Monday, January 23, 2012

The Wiccan Rede

Yes, I am being a little lazy on this post. Only because we are sick here in the Meyers house hold. So I found this wonderful article on Wikipedia. Yes I copied it word for word. If you do not want to read it here, then I suggest that you at least go the wiki web page and check it out. Hope you enjoy reading about this as much as I did!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Wiccan Rede is a statement that provides the key moral system in the Neo-pagan religion of Wicca and other related Witchcraft-based faiths. A common form of the Rede is An it harm none, do what ye will.

The word "Rede" derives from Middle English, meaning "advice" or "counsel". "An" is an archaic Middle English conjunction, meaning "if." "Ye" is an archaic or dialectal form of "you" (nominative plural).
Other variants of the Rede include:

  • Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, An it harm none do what ye will. Note: this is the first published form of the couplet, quoted from Doreen Valiente in 1964. Later published versions include "ye" instead of either "the" or "it": "Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill — an ye harm none, do what ye will" (Earth Religion News, 1974); "Eight words ye Wiccan Rede fulfill - An' it harm none, Do what ye will" (Green Egg, 1975)
  • An it harm none, do what thou wilt
  • An it harm none, do as thou wilt
  • That it harm none, do as thou wilt
  • Do what you will, so long as it harms none

History
The Rede in its best known form as the "eight words" couplet was first publicly recorded in a speech by Doreen Valiente in 1964. A similar phrase, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law, appears in Aleister Crowley's works by 1904, in The Book of the Law (though as used by Crowley it is half of a statement and response, the response being "Love is the law, love under will"). According to B.A. Robinson of the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, Crowley adopted this line from François Rabelais, who in 1534 wrote, "DO AS THOU WILT because men that are free, of gentle birth, well bred and at home in civilized company possess a natural instinct that inclines them to virtue and saves them from vice. This instinct they name their honor".

King Pausole, a character in Pierre Louÿs' Les aventures du roi Pausole (The Adventures of King Pausole, published in 1901), had a similar motto of Do what you like as long as you harm no one. Although Gardner noted the similarity of the rede to King Pausole's words, Silver Ravenwolf believes it is more directly referencing Crowley. Another notable antecedent was put forth by the philosopher John Stuart Mill with his harm principle in the 19th century. "Mill argues that the sole purpose of law should be to stop people from harming others and that should people want to participate in victimless crimes, crimes with no complaining witness, such as gambling, drug usage, engaging in prostitution, then they should not be encroached in doing so."

The Long Rede
In 1974 a complete twenty-six line poem entitled "The Wiccan Rede" was published in the neo-Pagan magazine Earth Religion News. Each line contained a rhymed couplet laid out as a single line, the last line being the familiar "short rede" couplet beginning "Eight words...".

This poem was shortly followed by another, slightly different, version, entitled the "Rede Of The Wiccae", which was published in Green Egg magazine by Lady Gwen Thompson. She ascribed it to her grandmother Adriana Porter, and claimed that the earlier published text was distorted from "its original form". The poem has since been very widely circulated and has appeared in other versions and layouts, with additional or variant passages. It is commonly known as the "Long Rede".

Interpretations of the Rede
The Rede is similar to the Golden Rule, a belief that is found in nearly every religion. Not all traditional Wiccans follow the Rede; Gardnerians espouse the Charge of the Goddess as a guide for morality. Its line "Keep pure your highest ideal, strive ever towards it; let naught stop you or turn you aside, for mine is the secret door which opens upon the door of youth" is used as a maxim for ethical dilemmas.

There is some debate in the neo-Pagan and Wiccan communities as to the meaning of the Rede. The debate centers on the concept of the Rede being advice, not a commandment. The rejection of specific exhortations and prohibitions of conduct such as those given in the Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments makes the Rede's character somewhat different from major religious texts such as the Holy Bible or the Qur'an. The Rede is only a guideline which the individual must interpret to fit each particular situation and unlike these Abrahamic religions, which actions "do harm" (and which do not) are not discussed in the Rede. What exactly does and does not do harm is therefore open to personal interpretation.

The concept of ethical reciprocity is not explicitly stated, but most Wiccans interpret the Rede to imply the Golden Rule in the belief that the spirit of the Rede is to actively do good for one's fellow humans as well as for oneself. Different sects of Wiccans read "none" differently. "None" can apply to only the self, or it may include animals and/or plants, and so forth. In essence, the Rede can be fully understood as meaning that one should always follow their true will instead of trying to obtain simple wants and to ensure that following one's will it does not harm anyone or anything. In this light, the Rede can be seen as encouraging a Wiccan to take personal responsibility for his or her actions. 

The Wiccan Rede  (long version)

Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust.
Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give.
For tread the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out.
To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme.
Light of eye and soft of touch, speak you little, listen much.
Honor the Old Ones in deed and name, let love and light be our guides again.
Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the joyful tune.
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 North winds mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.
When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.
When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth.
When the wind whispers from the West, all hearts will find peace and rest.
Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch wood in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows.
Oak in the forest, towers with might in the fire it brings the God's insight.
Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower.
Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye.
Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning- adds its strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility.
Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen.
But - Elder is the Lady's tree burn it not or cursed you'll be.
Four times the Major Sabbats mark in the light and in the dark.
As the old year starts to wane the new begins, it's now Samhain.
When the time for Imbolg shows watch for flowers through the snows.
When the wheel begins to turn soon the Beltane fires will burn.
As the wheel turns to Lammas night power is brought to magick rite.
Four times the Minor Sabbats fall use the Sun to mark them all.
When the wheel has turned to Yule light the log the Horned One rules.
In the spring, when night equals day time for Ostara to come our way.
When the Sun has reached its height time for Oak and Holly to fight.
Harvesting comes to one and all when the Autumn Equinox does fall.
Heed the flower, bush, and tree By the Lady blessed you'll be.
Where the rippling waters go cast a stone, the truth you'll know.
When you have and hold a need, harken not to others greed.
With a fool no season spend Lest you be counted as his friend.
Merry Meet and Merry Part bright the cheeks and warm the heart.
Mind the Three-fold Laws you should, three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow wear the star upon your brow.
True in love you must ever be unless your love is false to thee.
Eight words the Rede fulfil "An' ye harm none, do what ye wilt". 

The Wiccan Rede (short version)

Bide ye Wiccan laws ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust.
Live and let live, fairly take and fairly give.
Form the circle thrice about to keep all evil spirits out.
Soft of eye, light of touch, speak ye little, listen much.
Deosil go by the waxing moon, singing out ye Witches' Rune.
Widdershins go by the waning moon, chanting out the baneful rune.
When the Lady's moon is new, kiss your hand to her times two.
When the rippling waters flow, cast a stone and truth ye'll know.
When ye have and hold a need, harken not with others' greed.
With a fool no seasons spend, lest ye be counted as his friend.
Merry meet and merry part, bright the cheeks and warm the heart.
Mind ye threefold law ye should, three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is anow, wear the star upon thy brow.
True in Love ye must ever be, lest thy love be false to thee.
In these eight words, the Wiccan Rede fulfill
"An' it harm none, do what thou wilt."
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