Integrity is closely bound to some other words like morality, truth, honor, steadfastness, consistency, and strength. In Witchcraft, integrity is important on several levels.
Because there is no single universal constant code of morality held to among all Witches, it is for each Witch to determine their personal code of ethics and morals. While it’s hoped for that this personal code will reflect things like goodness, wisdom, kindness, intelligence, and compassion, that’s not always the case. Witches are people, and like all other people everywhere in the world, we are subject to having those under the umbrella term of Witchcraft that we don’t personally agree with and would prefer not to share the name of Witch with.
There are several wide-spread codes that are accepted by a huge majority of us, but there are always exceptions and even within those who hold to these same codes, there is still human fallibility. Because there is no supreme law for all Witches that we all must obey, for better or worse, when it comes to things like morals and ethics, it’s never possible for one Witch to tell another Witch what they ought to do— unless both Witches have agreed to follow the same code — typically taken as an oath in initiation into a coven or tradition.
A Witch’s word must have the validity of a signed and witnessed oath, therefore give thy word sparingly but adhere to it like iron.
-From the Witch’s Rede of Chivalry
Integrity’s close association with morality is the key to understanding this and so, I have to describe what that is, at least in my conception of it, before I can go on to fully explain integrity.
Morals are lines drawn between areas of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ based on an internal belief of these things. This internal belief can be defined or supported by religious teachings, spiritual revelations, codes of behavior taught by parents or other respected elders, or in some other way brought into a person’s inner beliefs. Morals (along with ethics — which are very similar, but still a bit different) define our viewpoints and stances on what we believe. Morals are a map we use to guide us, whether we think about putting a problem up against our moral guideposts to make a choice or decision we find acceptable. The popular WWJD — “what would Jesus do?” idea is a good example of this.
Morals and ethics that are never tested are just pretty words. The true test of a person’s character is not their morals and ethics, but their integrity: the willingness and resolution to stand by that code of morals and ethics when difficulty arises.
Integrity’s importance for Witches is based on two things:
1. Words are an integral part of the act of manifestation.
2. All things must work in alignment for magic to be effective.
Basically, if you say one thing and do another, your words are worthless. Worthless words have no power, not in life and not in magic. If you want your life and your magic to be effective, then your words and actions must align with each other, which is the definition of integrity.