Thursday, October 21, 2010


Blessings, Darlings!

Are you a good witch or a bad witch? Are you for us or against us? Is it good or is it evil? Is he gay or straight? Is that a man or a woman? It's us vs. them!

There's a lot of pressure to see everything through the lens of dualism. 

To some extent doing so is probably hard-wired into us humans.  We, as a species, seem to be 'categorizing animals', probably as a result of evolutionary pressure that started with "food or not-food" and went from there.  Categorizing, even generalizing, are shortcuts to decision making in an environment that requires LOTS of decision making.  It is a useful thing.

But - categories are mere representations of reality, and therefore by definition limited.  For while categorizing is black/white, the universe is technicolor ... and has at least three dimensions.  Never confuse the map with actual reality.

Apparently, some neopagans out there combine the concept of duality with the concepts of good and evil, to the point that they feel that the concept that good and evil forces must always be in balance. Which seems odd to me, since most neopagans also say that there is no God/dess of Evil a la Satan, no anthropomorphized or demonized Evil. Being the snarky judgmental Druid Bitch that I am, I assume that this is another way to shortcut making decisions and taking actions in life.  If good and evil MUST balance, then you don't - maybe even SHOULDN'T - take action against evil being done, for you'd upset the balance.  Throw in misunderstanding the Rede, and some can't stop those harming others because they might harm the perp.

For me, of course, I see myself as the Hands of the Gods on Earth, bitchslapping those the Gods would have bitchslapped.  Which means self defense, which  means throwing the occasional curse, etc.

I'm also not pre-occupied with balance.  The universe isn't into balance, it's into entropy. Assuming we don't have the cyclic universe some theorize, then the universe will end, and end without even a whimper as energy and matter diffuse out to uselessness. 

But that's the long, long, long term.

In the short term, we can look at our world, and see how human society has changed, and it doesn't show balance, either.  A friend - Henry over there who commented about Hinduism in a previous post, in fact - who once made a great case on how we show all signs of coming OUT of the Kali Yuga not descent into it.  Lifespans are growing longer, more humans have more rights than even, more children are surviving infancy, more people have at least some level of voting rights than ever, a smaller percentage of the human population is in slavery, etc, etc, etc.   Is this evenly distributed, even in the US? Oh, heck no. Ask an African American who lived 100 years ago if there has been real progress, the answer will be yes.  Ask a transexual woman, and she'll explain in detail how the answer is no.

I'm NOT saying that life is rainbows and unicorn farts.

Of COURSE there is still a long way to go to promote 'good' and reduce 'evil'/abuse of people.  What I'm saying is the promoting good, making changes that increase the good and reduce the evil does NOT mean that evil is just going to break out elsewhere to 'balance' it.

For that matter, I suppose that some folks feel that all good in their lives must be balanced by evil in their own lives.  It may bring some 'pie in the sky' solace to those who have survived abuse, but.... that good is not going to spontaneously arrive.  Good CAN and WILL happen in lives, but working for it, demanding an end to evil and abuse, working for ending abuses and for good is going to get a whole lot more good in your life than passively sitting back and waiting for it to get dumped in your lap.  

And those poor, scared, folks who think that all good that happens to them must be balanced by evil happening to them - that every moment of joy MUST be balance by moment of sadness, that every love must be balanced by hate!  Life sometimes sucks.  It does not HAVE to. Prepared for challenging times, but don't feel you MUST SUFFER because you are loving life at other times. It doesn't have to be that way.

Frondly, Fern


  1. I got a question about how this jibes with "Wicca is all about balance" comment I made a while back. Well, when I made that comment I was talking about how many neoWiccans see Wicca, rather than Wicca itself, actually.

    There are a lot of Wiccans who don't get the difference between polarity (taken from Crowley and used in Wicca) and duality.

    Polarity is dynamic and fundamental to things such as Drawing Down. It's a worldview that things exist on a continuum of values, not either/or.

    Duality is a different map of the world, held by LOTS of folks, Wiccan or not. It's useful, in its place, but not necessarily as a magical or, to me, philosophical underpinning for actions taken or not taken.

    Duality is 'all A' or 'All B', with no mix as an option.

    But what of balance? Isn't the Middle Pillar, to crib a kabalistic term just to add to the mix in this post, the right way? Again, this leads back to dynamic movement but adding that we have to fully grok all the sephirot on the way back up the tree, especially after that first relatively easy stop at Yesod. From there, most of the sephirot take you on a wild ride careening from the pillar of severity to mercy, with rare stops in the balanced center.

    It's a dance. It swings. It'd dynamic. Both Mercy and Severity are part of the ride, and necessary.

  2. On a broader spectrum, I've known of people who justified living lives of selfishness or harm to others because they were "balancing" the good that others did. If you start to really think about it, especially the way you've laid it out, then by the balance assumption, people should actually do "evil" things whenever they wanted to bring good into their life. That doesn't make much sense to me, and it's certainly not how thing seem to work. I'm quickly becoming a fan of your blog. :)

  3. One of my favorite quotes is, "That the birds of discontent fly about your head, that is unavoidable; but that they make a nest in your hair, that is preventable."