The Wiccan Rede

The Wiccan Rede, literally the "advice" on how to live for those following this religion, has been around for quite some time under different shapes and with different wordings according the tradition or coven we want to take in consideration. The differences are marginal though, whereas the core of the advice is in the formula, which is the same everywhere, "An it harms none, do as thou will".


This expression though is only apparently straightforward, and often the superficial reader is mislead into reading it as "do whatever fancies you". It is therefore worth to actually read a little more carefully the Rede: let's begin with the first part.

  • "An it harms none". This statement should be read in the widest meaning possible, ie we have to consider "harm" not only in a physical way, but also psychologically, psychic and spiritually; just as well, "none" should be considered as including not only other people, but animals, plants, the environment around us and most importantly ourselves, since we recognize the presence of the Divine in everything around us. This makes it eveident how it is impossible to always follow literally the Rede, since our life depends on a number of deaths given the fact that we need to eat to sustain ourselves (ad the fact that you kill animals or plants or fruits is irrelevant for this matter). Therefore this means we are advised to always b aware of the responsability we take with our actions, knowing that whatever we do will return to us threefold.
  • The second part states "do as thou will". This means a number of things: first of all do, therefore act. No one can do your homework: if you want something to happen in your life you have to go and work for it. The last word is "will": this indicates an act of volition, a thelema in action, therefore not "what fancies you" but "what your Will has decided". And the use of the second singular person indicates exactly "as YOU will": this means that, first and foremost, each one of us has to know exactly what their true will is so that they can do the necessary actions to obtain the object of their own volition, taking the responsability of the necessary actions.

In a world full of confused people, stunned by the messages broadcasted by the media trying to create always new needs and where the main occupation of everyone is trying to avoid to take any responsability this is not a small thing. Living according the Rede instead means confronting yourself every day, looking accurately inside your soul to find out that you truly want in this life, what you have to do to reach it and what are the responsabilities that you fatally have to take in order to get where you want. In a word, it means to be aware of your life, to be a person that walks towards a goal in the midst of many that are just wandering in the dark.