Rabinovich and MacDonald strive to provide an intellectual and common sense discussion about the Wiccan Rede and how to apply it to every day life. The book covers a multitude of topics from employment to investments to living environment. The authors offer a variety of possibilities for the pagan to consider when making choices in life.

While discussing the variety of moralistic terminology the authors lay out a variety of terms so the reader will understand the perspective being taken. Additionally when discussing things like taking a job within the moral values of the individual, the authors remind the reader to be practical which is particularly relevant in the current situation of economic hardship by asserting there are times when we are able to choose a job which fits our moral beliefs and other times we are lucky to have a job. They also discuss the ethics of donating and making sure it is within the means of the individual and to choose where to donate the limited funds available carefully. 

A variety of topics are covered in the environmental arena, and in the end the authors recommend balancing the many issues out there with their ability to give and help. This leads to a discussion about the difference between need and want to tag along with the ability to pay for an item. The authors take a practical view point of if you want it the question becomes can you afford it?

Then Rabinovich and MacDonald address the issue of sex and ethics.  Immediately they assert that a child and someone under the influence of any drug including alcohol is not able to give consent. Along with the topic of sex, they discuss the ethics of having children, accidental pregnancy, abortion, financial obligation, and all the other myriad of issues that go along with parenting. Personal responsibility plays a large role in this discussion, as it does throughout the book. The authors assert that “We were not given life in order to blame others for our illnesses, poor luck, underemployment, or runny noses.” They very much expect the neopagan to take responsibility for their choices and their lives. 

These discussions are non-judgmental and don’t preach to the reader the “right” way to live. Instead the authors offer a variety of things to consider when living by the Wiccan rede. The authors encourage the readers to educate themselves on the issues by gathering more information than is offered in the book and to make choices consciously with full awareness of the reader’s own limitations and capabilities. While discussing the large array of ideas, the tone is such that they are having a reasonable conversation with the reader.  It is up to the reader to decide the ethical path to follow. Perhaps this quote is the best description of how the authors present the ethical discussions:

“Know thyself and choose thy paths wisely. Walk the earth gently, and keep it in balance. Above all, live your life as a self aware neopagan. Your path may not be as easy as some others, but on the day that you rest back in the bosom of the Mother in the Summerland, you will be able to look back and know that you lived your life as a pagan, with respect for all life around you.” (page 238).

This is a great book to have in any pagan’s library. It is a good book to go back to when struggling with decisions. The authors take a common sense, responsible, and unbiased point of view towards the issues so the reader is able to  use their own values to responsibly make their own decisions. While wading through complex and intellectual topics, Rabinovich and MacDonald provide the reader with a common sense and friendly resource to help with the tough choices that can arise.

~review by Eileen Troemel

Author: Shelley Tsivia Rabinovich and Meredith MacDonald
Citadel Press, 2004
pp. 256, $14.95

See our other review of this book, HERE.