Ethical Situations

Your answer to Ethics 2, exit standard 3, situation 5

As there are only 4 situations listed for Ethics 2, Question 3, I’m not sure which one is actually requested here, I’m including Situation 4, and you may find all my responses to the situations from that course here.

Ethics 2: Question 3: Situation 4
A young woman from your local Neo-Pagan community contacts you and expresses a desire to attend your Grove’s upcoming high day; however, she explains that she is in a wheel chair and has an uncontrolled seizure disorder. Another local Neo-Pagan group had explained to this individual that they were unable to accommodate her needs at this time. The young woman plans to bring her personal care attendant with her, but the attendant is opposed to Neo-Pagan beliefs and does not want to actually participate in the service and plans to wait outside the ritual area. Your regular outside ritual space is not readily handicap accessible and the ritual is planned for this outdoor space. What do you do?

a) Explain how you would utilize your problem solving process to resolve the situation. Discuss an effective resolution and why you believe the resolution would be effective (100 words minimum)

The problem that I identify for this situation is that the ritual space does not meet the woman’s needs. This is an issue of accessibility. Possible solutions may include telling the woman that we can’t accommodate her needs, moving or rearranging the current ritual space, or telling the woman that on this short notice we don’t have the ability to accommodate her needs, but will need time to make the space accessible to her wheelchair and invite her to the next public ritual. While the second option is the best option, if the space is already not handicap accessible, the likelihood of our Grove being able to make it so without switching locations on short notice (near impossible to do in our parks system) is very unlikely. Therefore, the most likely solution for this situation is to discuss with the woman what specific accessibility needs she has (ramps, distance from parking lot, etc.) and arrange for those accommodations to be made at the next ritual. Even if this particular woman does not show up again, it is an important modification to make regardless.

b) Discuss how your personal Code of Ethics was utilized in the resolution of the issue presented. (100 words minimum)

My own personal Code of Ethics relates to my resolution regarding this situation in a couple of ways. First, “I will lead others to the flame” means in part that I will do what I am able to do in order to ensure that all can experience the relationship they desire with the Kindreds. Second, “I will be kind to someone.” This situation goes beyond mere kindness in my opinion and is more akin to civil rights. Being kind means that I will grant all basic human rights to individuals, and this means as a Priest I should provide access to a person’s desire to experience this spirituality as much as I am able (Avende). My decision relates to the Clergy Council Code of Ethics in multiple aspects. Under Service, “The Priest has a responsibility to provide service to the Folk.” This does not specify which Folk are worthy of expending the effort to provide service. Additionally, the Clergy Council Code of Ethics specifically focuses on non-discrimination, stating “The Priest has a responsibility to promote inclusivity, diversity, and non-discrimination; additionally, our clergy should promote the respect, self-worth, and dignity of individuals” (ADF Clergy Council). This means that we have a duty to make an attempt to provide reasonable accommodations for all members and potential members of our community.

c) Discuss whether you would consider the situation to be an “ethical dilemma?” Why or why not? (100 words minimum)

This is not an ethical dilemma because it doesn’t conflict with either my personal Code of Ethics or with the Clergy Council Code of Ethics. This may be a difficult situation, depending on what kind of accommodations are needed, and it may be an awkward conversation with both the woman, and perhaps with her non-Pagan caretaker, but it is not an ethical dilemma. Every person has a right to pursue the spiritual path that they feel called for, and they have a right to expect reasonable accommodation to be made for that if they have a disability. It may take some work and some time to figure out how to meet those needs, but it is not an ethical dilemma.

Ethics 2

1)  Provide an appropriate definition, discuss your understanding, and provide an illustrative example for the term “ethical dilemma” (minimum 100 words, excluding the definition)

An ethical dilemma is a complex situation that requires a choice to be made between multiple options regarding a course of action, and no matter which course of action is chosen, some ethical principle is compromised (Allen).  Essentially, there is no perfect solution to a situation.  There are both absolute and approximate ethical dilemmas.  An absolute ethical dilemma is one where “two or more ethical standards apply to a situation but are in conflict with each other” (Allen).  A conflict between personal and professional ethics is not an absolute or pure ethical dilemma because it involves personal feelings where the rational processes for solving ethical dilemmas can’t be used for conflicts in values.  So, even though situations where professional ethics and personal values collide are difficult and uncomfortable, they are not absolute ethical dilemmas, but rather approximate dilemmas (Allen).  This means that in order to have a pure or absolute ethical dilemma a situation must require a decision to be made between two conflicting ethical standards from our Clergy Council Code of Ethics.  A situation that presents a conflict between the Clergy Council Code of Ethics and our own Personal Code of Ethics would be an approximate ethical dilemma at best.

I’ve experienced both absolute and approximate ethical dilemmas within the field of education.  When a student confides abuse to me, I am required by state law as well as standard 3.e in the “Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators” to make an official report.  However, standard 5.a in that same Code of Conduct also forbids sharing confidential student information, which is needed to make the report (Ohio Dept. of Education).  Because there is a conflict in the ethical standards put forth in the Code of Conduct for Educators with this situation, it is an absolute ethical dilemma.  There is also an approximate ethical dilemma present in this situation if I fear for the safety of the student if I make the report.  However, the Code of Conduct, as well as the overall continued safety of the child depend on making an accurate report, and thus while both conflicts in ethics and values technically present ethical dilemmas, for me this was not a particularly difficult decision.

2)  Identify, list and briefly explain the steps to a “Problem Solving Process.” Process steps may vary in style depending on student preference and source. (minimum 100 words each step; citation of source for process required)

Many problem-solving processes are similar in their layout of steps to take.  The problem solving process presented by the Global Development Research Center has six steps (Srinivas), as explained below:

1) Define the Problem – The first step is to define what the actual, specific problem is.  This requires those that are involved in the problem solving process to focus in on what the problem is.  When you write down the problem, you are creating a check you can use throughout the rest of the process.  This is also useful for those working through the problem and possible solutions to be sure that they are remaining focused on the problem at hand, and not off shoot or unrelated other problems.  By writing down the problem you are focusing on, you then have a statement you can come back to ensure you’re coming up with as many solutions as possible and that they relate directly to the problem.

2) Analyze the Problem – The next step in the problem solving process is to analyze the problem. This can take a couple of forms, all of which are important.  One analysis should look at the root cause of the problem.  By examining this, you are looking at base issues which may be feeding into the specific issue at hand, and you will also be examine base issues to ensure that the problem won’t repeat itself in another form.  Depending on what you find in this step, you may want to go back to step 1 and redefine your problem.  Another aspect to analyzing the problem is that you want to know what kind of environment the problem exists in, because that will determine what kind of solutions are viable.  This is also the step where you will come up with criteria with which you can evaluate the possible solutions you will come up with in the next steps.

3) Brainstorm Solutions – After cycling through steps 1 and 2, and perhaps revisiting step 1 a number of times in order to determine what the actual problem you’re focusing on is, you will then begin the process of brainstorming solutions.  The important note for this step is that this is not where you will be evaluating their merits, how well they may work, whether they’re viable, whether you like them, or choosing which possible solution to attempt at all.  This is the step where your goal is to come up with as many ways to solve the problem as possible, as off-the-wall as some of them may be.  I would even say that a few off-the-wall ideas are good, because they will encourage thinking outside the box and creativity in the brainstorming process.

