Balance in All Things
An idea that Wicca has borrowed from the Eastern religions is the idea that the world is made up of opposites. Each and every thing that has meaning is defined by what it is not. In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu writes “When the world recognizes beauty, only then does ugliness exist. Only when there is evil can there be good.”
What this means is that we must have both in order to understand each separately. If all we ever experienced was light–if the sun always shone and we could never close our eyes–then we would never have dark. Without dark, however, we don’t truly understand the nature of light. We take it for granted. So it is true with everything. The only reason we can appreciate the good and kindness in other people is because we know that evil exists and we know what evil is like.
That is what we mean by balance. We accept that all things are dualisitc: they exist as they are, and they exist as the negation of something else. This is important in Wicca because this is how we define our Deity, too: our Deity is made up of all things and their opposites, becuase our Deity is Perfect (as in Complete). Whenever we ignore one aspect of life and only concentrate on its opposite (light instead of dark, good instead of evil, masculine instead of feminine) we are cheating ourelves, because each idea and each reality has something to teach us. We need to learn the lessons of the Goddess in all their forms, not merely the forms which are pleasing to us.
Finding the balance of the masculine and feminine within ourselves can be a very difficult task. For women, it can be a painful process to identify with the masculine qualities we possess because we may feel that the overly masculine tnedencies in our culture have strangled us and hampered our progress as a gender. We may feel that we are doing a disservice to other women when we acknowledge and explore the masculine element within us. For men, tapping in to the feminine energies and tendencies within can be equally as difficult, for we are taught as a society that feminine aspect of life are considered weak, submissive, or even dirty. Men are not supposed to cry. Men are not supposed to be soft or caring. Men are not supposed to express affection for male friends. So within our own bodies we experience a degree of alienation, because whether or not we recognize it, and whether or not we readily accept it, each of us contain elements of the masculine and the feminine to differing degrees. This is how we are created, and to deny even the smallest inkling of that element within ourselves does us a disservive, because it throws is out of balance. Just as we learn to accept our flaws and idiosyncrasies, our inabilities and shortcomings, but also our talents, skills and character, we must accept the feminine and masculine within ourselves in order to truly see the world as a reflection of our inner selves.
The idea of balance has practical applications in life as well. We are supposed to live our lives in balanced ways, so that we do not swing wildly from one extreme to another. With regards to our health, this means maintaining a body weight that is healthy for us, and not constantly gaining or losing weight. With regards to the Earth, this might mean only taking from the Earth what we can immediately use and what can be replensihed in a reasonable amount of time. We do not plunder from the earth and rob her of her gifts, and we do not take from her or each other that which we do not need. These things also require balance.
Politically we tend to swing from one end to the other. We find a cause that we feel passionately about, which is a good thing, but sometimes we go too far in our ardor and we overlook opportunities for compromise, and almost always, compromise creates a pathway towards progress. When we agree to live our lives in a way that promotes balance, we keep our eyes open to the possibility that there are other methods, other venues, other ways of solving a problem.
Excess leads to waste. Our culture is very interested in getting the most for its money, in “getting more than the other guy”, even when that situation isn’t even necessarily beneficial to us. We live this way without even thinking about the harm that excess can cause. When we keep for ourselves that which we do not need, we may be keeping it from someone who may need it. When we allow ourselves to consume that which we do not need, whether physically, mentally or spiritually, we do ourselves a disservice because we may be hampering our ability to discern exactly what it is that we do need.
The idea of balance in Wicca and Witchcraft is an essential philosophy that goes hand in hand with other base tenets of our beliefs. We take all things in moderation, we recognize that duality of all things, including god and goddess, and we see within ourselves that which is reflected by all that we are, and all that we are not.