In perfect love and perfect trust…this common pagan saying has been around for decades. It is commonly attributed to Lady Gwen Thompson, it making up part of The Rede of the Wiccae, a poem published as part of an article in Green Egg magazine, Issue 69, in 1975. However, it is also widely accepted that the saying predated this by a few decades, dating it to around the 1940’s. Before this though, there is not much evidence that it was in common usage.
Does this matter? That all depends on you. If you can look at a saying and see the inspirational or moral value in it, then it does not require a history. A saying used for the first time today can have just as much merit as one that is two thousand years old if it resonates with you on some level.
Today, there are many various versions of the saying to be found, as well as poems, chants and incantations that contain it. It is used to inspire; it is used to offer a moral guideline to the practice of witchcraft and magick. The words are even considered sacred by some, reflecting the potential power and influence they hold.
But what does in perfect love and perfect trust mean? As with all such quotes and sayings, it can mean different things to different people. Some people believe this statement can be (refreshingly or frustratingly?) vague, that its meaning is not well-defined and the intention behind the words should have been made clear. Others think that leaving it so open-ended means that not only is it open to the interpretation of the individual but that its very ‘vagueness’ actually stimulates debate.
How is this saying used?
One of the ways it is used in witchcraft is when challenging someone who is requesting entry to a circle once it has been cast, the required reply being in perfect love and perfect trust. It is also used to counter opposition others within the pagan community may have to opinions and differing viewpoints. However, it is primarily associated with ensuring and maintaining trust and respect with coven-settings, and perhaps even further afield than that, say the a wider witchcraft setting. If each of us trust and respect those we work or deal with, we shall get on with them better and ultimately feel more comfortable and confident.
It is worth remembering that although perfection is one of the highest ideals to obtain, perfection is in fact impossible to achieve. So where does that leave the ‘perfect love’ and ‘perfect trust’ we say we possess? Does it affect it at all? Or when we claim to be doing something in perfect love and perfect trust are we actually claiming that we are doing it to the closest possible standard that we can achieve? If this is the case, can we all reach the same standards, or will some of us fall short? Could this lead us to judging others effort when they speak these words? What if we don’t think others are trying hard enough?
My Personal Viewpoint
In Issue 1 of The Moonstone, this very maxim was chosen as the theme for From a Different Perspective (for those of you Non-Moonstoner’s out there, From a Different Perspective is a feature that we use to ask readers and contributors to let us know their thoughts on wise words, pagan sayings and quotes). This is what I had to say about it:
“To me, IN PERFECT LOVE AND PERFECT TRUST represents the highest ideals we all strive to attain. To love all and trust all though it doesn’t always seem possible doesn’t mean that mean that we shouldn’t try to reach that point. In the Craft, when working solitary, to me it means that for the highest intention to come out of rite and ritual we must love and trust ourselves because after this point has been reached, the energy we create can only be used for good. In covens, we must completely love and trust those we work with because our protection and magickal safety relies on others. And if we have this much faith and respect for those we work with, our working environment will be happier and healthier, and we will be safe.”
This post consists primarily of my own thoughts on the saying in perfect love and perfect trust, and what it means to me personally, my idle ramblings, if you will. If you would like to share any thoughts that you might have on this saying, please feel free to post below…