4) Analyze Solutions – This next step is similar to step 2, except that you’ll be looking at each of the solutions you brainstormed, rather than the problem you came up with.  This is the step where you will take a close look at each possible solution and define its good and bad points.  You will examine where the places are where it could work well, and where the places are where it has some weaknesses or possibilities for failure.  At this point you are still not yet picking which solution you will use, but rather are examining each individually on it’s own merits.  You may find that this step may circle back around to step 3 as you see specific ways that a solution could be improved.

5) Pick a Solution – In this step you finally go about evaluating each individual solution and ranking them based on usefulness and likelihood that they will work to solve the problem.  This can be done with a yes/no system, a weighted voting system, gut and intuition, or some combination of those.  When you rank all your possible solutions you end up with a smaller list of those you may want to implement.  If you still have too many, it may be worthwhile to refine your ideal requirements so that you end up with less possible solutions to work with.  Ultimately you’ll end up with no, one, or many possible solutions.

6) Plan the Next Steps – In this last step in the problem solving process you’ll be working with the possible solutions you came up with in the previous step.  If you didn’t come up with any working solutions in the previous step, you’ll need to back to at least step 3 and brainstorm more solutions, if not all the way back to step 1 and redefine what your actual problem is.  If you have one or more solutions, you’ll want to decide which solution you’ll try to implement first, and then write out the actual steps for making that happen.  It may include deciding what materials and personnel you need, as well as timeframes for certain things to happen in, and checking each step along the way to be sure it has been done and things are still on track for solving.

3)  Provide the following information for each of the situations described below.

  1. a)  Explain how you would utilize your problem solving process to resolve the situation. Discuss an effective resolution and why you believe the resolution would be effective (100 words minimum);  b) Discuss how your personal Code of Ethics was utilized in the resolution of the issue presented. (100 words minimum);  c)Discuss whether you would consider the situation to be an “ethical dilemma?” Why or why not? (100 words minimum)

Question 3: Situation 1

It is a long-standing tradition within your Grove to pass the Waters of Life using a single vessel for high day celebrations. Your group has always been small and the group at large prefers alcoholic Waters of Life, which is the plan for this high day event. Prior to the beginning the ritual pre-briefing you become aware that several new individuals are in attendance. One of these individuals discusses with a member of your Grove that they learned of your event from a poster in a local Unitarian Universalist Congregation where they attend weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. What do you do?

a)  Explain how you would utilize your problem solving process to resolve the situation. Discuss an effective resolution and why you believe the resolution would be effective (100 words minimum)

The problem that I identify in this situation is that there may be those present at a ritual who do not drink, or who do  not wish to be pressured to drink.  In our grove we’ve already taken into account this kind of situation to help avoid it.  In general, we simply don’t use alcohol of any variety as the Waters of Life.  Not only do the spaces we rent prohibit alcohol, we also don’t want to put anyone in this type of situation, whether or not we suspect a recovery status or not.  In order to be welcoming to all, including those in recovery and to families and children, we simply don’t use alcohol in the Return Flow.  Other possible solutions to this situation are to offer both alcohol and water in separate vessels, allowing each person to determine which one they will take.  Another possible option would be to explain the various methods of ‘taking in’ the blessing.  At sumbels it is common to hear an explanation that you may drink from the horn, kiss the horn, or pour out a libation on the ground.  All are acceptable.  If we offered options that included alcohol in a ritual, I would be sure to always take a non-alcoholic option to ensure that the folk knew that it was acceptable in practice, and not just in words, to do so.

b)  Discuss how your personal Code of Ethics was utilized in the resolution of the issue presented. (100 words minimum)

There are two main ways my personal Code of Ethics supports my resolution to not offer alcohol as the Waters of Life.  First, because “I will be kind to others” that means that I will ensure that all have the safest space possible in which to experience a relationship with the Kindreds.  This means removing the pressure and stigma of alcohol.  Second, because “I will be a … responsible person,” especially as it pertains to the law, I will not violate the regulations of the spaces that we rent for our rituals (Avende).  In the Clergy Council Code of Ethics, under Integrity, the Priest has a “responsibility to promote inclusivity,” and as such, I think to be inclusive both to those in recovery and to families, we need to allow for changing circumstances that may necessitate us using non-alcoholic beverages for the Waters of Life (ADF Clergy Council).

 c) Discuss whether you would consider the situation to be an “ethical dilemma?” Why or why not? (100 words minimum)

This is neither a difficult decision for me, nor is it an ethical dilemma.  Not only do I feel that I have a moral imperative to ensure that I make reasonable accommodations for all ritual attendees in order to ensure that they all have the ability to experience joy and a relationship with the Kindreds, my personal Code of Ethics specifically supports the decision to use a non-alcoholic option in this case, and the ADF Clergy Council Code of ethics empowers me to use my best judgment to make this decision.  This is neither an approximate nor an absolute ethical dilemma.

Question 3: Situation 2

While meeting with a couple to plan a hand-fasting ritual you have been asked to facilitate, you notice one of the partners continually makes all of the decisions concerning the ceremony and refuses to let his/her partner participate in the discussion. When you encourage the silent partner to participate the other individual becomes obviously agitated. You notice several bruises on the silent partner legs and arms and he/she appears afraid to express any thoughts and ideas. Following the discussion, you receive a phone call from the silent partner apologizing for the conduct of his/her partner. The wedding is a month away and the couple has written an oath for the ceremony that professes a desire for a healthy relationship and equal partnership. What do you do?

a)  Explain how you would utilize your problem solving process to resolve the situation. Discuss an effective resolution and why you believe the resolution would be effective (100 words minimum)

The problem that I identify in this situation is that presumably one of the partners is being physically, and also perhaps emotionally, abused by the other.  When I analyze this problem, I find that it is outside both my skill set and comfort zone to address the issues at hand.  My response after speaking with the couple would likely be to inform them that I was unavailable on their preferred wedding date, and to refer them to the other local ADF priest in the community who I know has a better ability to cope with this situation than I do.

b)  Discuss how your personal Code of Ethics was utilized in the resolution of the issue presented. (100 words minimum)

The decision to refer this particular situation on to a fellow priest within my own ethics comes from a place of integrity.  When I am a “responsible and independent person” it means that I know my own skill sets and my own limits, and do my best to not exceed those limits.  When I “am loyal” it means that when I don’t know, or in this case, can’t do, something, I will find someone who can (Avende).  The decision to refer this particular situation on to a fellow priest within the Clergy Council ethics comes from the concept of *ghosti and the concept of Competency.  Because a priest may refuse service to anyone, and “will make every reasonable effort to refer the individual to other options for that service,” I will refer to a fellow priest who I believe has the skill set to manage the situation.  I will do so because I recognize that I have strengths and weaknesses and that I will “work within those realizations” (ADF Clergy Council).

c)  Discuss whether you would consider the situation to be an “ethical dilemma?” Why or why not? (100 words minimum)

While this is a difficult decision for me because I feel like I want to be able to help, it is not in fact an ethical dilemma because both my personal Code of Ethics and the Code of Ethics for the Clergy Council require me to not handle a case that is outside of skill set when I have the ability to refer the case to one who is better qualified and I have a reasonable expectation that they could help.  Because the Clergy Council Code of Ethics specifically allows for a Priest to refuse services, particularly as long as they refer the client to someone else, this solution to the situation is not an ethical dilemma, despite being a difficult decision requiring me to know myself well.

