Wiccan Rede

The Wiccan Rede

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In it's purest form the Wiccan Rede is "An it harm none, do what ye will". This is not as simple as it may sound. Let us examine the wording. Currentthinking in many circles is that this is an injunction against causing harm to another, which they interpret to include such things as doing a healing for someone that they did not request, casting a love spell or otherwise manipulating another person to suit your notion of what will do them good. Afterall, the ill may be deriving a benefit from their illness. Perhaps they utilize it as an emotional or psychological crutch and are not ready to do without this familiar friend. The reasoning is if you go and muddle about in their affairs, and succeed in healing them, they could be entirely cast adrift, without the coping mechanism they require. In that case you would have caused harm, even though that was not your intent.

Then there is the argument that on occasion it is necessary to cast a spell for your own defense that may as a result harm another. For example, if you are under psychic attack and you do a powerful protective spell, the forces that were unleashed by the attacker have nowhere to go but back to them. In this case however, you are not the one causing the harm, they produced their own downfall by attacking another. They shall reap what they have sown. This is as it should be, remember the Law of Threefold Return and Karma.

There is also the case of inadvertant harm where for example you have cast a spell to achieve a goal that you desire. There may be others attempting to reach that same goal who will not achieve it because you do. That fabulous job you just must have for example. Others surely have interviewed for this position if it's that wonderful. In this situation however, any harm accruing to others is outside your control and not as a result of any intent on your part. Do these occasions violate the rede?

My personal feeling on the matter is that this modern interpretation of the rede ignores the original meaning which was to say that if no one is harmed, it's alright to do. This says nothing about if it does harm it isn't alright. I personally do not believe in doing magic to harm others and you will find none on this site. When the intent is good, I feel that it is safe to proceed trusting that if the result you seek is not as things should be, the answer will be no. Some forces are simply not within your power to alter. Of course there may be repercussions for you if you cast a lust spell to make someone interested. You may end up affected more than they are in the end, tied to some hopeless affair that was never meant to be. If you are willing to take the chance, and live with the karma, it's up to you. This is entirely my own opinion, take it for what it's worth, but consider this quote from Janet and Stewart Farrar "The Rede is the philosophy of taking responsibility for your own actions during every moment of your life. It is of course a positive Law as opposed to the negative Laws of the Old and New Testaments. This immediately makes it a life affirming statement, but also means having to think about all your actions and what effects they will have on yourself, other people, society as a whole and your environment, not just now but also in the future."

The following are two somewhat longer versions of the Wiccan Rede that are often quoted. They are more poetic than the basic rede and are frequently used by covens and solitaires in the craft.

The Wiccan Rede, Short Version

Bide the Wiccan Laws we must
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfil:
"and ye harm none, do what ye will."
Ever mind the rule of three.

Follow this with mind and heart,
and merry ye meet
and merry ye part.

Attributed to Amber K

The Wiccan Rede

This is the long version written by Lady Gwen (Gwynne) Thompson

Bide the Wiccan Redes ye must,
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust;
Live ye must and let to live,
Fairly take and fairly give;
Form the Circle thrice about,
To keep unwelcome spirits out;
Bind fast the spell every time,
Let the words be spoke in rhyme.

Soft of eye and light of touch,
Speak ye little, listen much;
Deosil go by waxing moon,
Sing and dance the Witches' Rune;
Widdershins go by waning moon,
Chant ye then a baleful tune;
When the Lady's moon is new,
Kiss hand to her times two;
When the moon rides at peak,
Heart's desire then ye seek.

Heed the North wind's mighty gale,
Lock the door & trim the sail;
When the wind comes from the South,
Love will kiss them on the mouth;
When the wind blows from the West,
departed souls have no rest;
When the wind blows from the East,
Expect the new and set the feast.

Nine woods in the cauldron go,
Burn them quick, burn them slow;
Elder be the Lady's tree,
Burn it not or curs'd ye'll be;
When the wind begins to turn,
Soon Beltane fires will burn;
When the wheel has turned to Yule,
light the log, the Horned One rules.

Heed the flower, bush or tree
By the Lady blessed be'
When the rippling waters flow
cast a stone - the truth you'll know;
When ye have & hold a need,
Hearken not to others' greed;
With a fool no seasons spend,
Or be counted as his friend.

Merry meet and merry part
Bright the cheeks, warm the heart;
Mind the threefold law ye should,
Three times bad and three times good;
Whene'er misfortune is enow,
Wear the star upon your brow;
True in troth ever ye be
Lest thy love prove false to thee.

'Tis by the sun that life be won,
And by the moon that change be done;
If ye would clear the path to will,
Make certain the mind be still;
What good be tools without Inner Light ?
What good be magic without wisdom-sight ?
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill -
An it harm none, do what ye will.