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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

The Wiccan Rede

This article was written by Deborah Blake on March 09, 2007
posted under Wiccan Rede

There is one main tenet, or rule, in Wicca, known as The Wiccan Rede. (Rede is an old word for law.) The Wiccan Rede is very simple, and consists of only eight words:
An it harm none, do as ye will.
This means, essentially, that you can do whatever you want, as long as it harms no one. Sounds pretty simple, doesnít it? Ha! Not so fast.

Letís explore this in a little more depth. To begin with, "no one" includes your self. This means that, if you follow the Wiccan law, you canít do anything that is harmful to yourself (life, for instance, anything that threatens your health). Just got a little more complicated, didnít it?

Does this mean that no Wiccans drink to excess, smoke, eat junk food or watch way too much TV? Well, no, not hardly. What it does mean is that you need to strive to be always improving yourself, and work to remove or reduce any of the things that you do that hurt you.

What about sex? Many non-pagans think that Wicca means free sex for everybody all the time. And believe it or not, they say that like it is a bad thingÖ

True, in contrast to most of the other religions in the world, pagans have always had a much less repressed view of sex. In fact, sex is seen as yet another way to channel the gods using our own bodies and is therefore another form of worship. Sex, in and of itself, is not considered to be either good or bad (certainly not a form of sin, since pagans donít believe in sin).

Does this mean that you can have sex with anyone you want? Well, sure. As long as there is nothing involved with the act that could hurt you, your partner or anyone else. That means safe sex, willing partners, and no cheating, lying or misleading. And you thought it sounded so simple.

So what about things like lying and stealing? Remember, if you are hurting anyone, it is against the rules. And it gets even trickier: because Wiccans believe in the power of words and thoughts, we are told to guard our words (no gossip or saying mean things to hurt people intentionally) and our thoughts (donít think, "I hate her").

Impossible? Well, yes, probably. But being Wiccan means that you strive toward this ideal and do the best you can. Be kind to others and to yourself and youíre halfway there already.

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