THE WICCAN REDE :
A. One Version of the Rede :
The Wiccan Rede
Bide ye wiccan laws you 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
To bind your spell will every time,
let the spell be spake in rhyme
Soft of eye and light of touch,
speak ye little, listen much
Deosil go by the waxing moon,
chanting out ye baleful tune
When ye Lady’s moon is new,
kiss your hand to her times two
When ye moon rides at her peak,
then your heart’s desire seek
Heed the north winds mighty gale,
lock the door and trim the sail
When the wind comes from the south,
love will kiss thee on the mouth.
When the wind blows from the east,
expect the new and set the feast.
When the wind blows from the west
Bardic words be at their best!
Nine woods in the cauldron go,
burn them fast and burn them slow
Elder be ye Lady’s tree,
burn it not or cursed ye’ll be.
When the wheel begins to turn,
soon ye Beltane fires will burn
When the wheel hath turned a Yule
light the log the Horned One rules.
Heed ye flower, bush and tree,
by the Lady blessed be
Where the rippling waters go,
cast a stone, the truth ye’ll know.
When ye have and hold a need,
harken not to others greed
With a fool no season spend,
or be counted as his friend.
Merry meet and merry part,
bright the cheeks and warm the heart.
Mind ye threefold law ye should
three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow,
wear the star upon thy brow
True in love ye ever be,
lest thy love be false to thee.
Bide ye wiccan laws you must,
in perfect love and perfect trust:
These eight words the wiccan rede fulfill;
An harm ye none, do what ye will.
B. A Rede variant. Note the differences...
The Rede of the Wicca,
Being known as the Counsel of the Wise Ones:
Bide the Wiccan laws ye must
in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust
Live and let another live
Freely take and freely give
Cast the circle thrice about
To keep all evil spirits out
To bind the spell every time
Let the spell be spake in rhyme.
Soft of eye and light of touch
Speak thou little, listen much.
Deosil go by waxing moon
Sing and dance the Wiccan rune
Widdershins go when the moon doth wane
And the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane.
When the Lady’s moon is new
Kiss thy hand to her times two
When the moon rides at her peak
Then your heart’s desire seek.
Heed the northwind’s mighty gale
Lock the door and drop the sail
When the wind comes from the south
Love will kiss thee on the mouth.
When the wind blows from the east
Expect the new and set the feast
When the west wind blows o’er thee
Departed spirits restless be.
Nine woods in the cauldron go
Burn them fast and burn them slow
Elder be ye Lady’s tree
Burn it not or cursed ye’ll be.
When the wheel begins to turn
Let the Beltain fires burn
When the wheel has turned to Yule
Light the log and let Pan rule.
Heed ye flower, bush and tree
By the Lady, Blessed be
Where the rippling waters go
Cast a stone and truth ye’ll know.
When ye have a need
Hearken not to others’ greed
With the fool no season spend
Nor be counted as his friend.
Merry meet and merry part
Bright the cheeks and warm the heart
Mind the Threefold Law ye should
Three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow
Wear the blue star on thy brow
True in love must ever be
Unless thy lover’s false to thee.
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill
An it harm none, do what ye will
WITH THESE EIGHT WORDS THE WICCAN REDE FULFILL:
"AN IT HARM NONE, DO WHAT YE WILL."
(Copyright 08/17/92 by Servants Of The Elder Gods,
Rocky Mountain Coven and James C. Taylor)
A. The purpose of this paper is to look at the Wiccan Rede, at the types of conduct it excludes, and at the type of conduct it requires. We will begin with a detailed examination of the wording of the Rede itself, which presents as "pseudo-archaic" but actually makes excellent use of the specific meanings of several archaic words which have no real quivalents in contemporary English. We will then take a look at the two edtions of the Rede, and see why they are presented in their proper order as written. Finally, we will examine various uses of magick and see how—and if—they adequately measure up to the standard of the Rede.
B. THE VOCABULARY OF THE WICCAN REDE.
As mentioned above, the Rede appears to be presented in a pseudo-archaic or "phony ancient" form of English. Is this simply harmless foolishness, or is there some excellent reason for the vocabulary selected? Let’s take a look at the Rede, word by word.
1. AN: This word is commonly mistranslated as "IF", which is a significant error. The word "AN" is more accurately translated "JUST SO LONG AS".
2. IT: This pronoun refers to whatever it is that you are thinking of doing.
3. HARM:This refers to anything which either you or any other person involved or affected by "it" would regard as loss, damage, pain, discomfort, injustice, invasiveness, or prevention, relative to the situation existing before "it" was done. Anything which goes against another person’s free will, even if it intends them good, would constitute serious harm.
4. NONE:This ought to be self-explanatory. "None" is an all- exclusive word. If you harm anyone or anything, including yourself, including a small rock in Trenton, New Jersey, you have harmed "some", not "none".
5. DO: To perform whatever working is contemplated by "IT", above.
6. WHAT:The meaning here is "Whatever", and refers forward.
7. YE: The archaic PLURAL form of "you". The current word "you" denotes both the singular and the plural; the archaic word "YE" is always plural. We shall see, later on, that this is no accident.
8. WILL:To will something is to exercise your intellectual decision-making power to determine the course of action which you feel to be the best. "Will" has little or nothing to do with "wish" or "want" or "desire". It is not an emotional inclination or feeling. It is the employment of reason to make a decision based upon your best judgment.
