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Pagan/Wiccan Religion/A question about Wicca's position on suicide

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Brightest Blessings!

Hi, my life partner and I were watching a program about suicide, a discussion started about whether or not Wicca,as a life affirming faith,was against suicide. I said that it was,because the Rede says 'harm none',and naturally,that includes yourself. My life partner said 'well,if our incarnations are planned out in the Summerland, couldn't we have *planned* to commit suicide?'

That stumped me. Can you please provide some insight,and perhaps settle the debate? Could suicide be decided by a soul before an incarnation as the way in which it will die,or is it always something that will see a soul sent back to this plane because it did not fulfill its life's purpose for that 'go round'?

Answer
I mediate this topic quite a bit, and it can often be like a dog chasing his tail.  "Harm None" seems easy enough...until we really start to think about it.  For instance, germs are alive.  Bacteria are alive.  When we are ill, should we refuse antibiotics on the basis that the drug will "harm" these living creatures?  After all, it doesn't say "Harm none, except..."

All right, so here's my considered opinion.  In Wicca we like to talk about karma, a word that is the Sanskrit for "action" (basically).  It's a little more complicated than comes around, goes around.  Karma is what we do, it is our actions, all of which will eventually (maybe this lifetime, maybe this week, maybe when we come back as cats) be balanced.

Thus, commit suicide now, learn the lessons of that action later.  Suicide is only a temporary reprieve from the cycle of the universe.

Also, we need to consider the context in which "Harm None" is largely believed to have come.  In 1964 Doreen Valiente published the Wiccan Rede as "Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, An it harm none do what ye will."  There's some debate, but many agree Valiente was inspired by Aliester Crowley's phrase in his Book of the Law--"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law".  The "will" of wilt winds up as something like karma--you do what you do and that is in accord with the universe on the very premise that you have done it.

Essentially, sweep the Rede aside and look at the matter from other angles.  I'm not 100% one way or the other about fate and predestination, but the idea of the die being cast before we are even incarnated is certainly as valid as anything.

"If it wasn't meant to happen, it wouldn't be happening."

I hope I've provided some insight!

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Rev. Emilie Conroy

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How does anyone ever learn about this stuff? What are the basics? Who will answer my questions without making me feel stupid? My friends, helping everyday folks learn what they really want to know is why I'm here. I help seekers with the nuts and bolts of our spiritual traditions--gaining knowledge, living the paths, rites of attunement and celebration, dealing with skeptics and naysayers, ethical and moral questions, the practical application of our philosophies to daily life, and the very base but crucial questions such as "What does it mean to be Wiccan/Pagan?" My job is to serve you and the Powers That Be.

Experience

I think I had the best and healthiest spiritual upbringing a child could experience. To begin, my parents were themselves spiritual explorers, having thought through the mainstream dogma of their youth to a point of universal acceptance and a belief of the divine inherent in everything (and in nothing) . We had no labels and really didn’t need any. They taught me the basics of morality and ethics, and the significance of the intangible, that which really couldn’t be described in words. There were Neopagan and Wiccan influences, but I was encouraged to study and experience all faiths so that I might be of better service to humanity. I began my studies in depth with the Temple of the Ways, a progressive Wiccan-themed tradition celebrating the goddess Nehallenia. In addition to being an active member in the Re-Formed Congregation of the Goddess, I also began several new projects and initiatives—Spiral Way, Grove of the Seven Sisters, the Tribe of Theagenia, the Sisterhood of Themiskyra, and most recently the Melusines. I am a regular participant and occasional ritual leader in several local covens and circles. But I go where I am needed, and so I often serve as visiting clergy with other groups. My favorite action is when I attend interfaith gatherings as a representative of alternative faiths. I carry the community with me, and I am honored to speak as best I can on everyone’s behalf. Walking my path has been a sincere spiritual adventure, one that has challenged ideas of which I was once certain and one that has helped me develop new thoughts. That I have evolved in mind and spirit over the years is an absolute for me. At the end of the day, I would like to discover who we are and why are we here.

Education/Credentials
I earned my BA from Muhlenberg College in History/Religious Studies/Linguistics in 1993, and went on to pursue graduate studies at Florida State University. I have both taken and taught independent coursework in the history of Neopaganism, Reconstructionism, group and individual therapy, group dynamics, and mediation/conflict resolution.

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