Question 3: Situation 3

You are facilitating a children’s activity concerning the 9 virtues and the Kindred for your Grove. A ten-year old child approaches you during the activity and says, “Can I tell you a secret?” You let the child talk and he tells you that his stepmother, who is an active member of your Grove, doesn’t follow the virtues or care about the Kindred. You ask him why he believes this and he tells you, “Because if she did she wouldn’t hurt me!” Once more you ask the child what he means and he shows you a horseshoe-shaped belt mark on his back and says, “Don’t tell anyone.” The father and stepmother are in the next room at an adult workshop. What do you do?

a)  Explain how you would utilize your problem solving process to resolve the situation. Discuss an effective resolution and why you believe the resolution would be effective (100 words minimum)

The problem that I identify in this situation is that there is child abuse occurring, specifically that it is occurring within my religious community.  The only acceptable solution to this problem is to make a report to Child Protective Services.  The fact that I suspect abuse at all means that I am obligated to make a report both by my own ethics and by law.  Possible methods could involve making the report immediately with the child in the room, or waiting until the meeting is over and making the report after.  From experience and training in education, the process I would follow would be to inform the child that I am there to support them, that I believe them, and that this requires me to report the suspicion to children’s services. I would not inform the parents that I was making the report, because I do not have the expertise on dealing with safety of the child once the parents know, whereas Children’s Protective Services does.

b)  Discuss how your personal Code of Ethics was utilized in the resolution of the issue presented. (100 words minimum)

The decision to make a report to Children’s Protective Services fits with my personal Code of Ethics because “I will be a … responsible person,” especially as it pertains to the law (Avende).  I am a mandated reporter according to Ohio Law, and as such, if I suspect abuse, I am obligated to report it.  Relatedly, the decision to make a report to Children’s Protective Services in response to this situation fit with the Clergy Council Code of Ethics because according to the principle of *ghosti “privileged communications … are considered confidential information … subject to limitation only by … applicable law” (ADF Clergy Council).   Again, because I am a mandated reporter, even though the child asked me not to tell anyone, I am required by law to report the suspicion.

 c)  Discuss whether you would consider the situation to be an “ethical dilemma?” Why or why not? (100 words minimum)

Because my personal Code of Ethics contains a point stating that “I will be loyal” and goes on to explain that “I will maintain the confidence of those who have trusted me to hold space with them” but also states that “I will be a … responsible person,” especially as it pertains to the law (Avende), along with the clause in the Clergy Council Code of Ethics that contradicts my own confidential point with it’s exceptions, this is technically an approximate ethical dilemma because it points out a discrepancy between my professional and personal ethics.  Nevertheless, it is not a difficult decision for me.  If for some reason I didn’t believe that reporting child abuse was in the best interest of the child, perhaps it would be a difficult decision in addition to being an approximate ethical dilemma, but as I believe my reporting provides the best support and safety for the child, and follows the law, the decision for me to report is easy.

Question 3: Situation 4

A young woman from your local Neo-Pagan community contacts you and expresses a desire to attend your Grove’s upcoming high day; however, she explains that she is in a wheel chair and has an uncontrolled seizure disorder. Another local Neo-Pagan group had explained to this individual that they were unable to accommodate her needs at this time. The young woman plans to bring her personal care attendant with her, but the attendant is opposed to Neo-Pagan beliefs and does not want to actually participate in the service and plans to wait outside the ritual area. Your regular outside ritual space is not readily handicap accessible and the ritual is planned for this outdoor space. What do you do?

a)  Explain how you would utilize your problem solving process to resolve the situation. Discuss an effective resolution and why you believe the resolution would be effective (100 words minimum)

The problem that I identify in this situation is that the ritual space does not meet the woman’s needs.  This is an issue of accessibility.  Possible solutions may include telling the woman that we can’t accommodate her needs, moving or rearranging the current ritual space, or telling the woman that on this short notice we don’t have the ability to accommodate her needs, but will need time to make the space accessible to her wheelchair and invite her to the next public ritual.  While the second option is the best option, if the space is already not handicap accessible, the likelihood of our Grove being able to make it so without switching locations on short notice (near impossible to do in our parks system) is very unlikely.  Therefore, the most likely solution for this situation is to discuss with the woman what specific accessibility needs she has (ramps, distance from parking lot, etc.) and arrange for those accommodations to be made at the next ritual.  Even if this particular woman does not show up again, it is an important modification to make regardless.

b)  Discuss how your personal Code of Ethics was utilized in the resolution of the issue presented. (100 words minimum)

My own personal Code of Ethics relates to my resolution regarding this situation in a couple of ways.  First, “I will lead others to the flame” means in part that I will do what I am able to do in order to ensure that all can experience the relationship they desire with the Kindreds.  Second, “I will be kind to someone.” This situation goes beyond mere kindness in my opinion and is more akin to civil rights.  Being kind means that I will grant all basic human rights to individuals, and this means as a Priest I should provide access to a person’s desire to experience this spirituality as much as I am able (Avende).  My decision relates to the Clergy Council Code of Ethics in multiple aspects.  Under Service, “The Priest has a responsibility to provide service to the Folk.”  This does not specify which Folk are worthy of expending the effort to provide service.  Additionally, the Clergy Council Code of Ethics specifically focuses on non-discrimination, stating “The Priest has a responsibility to promote inclusivity, diversity, and non-discrimination; additionally, our clergy should promote the respect, self-worth, and dignity of individuals” (ADF Clergy Council).  This means that we have a duty to make an attempt to provide reasonable accommodations for all members and potential members of our community.

c)  Discuss whether you would consider the situation to be an “ethical dilemma?” Why or why not? (100 words minimum)

This is not an ethical dilemma because it doesn’t conflict with either my personal Code of Ethics or with the Clergy Council Code of Ethics.  This may be a difficult situation, depending on what kind of accommodations are needed, and it may be an awkward conversation with both the woman, and perhaps with her non-Pagan caretaker, but it is not an ethical dilemma.  Every person has a right to pursue the spiritual path that they feel called to, and they have a right to expect reasonable accommodation to be made for that if they have a disability.  It may take some work and some time to figure out how to meet those needs, but it is not an ethical dilemma. 

Works Cited

ADF Clergy Council. “ADF Clergy Council Code of Ethics.” Adf.org, Ár nDraíocht Féin, 9 Oct. 2011,www.adf.org/system/files/members/org/clergy-council/adf-clergy-code-of-ethics.pdf. Accessed 13 Sept. 2016.

