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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

                            ETHICS OR ETIQUETTE 
                                 by Ellen

          Recently  in  conversation with friends in a small  intimate 
     gathering,  I  mentioned outer-court names and passed on  gossip.  
     Later I was told that I had "violated etiquette."  Had I?

          Etiquette  is socially accepted forms  of  behavior,  agreed 
     upon  by the  members of a community.   Ethics involves morality, 
     the  nature of right as determined by a group or an  individual.I 
     believe there is a great deal of confusion of these terms in  the 
     "Pagan Community."

          Going  by  fairly traditional rules there are the  "Laws  of 
     Wicca."   Among these there is a very firm one saying one  should 
     never  reveal another person as a Witch without their permission.  
     However  a  person who has revealed themselves  publicly  as  a 
     witch  shouldn't  complain.   And is it a violation of ethics  to 
     tell of a person by their outer-court name?   Only insiders could 
     know the legal name of the person, so what is the danger? 

          Ethics can be fairly easily agreed upon in the general pagan 
     community.  Anything that puts someone else in an embarrassing or 
     dangerous position is unethical.   We all make mistakes at times, 
     but we try to act in a manner consistent with our ethical code.  
     Etiquette, on the other hand, is very deceiving.  We assume, 
     since  we  are all members of the "Neo-Pagan Community"  that  we 
     have the same etiquette.  But the only etiquette I have ever been 
     explicitly told about involves greetings to be exchanged  between 
     members  of a group and their high priestess or between two  high 
     priestess of different groups.  What about a more common meeting?  

          Say a friend of mine is tired of being a solitary and wishes 
     to  come to a group celebration.   What etiquette should I follow 
     to  bring this person to such a circle?   I could either  contact 
     the group beforehand and ask permission,  or tell them I will  be 
     bringing  a  guest,  or I could simply bring a guest  -  with  no 
     warning at all.   In the first situation,  the responsibility and 
     decision is theirs; in the second I am responsible for my guest's 
     behavior;  in  the third I am a boor and will never be invited to 
     their circles again.

          No  one has covered all the possible conflict situations  in 
     the Pagan Community.   So there is no way I could agree to follow 
     an  "etiquette."  My general code is simply to use common  sense, 
     and give the other person an easy out.  For example, if you think 
     someone else is a Witch and wish to find out, you might tell them  
     that you are one.  To receive trust you have to give it first.


          A secondary problem in this situation is how does one keep a 
     secret?  Should  one only speak in whispers,  or when no  one  is 
     within 100 paces?  I think that looks furtive and produces suspi-
     cion in the mind of outsiders. Or do we follow Poe's lead and put 
     the secret out in the open and disarm the opposition? 

          I  know several people who studiously "maintain secrecy" but 
     everyone knows that they are "witches." Worse,  because of  their 
     secrecy,  their  colleagues don't know what a witch is except  it 
     must be nasty since they won't speak of it.  I do not proclaim my 
     religion,  nor do I hide it, and I have never had any problems. I 
     hear  3rd  hand horror stories but would like to hear first  hand 
     experiences, good or bad. Please write me c/o Panegyria.


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