C. THE TWO SECTIONS OF THE WICCAN REDE;
1. SECTION ONE: "AN IT HARM NONE".
a. Why does the Wiccan Rede not say, "Do what ye will, an it harm none"? There is a reason why the "An it harm none" comes first in the Rede, and that reason is that "An it harm none" is intended to come first in your own thinking, as a Wiccan initiate and practitioner. If you or any Wiccan begins with "Do what ye will", I assure you that you, like the Fundamentalists before you, will find a way to excuse and even to justify anything you take it into your head to do! Knowing this about human nature, the Lady inspired the Rede to be written as it is, with the "An it harm none" to come first.
b. The Wiccan Rede’s "An it harm none" has parallels in many disciplines. Perhaps the most significant parallel is found in the Hippocratic Oath taken by every physician before s/he is certified to practice. The first part of the Hippocratic Oath binds the physician "First, to do no harm." It is sobering to realize that magical ethics, as set forth in the Wiccan Rede, are or should be so similar to medical ethics, an issue with such a powerful effect on so many lives.
c. When we read of a physician who has violated his medical ethics, we read this with outrage toward him and with empathy toward those patients who suffered inadequate care because the physician violated his ethics. It is more sobering to realize that future generations will regard violations of magickal ethics with the same degree of outrage, and rightly so.
2. SECTION TWO: "DO WHAT YE WILL."
a. Even without the first part of the Rede, "Do what ye will" is most certainly not a blanket permission to do whatever you desire to do. As one Wiccan High Priestess has observed, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Seems like I’ve heard that before, but it’s certainly true when you’re talking about using real magick to accomplish real goals in the real world.
b. When we realize the kinds and orders of results, both expected and unexpected, both knowable and unknowable, which eventuate from almost every human action, it would seem the better part of both valor and wisdom to never do anything at all, especially not anything which is done with spiritual power guided by no more than human wisdom! Unfortunately, to do nothing is also a choice, and the results of inaction are often far worse than the results of even ill-considered action. This is why the second half of the Rede demands that we make a decision and act upon it, as well as conforming that decision to the requirement that it harm none.
D. THE STANDARD OF THE REDE.
1. Please note that the Wiccan Rede contains no loop- holes whatsoever. The Rede does not say, "An it harm none to the best of your knowledge." The Rede also does not say "An it harm none to the best of your ability to discern whether it will harm someone."
2. The Wiccan Rede does not say these things, or anything similar to them. It simply says "An it harm NONE, do what ye will." This means that YOU, once you have committed to live by the Wiccan Rede, are committed to be solely and totally responsible for any harm resulting from
ANY ACTION YOU TAKE, MAGICKAL OR NOT.
3. Paul Seymour’s forthcoming book begins with some strong cautionary notes concerning the use of magick. One of the examples he gives is particularly tragic, and concerns a young man who worked a simple and apparently harmless "money spell". The spell worked, and the young man got his money—he inherited it, when his parents were both killed in an accident shortly after he worked the spell.
4. Paul does not say in his book if this young man was a Wiccan initiate. If he was, then in addition to his sorrow and loss, he has had to live with the fact that, by the standard of the Rede, he is ultimately responsible for the death of his parents.
5. When you commit to live according to the Wiccan Rede, you commit to conform your entire life, not just the magickal, mystical and religious aspects of it, to the standard set by the Rede. Never again will you be able to act impulsively or without considering the results of what you do. Never again will you be able to act or even speak in thoughtless irritation or anger. Instead, you will come to consider the implications of every word you speak, and of every routine action you do. For it is not just by magick that we can harm ourselves or others; everything we do, and everything we say, has the potential to help or harm others, and to help or harm ourselves.
6. It is also important to note that the Rede sets up a standard which prevents us from harming ourselves as well as others. Other religions, including Christianity, regard it as virtuous to suffer harm for the sake of another, even to die so that another person might live. The Wiccan Rede does not permit this. You are to harm none, and this means that you are not to harm yourself, even for the sake of doing good for someone else. To some, this may seem like a selfish standard. But think about it. Would you wish to benefit by someone else’s injury or death? Of course not! If you did derive some benefit, such as an inheritance, from the death of another person, would you feel good about this? Well, some people might, but probably you would not. Therefore, in a very real sense, you yourself are harmed by a benefit you derive from the injury or death of another. True, the harm is emotional, but it is entirely real.
7. Wicca recognizes that human beings are social creatures. What does harm to one, does harm to all in varying degrees. Therefore, it is imperative that each person strive to harm no one, himself or herself included.
8. Finally, it is significant to note that word "ye" in the statement, "Do what YE will." This is the ancient plural form of "you", and it means that your individual will is assumed to be in accord with some other will, instead of acting entirely on its own.
9. What is this other will which, together with yours, comprises the "ye" in the Rede? Well, if you are working in a coven, it could well be the combined will of the members of the coven. But this would not apply to those who are working on their own, and it is not the highest or best meaning, even for those working in coven.
10. How does one act, so as to be certain to harm none? Not by refusing to act, since inaction is itself a decision, and often causes far more harm than even rash action. Not by delaying action until the time for it is past, because that is the same as inaction. And not by relying solely upon your own human wisdom, either.
11. The best way to act, so as to be certain to harm none, is to call upon the Goddess and/or the God, and to hand to Them the power you have raised, together with the situation you have raised the power to deal with, and say, "You are holy, good, and wise, and know how to use this power to help and not harm. Do Your will in this situation. That is my will, that Your will be done." And thus the Rede is fulfilled: For the "ye" who will are yourself and Themselves, who are good, and love humanity, and who always act for the highest good of all.
E. In the Wiccan Rede above, and scattered in the oath, we find words such as Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. What are these strange words and what do they mean?
1. Before one can analyze the meaning behind the phrase "Perfect Love and Perfect Trust", one must first define the words. For this purpose, I will use the Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language 1982 edition.
a. Perfect: adj. [L. per-, through + facere, do] 1. complete in all respects; flawless 2. excellent, as in skill or quality 3. completely accurate 4. sheer; utter [a perfect fool] 5. Gram. expressing a state or action completed at the time of speaking - vt. 1. to complete 2. to make perfect or nearly perfect - n. 1. the perfect tense 2. a verb form in this tense - perfectly adv - perfectness n.
b. Love: n. [
c. Trust: n.[ON, traust] 1. a) firm belief in the honesty, reliability, etc. of another; faith b) the one trusted 2. confident expectation, hope, etc. 3. responsibility resulting from confidence placed in one. 4. Care, custody 5. something entrusted to one....