Allen, Karen, Ph.D, LMSW. “What Is an Ethical Dilemma?” SocialWorker.com, 22 Dec. 2013, www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/ethics-articles/what_is_an_ethical_dilemma%3f/. Accessed 12 Sept. 2016.

Avende, Rev. Jan. “Thoughts on Virtues and Ethics.” Mist to Open. Mists to Bind, 4 Sept. 2015, hellenicdruid.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/thoughts-on-virtues-and-ethics/. Accessed 14 Sept. 2016.

“Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators.” Ohio Department of Education, 11 Mar. 2008, education.ohio.gov/getattachment/topics/teaching/educator-conduct/licensure-code-of-professional-conduct-for-ohio-ed/licensure-code-of-professional-conduct.pdf.aspx. Accessed 14 Sept. 2016.

Srinivas, Hari. “The Problem Solving Process.” The Problem Solving Process, The Global Development Research Center, www.gdrc.org/decision/problem-solve.html. Accessed 14 Sept. 2016.

Thoughts on Virtues and Ethics

As I’ve been reflecting on some of my Clergy Training Program work, one of the things that I have found to be extremely valuable these past 8 months or so was the work I did to examine what the values and ethics are in our society, and develop a personal code of ethics to help me navigate the work I do as a Priest. Since writing it, this Code of Ethics has continued to be useful to me and to my practice.  This is also part of the clergy continuing education, and is something that is required to be re-examined and re-evaluated at least once every three years, though honestly I expect I’ll be doing it more often than that. Reflection is a key part of this practice, and that commitment to continuing reflecting and re-evaluting my ethics may in fact be one of the things I add to my personal code of ethics when I revise it. Here is my Personal Code of Ethics as it stands today:

Personal Clergy Code of Ethics

  • “I will pray with the Good Fire” – I will maintain my own practice and my own relationship with the Kindreds. In this way I will have the fertile soil in which to grow into my role as a Priest.
  • “I will lead others to the Flame” – This is part of my Initiate Oath, and means that I will not hoard my knowledge or skills. I will be a good role model, guide, and teacher for all those who seek to walk the path of neo-paganism, and I will provide services relating to this path as much as I am able.
  • “I will be kind to others” – It costs me nothing to be kind to someone. My words and actions have the possibility of deeply affecting others, and my kindness may be the only bit of hope a person sees that day. I will also do what I am able to be sure that kindness is a priority in interactions that I observe and am part of.
  • “I will acknowledge growth” – This is two fold: I am constantly growing and as such should strive to continue learning. Others are also constantly growing, and I should allow in my perception of them that they are continuing to learn. I will not hold grudges.
  • “I will be an independent and responsible person” – I will be my own person, and determine my own actions. I will walk my walk, and not let others’ vision of me influence my path. I am responsible for my own actions, and will strive to remember that I am not responsible of the actions of others. I will also fulfill duties that make me a responsible member of society and the priesthood, especially as it relates to the law.
  • “I will be loyal and hold true to my word.” – When I make a commitment, those who are depending on me should be able to be certain that I will not back out, or that if I do it is for a very good reason. I will speak truth whenever possible, admit when I don’t know, and seek out those who do know. I will maintain the confidence of those who have trusted me to hold space with them.

When we write our Personal Code of Ethics for use as Clergy, one of the things we’re asked to look at is the Nine Virtues within ADF, as well what kinds of virtues exist within our society and how those two might play off each other. It is meant to give a starting point in developing our own ethics. The Nine Virtues in ADF are Wisdom, Piety, Vision, Courage, Integrity, Perseverance, Moderation, Hospitality, and Fertility. In addition to the Nine Virtues, other ethical codes that have influenced my own code of ethics in particular are The Delphic Maxims and The Hippocratic Oath. Throughout all these virtues and ethical codes are values that can be seen woven through the fabric of our society. So, where do the values in our society come from and how do they relate to these ADF Nine Virtues and other ethical codes?

Our society places value on wisdom, and as a culture we encourage people to seek out those who have gained wisdom through their life experiences. However, as a Millennial it is also encouraged to seek wisdom from less established sources, and instead seek wisdom through personal experience gained by risk-taking and creative problem solving. I seek to have wisdom by sharing the knowledge I have gained, and thus providing others with the opportunity to share in that wisdom.

Seeking wisdom through personal experience, risk-taking, and creative problem solving also relates to the virtue of vision. We value the ability to see the bigger picture, and plan out ways to make that dream a reality. I have goals, and in order to see those goals come to fruition I am acknowledging that there is always room for growth, and that there is always room for improvement.

This personal experience, risk-taking, and creative problem solving also relates in part to the virtue of fertility. We like to encourage freethinkers and those with creative minds. Fertility really sums up this focus I have on growth and my dedication to continue growing, both as a person and as a Priest, as well as my dedication to helping others grow and acknowledging that they are always growing and changing.

There is value placed on piety in our society, though in ADF we define piety based on the actions we take in our religion, rather than a certain set of ascribed beliefs. For me this is the act of prayer and maintaining my relationship with the Kindreds. It is also important for me to continue in my personal religious practices both for my own piety, but also so that I have integrity when I am discussing those practices with others, and not be disingenuous whether I’m writing liturgy, counseling others, or performing rituals

Integrity can be summed up in the famous line from Hamlet: “To thine own self be true.” From the Delphic Maxims, one of the most well known is maxim #8: “Know Thyself.” If we are in tune with who we are and what we desire we have the ability to begin to sort out what our ethics are, and how to live with integrity in our own lives. I’ve had to examine myself in order to write this Code of Ethics in the first place, and when I consider how I will be an independent person, I need to first have a good idea of who that independent person is.

In America integrity seems to be particularly valued. That attempt to walk to the beat of your own drum and not to let others define who you are. This in and of itself is often something that takes courage. Henry David Thoreau said “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” We have a history of self-reliance and a certain flair for independence as well as take pride in our ability (and right) to be ourselves.

This integrity is something that often takes both wisdom and courage. It takes wisdom to know what path I should walk, and wisdom to examine my own values and how they apply to my path. It takes courage to be independent and walk my walk. It can also take courage to hold true to my word when I may be pressured to do otherwise.

Perseverance can be seen alongside integrity and courage. In determining who I am, I will need to persevere in order to maintain that sense of self despite any obstacles I may encounter. I will need to persevere in continuing my path of growth and in continuing to challenge myself.

There is a huge precedence for the value of perseverance in America. In is contained in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence that we are each entitled to “the pursuit of happiness.” There are stories, myths, and legends about people in America who came here with nothing and through their perseverance built a life for themselves and became rich an famous. The concept of pulling oneself up by the bootstraps is widely known, and generally hugely valued.

Moderation is also something that is valued here, though it seems to be a value that has a variable degree of implementation. One can be moderate in things from drugs and drinking, to consumerism, to sex. We tend to see a lot a press given to enforce the idea of moderation as it relates to puritan ideals such as abstaining from drinking, drugs, and sex. This contrasts sharply with the other part of the virtue of fertility. However, there is less social pressure put on those who engage in rampant consumerism, and in some cases, society even seems to encourage this lack of moderation. For me in my personal code of ethics, I will strive to moderate my behavior to reflect my ethics.

