When you stop to consider the ethics of any religion, you are really looking at your responsibility in walking the walk and talking the talk. In Wicca, it is no different other than there is no governing council or book like the bible to follow.
What the Wicca follow in their ethics is eight simple words: “An’ it harm none, Do as ye will”. This is the Wiccan Rede. The rest of the Rede is just poetry that expresses our earthy religion and nothing more.
So, let’s take this to the next level and analyze what these eight simple words really mean to the beginning Wicca and everyone who walks the path.
Bide the Wiccan laws ye must in perfect love an’ perfect trust.
Live an’ let live – fairly take an’ fairly 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 an’ light of touch – speak little, listen much.
Deosil go by the waxing Moon – sing an’ dance the Wiccan rune.
Widdershins go when the Moon doth wan, an’ the Werewold howls by the dread Wolfsbane.
When the Lady’s Moon is new, kiss the 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 quick an’ burn them slow.
Elder be ye Lady’s tree – burn it not or cursed ye’ll be.
When the Wheel begins to turn – light the Log an’ let Pan rule.
Heed ye flower, bush an’ tree – by the Lady blessed be.
Where the rippling waters go cast a stone an’ truth ye’ll know.
When ye have need, hearken not the other’s greed.
With the fool no season spend or be counted as his friend.
Merry meet an’ merry part – bright the cheeks an’ warm the heart.
Mind the Threefold Law ye should – three times bad an’ three times good.
When misfortune is enow, wear the blue star on thy brow.
True in love ever be unless they lover’s false to thee.
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill – an’ it harm none, do what ye will.
This version is from the Wicca Handbook by Eileen Holland. She got it from Wicca-Pagan Pot-Pourri as received from Lady Gwen, who received it from her grandmother, Adriana Porter. It was published in the Green Egg, Vol VIII, no. 69, in the spring of 1975, on page 10, you can find it in the Wicca Handbook published in 2000 on pages 8 – 10.
An’ it harm none
The Rede (ri-d) is defined at Dictionary.com as advice or counsel. That in a nutshell is what following this code of ethics is all about. If you have a good moral code, then you will undoubtably follow the right path in your learning and understanding of these words. Someone who has an unbalanced code will not.
What exactly is the right path to take? How literal should I view the words, “An’ it harm none?
The right path to take is one of responsibility. You need to be able to accept the consequences of your actions. Now, this can be taken to the extreme. I’m not talking about calling the road kill police if you hit a squirrel on your way to work. If that happens, just send a thought to the Goddess and let her know you didn’t intend to ham the poor soul.
That pretty much sums up the answer to those two questions. Just make sure you use the Rede as a guideline for when you need to make important decisions, because it is basically saying “Do I need to do this?” and “What will be the outcome?”.
In a couple of sections down, I’ll discuss the Threefold Law. This is the karmaic response that many Wicca believe to coincide with the Rede.
Do as ye will
Now, we come to the second part of the Wiccan ethics. These four words are simple, yet plain. Do what you must to live, but always remember all eight words together. In doing what you must, you could inadvertently hurt someone in the process.
The Goddess and God know that there are times when you will be forced to choose a course of action that will cause the least harm. There is simply no way to get around certain situations without the outcome causing harm. People who are Wiccan in the military come to mind here as does the mother protecting her child. These types of things are not intended harm, but reek of doing what one must to survive.
Stop and think about your actions. If you are trying to use a spell to bind someone to you. This is an act of intent that goes against the free will of another and not the intent of good Wiccan ethics.
The Threefold Law
I’m going to touch briefly on this as it pertains to the Rede. Your actions that you send out will have a given reaction. This reaction may be seen in record time, it may take months, or it may take years, but it will impact the world in which we live on some level at some time.
Always, always, stop to consider what you are asking for and what the consequences will be in the end. You may be asking (or doing a spell) for the personal gain of money for instance. Many Wicca believe that for every action sent out, good or bad will come back to you thrice over.
This does not mean for the ten dollars you loaned a friend that they will pay you back thirty. It means that for a good act, you will receive good times three in your life. The same goes for bad. Personally, I think I’ll stay on the good side.
Now, that we’ve looked at some basics about Wiccan ethics, it’s time to take out your notebook again.
In it, on a clean sheet of paper, write out the Wiccan Rede. I’ve included the one I like here, but there are many versions, so search out the one that calls to you and use it.
Next, spend some time in contemplation on what the Rede means. Is it something you can live by? How do you feel about the eight words? In what way can you use it every day? As the answers come to you or if more questions arise, note them down in your book. Seek out the answers to any additional questions or feel free to email me with them. If I don’t know the answer, I have a large support base to ask and find it.
The Wiccan Rede…
and the Threefold Law are intertwined in the Wiccan faith. They are the embodiment of what will guide your faith and practices as you delve deeper and deeper into Wicca.
Love and light to ye all! )0(