The Holistic Path -Primum non nocere – An Ye Harm None

“An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will” – The Witch’s Reed
“First do no harm” – Primum non nocere – The Hippocratic Oath


As pagans we tell the world that we are honouring an ancient tradition, one which was born out of the aboriginal wisdom of countries around the world. Some were called Medicine men/women, some the Cunning or Wise, and others Shaman. The names are as varied as the cultures and tribes within our Great Mother Earth.

One thing they all had in common was a knowledge, respect and deep intimate workings with the land and the kindred born within Her, the plants, resins, roots that could sustain us, ease our suffering, mend our emotions as well as our bodies, and bring a peaceful sleep for eternity to those who’s suffering was too great.

There is a wonderful print which circulates all year, but more so during the season of the harvest and the ancestors, it asks us to never forget them, to remember them and their sacrifice. This is what I would like to do now.

Our ancestors were, first and foremost… healers. They lived either within the heart of the village revered and respected, on the outskirts feared at times yes, for their knowledge… but still respected. Knowledge was their main tool. Hence the name we call ourselves today we often say was born from the knowledge they carried as the Wise Ones.

While times do change, I do not believe that the spirit of the sacrifices made by those burned by the stake, hung or worse were done so, so that we could bring as much ego into the practice as we seem to have. The majority of spells available these days are for money, love and all manner of egocentric pursuits. Yes, there is a demand for it, sadly, but it is not what I truly believe the heart of our practice was gifted to us for.

“First do no harm” – Primum non nocere

Whether you are a 20th century healer working in a hospital doing your rounds, or calling upon the knowledge of as ancient as time, there is one thing both disciplines have in common: Do No Harm.  The most commonly spoken, or referenced, line of the Witch’s Reed begins with: “And ye Harm None”… this seems to often be overshadowed by the what follows: “Do What Ye Will”.

As Witches and Shaman, we are the custodians to the powers and knowledge gifted to us.

We are given a charge to practice for both our greater good… I should stipulate this means higher purpose… and that of others in our charge.

I extend a challenge, out of truth, love and respect, to each witch, shaman and person of any faith to reach deeper in your workings. Spend 6 months working on rituals that involve only growth and healing. Begin that journey within yourself, and then, if you are called to work magicks for others, bring the focus of their request back within them!

If they seek a money spell explain that this is a call to abundance. In order to make room for one type of energy, you must release another. It makes space and provides the fuel to transform their request. In other words, energy cannot be create (or destroyed) it simply transforms from one type to another, therefore they have to transform the thoughts and intentions they are putting out into the world… As we know, the ‘Secret” really isn’t a new secret after all. With respect to abundance, this counter energy is called gratitude. If you open your hands, do so to give first, and allow the universe to fill the void with what truly is meant to fill your life.

If they seek a love spell explain that the first type of love they need to accept, is that of self. Two often the need for love spells are born out of loneliness, low-self-esteem or low-self-worth. You should never feel that you need to do a spell to conjure love, to force it’s hand, and definitely not to bind it. Love is something given freely, but to understand what it is, you have to learn how to give it… and receive it. Begin that journey within yourself.

We are healers, teachers, walkers between worlds. The guidance we should offer should hold true to these gifts and callings. We should truly honour those who passed before us.

As always, I encourage you to embrace the shadows, to find the light, and live in balance.

Namaste & Blessed be,

Shakti Shaman

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