Saturday, July 23, 2005

Earthwise Ethics

Years ago I wrote a general list of what I think most Pagans believe, and posted it at the front page of the Full Circle website. It hit a chord and has since traveled the internet quite a bit (sometimes with author credit, sometimes not).

Recently, I decided to rewrite and update that list of principals. I spent many months compliling and rewriting it, and also asked the opinion of Pagans and other people I respect.

Here is the latest version:

Earthwise Ethics:

We all have rules and guidelines we live by. They form the basis for each person’s belief system, otherwise known as their spirituality, philosophy, ideology, faith, practice, moral values, tradition, or religion. Regardless of what we call it, Pagan people respect thse basic principles:

* We recognize that all beings are connected.

* We have a reverence for earth and her creatures. We believe that it is important to protect and heal the environment, and we try to "step lightly" on the earth and to live in harmony with nature.

* We celebrate the changing of the seasons and the important moments in our lives according to our chosen path, tradition, faith, or philosophy.

* Our personal practice is a source of joy, comfort, empowerment, and growth. It includes self-acceptance, courage, understanding, and compassion. We treat other people, and ourselves, with respect.

* We support free inquiry and we honor learning, knowledge, ideas, and creativity. We value discovery and understanding rather than unquestioning obedience.

* We believe in spiritual, legal, and social equality between men and women.

* We believe that every human being is ultimately responsible for his or her own actions, and we endeavor to make choices for ourselves that are wise, healthy, and responsible. We acknowledge that the choices we make matter greatly to others, both in the present and for future generations, and we act accordingly.

* We have a desire to help those in need and to be a force for good. We work to prevent the mistreatment of children and animals, and to help those less fortunate than ourselves. We believe it's important both to do good and to enjoy life, as well.

* We oppose cruelty, abuse, and the exploitation of others, regardless of religion, nationality, age, race, sex, or social status, and we stand against fanaticism, and hatred.

* We believe in the four basic freedoms: Freedom of Speech & Expression, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear.

* We respect the beliefs of other people as long as these beliefs do not violate basic rights and freedoms. We believe that each person will find the path that is right for him or her, and we do not claim that our way is the only one, true or right way. We offer information on our beliefs to those who are interested but we do not proselytize.

* We honor our own cultural heritage and respect what is positive and life affirming in every society. We support economic and civil justice for all.

* We honor the past but avoid repeating the mistakes of history. We celebrate the present with a sense of perspective and gratitude and we take action to create a better future.

* We choose to live a life of honor by acting with integrity. We accept the challenges before us, and seek to grow in strength and wisdom.

* We claim our right to be loving, joyful, creative, fullfilled human beings and we support the right of others to do the same.

- copyright 1999, 2005: Sia

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