Being known as the counsel of the Wise Ones:
- Bide the Wiccan Laws ye must In Perfect Love and 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 and dance the Wiccan rune.
- Widdershins go when the Moon doth wane, An’ 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 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 – Let the Beltane fires burn.
- When the Wheel has turned a Yule, Light the Log an’ let Pan rule.
- Heed ye flower bush an’ tree – By the Lady Blessèd Be.
- Where the rippling waters go Cast a stone an’ truth ye’ll know.
- When ye have need, Hearken not to others 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 thy lover’s false to thee.
- Eight words ye Wiccan Rede fulfill – An’ it harm none, Do what ye wil
The Wiccan rede is known to have existed since the time of Doreen Valiente (1964), who also linked to Gerald Gardner, who in turn, knew Aleister Crowley (1904), who in turn also had the quote “Do what thou wilt, be the whole of the law”. So debate often flares up as the validity of origin as well as meaning.
Many pagans will also proudly state that they who do not follow in the Rede could find themselves physically or metaphysically harmed. Either case, ‘something bad will happen’ if you do harm to someone else, or even cast any magick towards another person without their expressed permission. Too often I find the Rede being used as a ‘boogy man’ to keep Wiccans in line.
The word ‘rede’ means ‘advise’ or ‘counsel’ so this is not a law in any sense of the word; merely a suggestion on how to conduct oneself. I won’t argue; its good advice. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Works well for most societies. Almost every religion has a similar phrase in which to live by.
I believe the Rede provides us a moment of consideration and find a more solution-oriented action to situations rather than the quick, aggressive, and definitive retaliation. I do not, however, agree with Karmic backlash. Karma is a Sanskrit word that delves into cause and reaction. Bear in mind the idea of the caste system of India, where the Untouchables were so ‘unclean’ you didn’t want their shadows to touch you, stems from this Karmic belief. The idea is the Untouchable did something in his or her past life to earn their lowly state in this life.
Karma is also not simple or immediate. Originally, Karma meant a compilation of actions will result later, often times in the next life.
That being said, the concept of ‘putting out good or evil’ reveals intent. What do you intend by your actions? Does the action also reach to the simple intention such as thinking bad thoughts of another? What of things such as eating meat, killing a bug, or speaking cruel words to your neighbor in a fit of passion? Surely all these actions ‘harm another’. Can you now expect a house to fall on you, or some other ‘bad event’ to happen? Not necessarily. (Although often being angry can lead to hurting yourself very easily).
Sometimes, Life’s greatest lessons derive from making those mistakes.