Some Thoughts on the Rede

Bec, over at Fat Lil Wytch, has posted her feelings about the Wiccan Rede and Three Fold Law. Although she isn’t Wiccan, she does have some interesting insights into these two things.

Personally, I don’t necessarily see the Wiccan Rede, “An it harm no one, do what thou wilt”, as a rewording of the Christian Golden Rule. Instead, I recognize that many religions have some idea that encompasses the idea of reciprocity. Most religions teach love for one’s self and others, as well as mutual respect. So, it only makes sense to have some teaching that promotes this. Religious has an article outlining the reciprocity beliefs of many different faiths.

I think my issue with the Rede comes with the various interpretations of it. Some people try to take it extremely literally, believing that if one follows the Rede then they cannot cause harm to anyone or anything. Some say this means Wiccans must be vegetarians, etc. There are also arguments about killing microscopic organism with nearly every action, killing bacteria with medicine, etc. I don’t feel that the Rede was meant to be taken so seriously. The word rede actually means advice, not rule or commandment. So we are meant to consider the words of the Rede, not slavishly follow them. To me this means that we aren’t required to cause no harm, rather we need to cause as little harm as we can.

This brings up another point. The Rede is about knowing your Will. That is more then thinking you know what you want. It is about knowing, deep down in your soul, what you want. I don’t think any of us, deep down, want to cause any undo harm to anyone. So, on this level, following the Rede isn’t that difficult. And what about those microscopic organisms? As awful as it sounds, we all must make some sacrifices and I hardly think that this goes against the advice of the Rede.


2 Responses

  1. BrentN says:

    Instead of saying “not meant to be taken so seriously,” I’d say not meant to be misinterpreted in such a narrow fashion. “Harm none” is clearly not a sematically nor textually valid rephrasing of “If it harms none, do as you will.”

    I think that people like to try to make things seem simple, because it eliminates the moral ambiguities that the Rede necessarily implies. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just have a simple checklist of things to do to be a good person, instead of having to actually think about it! 😉

  2. Bec says:

    I swear, everytime I see my name in some one else’s blog I get a pain in the eye 😆

    I don’t think we as pagans, who, for the most part, take our spiritual learnings very seriously, need a Rede telling as that we should be good to each other. It’s part of the fundamentals that each child grows up learning through secular sources.