The Wiccan Rede

A piece of parchment with cursive writing and an overlaying black thread.

The Wiccan Code of Ethics

Many religions have high standards for good ethical practices. One of the most well-known is Christians, who have the Bible containing many teachings about how to live a good life. Those of Jewish faith also have a set of ethics that they live by called the Ten Commandments; and Islam, which has the five pillars of faith.

The Wiccan Rede is a code of ethics that Wiccans live by. It is similar to these other religious codes of ethics. The Rede is a simple poem, which lays out the basic principles that Wiccans should live by.

What is the Wiccan Rede?

The Wiccan Rede is a moral code of conduct followed by many witches. It is a guideline that encourages Wiccans to live by the Three-Fold Law, which states that whatever you do comes back to you three times. The rede promotes the idea of harming none, doing what you will, and taking responsibility for your own actions.

Short Versions of The Wiccan Rede

The rede is a guideline, simply stating in its best known form as follows:

“An it harm none, do what ye will.”

Doreen Valiente (1964)

This simply means that witches can do whatever they please as long as it doesn’t harm anyone. The guide of the rede suggests good ethics and responsibility. Harming someone will ultimately end up harming yourself.

Curious about Wicca? Check out the page Alternative Practices: Wicca for several articles on this spiritual practice.

The Complete & Full Version of The Wiccan Rede

Known for being published by Lady Gwen Thompson, the rede has an accepted full version. Adriana Porter was credited for this by her granddaughter, Gwen Thompson. This version from 1974 states:

“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 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, 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 thy 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 comes 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 a’ 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 Beltane fires burn.
When the Wheel has turned at Yule, light the log and let Pan rule.
Heed ye flower bush and tree, by the Lady Bless’d Be.

Where the rippling waters go cast a stone and truth ye’ll know.
When find that ye have need, hearken not to others’ greed.
With the fool no season spend or be counted as his friend.

Merry meet and merry part, bright the cheeks and 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 ye Wiccan Rede fulfill: An’ it harm none, do what ye will.”

Adriana Porter & Gwen Thompson (1974)

The rede is a reminder to witches that they should think about the consequences of their actions before they do anything. It’s a way of living that reflects the Wiccan values of harmlessness and respect for all beings.


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