2. Using these definitions, we come up with "Flawless strong affection and flawless faith.
a. Is this possible? Those that follow the religion of Wicca often give excuses for this just being words. When this is the case, they are not obeying their faith....thus..they are not following perfect love and perfect trust. But to the rest...the answer is a resounding YES. This does not ask that you "like" a person. It asks that you see the divine light and love within individual whether you like them or not. Can this be done...YES. As to the perfect trust...we can always trust a fox to be a fox, right? Therefore, when we are entering circle, we can honestly answer perfect trust even if it is on shaky ground. We may have faith that this person will act like any other human.
III. ETHICS AND NEO-PAGANISM
A. Wicca has no single leader. It has no single body of dogma. It has no
‘ultimate athority’ that tells people what to believe. If you can hold to a
code of ethics that in some ways is more demanding than most (because it
-requires- you to make decisions for yourself much of the time!) and can
live life with joy and gladness, then read on.
B. Many people today are getting interested in Magick. Books proliferate
the market (whereas a few years ago, they were very difficult to come
C. One of the main things to remember when attempting to learn how to
practice Magick is to keep an "ethical" viewpoint in mind. Remember
that Magick is manipulation. Through Magick, one can manipulate his or
her environment, and the people that are in that environment. It’s
important to remember that manipulation of another’s Will (i.e.
attempting to control them, etc.) is considered "unethical" by Wiccan
standards (as well as by many other Pagan traditions).
D. Another thing that would be considered "unethical" is hexing. A hex
is a baneful or malicious Magickal working with the intent of hurting
another person in some way (by either making them do something that
will cause a hurt, or by causing something else to hurt them). This can be
an emotional hurt, as well as a physical one.
E. To some, -any- manipulation or changing of the natural order is
unethical.Can you really say that your area needs more rain, and thus
perhaps take it from another......? Think long and hard about -any-
magickal working -before-you do it, for it -always- has consequences.
F. I am really surprised by the number of people who are professing to be
Wiccans, and who have adopted the "anything goes" attitude, feeling
they can hex and heal at Will. Anyone who understands the Three Fold
Law, or Law of Karma, realizes that everything will eventually come
back on the originator (and most times, intensified...i.e. Threefold, or
even stronger). A person who is aware of this Law, and yet still practices
hex or hurtful Magick against another is like a person who is cutting off
their arm, to spite themself. It makes no sense!! Yet, I have had
communication with a lot of people who think that by "accepting the
consequences" of their actions after doing this type of Magick, is
"accepting responsiblity." However, I would like to point out that REAL
responsiblity is demonstrated by NOT practicing that type of Magick at
G. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you’re free to do whatever you
want..... nothing is FREE. You eventually pay for it, one way or another.
True freedom comes from knowing that you really don’t have complete
"freedom." There are rules and regulations that need to be followed (just
reference our legal system for an allegory.....we are one of the "freest"
countries in the world, and yet we have tons of laws that keep us from
doing many things.. so, we don’t have complete freedom). Our freedom
comes from following the rules, and abiding by them. If this is done,
eventually, spiritual evolution will follow, releasing you from the
incarnation cycle, and LIBERATING you from the physical plane, to
begin development on the next.
H. However, if you fall into the "I can do what I want" trap, you will
continue to be your own worst enemy, causing yourself much pain and
suffering for many lifetimes to come.....and, you will only have yourself to
blame for it!
IV. NEOPAGAN LIFE
A. For the Self
1. Learn. Knowledge is the basis of all that is. Take in all knowledge, from any source. Armed in this way, wisdom will be your guide.
2. Meditate. Go into the Inner Self. Knowledge extends beyond what is read and learned and far into your Self. For only from our selves is there true wisdom.
3.Love. Love all those around. Friends, enemies, Mother Earth and all that she holds. But first love yourself.
B. For Others
1. Teach. Teaching will raise the level of understanding of the world. Even though you may have a small number of students, each one student and every bit of knowledge passed on will be of benefit.
2. Teach carefully. Know what is being taught and to whom. Teach students what they can learn, as far as they can go. Only the student can know where the knowledge will take him.
3. Heal. Use the technique that will be of the most benefit without overdoing. If what is needed is talk, then talk. If what is needed is direct use of energy, then use the energy without hesitation.
C. Walk the Path
1. Harm None. More than not squishing ants. Be mindful of power both learned and intuited as well as knowledge imparted. Think about the consequences before taking action.
2.Be the Example. Walk the path with love and trust, impart only the knowledge that will benefit and use your talents for the good, the path will become evident.
V. THE NEW BOOK OF THE LAW
1. The Book of The Law
2. The Old Laws for the Old Religion
3. The Great Book of the Law
4. The Dragon Law
1. In my years of teaching and running a group, I have always had a dissatisfaction with the popular "Book of the Law" available to most Seekers. I felt it to be too archaic in its wording and perspective—and while it was valuable in the Burning Times, it simply does not deal with the concerns and needs of "modern-day" Witches. Over the years I became familiar with several other sets of Laws. Each of these had many good points, yet they also had their disadvantages as well.
2. Recently, I decided to do something daring—I took the four different versions of the Laws which I had, and combined and reworked them. I deleted what was no longer pertinent or
meaningful, rewording others to make them clearer and more understandable, as well as throwing in a few new ones which I felt had been lacking. I believe that what has evolved out of this work is a set of Laws which are readable, usable, and most importantly, pertinent to the needs of today’s Witches and Neo-Pagans. It is with these thoughts and hopes that I would like to share them with you. If you should find merit or worth in them, then I will feel as though I have accomplished something. The material in this booklet has not been copyrighted, so you may reproduce the Laws for students or friends, or reprint them in your publication. It is my sincere hope that the New Book of the Law will be of use to the Craft Community.