The last virtue, hospitality, is encouraged in our culture, but it seems a bit more one-sided that the value placed on in in the context of ADF and the *ghosti relationship. Hospitality is a guest-host relationship, and each party has duties to hold to. In American society the host often seems to have more duties and the guest less. Think of parties you’ve attended where many of the guests leave without picking up after themselves, or family gatherings where someone always seems to overstay their welcome. For me, a lot of the idea of hospitality, of *ghosti, of kharis boils down to kindness. Being kind to others in as many ways as possible is a way of building relationship, and building the trust necessary to have a good relationship.

Relationships. That can sum up my approach to my spirituality and religion fairly succinctly. It is all about relationships, whether that is between two or more people, two or more groups, a person and the Kindreds, or any other collection of people and spirits. We build these relationships based on reciprocity and mutual benefit. My personal code of ethics allows me to be sure I’m staying true to myself in my actions and interactions with others. And reflecting on and re-evaluating my code of ethics on a regular basis will help me both maintain knowledge of my ethical conduct and allow me to see if there are parts that need to be added or removed to better maintain myself and my relationships with others.

Ethics 1

1) Find and provide an appropriate definition, discuss your understanding, and provide illustrative examples for each of the following seven terms: morals, values, personal bias, professional boundaries, confidentiality, right and wrong (100 words each minimum, not including definitions)

 

Morals: 

“those values that give voice to the needs and legitimate expectation of ourselves and others” (Weston 3)

moral (Merriam-Webster)

: concerning or relating to what is right and wrong in human behavior

: based on what you think is right and good

: considered right and good by most people : agreeing with a standard of right behavior

Morals are those things within ourselves that help guide us on an ethical path.  There is a reason the term “moral compass” is a fairly common phrase.  Morals can be a tricky issue because what is in line with an individual’s personal morals, may not be in line with the morals of society.  In those cases the line blurs between which route should be taken when making decisions (ie: a “moral dilemma”).  This is partially where the idea of the moral compass comes from: this idea that we have a set of internal values and morals that guide us when we feel there are injustices being done in the wider scheme of things.  Morals guide us in how to act when we consider what it is that we value.  Morals are often tied tightly to hot-button issues (like gay rights and abortion) since they can differ from person to person with each having strong arguments to why they are right, which in turn leads to discussions of moral dilemmas.

 

Values:

“those things we care about; those things that matter to us; those goals or ideals we aspire to and measure ourselves or others or our society by.” (Weston 3)

value (Merriam-Webster)

: relative worth, utility, or importance

Values are often big-picture ideas.  They are the things that we aspire to make better in ourselves and in the world, because they are things that we are passionate about and believe will help make the world a better place, or help us to make our microcosm a better place.  These can be things like equality, happiness, and education.  For example, I value education, and think that everyone should have the equal opportunity to learn with the least amount of obstacles in their path.  This means for me in pursuance of my values I will do what I can to make knowledge, learning, and training as accessible as possible for those around me who desire to better themselves in this way.

 

Personal Bias:

bias (Merriam-Webster)

: a tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others that usually results in treating some people unfairly

Personal biases are beliefs that predispose us to think or feel a certain way.  What it means is that with a personal bias we go into a situation already holding some beliefs about it.  This clouds our ability to be objective and impairs us when we seek to approach all on equal footing.  It may impair our ability to treat others in a fair and just manner.  It is often drawn from a place of privilege, and thus becomes extremely important for us to be aware of our personal biases so that we can compensate for them in our interactions.  This can be seen especially in instances of working with individuals who in some way aren’t like us.  An example that is seen all too commonly in our society and in the media is that blacks in America are often viewed suspiciously, and that view is nearly always based on nothing more than the color of their skin and the personal bias that whites and white society has against them.

 

Professional Boundaries:

boundary (Merriam-Webster)

boundaries : unofficial rules about what should not be done : limits that define acceptable behavior

Professional boundaries are lines that we should not cross when we are acting in a professional capacity.  This often refers to things that are acceptable when we are not in our professional role, but that are considered out of line when we are. This can be things like drinking in public, close friendships, and romantic/sexual relationships.  If professional boundaries are set early in a professional relationship they are less likely to be broken since all parties will know where they stand.  For example, with my students, professional boundaries are clearly established from the outset.  They understand the dynamic, and even when working with my high school students, where those boundaries can relax a bit, there is still a line in our conversations and interactions that cannot be crossed.

 

Confidentiality:

confidential (Merriam-Webster)

: showing that you are saying something that is secret or private

: trusted with secret or private information

: marked by intimacy or willingness to confide

: entrusted with confidences

Confidentiality is when information is told by one person to another and the second person agrees to keep that information private.  In some cases confidentiality is explicitly understood.  This is often because it is either marked that way (often seen in the case of government secure documents) or the person sharing the information initiates the conversation with a phrase something along the lines of “can I tell you something in private?”  Confidentiality can also be implicitly understood.  This happens often in one of two ways.  Either the two parties are involved in some sort of relationship (romantically, platonically, professionally, or otherwise) where there is an expectation that information shared in conversation won’t be shared, or the information that is shared is expected to be recognized as confidential information due to it’s nature (often emotional or related to others relationships). In some states confidentiality between clergy and their congregation is also protected by law.

 

Right:

right (Merriam-Webster)

: morally or socially correct or acceptable

: righteous, upright

: being in accordance with what is just, good, or proper

Right is more subjective than other moral indicators. When something is right, it is often judged by a single person and determined based on whether or not it is in line with their worldview.  Right is often a qualifier to other words, such as socially right, morally right, financially right, etc.  Things that are right worldview are influenced by our ethnicity, our religion, our socioeconomic class, our education, among others things.  The different mix of these variables will lead to each person have a variable sense of what is right.  An example something that is viewed as ‘right’ is the belief that we should be sure that every person can receive the care they need to be healthy.  People may differ on how we go about that, but in general many, if not most, can probably agree that it is right for everyone to not suffer due to lack of care.

Wrong:

wrong (Merriam-Webster)

: behavior that is not morally good or correct

: an injurious, unfair, or unjust act : action or conduct inflicting harm without due provocation or just cause

: something wrong, immoral, or unethical; especially : principles, practices, or conduct contrary to justice, goodness, equity, or law

Like the indicator of right, wrong is also more subjective than other moral indicators. Something is wrong when it goes against an individual’s worldview.  This once again is often a qualifier for other words (social, moral, financial, etc.).  Things that are wrong in our worldview are again influenced by our background (ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic class, education, etc.).  The different mix of these variables will lead to each person have a variable sense of what is wrong.  An example of something that is viewed as wrong is murder.  Even if there are sometimes morally gray areas about whether or not someone should have been killed, murder is generally agreed upon as wrong, even if there is justification for it.


