stantpoints to be accomodated.

The end result of such a thing, Ms. O'Harris, unfortunately, is that such self-policing is highly ineffective. Thus, you must work within the sub-groups of such an organization and then you have a remote chance of seeing some form of success. Even then, however, it is doubtful. Logic dictates, madam, that success in this venture (which is a most noblely minded one and well intentioned) is not a likely outcome.

Quote:
What libertarian sarcasm! But the fact of the matter is that courts do form such rules of thumb to regulate such matters. If you'd like to learn those distinctions, I suggest you study case law. As far as the idea that the application of force must be regulated, most people feel that not everyone should have access to rocket launchers, tanks, surface-to-air missiles, etc. And a society that lives by the rule of law in general agrees to the regulation of force.

Ms. O'Harris, something you will notice is that I am a woman who frequently uses sarcasm. It is a part of my personality that is rather deeply ingrained. Seeing that it offends you, I shall endevor to restrain this. This said, the idea that the application of force must be regulated is ... is a point that I must state I find objectionable. It is a blanket statement and is opposed to the values that I hold highly. The application of force, in my opinion, must be applied in accordance with necessity and only when all other options have been exhausted.

I believe that if the citizenry of our nation (the United States of America) had access to advanced military technology we would not live in a nation that was so quick to strip us of our rights. We have the right to own and bear arms not for the sake of providing for ourselves via hunting, as many people like to state was the intention of the Founding Fathers. Nor is it for the intention of having a ready military, but for the expressed purpose of defending the people from the government. Just as we have a right to defend ourselves from assault by another person, we have the right to defend ourselves from assault by the government.

This, however, has no longer been taught to the people of our nation, and the view of our right to defend ourselves in any fashion necessary has become abridged. You speak of understanding principles. I ask you, Ms. O'Harris, what of the principles upon which our nation was founded? What of the principles that prompted the Revolutionary war? These principles are also at play within the community of witches and occultists, if anything, within our country.

Those principles state that a person has a right to live, engage in commerce, persue happiness, and otherwise carry on their personal business unmolested by others, including the government. They also state that a person has the right to defend themselves, their families, associates, and interests from said molestation. We agree to limit our activities and to support the government for the sake of securing our right to these things.

You mention that there were laws in Europe on the matter of your ascribed maleficia. Have you reviewed these laws, Ms. O'Harris? I have, as part of my research into the history of witchcraft. I must say, madam, you must have incomplete information if you are stating that such laws must be ressurrected. I give below one such law:
'Not only celebrating feasts in the abominable places of the heathen and offering food there, but also consuming it. Serving this hidden idolatry, having relinquished Christ. If anyone at the kalends of January goes about as a stag or a bull; that is, making himself into a wild animal and dressing in the skin of a herd animal, and putting on the heads of beasts; those who in such wise transform themselves into the appearance of a wild animal, penance for three years because this is devilish.'
Looking at this law, one asks the following questions:
What is the objective of this law?
Why is this law in place?
What actions are objectionable in the light of this law?
How would this law be applied today?
Does this law serve to prevent said maleficia?
The objective of this law is to prevent the worship of heathen idols and devils. It is in place because said worship is a mode by which actions of harm and malevolence were perpetuated within the nation of question. The actions objectionable within this law are: frequenting locations associated with said worship; engaging in and consuming feasts at said location; engaging in the rites of said worship; relenquishing Christian belief; and engaging in ritual dress of animal skins, primarially of herd animals.

The application of this law today would be: engaging in association with/worship of objectionable supernatural powers (devils/demons/beings malevolent towards humanity and human interests); celebrating said beings and their interests, including but not limited to feasting; engaging in rites of worship or magical ritual that is associated with said beings and their stated malevolence; and engaging in the ritual dress of animal skins that are obtained as a result of the graphic abuse of said animals, including but not limited to blood and flesh sacrifice to said beings.

