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Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust.

Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give. For tread the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out. To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme. Light of eye and soft of touch, speak you little, listen much. Honor the Old Ones in deed and name, let love and light be our guides again. Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the joyful tune. Widdershins go when the moon doth wane, and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane. When the Lady's moon is new, kiss the hand to Her times two. When the moon rides at Her peak then your heart's desire seek. Heed the North winds mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail. When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast. When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth. When the wind whispers from the West, all hearts will find peace and rest. Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow. Birch in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows. Oak in the forest towers with might, in the fire it brings the God's insight. Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower. Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland. Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye. Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning adds its strength to the bright fire burning. White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility. Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine. Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen. Elder is the Lady's tree burn it not or cursed you'll be. Four times the Major Sabbats mark in the light and in the dark. As the old year starts to wane the new begins, it's now Samhain. When the time for Imbolc shows watch for flowers through the snows. When the wheel begins to turn soon the Beltane fires will burn. As the wheel turns to Lamas night power is brought to magick rite. Four times the Minor Sabbats fall use the Sun to mark them all. When the wheel has turned to Yule light the log the Horned One rules. In the spring, when night equals day time for Ostara to come our way. When the Sun has reached it's height time for Oak and Holly to fight. Harvesting comes to one and all when the Autumn Equinox does fall.

Heed the flower, bush, and tree by the Lady blessed you'll be. Where the rippling waters go cast a stone, the truth you'll know. When you have and hold a need, harken not to others greed. With a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend. Merry Meet and Merry Part bright the cheeks and warm the heart. Mind the Three-fold Laws you should three times bad and three times good. When misfortune is enow wear the star upon your brow. Be true in love this you must do unless your love is false to you. These Eight words the Rede fulfill: "An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will"

The Wiccan Rede


Also known as the Advice of the Wise
Commentary written by Lady Bridget

Bide the Witches' Law ye must In perfect Love and perfect Trust
Basically, this refers to Perfect Love and Trust in the Lord and Lady, not necessarily in a human person. Remember that all witches are human first, and they will have the same faults and shortcomings as everyone else. Honour them for their knowledge and experience, but don't expect them to be saints!

Live and let all else live Fairly take and fairly give
Pretty self-explanatory...

First tread the Circle thrice about To keep unwelcome spirits out
This refers to casting the circle first with your athame, sword, staff, or whatever tool you use, then casting again around fully with salt & water, then a third casting is done with the Incense. (Not necessarily in that order - it goes by tradition)

To bind the spell well every time Let the spell be spake in rhyme
This refers to your "younger self" or subconscious mind, which hears and reacts more quickly and more fully to rhymes and chants. It also makes it fun for your inner child, and this will enhance your magickal workings.

Light of eye and soft of touch Speak ye little, listen much


"Light of eye" is an injunction against staring forcefully at another, and comes from the Stregan "evil eye". And the second line has always been sage advice.

Honour the Old Ones in deed and name Let love and light be our guides again
Similar to "Honour thy father and mother", but this means anyone elder, not just family. Somehow politeness is being lost in today's society.

Deosil go by the waxing moon Sing and Dance the joyful rune
"Deosil" means clock-wise (Northern Hemisphere) anti-clockwise (Southern Hemisphere), or sun-wise, and the waxing moon is from New Moon to just before the Full Moon, while the moon is "filling out". This is the time to ask for what you want to have joyful in your life. "Rune" is another name for spell, but specifically a rhymed, chanted, spell working. This is evolved from the use of a single rune (such as today are used for divination) to represent the person's desire.

Widdershins by the waning moon Chanting out the baneful rune


"Widdershins" is anti-clockwise (Northern Hemisphere) clock-wise (Southern Hemisphere), and the waning moon is after the full moon, when it is "dwindling". This is the time to get rid of unwanted habits, weight, bad feelings, or anything you wish to be rid of. "Baneful" comes from "banish" and that's what it means.

When the Lady's moon is new Kiss the hand to Her times two
It was the custom in days gone before to send kisses to the New Moon. It must have been a very wide spread custom as I have seen references to the Inquisition warning people that those who did it would be closely watched for signs of heresy and witchcraft!

When the moon rides at Her peak Then your heart's desire seek
This of course is the Full Moon, and the time when the magick of the Moon is at full power.

Heed the North winds' mighty gale Lock the door and trim the sail
These next four verses are "wind wisdom" and refer to the times when the wind comes from the four directions, and also refers to the four seasons. The North wind is well known for the winter storms it brings. Lock everything up tight!

When the Wind blows from the East Expect the new and set the feast
The second line refers to the tendency the East wind has to bring changes, and unexpected visitors.

When the wind comes from the South Love will kiss thee on the mouth
The warm southern wind brings Springtime, when young fancies turn to romance.

When the wind blows from the West Departed souls will have no rest
The West is the direction that the souls of those passing on to the Summerland will take. (I suppose they have to work harder when the wind is against them!)

Nine woods in the Cauldron go Burn them fast and burn them slow
Nine woods are placed in the Beltaine fires and each one is significant.

Birch in the fire goes To represent what the Lady knows, Oak in the forest towers with might In the fire it brings the God's insight, Rowan is a tree of power Causing life and magick to flower, Willows at the waterside stand Ready to help us to the Summerland, Hawthorn is burned to purify And to draw faerie to your eye, Hazel the tree of wisdom and learning Adds its strength to the bright fire burning, White are the flowers of Apple tree That brings us fruits of fertility, Grapes grow upon the vine Giving us both joy and wine, Fir does mark the evergreen To represent immortality seen, Elder is the Lady's tree Burn it not or cursed you'll be.
Count them, Elder is the 10th tree, and the Balefire only gets Nine. This is a warning to those who would burn the elder, and refers to the English elder, but I don't burn the American one either.