3. Blessed Be:
C. The Laws were created to give our lives form and order, that all might
be balanced throughout all of the planes. In truth there are two sets of
laws which govern us—one sets forth the ways of the Wiccan, and the
other the ways of the Universe. Both are important, both should be
observed with respect and treated with honor. The Laws were shaped
and molded to teach us, to advise us, and to counsel us in our time of
mortal life on earth.
1. Honor the Gods, for They are the channels and the manifestation of the Source. Honor yourself, for this force also lies within you. Love the Gods as They love you, and by loving yourself and your brothers and sisters, so the Gods shall honor you. As the love and joy of a man and a woman [or "lover and beloved"—LAH] flowers and grows when nurtured with respect, and cultivated with understanding and honor, so should you love the Gods.
2. The Goddess is the Great Mother, and the God is the Great Father, and we are Their children; and we shall worship Them, for They are the rulers of the Universe, and all that is therein.
Therefore, O Children of the Gods, try Them not, nor attempt to test Them, for They shall show you that he Ways of the Craft are not to be belittled or mocked.
3. Let the Power of the Craft flow from you only in love—or not at all. For it has always been known that the energy webs which we weave and maintain shall eventually return to encircle their creator. Thus our works become either the net which intaglios and binds us, or the web of light by which we find the Gods.
4. Let the Rites of the Wicca be a way for the children of the Gods to be as One—for Power only flows when unified. Always should you revere the Earth, and heal and tend Her, for She is our life, our Mothership, on which we navigate the dark currents of space.
5. When you reap the harvests of your lands, then you shall not reap one corner of the field, nor glean the herb gardens, or the fallen fruits of the orchards. These you shall offer to the Earth Mother, in direct return, or through offerings made to your Circle, or to sustain its Priests and Priestesses.
6. Always be proud to be of the Wicca, but do not allow your pride to become vanity—for those who are conceited are a stubling block at the door of the Temple, and they shall be cast adrift, to swim within their own vanity.
7. Observe and listen, reserving your judgment, for until all the silver is weighed, who can know the worth thereof?
8. As like breeds like, even more so does good beget love and joy. Your life will be full of love and joy if you are joyful and happy.
9. Your teachers are the servants of the Gods, and they shall plant the seeds of knowledge within the minds of their students, and they shall use their power for the good of the Wicca. Yet it is each individual’s duty to tend the seeds which are planted, and to make the final harvest. Those who misuse the power and the trust of the teacher’s position shall have to answer to the Lords of Karma, and adjust the balance accordingly.
10. The Temples of the Gods, which are Their abode on Earth, shall belong to all Their children, and each Circle shall be as a special family. Do naught against any Temple or any family of the Wicca, lest you do that thing unto the Gods, and against yourself.
11. You must not be a teller of tales amongst the children of the Goddess, and you must hold no malice or evil thoughts towards others of the Wicca.
12. You should not lie, nor give false testimony before your Elders, or those who are of the Wicca—for liars are fools, and a menace unto themselves, and to the Wicca. Be truthful in all your works and deeds, especially within the Circle, for what you say within the presence of the Gods becomes manifest.
13. You must not put stumbling blocks in the way of those who do not follow the Path of the Wicca. You must make no unrighteous judgments of their ways, and you should aid them with an attitude of love when it is asked for. Yet ever should you keep the Counsel of the Elders, and reveal naught to others of where our Circles may be, nor may you reveal our ways without the consent of the Priestess.
14. When you make a vow to the Lord or the Lady, or you swear an oath to another of the Wicca, then you must do all that has come forth from your mouth, for a covenant with the Gods, or with the Wicca, is your Honor, and woe to those who care not for the fetters they attach to their souls by not keeping their word.
15. The Great Mother and Father would not have their children suffer the indignities of oppressors for their sake, for what is within the hearts of Their children is dear and true to Them. The Ancient and Mighty Ones shall cause the balance to be made for those who desecrate the Lord and Lady, Their temples, or Their creations.
16. Never shall you use Magick, nor the Craft, to cause harm, for this is misuse of the Power, and it is not to be condoned. To cause the death of another through the Craft is to require the death of the Self in sacrifice.
17. Never betray any of the brethren, nor the lore of our people, for you are all servants of the Gods, and must live by the virtues of love, honor and wisdom. Let truth, loyalty and honor be your creed. Let them be your guides, tempered by love and wisdom.
18. The Order of the Gods shall you keep, and within Their Circles shall you walk. You should not say "I believe" when you doubt, nor claim to obey the Lord and Lady’s word when you never enter into the Temple. You must not profess with your lips that which is not in your heart.
19. Do not use the names of the Gods in negative or evil ways, for They love and cherish Their children above all others. All others They love, even those who know them not. Yet those who hate and curse in Their name shall have the Mighty Ones take the measure of their worth.
20. In any disputes between the children of the Goddess, no one may invoke any laws but those of the Craft, or any tribunal but that of Priestess, Priest, and Elders.
21. No one of the Wicca may do anything which will endanger the Craft, nor bring any of the Wicca into conflict with the Law of the Land, or with any of our persecutors.
22. Your magickal tools are channels to that which is most precious and pure within you. Do not cheapen them by haggling their price when you acquire them.
23. Never accept money for the use of the Power. It is sorcerers and charlatans who accept money for their spells and prayers. If you accept no money, you will be free from the temptation to use the Craft for evil or unworthy causes.
24. You shall never take unduly from any human, animal or elemental that which is not yours to take—for if you steal from another, in the end you will have to sacrifice something dearer to you in order to attain the balance.
25. Show honor to all people, that they may look up to you, and respect you, and their eyes shall become a mirror for your soul.
