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The Wiccan Rede

Main words of The Wiccan Rede on old paper

May 8, 2023
Estimated Read Time: 8 Minutes

As any Wiccan knows, Wicca doesn’t follow a particular scripture in the same way most monotheistic religions across the globe do. Still, that doesn’t mean there is no code to adhere to whatsoever. In fact, the religion’s moral system is clearly expressed in the Wiccan Rede, which we will take a look at in this blog post. So, let’s dive in!

What Is the Wiccan Rede?

A woman holding a book next to a pentacle candle holder

The word rede (pronounced as ri:d) comes from Middle English and means advice or counsel. That’s quite fitting for Wicca, as Rede isn’t a commandment or a set of rules. Instead, most Wiccans consider Rede a guideline that’s open to personal interpretation and may mean different things in various situations.

In the form we usually encounter, the Wiccan Rede has only eight words: An ye harm none, do what ye will.

Translated to contemporary English, this sentence means, Do what you will, as long as it harms no one. This statement expresses the general freedom we have while practicing Wicca, as well as the personal responsibility we must bear for our actions.

Of course, the Wiccan Rede is more than just this sentence. In fact, the eight-word phrase comes from a longer poem titled “The Wiccan Rede,” published in 1974. The poem provides a few more guidelines, building on and completing the main one.

The Complete Wiccan Rede

girl reading book

Applying the key guideline outlined above while performing Wiccan rituals and practices should be enough to keep you on the right spiritual path. However, it still may be useful to read the Wiccan Rede in its entirety – especially considering the poem is not very long. In fact, we’ve decided to include the complete Rede here in this article:

Bide the Wiccan Laws we must in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

Live and let live. Fairly take and fairly give.

Cast the Circle thrice about to keep the evil spirits out.

To bind the spell every time let the spell be spake in rhyme.

Soft of eye and light of touch, Speak little, listen much.

Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the Witches’ Rune.

Widdershins go by the waning moon, chanting out the baneful rune.

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 North wind’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 West, departed souls will have no rest.

When the wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.

Nine woods in the cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.

Elder be the Lady’s tree, burn it not or cursed you’ll be.

When the Wheel begins to turn, let the Beltane fires burn.

When the Wheel has turned to Yule, light the log and the Horned One rules.

Heed ye flower, Bush and Tree, by the Lady, blessed be.

Where the rippling waters go, cast a stone and truth you’ll know.

When ye have a true need, hearken not to others’ greed.

With a fool no season spend, lest ye be counted as his friend.

Merry meet and merry part, bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

Mind the Threefold Law you should, three times bad and three times good.

When misfortune is enow, wear the blue star on thy brow.

True in love ever be, lest thy lover’s false to thee.

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: An ye harm none, do what ye will.


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Brief Interpretation of the Wiccan Rede

the old book and potions on a table

As you can see above, the Rede contains several rules and guidelines we should take into consideration when expressing our faith. The core tenet can be found in the very last line of the poem, but we shouldn’t disregard other advice either. In particular, the sentence mentioning the Threefold Law is of vital importance to every Wiccan practicing magick.

So, what exactly is the Threefold Law? Essentially, it means that whatever energy you put into the world will come back to you three times. For instance, if you use magick to heal, aid, and protect, you will receive blessings and good fortune. On the other hand, if you aim to cause harm, you can expect to experience bad luck somewhere down the road.

The Threefold Law encourages Wiccans to use magick with care and be mindful of others. And in fact, the Rede in its entirety promotes kindness, tolerance, and consideration for fellow Wiccans and non-Wiccans.

In Conclusion

Even though you are free to practice Wicca in any way you want, the Wiccan Rede is there to provide some general guidelines on your path. You don’t have to adhere to every advice or ritual described in the Rede. However, you should remember the core tenet of the Rede – As long as you harm no one, do what you will.

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