In spite of our romantic views of a warrior society who gloried in battle, reverence for life was part of the ancient code of honor of our ancestors. Taking life, except in warfare was simply not tolerated. This extended beyond human life and included animals and even the growing things of earth. Even the earth itself was considered in such a light that you did not "own" land. It was shepherded. Crops were rotated and the soil replenished to ensure it's health as early as 4,000 BCE.
In today's throwaway world, we have lost our way. Our evening news is often grimly punctuated with murder, suicides and mayhem on our streets, in our workplaces and even our schools. Our rivers, streams and oceans are dying. Landfillls and garbage dot the landscape. Our atmosphere is under great strain. The ozone layer is eroding and the space around our planet is becoming cluttered with "space debris." It is clear that our society no longer holds a respect for life of any kind. Of course, we must harvest vegetable, animals and minerals in our daily lives for sustenance. However, we should emulate our ancestors who only harvested what was needed and then used every portion to its fullest. We must stop thinking of our land as something we can treat however we wish. It is time to go back to basics. We must learn to respect life, ours, theirs and this planet we live on. The alternative is unacceptable.
This Law is basically the application of common sense. During the burning times, all knowledge could, and often did, result in torture and death. Today, conditions are improved. The Constitution of the United States guarantees the freedom of worship. Still we must be very careful. There are many within our society who would and do still persecute us because we believe "differently" than they. Our detractors will take anything that we say and do and attempt to manipulate and misinterpret it in order to "punish" us for our heresy.
Though practical under today's conditions, the Seventh Law is an ancient one. Originally, knowledge of sacred things was not revealed to any but an initiate who had sworn to protect such knowledge with his or her life, if necessary. Today, in meeting the needs of those who wish to learn, we require only the oath on the application form in which you have sworn to keep all material confidential. There will be times when someone you know will want to learn from you. If you know them to be trustworthy, feel free to talk to them about your basic beliefs and philosophies, our history and culture. However, the knowledge of sacred things such as our Deities, our Tree Alphabet, magic, ritual and the specific material of this course should not be discussed with anyone other than a known Craft person or fellow member or student of the Temple of Danann.
The Eighth Primary Law reminds us to perpetuate our faith. To observe the Sabóids or Holy Days is not to worship a deity, but to thank the Gods for what they have given, to harmonize with the Universal forces, to enjoy being and to celebrate life. Thus our rites are happy and gay, filled with laughter and love - love for creation, love for our brothers and sisters, and our cousins of nature and most of all, LOVE FOR ONESELF.
p It may not always be possible to observe a sacred Sabó'id in as formal a way as we would like with ritual and communion with friends. We may not be able to join with others who share our beliefs. On rare occasion, life situations in the outside world may even prevent us from casting a physical Timpeall. But no one can restrict your consciousness! Do what you can. Commune with nature in whatever way is possible. Cast your Timpeall within your own consciousness. Thank the Gods for their gifts and share your love and joy with the Universe.
The Ban Shagairt and Sagairt, like the Fílidh of old, serve as the representatives of the Gods. Also, like the Fílidh of old, they are normally chosen by their peers, in the latter case, the members of their particular Grove in annual elections. Such selection should be based on demonstrated knowledge ability and leadership. The role of the Priesthood is that of teacher, advisor, spiritual leader and, above all, friend. In addition, the position is also that of representatives of the Gods. Thus, the honor can not be made or received lightly. The responsibility is great and even in this "Age of Enlightenment," those who wear the mantle may do so at considerable personal risk. Therefor, the chosen leaders must always be treated in a manner reflecting not only our respect of "Wise Ones," but also the emissaries of our Gods.
Some traditions of the Older Religions "require" the use of terms such as Lord and Lady when addressing the Priesthood. We do not require such terms, preferring not to distance ourselves from the Grove members we serve through the use of
meaningless titles. We feel that respect should be earned, not demanded. Further, we feel that "titles" often lead to discord and we believe our chosen leaders should always remember that they serve as elected officials and not by divine right.
This Law is very straightforward. With our Gods, woman and man are co-creators and care-takers of our Universe. If we hold our beliefs to be sacred, and use our wisdom and powers only for good, we in turn will be held sacred by the forces of the Universe. If we do not hold ourselves sacred, then we cannot expect to be held sacred. In today's modern world, we are surrounded by the un-sacredness of an ever more polluted environment. Collectively, humankind has not held sacred its trust. In turn, as the planet sinks into growing illness, we are ever increasingly exposed to the by-products of our folly; smog, stagnant waters, rapidly diminishing resources and dwindling wild-life. On an interpersonal level, the social ills of poverty, crime, and new ever more threatening diseases seem to be at epidemic level. To truly be held sacred, we must not only believe, but we must also live by our beliefs. We must take active roles in our lives and take control of our destinies - and remove them from the hands of the profane. Remember the Second Law, "So it harm none, live according to will." In order to live according to will, we must establish our will - and in such a manner as to avoid harm to any. To do so is to establish our own sacredness.
Throughout the course we stress the fundamental philosophy of balance between the masculine and feminine principles in all things. We have also stress the individual right of freedom of will and action. The ancient Irish reflected these beliefs in every aspect of life including the Brehon Law. Each individual, whether male or female, whether native or foreign born, had equal rights and protection under the Law. This Primary Law verbalizes that basic tenet that all are equal whether within or without our Sacred Space. The only distinction made as to ones position in life must be made solely on their actions, their demonstrated knowledge and ability.
The twelfth law deals primarily with discipline within the sacred circle. Unfortunately , there are those who either intentionally or unintentionally sometimes bring disharmony. As representatives of the Gods, the first responsibility of the Elders are to the people. It is their right and their duty to ensure the sanctity of the sacred rite
and to exclude any who may bring discord or negative energies within the circle.
At first glance, this Law seems fairly obvious. The sanctity of the sacred Timpeall must be inviolate. As we discussed earlier in the course, our casting ritual is done for cleansing and protection. Just as the Circle should be cleansed and consecrated before each ritual, so should each person who enters. Even when someone else has done the casting, the ritual cleansing goes beyond the physical. We must not only be clean in body, but also in emotions and consciousness. All negativities must be left behind so that we can concentrate totally on our worship and work.