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The Witches Rede (also called the Wiccan Rede) is a simple eight word statement that gives advice to witches; but it is also one easy piece of philosophy to contemplate the actions we take in our lives. Doreen Valiente is credited as one of the first witches to write about the Wiccan Rede with a simple eight word statement.
Also related to that concept of the Rede is the idea that became known as the Law of Three. In recent years, there has been a good deal of commentary about how this doesn’t exist as a literal law of sorts. Not all traditions connect the Law of Three to their traditions of Wicca. This, we would agree with, as this is not a literal occult truth, but is a poetic metaphor for the Law of Compensation, which is an occult truth. Poetic metaphors, legend and stories give us many ways to remember occult truths because they speak to our imagination. Without the poetic inspiration that is found in our religion, we would find our thoughts and actions to be pretty mechanical. In the far past, the power of the poet and the Bard’s Tales told by the Druid’s awakened great inspiration for us in ages past that we don’t always understand in our modern world. The poet, teaching legend and metaphor, inspired armies to success and even brought joy and meaning to the lives they touched. All successful acts of magic start with thought and are powered by how we aim our desires and emotions. Incantations recited in rhyme and in a particular order and in a particular voice and tone help us to generate the correct emotion needed to affect the Grey Area.
We seek to cooperate with nature through the Tenet of Harmony – which teaches us that it is a goal to constantly work on achieving an harmonious balance with all things.
What we consider “good or bad luck” is the Law of Compensation in action. We reap that which we sow.
Every cause will have an effect. The thoughts we think of in the mind has an effect on everything in our lives. Control your thoughts and you can move metaphorical mountains.
For those that do not believe that thoughts have great power, I give you this following example, written in 1902 by William Walker Atkinson:
“The actions of the heart is increased by certain emotions; the cheek flushes or pales from certain thoughts, the digestion is impaired by certain thoughts; and so on. And the same thing happens on a larger scale when improved thinking becomes habit.”-quote from “The Law of New Thought” by William Walker Atkinson, 1902.
Anyone who has been embarrassed and has had rosy cheeks or were nervous or their heart flutters proves to you immediately how our very thoughts have an immediate effect on the body and those around you. Thoughts made of mental-matter can lead to thought-forms in the Astral Grey Area when emotion is applied.
Another quote by William Walker Atkinson demonstrates this point a little further:
“You must want a thing hard enough before you can get it. You must want it more than you do the things around you, and you must be prepared to pay the price for it. The price is the throwing overboard of certain lesser desires that stand in the way of the greater one. As a rule, the greater the thing desired, the greater the price to be paid for it. Nature believes in adequate compensation.”-quote from William Walker Atkinson from his book “Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction.”
The Law of Compensation is taught to us each year at the Autumn Equinox Sabbat. If coven dues are needed to be contributed to contribute to the supplies used in coven rituals, this is the appropriate time to do this.
At the time of the Autumnal Equinox, we should see the end results of the seed-thoughts planted at Candlemas which will either have come into complete fruition by this time, have been weeded out of our “gardens” or maybe even have not come into fruition. For we all must eventually reap what we sow.
We are a simple and natural religion that has very few expenses, but we know at the same time that everything in life does cost a little something. Most of the time, the cost of coven operation is just the time it takes to set up for the ceremony but the collective supplies used by the religion has a cost to them – including the food used for coven feast. Though the costs are in making the tools of the Craft or for incense, candles and a bottle of wine which are the practical items used within a circle. Some coves may have dues to cover these kinds of costs.
The Autumn Equinox Sabbat, the Tenet of Harmony & the Tenet of Balance have taught me a number of important lessons. So sit up closer to this Witch’s Hearthfire and take heed to the lessons I have learned in my personal experience walking the path of the Witch. Maybe you have discovered similar lessons through your craft practice. Some of these you may accept or reject as your own philosophy and learning dictates:
- What is sown will be reaped.
- We aspire upward and forward on the path of progressive reincarnation.
- To not waste the gifts we have either earned or have been given.
- To get, we must be willing to give.
- Everything has its opposite – light and dark, hot and cold, etc.
- The acceptance of the mortality of all things on this earthly plane.
- The Tenet of Balance & The Tenet of Harmony
- To take stock of what we have gathered in this year.
- The acceptance of the successes and failures of the thought-forms and seed-thoughts we have invoked for.
- That a coven, much like in old agricultural communities of times past, strives to nourish each other as a community unit.
Remember, the idea of the Law of Three is a poetic metaphor for the Law of Compensation. This idea is just another way to also describe the concept of Cosmic Justice and Cause and Effect.
We all must look into the reflecting pool of our lives and see what we have reaped. May we all sow joy in order to reap abundance in all things. Blessed Be!
Below you will find The Witches Rede, as told by an Elder, Tarostar V*. All text is copyright 1984 by Rollin G. Bennien, filed at the Library of Congress and printed here with permission: