As the New Year was approaching, I of course turned my eye towards what kind of content The Magical Buffet could offer its readers in the New Year. I knew I wanted to find a new and interesting way to talk about Wiccans and Witchcraft practioners. I wanted to have a real discussion about the nature of belief and the differences of perspective of its adherents. When discussing other faiths often times publishers, interviewers, etc. compare differing interpretations of religious texts. Of course, as many of you know, there is no one definitive religious text for Wiccans. The faith is so eclectic and adaptable that you can ask 10 Wiccans what is the defining text for their faith and you will get about 20 different answers. Ask me how I know. Then it hit me, there is the Rede.
What is the Wiccan Rede? According to “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft” the Rede “was first published in ‘Green Egg Magazine’ in 1975. Lady Gwen Thompson, a witch from the Celtic Tradition, submitted the poem. Her grandmother, Adriana Porter, had given it to her. No one is really sure how old the poem is. Some people believe it was written in the mid 1930s. Others believe that is unlikely, because the word Wicca was not used until the 1960s. No matter how old it is, the Rede remains a central pillar of the Wiccan faith.”
Again, ask 10 different Wiccans and get 10 different answers. Then I thought, would you really get 10 different answers? Well you know, there is only one way to find out. I sent out an email to past contributors to The Magical Buffet and a few friends and asked them if they would be interested in sharing their thoughts on the Wiccan Rede with my readers. Many wonderful people responded. I’m not going to list them all, because I want there to be some mystery, but to name a few: Raven Digitalis (author of “Goth Craft” and “Shadow Magick Compendium”), Thuri Calafia (author of “Dedicant: A Witch’s Circle of Fire”), Lady Passion (co-author of “The Goodly Spellbook”) and many more. My intention is once a month to share an opinion article on the Wiccan Rede.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Rede, we’re not talking about some thick tome of mythology. I’ve seen several versions of the Rede, but when I think of it, I’m always thinking of the version that appeared in “Green Egg Magazine”.
“The Rede of the Wiccae”
Bide the Wiccan laws ye must
In perfect love and perfect trust.
Live and let live-
Fairly take and fairly give.
Cast the Circle thrice about
To keep all 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-
Sing and dance the Wiccan rune.
Widdershins go when the Moon doth wane,
And the Werewolf howls by the dread Wolfsbane.
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 Northwind’s mighty gale-
Lock the door and drop the sail.
When the wind blows from the South,
Love will kiss thee on the mouth.
When the wind blows from the East,
Expect the new and set the feast.
When the West wind blows o’er thee,
Departed spirits restless be.
Nine woods in the Cauldron go-
Burn them quick and burn them slow.
Elder be ye Lady’s tree-
Burn it not or cursed ye’ll be.
When the Wheel begins to turn-
Let the Beltaine fires burn.
When the Wheel has turned a Yule,
Light the log and let Pan rule.
Heed ye flower, bush and tree-
By the Lady blessed be.
Where the rippling waters go,
Cast a stone an truth ye’ll know.
When ye have need,
Hearken not to other’s greed.
With the fool no season spend
Or be counted as his friend.
Merry meet an merry part-
Bright the cheeks an warm the heart.
Mind the Threefold Law ye should-
Three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow,
Wear the blue star on thy brow.
True in love ever be
Unless thy lover’s false to thee.
Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill-
An it harm none, do what ye will.
That’s it. Yet, this seemingly simple poem lays out the basics of spell casting and the ethics of being Wiccan. Not too shabby for 26 couplets, right? Of course, as mentioned before, ask 10 different Wiccans, get 10 different interpretations. Like any religious text, the Wiccan Rede holds different levels of regard depending on the individual. I hope that you’ll enjoy learning and debating the Rede each month as contributors offer their opinions on the subject.
Welcome to The Wiccan Rede Project.