 

2) Self-awareness is key to the implementation of professional ethics. Discuss how your personal morals, values, bias and ability to maintain adequate boundaries, confidentiality and determine right from wrong might both positively and negatively impact your professional relationships. (200 words minimum)

 

My own personal morals and values have been helping me determine right from wrong for quite sometime now.  They are growing and shifting as I gain more life experience, and I hope that I will continue to be able to fine-tune them as I continue to grow.  I currently work in a field (education) where I have to work with a large variety of people, many of whom come from very different backgrounds than me.  I fell that this has made me more adaptable when it comes to understanding my personal bias on issues as well as negotiating the line of professional boundaries.  I’ve had to engage with my biases and work to understand how they are influencing me and how to overcome and account for them.  I’ve taken the time to unpack my invisible backpack and examine the privileges that I have in my life (McIntosh).  The fact that I’ve already done a lot of this work, and continue to do it in my profession everyday positively impacts my ability to carry over this knowledge into the professional relationships that I will develop as a priest.

The point that I think I will have the hardest time doing, and so will have to continue to be self-aware of, is working on maintaining professional boundaries.  In teaching, this hasn’t been a problem because from the very outset, the line is already there with my students and my coworkers.  This will be the same for people that I meet in the new role as priest.  I think the fuzzy line that I will have to carefully walk is with those people who I already have some sort of relationship with.  The folks that I am already friends with in my local community when they begin interacting with me in the way they would with a priest, I will have to walk that line.  I don’t foresee a problem regarding any romantic relationships forming within my local community, so while it is something to be aware of, it shouldn’t be a problem.  I will have to be careful that any favoritism I show, perceived or actual, is kept to a minimum because it will likely reflect on this new role.  This would negatively impact the professional relationships that I will develop as a priest.

 

 

3) Discuss how an individual learns to determine right from wrong and explain the factors that influence this determination? (100 words minimum)

 

As individuals we are conditioned from a young age.  We learn as children, both directly and through observing others, the way to act and how to speak.  Through positive and negative reinforcement and positive and negative punishment we learn what things lead to good results and what things lead to bad results.  As we continue to develop as adolescents and young adults we begin to learn more about determining right from wrong as we become more in tune with social pressure.  We learn that there are gray areas, and ways that we believe differently from those around us, or from the world as a whole.  This is evidenced by the multitude of posters that hang up around school buildings that say “What is right is not always popular.  What is popular is not always right.”  Throughout our lives we learn to determine right from wrong based on the values we place on others things in our lives.  For example, those who are religiously devout (or were raised in a religiously devout environment) often drawn on the knowledge gained in their religious studies to help inform their sense of right and wrong.

4) Describe several reasons why an individual would strive to “do the right thing”? (100 words minimum)

 

A huge driving factor in the motivation to do anything is “because it feels good.”  Part of our conditioning when learning to do the right thing builds on making us feel good when we do so.  It isn’t always a straight line, and there are several other factors that may go into striving to do the right thing because it feels good, but that is a huge part of it.  Sometimes a person will strive to do the right thing because it directly benefits them, and that makes them feel good.  Sometimes a person will strive to do the right thing because it will benefit their community, and doing good makes them feel good.  Sometimes a person will strive to do the right thing because they want to conform to the social pressure to do the right thing, and the level of stress that exists when we are fighting social norms and peer pressure isn’t there, so that feels good.  Sometimes people will strive to do the right thing because of a belief in karma, or “if I do good now, surely the universe will pay me back in kind later” and that reassures them, giving them hope, and thus making them feel good.

 

 

 

5) Discuss how an individual’s values relate to the decision-making process. (100 words minimum)

Because values are “those things we care about; those things that matter to us; those goals or ideals we aspire to and measure ourselves or others or our society by,” it is those values that allow us to classify each action as right or wrong, moral or immoral (Weston 3).  Our values guide our conscience, our moral compass.  When we are considering what action to take, or if we should take an action, we consult our moral compass, and what things we see as valuable.  If we value honesty, then we would be less likely to lie to someone because that would go against our view of what is moral.  By having a set of values that we can identify, we are able to consult those values when determining how our actions reflect or agree with them.

6) Discuss the importance of ethics to the clergy-lay relationship. Do you believe a clergy person has ethical responsibilities? If so, what are these responsibilities? (300 words minimum)

 

I think all people have ethical responsibilities, and this is especially true for people who have a professional relationship with others where there is a perceived or actual power imbalance.  Because priests within ADF are granted the mantle of priesthood by the Folk, it is essential that we interact with them in an ethical manner.  It is imperative that we approach the Folk with respect and fairness.  While being an ADF Priest does not necessarily make one a role model or a leader by virtue of holding that title, there are many who still place weight on the actions and words of those who wear the stole.  Whether or not it is asked for, having the title of Priest means that there is often an implicit trust that comes with it when dealing with the Folk.

The Folk trust us to speak with them in confidence when they come to us with a personal issue.  They trust us to not use that information against them, or to gossip about them.  The Folk trust us to act with fairness.  We must be careful not to show favoritism, and to be aware of what acts may be perceived as favoritism so that we can find other approaches. The Folk trust us not to use our title for personal gain, whether in the organization’s politics or in interpersonal relationships.  We should strive to get places based on our own merit, and not through use of our title.  This means that we shouldn’t attempt to “pull rank” for something that would benefit only us.  Additionally, we should be wary of building romantic relationships with the Folk because this can lead to distrust on many levels and between many people.

As a Priest, when working within the clergy-lay relationship, it is important to always hold that trust of the Folk in mind, and carefully consider our actions and words to ensure that we are doing as little as possible to harm that trust, and as much as possible to build it.  Being in a position of perceived power has many responsibilities, and requires that person to have a strong ethical sense in order to not abuse that power and harm those who have placed that trust and responsibility on you.

 

 

7) Discuss the meaning of confidential privilege, the laws in your state that provide for this privilege and the extent to which it applies to clergy-lay communications in your community. (200 words minimum)

 

Confidential privilege is the concept that when someone divulges information to another who is bound by confidential privilege that that information will not be shared except where required by law.  It is a crucial point of trust building between the clergy and their congregation.

In Ohio, clergy are not required to divulge communications held in spiritual confidence unless they suspect or know of abuse.  However, if those communications were in confidence, or if it is part of their ministerial duties, then they don’t even need to do that if it violates sacred trust. And in this case sacred trust means something that was said directly to the cleric and in the context where sacred trust in invoked.  I’ve included the sections of law that pertain to this below, with relevant passages highlighted.  However, because we don’t have a concept of “sacred trust” in our religion, the bounds of “sacred trust” and its related confidentiality don’t apply.  Additionally, because we don’t have any documents at the national level that allow for us to provide confidential pastoral counseling or related services as part of ministerial duties, those conversations are also not legally required to be held in confidence.  Because of this, ADF Priests likely don’t have any legal protections for confidential clergy-lay communications in Ohio. This is not to say that we should not abide by confidential privilege and respecting the trust that the Folk place in us when they speak to us in private. It just means that there is some uncertainty of whether or not that confidentiality would be protected in a court of law if it was demanded that we share.

Ohio Rev. Code § 2151.421(A)(4)(b)-(d)

A cleric is not required to make a report concerning any communication the cleric receives from a penitent in a cleric-penitent relationship if, in accordance with § 2317.02(C), the cleric could not testify with respect to that communication in a civil or criminal proceeding.

