“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.
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?