Living With Honour: A Pagan Ethics by Emma Restall Orr


Living With honor is divided into three parts, the first setting the stage for the following two.  The first part explores the definitions and ideas that provide a religious and philosophical basis for the other parts and is made up of five chapters.  Part two puts the ideas explored in part one into the practical context of the world and is made up of five chapters.  And part three is about walking the path and has one chapter.

The preface to part one was very interesting to read because it gave me an insight into what led the author to walk the path she is currently walking.  It is also great to know that I am not alone in my thoughts about the pagan community.  The author puts into words what is frustrating to me and obviously her as well.  Please walk the walk don’t just talk the talk. Chapter one is an attempt to define paganism, which is never an easy feat.  She does manage to talk about the major threads that run through paganism today.  In chapter two she defines paganism as she sees it.  In chapters three and four she defines ethics and pagan ethics and chapter five is an outline of what the author believes to be the critical tenets of pagan ethics.  I was a little disappointed with the fifth chapter as I felt it was too general.  It was still a good attempt at an outline of pagan ethics.

In part two the author discusses practical ethics.  Chapter six discusses human relations and chapter seven discusses the matters of birth, illness and death.  Chapter nine discusses the nonhuman elements of our world, the environment and the climate.  Chapter ten is about the distribution of wealth, and globalization.  The author in these chapters makes a lot of sense whether you agree or disagree with her assessments.

Part three is all about walking the path.  In this final part she talks about why even when we know something is wrong we don’t do anything about it.

I like this book, do I agree with everything in it, absolutely not, is it a good beginning, most definitely yes.  The author talks about something that is not easy, and does not try to take any shortcuts.  I wish more people in the pagan community would start taking things this deep.  It is time to make paganism a real path for people to follow.

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