A stick of mugwort bound with blue and white thread, and two acorns sit on an oak leaf. Just visible at the upper left the edge of a journal. To the right, the edge of a green hard bound book.

Statement of Ethics In Spiritwork

Guiding Principles

These are some of the foundational ideas that help guide my decisions regarding integrity and ethics.

  • Animism – The world is alive and full of spirits.
  • Polytheism – Gods, Spirits, and Holy Powers are individual and possess agency.
  • Multiplicity – Truth, Reality, and consciousness are complicated, multilayered, complex, and at times, contradictory. This contradictory nature does not invalidate the truth of the experience.
  • Antifragility – the importance of change
    • Fertility/Creativity
    • Death/Change/dissolution
  • Wyrd – The intricate, complex ties that entwine and connect all things.
  • Sovereignty – responsibility for one’s actions, right to determinism
  • Balance
    • Diversity
    • Right Relation
    • Hospitality
  • The deep and inextricable connections between the physical and the spiritual, that they are deeply intertwined expressions of existence/unity/the cosmos.

Integrity and Ethics

1. To work in sacred alliance with the Holy Powers, Gods, and Spirits

  • Recognition of the spiritworker as a specially trained person, involved in a caregiving profession. 
  • Recognition of the Multiplicity of truths 
  • Polytheist
  • Animist – the world is full of spirits and consciousnesses
  • It is the function of a spiritworker to act as a bridge and ambassador between the Holy Powers, Gods, and Spirits and consensus reality. As such, it is my responsibility to
    • Understand the limits of human capability in general and that of specific clients in particular.
    • Be aware of the specific intentions and situational conditions of and surrounding a divination, working, or healing effort.
    • Make decisions involving matters of human ethics, because, at times, these can be very different than the ethics of the Holy Powers.

2. To work in sacred alliance with the Holy Powers, Gods, and Spirits

  • This includes within human communities, ecosystems, and social dynamics

3. To seek a mindful, respectful honoring of the Wyrd as it is reflected in my interaction in the world 

  • Strong working relationships with other human beings as well as the spirit world are essential to my functioning as a spiritworker.  As such it is important to be mindful of speech, thought, and action as they reflect my relationship with all things.
  • “I am not seeking nature’s laws that I might worship and submit. My quest is to understand the cycles and tides, that I might live in sustained harmony, not fighting the forces that flow through and around me, but riding their currents that we might live together.”  Orr, Emma Restall. Living with Honour: a Pagan Ethics. O Books, 2008, page 42.
  • To reflect nature as it is expressed within a wakeful awareness of the Wyrd, of the ecology of landscapes and the communities within which we live.

4. To remain open to questioning, learning, growth, interpretation, dissent, and change in the face of imperfect understanding.

  • To question norms, to have the courage of one’s convictions, particularly in the face of question or opposition.  Maintaining the responsibility for my own actions, exploring alternative ideas and dissenting views. Using wit and creativity to forage another way.  In absence of understanding, it is one’s responsibility to seek knowledge. 
  • “To seek clarity in patterns and purpose through observation and experiential interaction, working with full awareness of the process of change and the limitations of perspective.” Orr, Emma Restall. Living with Honour: a Pagan Ethics. O Books, 2008, page 45
  • Heresy: sacred questioning. Unwilling to blindly accept convention, encouraging critical thinking and change through evolving understanding.

5. To acknowledge and hold sacred individual Sovereignty

  • To live wakefully, questioning, choosing, and walking consciously in the Worlds, to the best of my ability.
  • To be respectful of clients and colleagues, even (especially) in differences
  • To honor whatever form of experience or pain is presented
    • When one suffers, their suffering is to be honored, respected, and accepted as it is. All symptoms of pain shall be heeded as indications that something is out of balance. The role of a spiritworker is to discern what the unbalance might be and receive guidance in how to proceed toward its healing.
  • To recognize the wholeness inherent in each person, group, or circumstance that comes for healing, guidance, or divination
    • The spiritworker works in concert with the Holy Powers, Spirits, and Gods to restore wholeness and right relationship 

6. To be a thoughtful, diligent, and responsible steward of resources

  • To be respectful of the natural resources and my impacts on them
  • To be respectful of the resources available to clients
  • To keep my own life and personhood in balance to the best of my ability and seek assistance when needed
  • To offer fair and appropriate fees, respecting both access to care for clients and fair compensation for the practitioner.  This acknowledges that the spiritworker is performing a valuable and difficult function, for which many years of training and experience is needed. 

