“If “Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted,” then there is no purpose or grand cosmic scheme to life beyond what we choose to impose or believe. To some this is cynicism. For the Chaos Magician, it is a breath of dizzying freedom.” ― Phil Hine, Condensed Chaos: An Introduction to Chaos Magic
The purpose of “Nothing is true, everything is permitted” within chaos magick is to break outside of structures and limitations placed on us through dogmatic principles, religions, and occult practices.
This teaches us that we don’t have to follow specific rules or ceremonies for our magick to work. That if it works for you, it works. Just because it’s written in books by ancient or well-respected Magicians, it doesn’t mean it’s a complete law. You can twist it, alter it or even discard certain parts of it. It teaches you to think for yourself and your own practice.
However, there is a need to address the concept of morals, values, and ethics within magick.
There is a need to have an understanding of what is right and what is wrong. Should one unethically do magick for their personal gain? Manipulate energy and others for harvesting energy? Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should.
Nothing is black and white, there is definitely a gray area. I believe that there are times and places for certain types of “forbidden magick.” For me personally, protection of oneself is always important. But also, what about justice unserved?
In situations of abusers, pedophiles, white supremacists, and people who place incredible amounts of intentional harm on others. Because the reality of this world is there are people who are immoral and unethical, not just in the mundane, but in the magical realms as well.
Everything is permitted doesn’t mean we can just do what we want.
We can’t just go around and hurt people or take from others. This doesn’t give us permission to act without a moral compass, empathy, compassion, respect, understanding, consent, and so on.
While the 3 Fold Law of the Wiccan practice is something I do not believe in, as I am a full believer of “Do no harm but take no shit”, there is a level of truth. Should we just go around and harm others? Use magick to manipulate, hurt and use other people for our own personal gain and advantage? This is where the need for morals, ethics, and values are an important part of magick.
We can look at the Hierophant.
The Hierophant teaches us about morals, ethics, and values. These are important things that humanity needs. We cannot go around raping, thieving, and killing each other.
And ideally, before corruption came through, the Pope/Hierophant/Guru had a purpose… to share these teachings with others. Religious texts had a purpose, to teach people through metaphors, stories, and universal truths how to be a “good human” to yourself and others.
The Hierophant also talks about community, tribe, coven, or even a religious community through a church. We find through the “Hierophant” archetype communities of like-minded people that have the same morals, values, and ethics as well as spiritual beliefs. After all, we are social creatures that thrive in the community. This is an important aspect of our mental and emotional well-being.
The term “principles before personalities” comes from a 12 step principle.
This specific concept states that while one may not get along with another due to personality issues, ego, and whatever… There is a common goal to come together. One may not fully like someone for an aspect of their personality, there is a common goal they carry.
I personally left the 12 step programs because my morals and values were being compromised as I was told to use this saying in times I was faced with a predator or even someone who carried white supremist ideologies.
I was told to be an enabler, to turn a blind eye to potential abuse and repression of others. This was a conflict of my personal morals and values. Instead of addressing the sexual predators, I was told to ignore them and what they were doing because they “deserved that space as well.”
And sure, maybe they did to an extent… but I saw nothing being done to protect others from being harmed. Nor the desire from the individual to evolve as a human and become a better person than they were yesterday.
It is common to see many occultists who carry the same moral compass, desire the same common goals for the collective to fight over absolutely ridiculously petty things, or shun someone completely due to their conflicting personalities.
This discord within the community is the cracks into which unethical practitioners seep. They actually revel in this type of stuff because it shows that we cannot come together and stand up against what is truly wrong within the community.
"As long as the ties that bind us together are stronger than those that would tear us apart, all will be well." - some bullshit NA Literature.