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MKuhner: Threefold Law

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan,talk.religion.misc
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: MKuhner: Threefold Law (Was Re: Please explain the threefold law)
Date: 20 Nov 1995 13:11:34 -0800

[from alt.religion.wicca: (Mary Kuhner)]

My take on the threefold law is that it represents three different ways
in which your actions affect you.  I don't see it as specific to magic,
but as a general reminder (not a law like a physical law) of the ways in
which consequences happen.

(a)  Effect on self:  everything you do affects you personally.  If you
do something you think you shouldn't have done, you weaken your own
will, you may experience guilt, you lessen your own self-esteem and
honor.  If you do something without thinking it through, you reinforce a
habit of sloppiness.

(b)  Effect on others:  most things you do affect someone else directly.
If you harm someone, you will have a hurt and hurting person around, and
that will have consequences--they may look for revenge, or just poison
the atmosphere with their distress.

(c)  Effect on society:  many things you do have a cumulative effect on
the community you live in.  If you harm someone, you will help convince
others that it's an unsafe place, that it may be better to strike first
rather than trusting.  Each theft leads to more locked doors, less
charity towards strangers.

So the "threefold" part of the law, as I see it, is a reminder of these
different levels of consequences.  It's all too easy to look at an
action just in terms of its effect on the "victim".  "He deserved it, so
it was okay for me to hit him."  This formulation of the law reminds me
that I had better consider other consequences--will this action hurt me?
Will it contribute to making my community a worse place?

Mary Kuhner
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