26. Those who are of the Wicca shall not own slaves, for one person may not own the spirit of another, for only the Great Mother and Father own our souls. Nor shall you take as a pledge any person’s life, for to do so is to take upon yourself both a mill and a millstone.
27. If a stranger sojourns with you, you shall do them no wrong; they shall be as one of the Circle, born amongst ye, and you shall deal with them as you would yourself.
28. Just weights and just balances shall be given by you, and just value shall you give, and thereby receive threefold.
29. Your altars shall be kept clean, pure and holy, and all that is brought into the Temple or the Circle shall be cleansed and blessed, for the joy of the Gods, and of the Wicca.
30. A clean mind should have a clean body. You should keep your body, your clothes, and your house clean, in honor of the Mother, who gives these things to you.
31. Let none die without honor, without love, without respect, unless their actions have decreed otherwise.
32. You should not couple together if it shall cause pain, jealousy or deprivation to another by doing so. Union for malice or evil reasons such as these upsets the balance, and the Lords of the Universe shall make adjustments accordingly.
33. Let those who would love, and would be as one, and bear child, be handfasted. For the sharing of love in this manner is beauteous, and love’s union in the energy of the Gods, and the heritage of the child. It is important for children to know and to identify with those who brought
34. The Law of the Goddess is that none of the Wicca shall take and wed someone who they do not love, whether it is to harm another, or for some form of material gain.
35. Remember that your children are Goddess-spawned, and are free spirits. You do not own nor control them. They are your brethren, come to visit for a while, that they may share in the vision of your love and wisdom. Let each parent realize that although they may teach and guide with love, the child shall also teach the parent, and aid them in their growth and lessons.
36. The etheric web and energy vortexes of the earth are in constant flux and motion to adjust to the needs of the planet. The sacred trust of the Wicca is to create and to maintain centers of light and knowledge, using the magick of the divine spark within us to focus and channel the forces of the Universal fire. And these are the channels established between the worlds of the stars and the realms of the earth, bringing in and regulating the spirit flames which energize and activate all life forms. Thus we tend and guard the threads of creation, and we weave the patterns of life and manifestation in an ever-evolving tapestry.
37. Never use your heritage or position for self-glorification or gain. Respect your magick and our ways. We must always recognize that while others may look to us to lead them, they too are our guides.
38. Keep your body strong, your mind keen, and your purpose pure, for within your being you shall channel the Power, and it needs to be strong and pure. And these are the keys to the path of Oneness, and to communication with the Gods. Yet first you must learn to speak to Them in such a manner as They can comprehend you. For the children of the Wicca must aid the Gods, and work with Them, otherwise the Gods cannot aid and work with you. Ever remember that the Priest and Priestess are the living representatives of the God and Goddess Forces, and likewise that all humans carry these forces within them, though they may lie dormant and unawakened. 39. As the Great Mother and Father come unto one another and create with the pure vibration of Love-Wisdom, so should you strive to make your Temple pure in vibration, and thus a fitting place wherein you may invite the Gods. Thus, your Circle should always be duly purified and cast, and likewise, those who would use the gateways and travel the Circle between the earth and other realms should also be duly prepared and purified.
40. The Goddess hath said, "I shall not carry thee, yet neither shall I hinder thee, nor keep thee from having the same opportunities as all of my children. Thou art free, yet thou shalt not be coddled like babes in the storm. If thou hast true devotion within thee, then all obstacles may be overcome."
41. The laggard is but half a person—and though half is better than none, the whole is twice as good as the half. Those who do not work, or who lack the will and desire to learn the ways of the Gods, unto them is said, "The Ancient and Mighty Ones shall not keep thee within their house, if ye learneth not."
42. A sanctuary you shall make unto the Gods, that They may dwell amongst you. And you shall fashion it to the best of your ability, according to all that your Elders shall show you, and pure energy shall you place therein.
43. An altar shall you make to unto the Lady, and you shall make due reverence unto Her, for every place where She is exalted, She will come to you and bless you. And you shall fashion your altar out of wood or stone, and burn incense and candles thereon, at the proper times, in observance of her ways.
44. You should set aside at least one day during each moon unto the Goddess, and on these days you shall do Her work; and on those days She shall renew Her children and bless them.
45. Learn to build your own Temple, and to craft your own sacred Circle, and all the tools that are used therein—for to be a person of the Craft is to be a person of consequence.
46. Let each of you inscribe your own record of our ways and teachings. For the course of each Wiccan should be charted, that the patterns of their life-web may be made known and utilized. Let each Wiccan start their Book of Light with the teachings and lore of their tradition, yet let it also contain the rites and ways of each individual, which are the harvest of each child of the Wicca, to use the wisdom of their heritage as the seeds of their own wisdom. Thus shall our lore and knowledge continue to grow and unfold, like a beautiful flower.
47. It is right to study and to understand the sigils, statues and stories of the Gods, for they shall guide your thoughts to Them, and They shall hear them. Yet you must ever remember that you worship not the sign nor the statue, but the Gods which inspired them.
48. If your Circle owns any land, let all guard it, and help to keep it clean. Let all justly guard all moneys of the Circle, as well as the rights and property of all members of the Circle.
49. If any Wiccan truly labors, then it is right that they should have their just pay. This is not considered the taking of money for the Art, but good and honest work. Yet if any Wiccan works willingly for the good of the Craft, or for their brothers and sisters without pay, then it is to their greatest honor.
50. If any Wiccan should deny themselves some pleasure or material indulgence in order to do service in the Circle, this person shall be blessed and remembered. For those who give for the greater good of all shall have their spirit uplifted.
51. Know also that if you gift the Lady’s Priests and Priestesses, or Her Circles, this is an offering made unto the Mother Herself, for a true Priest or Priestess strives always to do Her work, and to be of service to Her children, so to honor and respect them is to honor and respect the Queen of All.
