Wicca Rede

The Wicca Rede is a well-known piece of poetry that many hold as part of the central tenets of the religion.

The Wicca Rede is a classic piece of writing that many Wiccans try to follow

The full text of the Rede is as follows:

Bide you the Wiccan laws you must, in perfect love and perfect trust.
Live and let live, fairly take and fairly give.
Cast the circle thrice about, to keep the unwelcome spirits out.
To bind the spell every time, let the spell be spake in rhyme.
Soft of eye and light of touch, speak little and listen much.
Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the Wiccan rune.
Widdershins go by the waning moon, chanting out the baleful tune.
When the Lady’s moon is new, kiss your hand to Her times two.
When the moon rides at Her peak, then the heart’s desire seek.
Heed the North wind’s mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.
When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth.
When the wind blows from the West, departed spirits will have no rest.
When the wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.
Nine woods in the cauldron go, burn them quick and burn them slow.
Elder be the Lady’s tree, burn it not or cursed you’ll be.
When the wheel begins to turn, let the Beltane fire burn.
When the wheel has turned to Yule, light the log, the Horned One rules.
Heed you flower, bush and tree, by the Lady, blessed be.
Where the rippling waters go, cast a stone, the truth to know.
When you have and hold a need, harken not to other’s greed.
With a fool no seasons spend, or be counted as his friend.
Merry meet and merry part, bright the cheeks and warm the heart.
Mind the Threefold Law you should, three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow, wear the blue star on your brow.
True in love you must ever be, lest their love be false to thee.
These words the Wiccan Rede fulfil: An it harm none, do what you will.

In some cases, people will quote the final line as being the Rede. It is also that line where the infamous “Harm None” concept comes into play. That’s usually just called the Short Rede, with the full text of the poem being known as the Long Rede.

Now there is considerable confusion about the origins of this piece and you can find many essays debating its true meanings. Doreen Valiente first used the Short Rede in 1964 but the text of the Long Rede wasn’t published until the 1970s. While I won’t go into the historical detail here, you should know that it is most likely that the Rede is less than 50 years old.

How you choose to interpret the Wicca Rede is up to you. If nothing else, it’s a lovely poem with a good moral at the end.

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