V – Vengeance is Mine, Sayeth the Witch (PBP week 43)

“It is sweeter far than flowing honey.”

– Homer, The Iliad (XVIII, 109)

Personally I find revenge to be ill-advised in most cases.  It prolongs the pain of the one seeking vengeance, adds to the overall suffering in the world, and is rarely as fulfilling as we imagine it will be.

But that’s “in most cases.”  There are times when revenge is justified, when the normal channels of justice are insufficient.

To put it another way, some folks just need hexing.

An example:

My mother is in her seventies.  She’s never been a wealthy woman, but lately has been having financial troubles and has been considering filing bankruptcy.  She contacted someone online who claimed to be a bankruptcy attorney.  Maybe they actually were, but after she gave them all her financial information and made close to $1,000 in payments she never heard from them again.  She had been referring her creditors to a phone number they gave her, but when she called it herself, it had been disconnected.  There was no answer on the other number she had for them.

Mom did everything available to her through normal channels.  She cancelled the automatic payments and closed her bank account.   She filed a complaint with the local sheriff and the FBI internet crimes division.

Local law enforcement doesn’t have the resources to pursue internet fraud.  The FBI does, but she’s one of thousands of victims and will probably never hear back from them one way or the other.

Would revenge, in this case, be justified?  “People” taking advantage of little old ladies with financial troubles?

I’m thinkin’ yeah.

While I want these people to die painfully in a fiery crash, that would probably be a little extreme.  But a nice curse to ensure their arrest and conviction, with a healthy dose financial ruin tossed in for good measure?  Totally worth it.

Most religions, pagan included, discourage acts of vengeance.  I dare say for good reason (see above re: fiery crash.) But, going back to my previous post on the Wiccan Rede:  An it harm none, do what thou wilt.  An it harm bastards who prey on the elderly?  Well, that’s a personal responsibility thing, isn’t it?  Consider the possible consequences, be willing to take responsibility for them, and make up your own mind.

The Delphic maxims don’t seems to address vengeance directly, either.  (Though but that could just be the translation I have, not being fluent in Greek myself.)  They speak about justice a great deal, one’s actions must be just.  But, while revenge definitely has the potential to be unjust, it does not have to be.

So what does your path say about revenge?  Is it forbidden?  Are there guidelines, or is it left to a personal choice?

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8 thoughts on “V – Vengeance is Mine, Sayeth the Witch (PBP week 43)

  1. I like the movement from the revenge scenario from the car crash to the arm of justice. That, to me, is appropriate revenge in most ethical systems and still revenge because it is in action against the harm someone else has done. I hope they are caught and tried. It would stop them from harming others.

    Reading this, I think my ethical stance is to seek revenge in the form of justice that’s out of my hands, like the law.

  2. Shine says:

    Sorry to hear about your mum. 😦

    Execration rites are well-attested in ancient Egyptian history, so revenge probably isn’t out of the question in Kemeticism. I don’t know how it would work, though. Maybe you should make a post on the Cauldron’s Kemetic SIG.

  3. This is a very interesting topic. I may borrow the practice of vengeance in ancient Hellas for next week’s PBP, because from the top of my head, I’d say they had some difficulty with it, but it was also encourage–especially in the case of avenging the murder of a family member. Then again, we would see that as vengeance today, back then it was probably justice. I’m not sure about that though… not yet, anyway 😉

    Thanks for this post!

  4. If you can exact some justice and let their deeds foul their lives and ruin them, I say go for it, let fly and let the bastards fry in the heat of their own despicable misdeeds. To fleece an elderly person is low, it’s cold and slightly sociopathic. This goes beyond not having a conscience to take from an elderly lady and not caring that you could be completely destroying her life. I would add a heavy dose of guilt for the perpetrators and recovery of funds (plus extra) for your mother. But then being a Witch and not Wiccan (so not following the Rede), the idea of meteing out some justice doesn’t bother me.

  5. I read a really great book called “Living the Martial Way” which says that revenge is only honorable if done openly and honestly. Most times, I believe that the “powers that be” will avenge me … but I can totally understand wanting to lend your aid to them 🙂

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