Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Wiccan Rede

'An it harm none, do what ye will' is a saying of the Wiccan religion, sometimes known as the Wiccan Rede. (Rede is an archaic word meaning, among other things, "saying". It is cognate with German Rede.)

There appear to be a number of spellings and versions of this saying: the above seems to be one of the most popular on Google, and that used in the Wicca article.

Other versions include :

And It Harm None, Do As Thou Wilt
Do what you will, so long as it harms none
An it harm none, do what thou will
That it harm none, do as thou wilt

The combination of no harm to others, do what thou wilt and Wicca makes its first appearance in presently available historical records in The Old Laws by Gerald Gardner, 1953 Gregorian. The phrase 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law' appears in Aleister Crowley's works by at least 1909 Gregorian, in The Book of the Law.

The Rede is seen by both Wiccans and outside observers as very similar to the Golden Rule, a belief that is found in nearly every religion. The concept of ethical reciprocity is not explicity stated, but most Wiccans interpret the Rede to imply the Golden Rule in the belief that the spirit of the Rede is not just to do no harm, but to actively do good for one's fellow humans as well as oneself.

In addition to the concept of ethical reciprocity expressed by most versions of the Golden Rule, however, the Rede also expressly rejects the concept of sin outside of harm to oneself or to another.

The rejection of specific exhortations and prohibitions of conduct such as those given in the Ten Commandments in Christianity makes its character somewhat different. The Rede is only a guideline which the individual must interpret to fit each particular situation.

External links