Search This Blog

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The Wiccan Rede

The Wiccan Rede Cover The wiccan Rede is the only Wiccan law. If we can generalize to all Wicca. And if we can call it a "law.". Actually, guideline might be a better term. It implies a standard of conduct rather than a rule imposed by some outside authority and carrying a threat of punishment.
Which is why its official label is . . .

The Wiccan Rede.

"Rede" means advice, or counsel. So the Wiccan Law is simply a suggestion offered by the Divine to serve your best interests. But it's entirely up to you whether you want to do what is in your best interests or not.

Origins of the Rede

The first written example of the Rede is from 1954 in Gardner's third book, The Meaning of witchcraft . . .
"[Witches] are inclined to the morality of the legendary Good King Pausol [sic], "Do what you like so long as you harm no one."
It was not presented as a law or even guideline, but merely a moral inclination of witches. Gardner was referring to a figure from Pierre Louяs' book, The Adventures of King Pausole, which was published in 1901 . . .
"I. Do no wrong to thy neighbor.
II. Observing this, do as thou pleasest."
Then Doreen Valiente gave us what has become the basis of The Wiccan Rede ...
"Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfil,
An it harm none, do what ye will."
Valiente, who is responsible for polishing much of Gardner's work, recited this in a public speech in 1964, where it caught the imagination of many Wiccans. Then in 1975 popped up an expanded version of the Rede. The Rede Of The Wiccae, subtitled "Being known as the counsel of the Wise Ones," was submitted by Lady Gwen Thomson to Green Egg magazine, and attributed to Adriana Porter, Thomson's grandmother. This is a questionable claim, since Thomson was seeking to establish validation for her teachings as a hereditary witch. Still, it spoke to the essence of the practice of Witchcraft, and has been picked up by Witches everywhere. And like all aspects of a living spiritual tradition, the Wiccan Rede continues to evolve.

Historical Antecedents Of The Wiccan Rede

The principle of "do as ye will and harm none" can be found in the writings of many ancient sages and most scriptures. One of the most similar comes from around 1600 years ago, by Saint Augustine of Hippo:
'Love, and do what you will."
This is the concept of being "beyond good and evil," where the rules of morality are redundant. Once you reach a certain level of awareness - a certain level of love - you do not desire to do any evil. So you are free to do anything you'd like.

The Power of the Wiccan Rede

There is evidence that Gardner created the Wiccan Rede in order to make witches appear less dangerous. Considering that witches are still liable to persecution of one sort or another, this seems a reasonable decision. That may be the Rede's starting point, but that doesn't explain its power and widespread acceptance in Wicca. Regardless of its origins, the Wiccan Rede expresses a philosophy that appeals to the hearts of modern witches, and has become the core of wicca Spirituality. Perhaps it has something to do with being a Goddess-worshipping group. After all, this principle is steadfastly promoted by mothers everywhere . . .

"Play nice. Don't hurt others."

Recommended books (Free download):

Max Heindel - The Rosicrucian Mysteries
Tarostar - The Witchs Spellcraft Revised
Aj Drew - A Wiccan Bible