The penitent in a cleric-penitent relationship is deemed to have waived any testimonial privilege with respect to any communication the cleric receives from the penitent in that cleric-penitent relationship, and the cleric shall make a report with respect to that communication if all of the following apply:

  • The penitent, at the time of the communication, is either a child under age 18 or a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired person under age 21.
  • The cleric knows, or has reasonable cause to believe based on facts that would cause a reasonable person in a similar position to believe, as a result of the communication or any observations made during that communication, the penitent has suffered or faces a threat of suffering any physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of the penitent.
  • The abuse or neglect does not arise out of the penitent’s attempt to have an abortion performed upon a child under age 18 or upon a mentally retarded, developmentally disabled, or physically impaired person under age 21 without the notification of her parents, guardian, or custodian in accordance with § 2151.85.

The above sections do not apply in a cleric-penitent relationship when the disclosure of any communication the cleric receives from the penitent is in violation of the sacred trust.

2317.02: Privileged Communications:

2) As used in division (C) of this section:

(a) “Cleric” means a member of the clergy, rabbi, priest, Christian Science practitioner, or regularly ordained, accredited, or licensed minister of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect.

(b) “Sacred trust” means a confession or confidential communication made to a cleric in the cleric’s ecclesiastical capacity in the course of discipline enjoined by the church to which the cleric belongs, including, but not limited to, the Catholic Church, if both of the following apply:

(i) The confession or confidential communication was made directly to the cleric.

(ii) The confession or confidential communication was made in the manner and context that places the cleric specifically and strictly under a level of confidentiality that is considered inviolate by canon law or church doctrine.

Chapter 47: Occupations – Professions

Counselors, Social Workers, Marriages, and Family Therapists (R.C. § 4757.41)

Chemical Dependency Professionals  (R.C. § 4758.03)

Exemptions.

This chapter shall not apply to the following:

Rabbis, priests, Christian science practitioners, clergy, or members of religious orders and other individuals participating with them in pastoral counseling when the counseling activities are within the scope of the performance of their regular or specialized ministerial duties and are performed under the auspices or sponsorship of an established and legally cognizable church, denomination, or sect or an integrated auxiliary of a church as defined in federal tax regulations, paragraph (g)(5) of 26 C.F.R. 1.6033-2 (1995), and when the individual rendering the service remains accountable to the established authority of that church, denomination, sect, or integrated auxiliary;

 

8) One of the main principles of ethics is to “do no harm”. Discuss the meaning of this principle as it applies to the clergy-lay relationship. (100 words minimum)

 

Regarding positive ethics Isaac Bonewits said

“We believe that ethics and morality should be based upon joy, love, self-esteem, mutual respect, the avoidance of actual harm to ourselves and others, and the increase of public benefit. We try to balance people’s needs for personal autonomy and growth with the necessity of paying attention to the impact of each individual’s actions on the lives and welfare of others” (Newburg).

The Hippocratic Oath is often (mis-)quoted as containing the phrase “But first, do no harm.” All actions have consequences.  Sometimes those consequences are positive and sometimes they are negative.  More often those consequences are a mixed bag of positive and negative.  When taken in the context of the clergy-lay relationship I think we must consider that we are trying to make the choices that will cause the least harm, and benefit the most people.  In this, we can always use active listening as a first strategy.  Additionally, we must have a strong moral compass, and have developed an ethical code that we can abide by, in order to have something to fall back on to ensure that we are doing the best we can to first do no harm to ourselves, to those in our community, and to the clergy-lay relationship as a whole.

9) Compare and contrast the Nine Virtues described in the ADF Dedicant Path and prominent values in the dominant culture of the country in which you live. (200 words minimum)

 

The Nine Virtues in ADF are Wisdom, Piety, Vision, Courage, Integrity, Perseverance, Moderation, Hospitality, and Fertility.  Many of these are easily agreed upon virtues in the USA as well.

There is value placed on wisdom, and as a culture we encourage people to seek out those who have gained wisdom through their life experiences.  However, as a Millennial in the USA, it is also encouraged to seek wisdom from less established sources, and instead seek wisdom through personal experience gained by risk-taking and creative problem solving.  This relates to the virtue of vision.  We value the ability to see the bigger picture, and plan out ways to make that dream a reality.  It also relates in part to the virtue of fertility. We like to encourage freethinkers and those with creative minds.

There is value placed on piety, though in ADF we define piety based on the actions we take in our religion, rather than a certain set of ascribed beliefs.  There is also value placed on integrity.  This is holding true to the things that you value and to yourself.  In the USA it is especially valued to walk to the beat of your own drum and not to let others define who you are.  We have a certain flair for independence and take pride in our ability and right to be ourselves.

There is a huge precedence for the value of perseverance in the USA.  In is contained in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence that we are each entitled to “the pursuit of happiness.”  There are stories, myths, and legends about people in America who came here with nothing and through their perseverance built a life for themselves and became rich an famous.  Pulling oneself up by the bootstraps is hugely valued in the USA.

Moderation is also something that is valued here, though it seems to be a value that has a variable degree of implementation.  One can be moderate in things from drugs and drinking, to consumerism, to sex.  We tend to see a lot a press given to enforce the idea of moderation as it relates to puritan ideals such as abstaining from drinking, drugs, and sex.  This contrasts sharply with the other part of the virtue of fertility.  However, there is less social pressure put on those who engage in rampant consumerism, and in some cases, society even seems to encourage this lack of moderation.

The last virtue, hospitality, is encouraged in American society, but it seems a bit more one-sided that the value placed on in in the context of ADF and the *ghosti relationship. Hospitality is a guest-host relationship, and each party has duties to hold to.  In American society the host often seems to have more duties and the guest less.  Think of parties you’ve attended where many of the guests leave without picking up after themselves, or family gatherings where someone always seems to overstay their welcome.


 

10) The Nine Virtues described in the ADF Dedicant Path are proposed as a starting point for individuals embracing a value system inspired by traditions of the past. Utilizing the ADF nine virtues, develop a Code of Ethics for your use as ADF Clergy. Describe how you derived this code from the Nine Virtues and how you would apply this Code. (No minimum word count for the Code; however the Code must contain a minimum of five principles; 300 words minimum for the description)

 

  • “I will pray with the Good Fire” – I will maintain my own practice and my own relationship with the Kindreds. In this way I will have the fertile soil in which to grow into my role as a Priest.
  • “I will lead others to the Flame” – This is part of my Initiate Oath, and means that I will not hoard my knowledge or skills.  I will be a good role model, guide, and teacher for all those who seek to walk the path of neo-paganism, and I will provide services relating to this path as much as I am able.
  • “I will be kind to others” – It costs me nothing to be kind to someone.  My words and actions have the possibility of deeply affecting others, and my kindness may be the only bit of hope a person sees that day.  I will also do what I am able to be sure that kindness is a priority in interactions that I observe and am part of.
  • “I will acknowledge growth” – This is two fold: I am constantly growing and as such should strive to continue learning.  Others are also constantly growing, and I should allow in my perception of them that they are continuing to learn. I will not hold grudges.
  • “I will be an independent and responsible person” – I will be my own person, and determine my own actions.  I will walk my walk, and not let others’ vision of me influence my path. I am responsible for my own actions, and will strive to remember that I am not responsible of the actions of others.  I will also fulfill duties that make me a responsible member of society and the priesthood, especially as it relates to the law.
  • I will be loyal and hold true to my word.” – When I make a commitment, those who are depending on me should be able to be certain that I will not back out, or that if I do it is for a very good reason.  I will speak truth whenever possible, admit when I don’t know, and seek out those who do know.  I will maintain the confidence of those who have trusted me to hold space with them.