7. To work with compassion and non-judgment

  • Compassion is a posture of understanding, awareness, and sincere service
  • To strive to be aware of my biases, ideas, expectations, hopes, opinions, and personal feelings so that they may be set aside so that my efforts are focused on my client’s wellbeing.

8. To strive to the best of my ability, to do no harm/do the most good

  • I will strive to do well, at least, do no harm.

9. To act with honor

  • It is incumbent as a professional practitioner to enforce boundaries, especially when the client fails to do so.
  • To maintain clients’ right to privacy and confidentiality
    • Here I acknowledge that I will be dealing with intimate and sensitive matters. To have and maintain trust, clients must know that their concerns will be held private and sacred. The only exception to this is when a client is a credible risk to their own safety or that of others, in which case the professionally and legally entrusted authorities need to be contacted.

10. To hold in reverence change (To honor change as sacred) by building antifragility into my personal, spiritual, and professional practice

  • “Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile.”
    “Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”
    “The antifragile loves randomness and uncertainty, which also means -crucially- a love of errors, a certain class of errors. Antifragility has a singular property of allowing us to deal with the unknown, to do things without understanding them – and do them well.” from the prologue of Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • The core of this is that I will strive to learn, grow, and change.  When one knows better, one may do better. 
  • With reverence for change, and celebration of shifts that happen day by day, to create total transformation.  
  • “Reverence is about listening, about sensitizing or opening the barriers around the soul, to experience viscerally that which we seek to understand.  Allowing its current to move through our own, life force touching life force, we learn to move together without friction.” Orr, Emma Restall. Living with Honour: a Pagan Ethics. O Books, 2008. Page 50

11. To diligently obtain informed consent

  • As a caregiver, it is incumbent upon me to communicate as clearly as possible the risks, benefits, and limits of workings. Establishing a specific mutual understanding of the outcome desired by the involved parties, receiving direct and specific consent.
  • In the case of living persons, direct and specific consent
  • In the case of minors, direct and specific consent of the legal guardians, and of the minor involved to an age-appropriate extent.
  • In the case of an incapacitated individual, the consent of the consensus reality responsible party (or legal guardian), as well as divination for an answer of the behalf of the incapacitated party
  • If deceased, using divination to ask the soul what if anything, it wants to be done.

12. To accurately represent my abilities

  • As each spiritworker is specialized in their own areas of expertise, I will clearly let the potential client know whether or not I can help them.  
  • Since this work deals with the spiritual aspects of situations, it is up to the client to act on the complementary and supportive aspects of issues (i.e. seeking medical treatment, work to secure physical safety, etc.) It is outside the scope of my practice to offer advice, therapy, medical diagnosis, legal suggestions, relationship counseling, conflict resolution, etc. If I feel that a client may help someone, I may suggest that they obtain help from a trained professional in those fields.

13. To consult with appropriate professionals and peers when I have questions about care, ethics, or technique

  • Seek to build, maintain, and participate in a network of peer associates.
  • To reach out to colleagues, mentors, former teachers, or other professionals whom I know I may consult with confidence and confidentiality.  In this way, I may gain perspective, benefit from other experiences, and the possibility of dialoguing towards the level of reasonable assurance needed to proceed.

Values Statement of the Northern Tradition

In 2018, during our yearly gathering, members of the Northern Tradition drafted a statement in reaction to world events clearly laying out our commitments to tolerance and diversity. This statement played a foundational role in the formation of my personal ethics statement.
It may be viewed in its entirety at http://ntsguild.org/statement-of-values/

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