Does this law and it's proposed modern adaption prevent maleficia? I am not sure. Your statements seem to imply that maleficia is a general endevour to cause suffering, misery and angst at large to others with out regard for their well being and for the purpose of sowing discord within the community at large. As I do not know what your definition is, I can not be certian. If I am correct, however, in what I've determined, then this law can be argued to have accomplished this goal.

This law, however, can be abused greviously and result in the oppression of all witches and occultists. There is no master codex of beings that are malevolent unto humanity and humanity's interests. We can not state with certianty that all of the spiritual beings that are traditionally ascribed to have such malevolence truly are of that mindset. After all, much of what is traditionally presented is within the tinted scope of faiths and social groups that are engaged in a propaganda war against other faiths and social groups. Look at the Romans and the Gauls, it's a great example of just this situation. The Romans stated that the Gauls, more specifically the Druids, regularly engaged in ritual human sacrifice of a rather horrific nature, burning people alive to be precise.

I don't know about you, Ms. O'Harris, but my research has shown that the ritual human sacrifice via burning was not as frequent as Julius Ceaser stated in his Gallic Wars. Indeed, from what I've been able to peice together from the evidence that I've studied from the anthropological studies and the various second hand sources from the Greeks and other Roman writers aside from Ceaser, it appears that what Ceaser witnessed was a rare event and was committed possibly to appease a deity and punish criminals. Much like some of the gladitorial combats that Rome engaged in at roughly the same period in history.


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Please observe that I am concerned with maleficia. I like the night and I like darkness. Those things have nothing to do with the deliberate intention to cause harm to another. One can be quite peaceful and loving in the dark. Additionally, healthy, appropriate, consensual psychodrama engaging shadow portions of the human psyche, so long as within boundaries that do not harm, does not in any way encroach upon maleficia.

I have not invoked "dire risk of playing with forces of evil that will consume us". I have prudently cautioned against bringing more harm into a world already replete with suffering.


Ms. O'Harris, while it is kind of you to state that you do not wish to bring more harm into the world, and most kind of you to caution others against doing so as well, I do not believe it is within your ability or that of others, to do so. Harm, pain, and suffering are a part of being alive.

I find your sentiment that engaging the shadow portions of the human psyche must be within certian "boundries that do not harm" to be offensive. We must suffer a certian degree of harm to grow. In some situations, suffering is a part of the process of healing and becoming a better person. If I, for example, chose not to walk a path that exposed me to suffering, I would still be inclined to flinch when my husband stood quickly or a man raised their hand above shoulder height.

Instead, I faced a great deal of suffering and worked to reverse the psychological conditioning of fear and submission that was beaten into me by a man that I was repeatedly raped, choked, and psychologically abused by for roughly two years. In other instances, I was forced to cause harm to another for the sake of protecting myself and associates of mine who were unable to defend themselves. My actions resulted in the loss of a job, social standing, and a great deal of emotional suffering for the person in question.

At a different time, I was forced to take physical action and cause grevious bodily harm to another person to prevent harm coming to myself. If I had to, I would do so again with out blinking an eye. And there have been instances where I did not cause harm. As a result of with holding my hand, I came to grevious harm. I am still recovering from the psychological effects of this, while my body has long since healed the physical harm. I look back on it and I say that I truly should have killed the man, as he then proceeded to assault and rape a 16 yr old girl a few weeks later.

Ms. O'Harris, you may find my standpoint offensive. I will not apologize for this. Given the choice between causing harm and being harmed myself, I will cause harm. I can always work to rectify the damage I do and pay reparations. My actions are such that I am reluctant to cause harm, for I recognize that I must be responsible for the results. Everything I do will come back to me, it's a simple fact. I'm left to decide, is the action I'm taking worth the consequences.

My biggest objection to the activities of other witches and occultists is to those who do not consider the consequences of their actions. My next objection is to those who propose to tell me that the decisions I make based upon my conscience and good judgement are incorrect due to their experties. In all places, I decide what is best for myself and my interests. I have the most intimate knowledge of my needs and goals. No other person can tell me what is good for me, they can advise but they can not dictate to me anything on that front.

And that, Ms. O'Harris, is what you appear to be doing.