Gwen Wolfrose

As heard in the Gweniverse:

P.o.e.t.r.y :: Filking Fun :: Coven or Solitaire? :: Dark is not Evil
Never Again! Uh huh, sure... :: WTF does 'Pay the Coin' Mean?
The Charge of the Fluffy Bunny :: The Charge of the Beeotch

WTF does "Pay the Coin" mean?

The Law of Return is IMO the very first and one of the most important things that should be taught to any new witch. Be careful what you cast... it could bite you in the ass. Then again, LoR isn't just about casting either...

There are no ten commandments in witchcraft and contrary to popular fluff the rede is not a commandment, it's a pretty poem. Most trad wiccans know this and most witches are not wiccan so it's a moot point. The LoR is universal though, you see it in one form or another in all religions. You reap what you sow. If you don't really understand that old saying, it has to do with planting and harvesting, you harvest what you plant, you get what you give.

So when you go to cast a spell for vengeance what exactly is it that you're willing to sacrifice to get temporary satisfaction? It could be anything, even your own life... or that of someone you love dearly. No matter for good or ill, there is always a cost. Is it worth it? Are you willing to pay the coin?

WTF is the Law of Return?
You Mean Karma Right?

No I do not mean Karma, they are not one in the same.

"The law of cause and effect is rooted in the akasha principle, and thus is not affected by time or space. This immutable law works everywhere in the most obvious to the most extremely subtle manner.

Every deed of ours either proceeds from a cause or is followed by a result, whether in the blinking of an eye or in two thousand years. An ancient saying of the Craft is "the good you do, shall be returned to thee... three times over. " This is derived from Karma.

The balancing out of cause and effect may take place from moment to moment, day to day, year to year, or over a number of your incarnations. The significance of karma is very deep indeed, a subject that deserves thought and additional study." --A Grimoire of Shadows by Ed Fitch
ISBN 1-56718-659-9

Notice that he says it "is derived from karma" not is karma. I take that to mean it was fashioned from the principle of karma though not to be mistaken as karma. I think too often though many have interchanged the two.


My dear Friend Arwen wrote a piece on this subject that really answers this question better than anything I have written or read thus far. With permission, here is what she had to say:

Some of us seem to think Karma is like instant coffee, just add retribution and stir. Others seem to think it is the Law of Threefold in action. Still others think it can be manipulated like bread dough.

To me it is neither. Karma is an **Eastern** philosophy that we Westerns have subverted and twisted to our own way of thinking. It is vastly different from the Law of Three while being quite similar at the same time.

The Law of Three, or Threefold Law or LO3 for convenience, is about dropping pebbles into water. You drop a pebble and you create an action, do you not? Then that action eventually hits the banks or edges of whatever contains it and turns into a reaction which eventually gets back to where that pebble was. It isn't about being a good widdle witchie so you don't get any thing back when you send out negatives. It isn't about ducking shit that splatters on the wall and back on to you when you muck out a stable. It is about simple patterns that happen.

In the Eastern thought of Veda, Karma doesn't occur instantly. It is a tally system that affects you in your next life. It isn't about doing unto others so much as it is about improving your lot in life the next time around.

We Westerners, in our own speed-everything-up fashion, have polluted this original meaning so that now we can "call the Lords of Karma" on someone. We treat the idea of Karma as it is treated in some role-playing accumulation of points. Now, I have participated in a ritual to do just that. The 5 men the spell was aimed at were all KKK members who were physically threatening someone I knew and mundane actions had done no good. I can not stress enough how important it is to cover all your bases by doing the work on the physical level. Did the spell work. Yes. How? I choose to not discuss that end of it because it feels too much like bragging and I don't brag about causing another person harm. Making your choices is making your own decisions which is being responsible for your own actions.

However, I think that what we did was speed up the ripple effect of the LO3 and give impetus to the return reaction of their own actions. I do not think it was Karma at all.

From John Payne:
"There is much misconception about karma and exactly how it operates. Many new age teachers have brought this information to an enquiring audience but it has been tainted by that age old challenge to consciousness raising, fear. Each and every one of you has free will, freedom to choose how to grow. You may choose to grow with joy, or alternatively, through pain, anguish and fear. The law of karma is not a justice and retribution system, so anyone who has had much suffering in this life is not a victim of 'bad karma', but simply finds themselves in predicaments that are simply the result of their own beliefs about themselves. It is not only humans that feel guilt, but souls can feel it, experience and carry it round with them for many lifetimes."

Or for an even more in-depth look:
Hinduism Today: Karma: Special Section

Educating ourselves is a wonderful thing as is being eclectic. However, changing centuries old thoughts to fit our own thinking is not correct to my way of thinking. Karma is Karma. It is not anything else. Retribution and speeding up the Threefold Law are not Karmic in nature.

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