52. And the offerings which are considered the most pleasing to the Gods are these:
a. the fruits of the orchards
b. the scents of the trees and herbs
c. the metals of the earth
d. the waters of the earth
e. the flowers of the meadows
f. and the milk of all mothers. (1) Yet offerings of labor or money are honest too, and these will also be accepted—more so if you work with love in your heart, for always there is work to be done for the Gods, and service to be given to the children of the Wicca.
53. If your offerings are made to restore the balance, it must by of a nature that it not offensive to the Gods. It must be of value, yet given with a free heart. Thus shall the harmony be restored. If your offerings are given with a heart filled with love and devotion, or are of service to the Gods, or to the Craft, then shall you receive blessings manifold.
54. And when you make an offering unto the Gods, you should offer it thru the most proper medium, at the proper times, and in such a manner as to make it acceptable. Any and all remains of the rituals shall be consumed in the fire, or buried within the Earth, as a way of returning to the Source all that we use in the observance of our ways, thus ensuring the continuity of the cycle.
55. All may use the Craft to help and aid them, or for the advantage of their Circle, or the Craft—yet only if you are sure that you harm none. Let each Wiccan and Circle always debate these matters at length. Only if all be satisfied that none be harmed in any way, may the Art then be used. If it is not possible to achieve your ends one way, then perhaps the goal may be achieved by acting in a different way, so as to harm none.
56. Throughout the world it has been many a year since Wiccans have been burned. Yet misuse of the Power might raise the persecutions once again. So never break the Laws, however much you might be tempted, and never consent to their being broken. And if you know they are being broken, then you must work strongly against it.
57. In days of old it was decided by the Mighty Ones who came before us that the Art might be used to restrain others from harming the Craft or its children, yet only after great consultation with all members of the Circle, and only then to deflect or to constrain them.
58. And such were the ways of the Lady that She brought us forth in joy, and such were the Ways of the Lord that His reign gave all life pleasure. Offer love in your worship and all shall be joyous in beauty.
59. In the dimly remembered dawn of ages past, the Wicca were truly free. Then, in Atlantis came the Age of the Misuse of Power, followed by the Ages of Persecution and Suffering. Thus the people of the Wicca hid themselves and cloaked their knowledge, and wove veils of secrecy and silence. And this is how the Ways of the Wicca have been preserved through the time of darkness. Yet much of the ways of our people were lost to the ignorance of others.
60. Yet the cycle spirals ever on—and the Age of the Earth Mother once again draws nigh. We must be strong—one with our birthright, and one with our Gods, if we are to bring forth the balance. Those who would harm us, or attempt to enslave us, we must overcome—yet only through light and love, and never through violence or the evil of chaos. And through our efforts the time of our people will come into being once more. In the times which lie ahead, there lies much work to be done, so that once more the cycles of life are drawn to the path of light, and the balance achieved through the power of love.
61. In order to bring the ways of Light and Love and Life to the peoples of the Earth, our secrets are slowly becoming secrets no more, and it is good that this is so—for the age of shadow and secrecy is passing. Yet the sharing of our ways needs always to be guided by wisdom and by love. Let our rites and our mysteries be kept sacred. Let no one defile our worship or our heritage. For the defilement of our ways is an honor loss to self, and for the Craft.
62. Let each High Priestess govern her Circle with justice and Love, and with the help and advice of the Elders and the High Priest, always heeding the messages of the Gods when they come.
63. Ever remember that although the Priest is the force with which the Circle is built, the Priestess is the ruler therein—for it is through her that the Goddess created the world, and all things therein.
64. The High Priestess will heed all complaints of all Pagans and Wiccans, and strive to settle any differences between them with reason and with justice.
65. Let each Circle of Light decide how it shall be known—whether by earthly name or magickal one. For each child of the Wicca knows best the safety or dangers of their homeland.
66. Let each Circle or Temple maintain and dedicate unto the Goddess and the God all the things that are required for Their rituals, for what is blessed in the name of the Gods rightly belongs to Them, and the Priest and Priestess shall be the caretakers thereof.
67. Anyone of the circle who is of sufficient rank, and wishes to form a new Circle, shall tell the High Priestess and the Elders of their intentions. Members of the old Circle may join the new Circle when it is formed, but if they do so they must leave the other Circle, unless otherwise instructed. For it is the Old Law that each Wiccan may join the Circle of their choice, yet their energy should not be divided between two or more Temples.
68. The Elders of the old and new Circles shall meet in peace and with respect, to decide the level of interaction and connection between the Circles. Yet it is known that the splitting of a Circle often means strife. So only if it is truly in a spirit of peace and harmony should the Circles meet for the celebration of the Great Festivals.
69. None shall enter the Circle that have a sickness or an ailment which may be passed on to the Lady’s other children—for to do so causes harm to yurself, as well as to the others of the Circle. Rather should the Healers go unto the sick one, that through the love of the Gods they shall be made well and whole once more.
70. It has been judged lawful that if any of the Craft need a house, or land, and none will sell, to incline someone’s mind so as to be willing to sell, providing it harms none and the full price is paid without haggling.
71. In the matter of quarrels or disputes between the members of the Circle, the High Priestess shall convene the Council, and inquire into the matter. The Council shall hear each person privately, and then both together. And they shall decide justly, not favoring one side nor the other.
72. If an agreeable resolution cannot be reached, then that Wiccan must leave the Circle, for a Circle of Light cannot be properly formed where there is disagreement and discord. And when a Circle is not properly formed, the energy within is either dissipated, or turns ugly, festering like a hidden sore. So let them leave, but only with love in their hearts and yours, for even though your paths may diverge, you are still all children of the Wicca, and there must be no violence between us. Bear no grudges, hold no thoughts of vengeance, for this will rot away the foundation of your power.
