THE WICCAN REDE
The above words reflect probably the most basic Wiccan principle, believed by a lot of the people practicing modern Wicca today: As long as you don't hurt anyone (including yourself!), do whatever you like. This is referred to as the Wiccan Rede, and is often coupled with the Threefold Law, saying that any energy you send out gets returned to you three times over. (There are a few interpretations of this.) Generally, if you do good things, you're going to be very successful; if you send out bad wishes, if you know what you're doing chances are they'll still hit their mark but kick you in the butt three times harder . . . so don't. Though this is called the "Wiccan Rede," it applies to non-Wiccans too--it's just a decent thing to believe, don't hurt anyone. I obey this principle as much as possible in everyday life and *always* in magickal workings.
Please keep in mind that there is no "Witch Bible," not even for the most mainstream of us. There are all kinds of schools of thought on this; many people say that this so-called "law" is not really a law at all and that those of us who do believe it are just practicing a watered-down, goody-goody version of Wicca or Witchcraft. That's possible; these people believe that the Wiccan Rede (which is a suggestion, not a law) and the Threefold Law are only bits and pieces of traditions that somehow got swept into the commonly practiced versions of Wicca today. I am not anywhere near an expert on what the beliefs of the different traditions are; I only know that in eclectic Wicca a *lot* of folks believe in and live by the Wiccan Rede. I do so myself as much as possible and I have never intentionally "hexed" anyone, and never intend to. However, you should know that some traditions and some practicing Wiccans and Witches believe that you are only accountable to your own conscience and whatever deities you believe exist. My conscience dictates that I should not try to hurt people, magickally or otherwise. In this site I generally refer to the Wiccan Rede and Threefold Law and treat them something like "laws," because in my practice I live by them and would advise you to do so too, especially if you are a beginner . . . I just wanted to add the disclaimer that not everyone practices this way, and that not everyone thinks it's wrong to use magick negatively, and that not everyone thinks that "what goes around comes around." I think it's just as bad to try to "cast a spell" to make someone unhappy as it is to telephone them and tell them a hurtful lie, or to "punish" them by uprooting a beloved garden or stealing a prized possession. If you think that revenge is okay in everyday life, you are bound to think it is all right to try to magickally cause harm to come to someone. I personally would not use magick against people who have hurt me (to hurt them back); I would instead try to use it to stop them from hurting me, or to neutralize the root of the problem. But some people do cast mean spells and find nothing wrong with it. It is really up to you and what you think is right. I do not believe that it is okay to hurt people, but it is your prerogative to give it a try if your conscience doesn't bother you and you'd rather believe another version of the story. As always, there are a lot of versions and probably not a one of them is an ultimate truth.
I'm just going to discuss here some things that seem to be basic consensus in the Pagan community, things you should agree with and live by if you're interested in this path . . . but chances are, if you're honestly interested and this is really the path for you, you were already living by many of them anyway. These principles are widely accepted among many of the practitioners of Witchcraft and Wicca, and I personally agree with them.
- An it harm none, do what you will. That's already been discussed.
- What you send out comes back times three. That's been discussed too. These two are the basics.
- Witchcraft isn't about spells. No, it really isn't. If you're reading this just to play with magic, go buy the card game.
- Listen to the voice inside you. You should never go along with something you read somewhere if it doesn't seem right to you. If you read that green is the color of the Goddess but you think She looks better represented by a silver candle, go for it. It's all about what things mean to you.
- Don't proselytize. Wicca and Witchcraft are non-proselytizing, meaning you should not try to convert people who are not Wiccans or Witches. Yes, they should let you be to do your thing, but leave them alone too! They are not wrong just because you think you've got what's right for you.
- Learning is a gradual process. That goes for this religion, very much so. You can't take a Wicca course and come out "certified in Wicca" or with a degree in Witchcraft, I'm serious. Any book you read, information you find, or person you meet can only be a gateway to your personal journey; they can't suddenly give you the endpoint.
- Respect your elders. In Pagan circles, the "Crone" aspect of the Goddess, despite the bad connotation to that word in English, is highly revered as the most wise. People who have been studying for a long time have probably been through a lot of stuff . . . and you should definitely treat them as a valuable resource. DON'T, however, let them tell you that they know everything about it, because they do not, and if they claim to, they don't know as much as they think.
- Magickal theory and practice are highly individual. I have alluded to this but not in so many words. There are many many many ways to practice and all of them are right. This also means that if someone "shares" their spells with you and claims that they work, you should remember that it only worked for them, and that without your individual spin on it, it won't have the same effect.
- Don't fall victim to the 3 R's! The 3 R's are resentment, resistance, and revenge. To read an article explaining these, follow this link.
- Accept that you will always be learning. DON'T let yourself slip into feeling like you have reached a point where there is little more to learn. There will be a point at which you don't feel like a "newbie" anymore but you need to always explore.
- Respect the Earth. It's your Mother, you know.
Go back to Ivy's Pentacles