Friday, August 26, 2011

Taking the Lord's Name in Vain

My friend Bert and I discussing various spiritual topics the other day. He mentioned the Ten Commandments. I mentioned "Thou shall not take the name of the Lord your god in vain," because it has a weird context for me.

I am not a mechanical guy. You can teach me how to build something and I will know. However, that doesn't always translate to my hands being able to do that sort of work. Oddly, the exception is magickal tools.

So, sometimes I get frustrated with mechanical work. For instance, if I am trying to get screw into a hole that has difficult access and I keep dropping the screw as I twist my body into some odd position, I may get irritated and say, "God damn it! Get in there!" Poof. The screw is in the hole and finishing the job is easy. This is not a one off thing. I cannot do it on purpose but it happens 95% of the time I get frustrated enough to say that. It freaks me out just a bit.

I wondered what is happening. Am I damning physics? Am I damning my inability thus making it an ability? I simply do not know.

Bert made the statement that this does not apply to taking the Lord's name in vain. Bert, as a former Catholic, told the story of a priest who uttered the same words in front of him. When Bert asked the priest he said it isn't a violation but a curse. Taking the Lord's name in vain means to utter it in a useless or vain manner. The latter meaning to flatter the ego.

As I often advise those I teach, it is best to look up the words you will use in a spell or frequently use to describe whatever magickal or spiritual event or perspective you may have. The reason for this is that we often use words repeatedly thinking of a primary meaning but other meanings still apply. These have a nasty habit of biting you in the ass, especially with spell work. I followed my own advice and looked up vain on Here is what I found.

excessively proud of or concerned about one's ownappearance, qualities, achievements, etc.; conceited: a vaindandy.
proceeding from or showing personal vanityvain remarks.
ineffectual or unsuccessful; futile: a vain effort.
without real significance, value, or importance; baseless or worthless: vain pageantry; vain display.

Obviously, this confirms the priests advice. It also occurred to me that I know of many that speak for God. I wonder how they feel about this topic?

1 comment:

Stephen H. Provost said...

I've always thought taking someone's name (whether a mortal's or a god's) in vain amounted to using it disrespectfully or inappropriately. For instance, if someone lies about me, that person is taking my name in vain. I always considered the narrow application of "cursing" to be very shallow. If I were a god, I wouldn't care if someone shouted my name after stubbing his toe; I would care passionately, however, if someone were to use the authority of my name to buttress some inane human agenda without my permission or even in contrast to my stated beliefs (as reflected in the writings and traditions associated with my particular religion).