73. It has ever been recognized that there are some people who can never agree to work under any others. At the same time there are also people who cannot rule justly. To those who must ever be chief there is but one answer: "Void this Circle, and seek another one, or if ye be of sufficient rank, then form a Circle of your own." To those who cannot rule justly, the answer shall be "Those who cannot bear your rule will leave you." For none may come to Circle with those with whom they are at variance, for to do so angers the Gods, and hinders the Craft.
74. Those that do wrong without knowledge shall be held innocent; those that do wrong through carelessness shall be judged lacking in wisdom, and dealt with according to the nature of the transgression. Those who do wrong with deliberation and forethought shall be thrice punished, and the Lords of Karma shall lay low their pride.
75. Each person must make a balance for their words and actions, and the judgments of the Elders should incline to try to make good come from the injustice or wrong-doing. Many are the ways to restore the balance, so let the judgments of the Elders and the Priestess be in keeping with this.
76. Do not turn aside those who seek the ways of the Wicca for the want of an offering or the lack of a robe. You are the servants of the Gods, and the servants of Their people, and those that seek for the Gods you must aid in their quest.
77. Of those who would inquire as to the ways of the Goddess, or who wish to become of the Wicca, ye shall search their hearts, and even into their spirits you shall look, as you are able. For the Wicca do not look to acquire mere numbers. Let none be turned away if their hearts are true, and their desire earnest.
78. The hidden children are like the strings of a harp: each one may give a clear note, and when gathered together in sympathy and accord, they shall give rise to a beautiful symphony. Yet when struck without reason or thought, these notes may cause discord or disharmony. Therefore the Gods decree to Their Teachers and Priests that all must be taught to master their harp, and to pluck their strings with care, that they cause no discord or imbalance.
79. Choose the Priests and Teachers of the Wicca with diligence and with care. The qualities that you should search for within them are Faith, Belief, Knowledge, Ability, Patience, Leadership, Humility, and a loving nature—for they must lead and teach the children of the Goddess, and will thereby have the power to do great good, or to cause great imbalance.
80. In practice it should be that the greatest of the Priests and Priestesses should guide the rituals within each of the Temples of the Old Gods, and truly you should be content with the advice and guidance given by them. Yet ever it should be given so that it is clear and understandable, for within the Temple each of the Wicca is free, and thus they should be able to recognize and to understand our ways and their implications. And those who cannot explain the inner workings, or give just cause and reason for their decisions, may be questioned, or the wisdom of the advice weighed.
81. Let the Priestess and Priest lead as long as they are able, and their leadership be wise and strong, and to the benefit of the Wicca. Yet if their health is ill-favored, or if the next generation needs to try their hand, then let them have the vision and the wisdom to step away from their position, and pass the duties of the Circle to another. Let them not become overly attached to the office, nor too fond of the power.
82. If a Priestess or a Priest should tire of their duties and charges, then they may step down, but only after having trained and acknowledged a successor. If a Priest or Priestess deserts their Circle, then they have lost the right to ever lead again within this life, so great a trust they have broken. If they should return to the Circle within one turn of the Wheel, and are judged to have true atonement in their hearts, new insight and growth, then they may be forgiven, and allowed to return to the Circle, yet they shall worship only, and hold no office or title. Leadership is a sacred commitment and an honor, and they have shown that they cannot be trusted with such responsibility.
83. Any Priestess, Priest, or Elder who consents to a breach of the Laws regarding the use of the Craft to cause harm to others must immediately be relieved of their office, for it is the lives of the children of the Goddess which they endanger, as well as the honor of the Craft.
84. The High Priestess may take a Sabbatical from her Circle, if her personal life and duties require it, for up to a year and a day. During that time, the Maiden shall act as High Priestess. If the High Priestess does not return at the end of a year and a day, then the Initiates of the Circle shall name a new Priestess. Unless there is good reason to the contrary, the person who has done the work of the Priestess should reap the reward. If someone else is named, then the Maiden should continue in that office.
85. Each Priestess and Priest shall choose their own consorts, yet let them be wise in the learning of our people, and thus others shall abide by the wisdom of their choice. Yet if the Circle feels the decision is ill-advised, or that they cannot abide and work in honor and trust with that consort, then they may request a gathering of all concerned to meet and to talk, and to resolve the balance with love and honor. For only those who are pure and strong, keen and wise, patient and loving, can effectively and properly carry out the duties of a Keeper of the Circle.
86. Those of the Priesthood shall not neglect their mates, or their children, or their house, nor anything which is in their possession; nor shall the sick and the needy be neglected for the sake of the Circle. Therefore let them adjust the one thing against the other, that neither should suffer, and that which is given by the Gods is treated with love and respect.
87. Long ago, at the time of Creation, it was deemed that the female should hold the power of life-giving. And such was the male force drawn to the love and beauty of the Creation of life, that he surrenders unto her keeping the force of his powers in the furtherance of life. Yet the Priestess must always remember that the fuel of the flames which light the fires within her Temple comes from the Priest. Thus she must use the force wisely, and only with love, and she must honor and respect he who is the activator of the Life Force.
SO WHAT ETHICS ARE EXPECTED OF YOU?
A. The following are guidelines to help you decide what teacher to study
under, what coven to affilliate with (if any), and in general to give you an
idea of what behaviours are pretty much accepted within the Wiccan
1. QUESTION EVERYTHING!
a. Not everything you read in a book is true. Look at the bibliography and check it for yourself.sometimes the author is blowing smoke!
b. Not everything you hear from your teacher is true. Ask for sources, then check those sources. Check the sources’ sources. GET THE FACTS. 2. AN YE HARM NONE, DO WHAT YOU WILL.
a. This can be reworded like this: "If there is absolutely no harm done by your actions or inactions insofar as you and those you are close to or Working with can possibly imagine, then go ahead and do or not do it. If there is ANY chance of harm being done by your actions orinaction, DON’T. This is called the "Wiccan Rede," and is the core of our ethical system. It applies to your daily life just as much as to any magickal work. THINK VERY CAREFULLY ABOUT THIS!
