"You may only enter here with Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. Do you so enter?" This and similar such charges are given to each of us before we are allowed to enter Circle. Do we fully understand what this means? How open is "Perfect Love and Perfect Trust" to interpretation? Let's take a logical approach to this, shall we?
Let's get some definitions first; according to the Random House College Dictionary, we get the following:
1. conforming absolutely to the description or definition of the type. 2. excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement. 3. exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose. 4. without any flaws or shortcomings that might be present. 5. correct in every detail. 6. thorough; complete; utter. 7. pure or unmixed. 8. unqualified; absolute. 9. unmitigated; out-and-out. etc.
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for a person of the opposite sex (seems rather outdated here, huh? - mw). 2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child or friend. 3. sexual passion or desire, or its gratification. 4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart. etc...
1. belief in and reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing. 2. confident expectation of something; hope. 3. confidence in the
certainty of future payment for property of goods received; credit. 4. a person or thing that is reliable or trustworthy. 5. the condition of one to whom something has been entrusted. 6. the obligation or responsibility imposed on one in whom confidence or authority is placed.
OK, so what does this tell us? Obviously we need to chose one or a combination of the definitions for each word. We'll start with perfect. How about part of definition 7 and all of 8 - pure, unqualified and absolute? Again, we must turn to the dictionary to get some definition of these three words.
PURE: 1. free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind. 2. of unmixed descent or ancestry. 3. (of literary style) straightforward; unaffected. 4. abstract or theoretical. 5. clear and true. 6. absolute; utter; sheer. 7. being that and nothing else; mere. 8. clean, spotless, or unblemished. 9. untainted with evil or guilt. etc.
1. not qualified; not fit; lacking the requisite qualifications. 2. not modified or restricted in any way; without reservations; absolute; complete.
1. being fully or perfectly as indicated. 2. free from any restriction, limitation, or exception. 3. independent of any
arbitrary standard; not comparative or relative. 4. utter; outright etc.
Looking at these definitions, let's find one word or phrase that best describes what we are looking for. All three mention the lack of restriction, limitation or reservation. So, let's define "perfect" as, "without restriction, limitation or reservation." For love, let's use definition 2. - a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection.
Back to Random House:
ATTACHMENT: 1. the act of attaching. 2. the state of being attached. 3. a feeling that binds one to a person, thing, cause, ideal, etc.; devotion; regard. etc.
1. fondness for or devotion to a person or thing. 2. Often a. emotion; sentiment. b. love. c. the emotional realm of one's love. etc.
Now, let's decide upon a word or phrase to define love. Both words imply a feeling of fondness or devotion that binds one to a person, thing, cause, etc..
So what have we got so far? I believe we have hit upon a reasonable definition of "Perfect Love:"
Perfect Love is a feeling of fondness or devotion, without restriction, limitation or reservation, that binds one to a person, thing, cause, etc..
However, this only one part of "Perfect Love and Perfect Trust." What about the second part - Perfect Trust?
We have already decided on a good definition of perfect: "without restriction, limitation or reservation." Let's review how Random House defines "Trust:"
TRUST: 1. belief in and reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing. 2. confident expectation of something; hope. 3. confidence in the certainty of future payment for property of goods received; credit. 4. a person or thing that is reliable or trustworthy. 5. the condition of one to whom something has been entrusted. 6. the obligation or responsibility imposed on one in whom confidence or authority is placed.
This is going to take a little more thought. How can we reduce this to a single word or phrase? I believe that the best way to handle this is to take definitions 1 and 6, and combine them into a single phrase: "the obligation and responsibility to believe in and rely on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc. of a person or thing."
Therefore, we can say that: Perfect Trust is the obligation and responsibility, without restriction, limitation or reservation, to believe in and rely on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc. of a person or thing.
So how do we define Perfect Love and Perfect Trust when applied to the Craft and to the Circle?
Perfect Love and Perfect Trust: A feeling of fondness and devotion to the Gods and those within the Circle that goes hand in hand with an obligation and responsibility to believe in and rely on the strength, integrity, ability and so forth, of the Gods and those within the Circle. Understanding that neither of these statements have any restrictions, limitations or reservations when applied to the Gods, or our brothers and sisters in the Circle.
Seems like a pretty heavy load to carry, doesn't it? It is, however it is also absolutely imperative that each and every member of the coven have this Perfect Love and Trust when entering a Circle.
The reasons for its importance are many. First of all, if we do not have Perfect Love and Perfect Trust for the Gods, why do we even bother? That makes no sense at all..
If we enter into any magickal working without Perfect Love and Perfect Trust for each and every member of the coven, the results of our work will be minimal. Why? Because our unfounded doubts and fears about others are always with us either consciously or subconsciously, and knowing this, they will definitely have a detrimental effect on the working. When left unanswered, these doubts and fears will lessen the degree to which we can fully focus on the purposes of the work at hand. Again, results will be insignificant at best.
So what do we do when we do not have Perfect Love and Perfect Trust for someone within the Circle? First of all, we must make sure that we have a basis for our feelings. Has this person wronged us in some way? If so, we should go to that person and try to resolve the situation. If it cannot be resolved, it must be taken to the High Priestess and/or High Priest. If we cannot find a basis for our feelings, we must look deep within ourselves; find the source of such feelings and deal with them accordingly. Again, it would probably be a good idea to talk to the High Priestess or High Priest. Sadly, sometimes the only resolution for such problems is for someone to leave the Coven. This must be handled with the utmost care and responsibility.
Realize too, that the kinds of love and trust we are talking about here do not just come about. They grow and are cultivated by our interaction with each other and the Gods. They develop over a period of time which is different for each and every person. One of the ways it does so is through the traditional "year and a day" training process that many covens use. This allows plenty of time for everyone to get to know a prospective coven member. Of course, it also allows the prospective member to get to know everyone else too.
One aspect of trust is often ignored or forgotten. There is an old saying that goes something like this, "you can always trust a snake to be a snake." If you know someone to be a snake then by all means don't trust them any farther than is absolutely necessary. Remember too, that the Craft has a way of changing people for the better. This is not always the case, so be cautious.
There are many ways to handle some of the shortcomings of people. Hopefully, they can be dealt with in such a way that the person will learn and grow. For instance, if you know that "Bill" can not be depended on to be on time, tell him that things will start a half hour earlier. If you are going to start at 7pm tell him 6:30pm. Make sure he knows that you are doing this though. It is imperative that Craft people be responsible. Do not allow Bill, to continue being late. If he continues to show up late, inform him that things will start on time whether he is late or not. If he is late, he will simply not be allowed to participate. The best way to handle this is to simply put a "Do not disturb" sign on the door.
The best way to handle things is with honesty. If someone can not deal with honest, good natured criticism; then they have a lot of learning to do. It may be best for them to do some private soul-searching.
A discussion of Perfect Love and Perfect Trust could continue for many pages and still remain incomplete. I hope that what I have written here has been useful to you in your journey with the Craft of the Wise.
Copyright © 1996
Placed in the public domain.
(I wrote this article for a training manual for a Coven of Witches I was a member of. Though no longer associated with the coven I think the article is relevant for any and all groups.)