By James Aten, excerpt from his book Wicca and Witchcraft
Karma is the universal law that applies to each and every one of us. It means simply that everything you do will come back to you. In Wiccan terms it’s known as the threefold law. Whether it can actually be measured as three time is debatable, of course. Sometimes it can feel like three times, or even ten times. It not only applies to magick, but your every day life as well. It is through karma that we learn our life lessons. Not only in this lifetime, but in successive lifetimes. The goal is to become the best person you can in this lifetime. The ultimate goal is to eliminate wrong thinking entirely. So what is wrong thinking? Prejudice, hatred, self-righteousness, violent, destructive or self destructive attitudes, these are all examples of wrong thinking.
To clarify the point here, there is a belief that, in Wiccan terms, is known as the Spiral. The Spiral represents the development of a soul who progresses through various lifetimes slowly, or perhaps very quickly, moving up the Spiral. Beginning with the most base earthly needs, the person first masters the physical world. There are, of course, many mistakes along the way. This is where karma comes into play. The purpose of this cause and effect action is to teach us not to repeat these same mistakes. As we progress up the Spiral, we learn such certain traits such as love, unity, being non-judgmental, and shedding selfishness, hate, and bigotry. We then begin to reap the full rewards of spirituality. Psychic awareness is open, and Divine inspiration is free to enter the body and guide us. At the top of the Spiral, we may choose to give up physical life completely, and rejoin with the All.
What’s important to remember is that we are all on different paths that eventually will lead to the same place. We simply are all at different stages in our development. We all get there eventually, so the thought that one is better than someone else is actually inaccurate. You have to work to nurture the correct attitude if you’re going to advance spiritually. Karma is a natural teaching tool, but knowledge, and the ability to apply that knowledge, is a great help. This is also the reason we have guidelines in Wicca like the “harm none” rule. If you understand it and follow it correctly, you can actually avoid some of the more painful lessons that karma teaches. In order to not cause harm with a spell, sometimes you have to think. Think about the spell and all it’s possible outcomes. You don’t want to do a money spell that will result in you being seriously injured and suing somebody. When in doubt, just include the line “with harm to none” in your spell.
The techniques in Wicca are completely safe as long as you know what you’re doing. Some tools such as the Ouija board are not recommended. They can open doorways to the lower astral plane, which some of us like to refer to as “the psych ward”. The spirits that dwell there are not always friendly and not always very helpful either. They can give wrong information and even prank you. They can even be very angry and refuse to leave once the board is put away. Not something you want to have to deal with, as some of the more irate ones can be difficult to get rid of. Similar to the way that some obnoxious people can be hard to get rid of sometimes.
Remember that harming none includes harming yourself ! So, now that we’ve gone over bad karma, did I mention there’s also good karma? Good karma comes from truly good actions. It doesn’t work so well when you do good things, but for completely selfish reasons. And it absolutely does not work when you do things only for the purpose of getting a karmic reward. What you put out there is what you are going to get back. And if you do nothing but negative things in this lifetime, it will follow you to your next one.
Now, there are people that will tell you that evil has it’s place in the grand scheme of things. It’s part of the balance and must be accepted. This view is not inaccurate. All the events happening on this plane are part of the Divine order in some way, and even bad events often serve as teaching tools for us. All you have to do sometimes is ask yourself “what did I learn from this?” However, what we’re talking about here is moving UP the Spiral. Mastering yourself, you slowly rise above the earthly muck, and finally begin to see things clearly.
People do move up the Spiral continuously. Sometimes whether they are aware of it or not. But being aware of it, would you really want to go on experiencing the constraints of earthly karma? Or open up your awareness and rise above it? Every Wiccan is responsible for their own decisions and their own actions. The choice is always yours.
It’s true that Wicca is considered a Pagan religion. Some people may be quick to point out that in ancient times Pagans committed acts such as human sacrifice. Throughout history great civilizations have risen and fallen. The same with belief systems. Societies that once possessed great knowledge have suffered over time from invasions, disasters and human greed. Records were destroyed, lost or discarded over time, and belief systems degenerated. Temples that were once places of worship were then used for sacrifice, because it had been long forgotten what they were built for. This can be said not only for Pagans, but for Christians as well. When they began to kill those who didn’t believe as they did, they themselves became guilty of human sacrifice. The teachings of their own Jesus had been altered to justify such acts. Remember that anytime someone points a finger, there are three pointing back.
And what about the destruction of our own planet? When you’re in tune with nature and your own psychic senses, you can feel the energy imbalance of the world. It’s as if Mother Earth herself is weeping in pain. This may be the ultimate example of karma. For so many years people have been taking and taking from the Earth. Apparently believing that they were put here to be dominant. Putting themselves above everything except their God. Polluting the Earth and atmosphere. This blatant and sometimes ignorant disregard has led to the decline of conditions here. So what we learn from this is that continuing on a destructive path eventually leads to your own destruction.
Even in modern day quantum physics, the law of cause and effect is still recognized. And karma is also the belief in many other religions worldwide, and has been for thousands of years.
In ancient Egypt, the Goddess Ma’at represented karmic justice. She was the weigher of souls. In Egyptian mythology, Ma’at held a scale. On the left was the heart, which represented the soul, and on the right was a feather. If the soul was heavier than the feather, that meant the heart was heavy, and there was karmic sludge in the soul. It was judged by the God Osiris whether the soul would pass on to be free from Earthly karma or have to go back for more tests. The symbol of Ma’ats scale is still used by Witches today in situations in which justice is called for.
To simplify, think about all the times in your life when you’ve done something wrong and KNEW it was wrong. You had the feeling something bad would happen because of it, and sure enough something did, so you learned your lesson. That’s karma at work.