3. SELF-INITIATION IS PERFECTLY VALID.
a. You do NOT need to be initiated by anyone to make your Path a valid one.....but admit to the fact that you are self-initiated, and don’t make up an impressive ‘genealogy,’ for you will only be fooling yourself. If you are self-initiated, be PROUD of it. You are just as ‘initiated’ as the person who can trace their line back (supposedly) to the Burning Times or to Gerald Gardner.
4. A SOLITARY WICCAN IS STILL A WICCAN!
a. You do NOT have to belong to a Coven, Circle or any group to be a Wiccan, though it is a good idea to meet with and network with others, both for the fellowship, and to learn more.
5. SEX IS NOT A REQUIREMENT.
a. If your teacher says that sexual intercourse with him or her is a requirement for initiation, teaching, or degree advancement, and this is not something you and any Significant Other can accept, and if you and your SO cannot accept this and your teacher does not agree, go find another teacher. No reputable Wiccan will fault you for thisaction.
6. READ! READ! READ!
a. Read EVERYTHING you can lay your hands on about Craft and Magick. Read both pro and con about it.
b. Think about what you have read.
c. If your teacher forbids the reading of any books, look VERY carefully at their motives for doing so, and start getting VERY suspicious. They are obviously afraid of something.
7. THERE IS NO "ONE TRUE TRADITION" OF WICCA.
a. "If it works, it’s real." This applies to ritual, names of the Deity(s), the clothing that you wear (or don’t wear), or whatever. If it works for you, it’s real. If it doesn’t work, then it’s not real. It’s as simple as that!
8. CHRISTIANITY, JUDAISM, ISLAM, AND MANY OTHER BELIEF
SYSTEMS ARE VALID PATHS.
a. We should not denigrate these beliefs simply because of the perversions of their otherwise good and useful teachings by people who had/have a political/religious/social axe to grind. We can learn much from the Bible, the Torah, and the Koran. Their ethical and moral systems have been proven to work.
b. Respect those Christian denominations that honor the Lady too!
9. ANY ACTION THAT IS ILLEGAL BY SECULAR LAW IS ILLEGAL WITHIN CRAFT.
a. This one is self-explanatory, folks, and does NOT cover such laws as might forbid co-habitation, multiple significant other’s, or gays... but such things as will HARM another, or bring the Craft into disrepute. Such things as drugs, sexual relations with minors, animal sacrifice, vandalism, being a public nuisance, and the like are RIGHT OUT.
10. MANY TRADITIONS, ONE GODDESS
a. There are many, many forms of Wicca. Some of these may not be right for you. Keep looking until you find one that is.
b. Don’t be afraid to say "NO!" if you feel something is being asked of you that you cannot accept.
c. Don’t be afraid to walk OUT of a group if you don’t like what’s going on. THINK FOR YOURSELF!
VII. KARMA, THE THREE FOLD LAW, & GRACE
A. "As you sew, so shall ye reap".
"What goes around, comes around".
"Whatever you send out returns three times".
These are all sayings very
familiar to all of us, all of them examples of a supposedly Universal Law
of cause and effect, action and reaction. Of course many of the religious
systems try to furnish us with some sort of "escape clause" that will allow
man to either alleviate suffering fo past misdeeds, or to escape
responsibility totally. Let us take a little closer look at these three ideas
and ther inter-reationship. It seems that, on one level, we do live in a
mechanistic universe, one pretty much ruled by cause-and-efect. This
Newtonian universe seems to react in a very mechanical fashion, i.e.
every action "produces an equal and opposite reaction". A good analogy
for this is the example of one billiard ball striking another. The energy
from the striking billiard ball is transfered to the one struck and is used
to push against the first, imparting motion in the same direction. This
brings the second law into play, i.e. an object in motion tends to stay in
motion untill acted upon by an outside force.
B. The principle of Karma basically says the same thing; i.e. any negative
or positive action or thought remains that way, until it expends its energy
by acting upon the originator. Of course this also makes implicit the idea
that thoughts or mental energy have a reality of their own, one that
interacts with the physical universe. If this idea is accepted, it then
implies the existence of at least one more "world" or order of the
universe, one with a non physical "reality", and one where the basic
fundamental rules of physics (as we know them) may not truly apply. The
magician can be described as one who "walks between" these two worlds.
C. "Walking between two worlds" implies that an individal is connected
with both and can move between them at will. The purpose of magic is to
manipulate one world for the benefit of the other, i.e. to manipulate the
unseen world for the express purpose of influencing events in the
physical. Unfortunately there does not seem to be a "free ride" anywhere
in the universe, and when an individual acquires the power to do this,
they also aquire a great deal of responsibility! By accepting the power to
exert "leverage" in the unseen world, an individual seems to also accept
a multiplied succeptibility to influences initiated in that world. This is
why negative workings are so dangerous! This may also be the reasoning
behind the "law of three fold return".
D. Now comes the hard part! If all of this cause and effect stuff is
absolute, how can any individual ever hope to "pay off" the debts for all
of the "stupid" things they have done not only in this lifetime, but in
many others? Must we "pay off" all past transgressions on a one for one
basis? Is there no escape clause in this "contract" we seem to have for
living in the universe? This "escape clause" is called Grace by the
Christians and by other names in other systems, but it does exist in all.
Basically, the idea is this: "Once a lesson is completely learned and one
grows beyond a need for this lesson, it need not be repeated, even if the
‘books’ are not balanced". This is the "Enlightenment" sought by the
Buddhist that allows the "breaking" of the wheel. This is also the core
principle behind the idea of "Divine" forgiveness, but that is a topic for