The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Wiccan Rede - 'An' it harm none, do what you will'

 At times,  The Wiccan Rede is considered the only 'rule' in the Wiccan world.  'An' it harm none, do what you will.'  in its entirety.   At first glance it looks simple enough, do no harm. 

Where did this rule first come about?

A fourth century theologian St. Augustine of Hippo wrote in his works the  "seventh treatise of the Epistles of St. John,"  Dilige, et quod vis fac, which translates as "Love, and do what you will"

In modern times, Aleister Crowley in 1904 in his Book of the Law wrote  a statement and response with the statement being "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law, and the response ' Love is the law, love under will' , in 1964 Doreen Valiente  penned these now legendary words  'Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, an' it harm none, do what you will.'    But what do they mean?

The Wiccan Rede may initially be specific to working magick against others to cause harm. We are able to work any magick we wish, as long as it doesn't harm anyone.  But, does the rule no longer apply when we are not making magick? I've found that as a witch, or  magickal practitioner, use the term that best applies to you, that we can't take off our magickal self as we might a pentacle and place it on a side table.  The magick is always within me and what I do,and I always strive to harm none with my actions and words. Rules like the rede I choose to impose on myself, for this truly is a solitary practice and one can only ever govern themselves.

We have power and we wield it with our words, primarily.  In our culture it seems more people cause hurt with their words and attitude towards others than actual physical harm, though unfortunately that also happens. But on a daily basis we can see rudeness becoming commonplace, and a growing general disregard for others.  We use our words to intimidate, threaten and bully. We can heal with our words or harm, build up or tear down, support, encourage or destroy. 

Our actions? Yes, physical harm is easy to understand and for most, easy to avoid.  But at times physical action is required to avoid harming others. If you were in a building and smelled smoke, would you pull the fire alarm first or investigate to see what the cause was? Just in case you were wrong? In case you made a fool out of yourself?

You see a child wandering unattended in a store. Would you assume his mother was just around the corner and someone must be looking out for him, and its really none of your business! or would you try to find a store employee to make sure the child stayed safe until his parents were located? Yes, it would be inconvenient, you might even run the risk of a parent telling you to mind your own business, but .  .  .  I have a friend who often says you need to be able to look yourself in the mirror in the morning, and I agree. It's really up to you. What will you require yourself to do, to do the right thing?

Does your actions or words hurt someone? I believe in honesty, but I also advocate against hurting someone just because you need to be honest about something. Our words and actions need to be tempered with what we need and what is necessary for others to know.  I personally feel we have entered a curious era. An era where everyone is a little over the edge with sharing everything. Sites like Facebook and Myspace,  along with reality television shows like Cops and Jerry Springer has propelled us into an era where everything is out in the open. The concept of privacy, others as well as our own,  seems to have been discarded.

People divulge, in my opinion,  too much information on these social networks and these television shows exploit the 'honesty and truth' angle at the cost of causing trauma, embarrassment, destroying relationships, families and lives. We are already seeing the results of this 'sharing everything' era with the recent tragedies in our country where young people have taken their own lives because of too much information or misinformation being spread about them, all with malicious intent.  

In my view a witch is not someone who just wants to manifest things in their reality. There are many books on the market that while doing a good job of describing the visualization methods for creating your reality,yet  they fail to focus on the potential consequence of your actions.  A proper witch must think of potential consequences, as she knows that we do not live in a world of our own, insulated from others. Our actions, our words, our decisions and our reality affects others and we need to be conscious of it, and control the hurt we might cause if possible. We create our reality and we are responsible for our creation.

An' it harm none, do what you will.  Sounds easy, doesn't it?


© 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see

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