Four times the Major Sabbats mark In the light and in the dark
I want to clear up a point: "Major" doesn't refer to the Sabbats' importance, all are equally important. Rather, it refers to us celebrating these Sabbats at the height of the Season, when the Sun reaches 15 in one of the four Cardinal Astrological signs that mark each season.

As the old year starts to wane The new begins, it's now Samhain

Samhain, or Halloween as it is called in the United States, is the Witches' New Year, and marks the first Sabbat on the Wheel of the Year. It occurs at 15 Scorpio, or is traditionally dated October 31st (Northern Hemisphere) April 30th (Southern Hemisphere)

When the time for Imbolc shows Watch for flowers through the snows
Imbolc occurs at 15 Aquarius, or is traditionally dated February 1st (Northern Hemisphere) August 1st (Southern Hemisphere)

When the wheel begins to turn Soon the Beltaine fires will burn
Beltaine occurs at 15 Taurus, or is traditionally dated April 30th / May 1st (Northern Hemisphere) Oct 31st / Nov 1st (Southern Hemisphere)

As the wheel turns to Lammas night Power is brought to magick rite


Lammas or Lughnasadh occurs at 15 Leo, or is traditionally dated August 1st (Northern Hemisphere) Feb 1st (Southern Hemisphere)

Four times the Minor Sabbats fall Use the Sun to mark them all
Now these Sabbats are called "Minor" simply because they happen at the start of the season, when the sun is just entering the Fixed Astrological signs of the four seasons. All of the Sabbats are considered "solar", meaning that they are calculated by the sun. Esbats are the Lunar celebrations calculated by the phases of the Moon.

When the wheel has turned to Yule Light the log the Horned One rules
Yule, or Winter Solstice occurs at 0 Capricorn, or is traditionally dated December 21st /22nd (Northern Hemisphere) June 21st (Southern Hemisphere)

In the spring, when night equals day Time for Ostara to come our way
Ostara, or Spring Equinox occurs at 0 Aries, or is traditionally dated March 20th/21st (Northern Hemisphere) Sep 23rd (Southern Hemisphere)

When the Sun has reached it's height Time for Oak and Holly to fight
Litha, or Summer Solstice occurs at 0 Cancer, or is traditionally dated June 21st (Northern Hemisphere) Dec 21st/22nd (Southern Hemisphere)

Harvesting comes to one and all When the Autumn Equinox does fall
Mabon, or Autumn Equinox occurs at 0 Libra, or is traditionally dated September 23rd (Northern Hemisphere) Mar 20th/21st (Southern Hemisphere)

Heed the flower, bush, and tree By the Lady blessed you'll be
All life is Sacred to the Goddess, and proper respect should be shown for the sacrifice of Her Creatures and Plants so that we may eat and survive.

Where the rippling waters go Cast a stone, the truth you'll know
This is referring to a water divination, where one tosses a pebble into the surface of still water to watch the ripples and divine the future.

When you have and hold a need Harken not to others greed
One should not do magick out of greed, but out of need. So if someone offers you money to do a spell for them, what is your motivation? And what is theirs? Do you want to attract dependent people to you who could possibly put so many demands on your energy that you have no time for yourself? This one is thought provoking, isn't it?

With a fool no season spend Nor be counted as his friend


Or in other words, people know you by the company you keep....

Merry Meet and Merry Part Bright the cheeks and warm the heart
Also self explanatory... we're all pretty happy to see one another, and open expressions of affection are encouraged.

Mind the Three-fold Law you should Three times bad and three times good
The three-fold law refers to the belief that whatever you sent out, be it good or ill, will return to you three-fold. There is a common saying used these days - "What goes around, comes around." - which means much the same thing, except that we multiply that energy by three. Since "energy follows thought" it seems it would be wise to avoid thinking negatively, because that's what you'll attract to you.

When misfortune is enow Wear the star upon your brow


In this form, it means to open your third eye and listen to your higher self/Spirit Guide/Guardian Angel whenever you find yourself in difficulties. I was taught a slightly different variation: "Wear the blue star on your brow" which harkens back to the days of Welsh villages, and may be evolved from the blue crescent of woad worn on the foreheads of the Picts...

In love you must be ever true Unless your love is false to you
A witch does not give her or his word lightly... and a vow of true love is also not spoken lightly. However, if your lover is untrue to you, there is another saying " ....."!!!!!!!

Eight words the Rede fulfil

"And it harm none, do what ye will"


This "Rede" is the law by which Witches live, with harm to none. Harming none, includes not harming yourself. The term "Harm" and what actually constitutes harm to another being, is a convoluted concept, and requires thought and meditation on the part of the Witch, to weigh possible consequences of actions to see if harm will result. Also bear in mind that you have no right to do magick or cast spells on another person WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION! This IS considered harm, as you are forcing your will on them, even if you are doing a healing spell. This concept can be the most difficult for a person new to the Craft to grasp, yet it is the most important, and the cornerstone of our religion and beliefs. It makes you totally responsible for your actions and their results. If you have a dilemma, it's best to get another informed opinion before acting, especially if your are strongly and emotionally attached to the result. The only person you can work all the magick you like for is yourself!