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So now that we've dug out our nasty sides and found they're not so bad, let's continue finding out what kind of people we are....
Before we walk on the Path we need to know about our Ethics and Morals. These affect what we see on the Path, and the ease of walking it. We need to know where we stand on such issues as deforestation, fur wearing, meat eating, abortion, capital punishment, genetic engineering and we need to know WHY. Any idiot can have an opinion. Walking the Pagan Path requires thinking.
It's all well and good to SAY "I don't eat meat because it violates the Rede, which says Harm None." But a thinking pagan will realize that vegetables are no less alive than animals. A thinking Pagan might come to the conclusion that perhaps the Rede is meant for Human social interaction, and means 'harm no Humans'. Or a thinking Pagan might consider that perhaps the Rede is not meant to be taken literally,since eating harms SOMETHING and not eating harms Self. How it's viewed is determined by personal ethics and morals.
Ethics: (n) that branch of philosophy which studies the principles of right and wrong in human conduct || the moralprinciples which determine the rightness or wrongness of particular acts or activities.
Moral: (adj) concerned with right and wrong and the distinction between them 2 (n)(pl)principles of conduct.
(both from Websters)
The Wiccan Rede is an Ethical/Moral guideline for living well.
"An it harm none, do as you will."
It is similar to the Christian Golden Rule
"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."
It has been my experience that all positive,life-affirming religions share a similar ethic. Yes, yes, we're all familiar with Christian Fundamentalists, but there are Pagan Fundamentalists, too - Witch wars wouldn't start if we gave each other the tolerance we're so fond of preaching.... Personal "flaws" have a way of screwing up a perfectly good moral guideline...
Why are our moral guidelines so hard to follow? Because we need to aspire to be better than we are. We need to write it down in catchy phrases so we can remind ourselves daily to compare ouractions to it, and see if they measure up. The greatest damage Satan causes is, in my opinion, that He allows people to refuse responsibility for their actions or lack thereof.
If to Know Thyself is to Know the Way, exploring the parts of the Way already known and how we feel about it, how we interpret it reveals more of both - Self AND Way.