 

In addition to the Nine Virtues, other ethical codes that have influenced my own code of ethics are The Delphic Maxims (Oikonomides), The Hippocratic Oath (“Various Physicians Oaths”), and the Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators.  I have broken down the Nine Virtues below to discuss how each relates to my Code of Ethics.

Wisdom:

Most of these points can relate back to wisdom.  I am sharing the knowledge I have gained, and thus providing others with wisdom.  I am acknowledging the places where I still have room to grow, and that allows me to continue to seek wisdom. Additionally, it takes wisdom to know what path I should walk, and wisdom to examine my own values and how they apply to my path.

Piety:

The act of prayer and maintaining my relationship with the Kindreds is summed up in the first point of my Code of Ethics: “I will pray with the Good Fire.”

Vision:

I have goals, and in order to see those goals come to fruition I am acknowledging that there is always room for growth, and that there is always room for improvement.

Courage:

It takes courage to be independent and walk my walk.  It can also take courage to hold true to my word when I may be pressured to do otherwise.

Integrity:

Integrity can be summed up in the famous line from Hamlet: “To thine own self be true.”  From the Delphic Maxims, one of the most well known is maxim #8: “Know Thyself.”  If we are in tune with who we are and what we desire we have the ability to begin to sort out what our ethics are, and how to live with integrity in our own lives.  I’ve had to examine myself in order to write this Code of Ethics in the first place, and when I consider how I will be an independent person, I need to first have a good idea of who that independent person is.

Perseverance:

Perseverance can be seen alongside integrity and courage.  In determining who I am, I will need to persevere in order to maintain that sense of self despite any obstacles I may encounter.  I will need to persevere in continuing my path of growth and in continuing to challenge myself.

Moderation:

Moderation is not as explicit in my Code of Ethics, but there is the implied expectation that I will moderate my behavior to reflect these points.

Hospitality:

“I will be kind to others” draws on hospitality.  Part of building a relationship of trust does as well.

Fertility:

This encompasses my dedication to continue growing, both as a person and as a Priest, as well as my dedication to helping others grow.  It is also present when I recognize that there is growth always happening.

 

 

 

Works Cited:

“Licensure Code of Professional Conduct for Ohio Educators.” Education.ohio.gov. Ohio Department of Education, 11 Mar. 2008. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. <http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Teaching/Educator-Conduct/Licensure-Code-of-Professional-Conduct-for-Ohio-Ed/Licensure-COPC-for-Ohio-Educators_color.pdf.aspx>.

McIntosh, Peggy. “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Backpack.” Institute for Social Research. University of Michigan, 1 Jan. 1989. Web. 23 Feb. 2015. <https://www.isr.umich.edu/home/diversity/resources/white-privilege.pdf>.

Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Web. 11 Feb. 2015. <http://www.merriam-webster.com>.

Newburg, Brandon. “Integrity: Ethics and Pastoral Support.” The ADF Leadership Handbook, Chapter 10. Tucson, AZ: ADF Publishing, 2011. PDF file.

Ohio Rev. Code. Lawriter Ohio Laws and Rules, 2014. Web. 9 September 2014.

Oikonomides, Al. N.. “Records of “The Commandments of the Seven Wise Men” in the 3rd c. B.C..” Classical Bulletin: 67-76. Web. 1 July 2014. <http://www.flyallnight.com/khaire/DelphicMaxims/DelphicMaxims_CB63-1987.pdf]] >

“Various Physicians Oaths.” Physicians Oaths. Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Web. 19 Feb. 2015. <http://www.aapsonline.org/ethics/oaths.htm>.

Weston, Anthony. A Practical Companion to Ethics. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford UP, 2002. Print.

The Importance of Self-Understanding and Introspection

The work described in the practicum for Magic 1 for Priests, as well as the work done in Magic 2, have both helped to inform my understanding of why self-knowledge and introspection are critical for working magic. They have helped me consider how I approach magical work, what methods I use, how I determine what magical work to do, and how my work reflects on how I am perceived by others.

 

Self-understanding and introspection are essential for every person who practices magic, whether or not they consider themselves a magus or magician.  For me this becomes a discussion of ethics, and a discussion of ethics within my practice turns towards the Delphic Maxims.  Personal introspection falls under maxim #8 “Know Thyself” or perhaps “Be Yourself,” depending on the translation. This requires a person to examine their personal values, and determine why they feel the way they do, and how to best act in accordance with those values they have come to own.  Many other values are accounted for within the maxims that help to guide who that “self” is that you should strive to know and be.

 

In the work described in the practicum, I looked at what type of magic would actually be useful to me and to those who were attending the rites where that magic was performed. Part of the introspection was setting aside ideas for workings that would be ‘cool’ or ‘flashy,’ but not necessarily be the best way to accomplish the goal of that work. This required me to deepen my understanding of myself. An understanding of yourself requires that you know who you are and continually exploring who you want to become.  It requires an understanding of how your actions and inactions affect yourself and others, and your view of yourself and how others perceive you.  This does not require you to cater to or be afraid of how others will view you, but at least have an understanding.  This understanding as you grow will help you to distinguish the role that magic is taking in your life. I believe there is always a danger that hubris can overtake a person, and in the case of magical work, this hubris can be more devastating as the magician breaks from reality.  One of the guiding maxims that I think helps to curb hubris is to “Be (religiously) silent.”  It is more important to do the work than talk about all the work you have, or could have done. One of the things I’ve noticed as I’ve done the work for the initiate path as well as the beginning work for the clergy training program (including the practicum for this course), is that my view of myself will affect the way that others view me, and the best course of action for me is to let my work speak for itself and let others determine their view of me from my actions.

 

An understanding, and continual drive for better understanding, of how you view yourself and how others view you will help to keep hubris from taking root and destroying both the self and any relationships that may exist.  You should like who you are, and act in such a way that you continue to do so.  If you don’t like yourself, then you should be able to take steps to fix that.  You should also have an understanding of how those around you view you, and be able to accept that view.

 

Ways that I pursue a course of self-understanding are first by examining (and re-examining) my biases.  It is important for everyone to know their biases so that they can account for the ways that may pre-dispose them to a certain belief or outcome.  I do divinatory work to consult the divine on whether or not an action (magical or not) is called for.  I meditate on how my actions will affect myself and others. I work to determine what I view as right and wrong, and where my line is that I won’t cross.  I do my best to stay honest with myself and true to my gods, because in the end, I have to answer to my conscience and my gods.