Where to start on a topic so highly debated? Well, the other day I stumbled upon someone’s writing in which they extolled the virtues of the Wiccan Rede and the Law of Three. While this isn’t exactly problematic, the context in which they did was. It was purported that as a Witch or Wiccan you must follow these two codes of conduct.
Here is the problem: not all Wiccans and Witches follow the Wiccan Rede or the Law of Three. To assert that in order to be a proper Witch or Wiccan you must do so, or that if you don’t that you are somehow a lesser person is completely asinine and rather insulting.
I hate to repeat myself, as I’ve discussed this in a previous post. But, alas, here we are again. Instead of reiterating about how the Wiccan Rede was never a part of traditional Wicca and was rather a later invention, or how the Law of Three is a construct that was taken out of context and is now applied using westernized (and culturally appropriated) concepts of karma, let me try something different.
Disclaimer: First let me make a note of something that seems to be ignored by most of the people making these generalized statements. Wicca is a specific form of Witchcraft. Witchcraft doesn’t necessarily equal Wicca. That would be like saying Witchcraft is Voodoo. It just doesn’t work.
So let me frame this argument differently by stating that Witchcraft was never meant to be nice. Historically, it was never meant to be bound by moral laws. It was meant to be a source of power, a power that is amoral.
Let’s just for a moment make a case that there were actual Witches during the so called Burning Times. Given the social, economic, and political climate of the day, these Witches wouldn’t be wrapped up in concepts like the Rede and Law of Three. Not only for the obvious reasons that they didn’t exist at that time, but because they would be risking their lives to practice. Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume any spells they would be working would be geared towards survival. How do you survive during a time like that? Surely not by casting spells for harmony and luck, but by taking down your enemies through malefic means. Sure throw some protection spells in there, but their intended purpose wouldn’t be for love and light.
Let’s say that I’m a woman in 1693 Salem. Am I going to put my life at stake simply to do a love spell, in which I avoid violating free will by aiming to bring love (in a general context) to my life? Hell no. I am going to be casting a damn love spell directly on the richest bachelor in town. By doing so I would be securing my safety.
Witchcraft is about power. It’s about finding empowerment and using your will to get what you want. In fact, I would go so far to say that Witchcraft is the craft of the disenfranchised. Just take a look at Leland’s Gospel of the Witches. Aradia comes to earth to teach the peasants Witchcraft. Not so that they could hope karma would come back to their oppressors three-fold, but to act as their own agent of karma.
Witchcraft would have had a very specific use back then. It wouldn’t be useful for those who were free from oppression and able to feed/shelter/cloth themselves. It certainly wouldn’t be worth risking possible persecution for. Therefore, if it was to be used it would be for something extremely important and it certainly wouldn’t have been concerned with morals.
Okay Kelden, but what about Witchcraft today? We are no longer faced with such dire circumstances for practicing. So utilizing the Rede and the Law of Three is much more practical. To that I say yes and no. It’s always good to be conscientious of others, to be kind, and to promote good in the universe. However, the way in which the Rede is so often interpreted is completely unsustainable.
Harm no one! It’s nice in theory but in application is nearly impossible. If you drive a car, run electricity, or eat meat you are harming the environment. If you eat junk food, don’t exercise, or don’t get enough sleep you are hurting your body. And we have all been guilty of hurting another person’s feelings. Causing harm is an unavoidable part of life.
When it comes to spells, harm is also unavoidable. By casting a spell to get a job you are hurting someone else’s chance of getting it. If you want to get really technical, doing a healing spell, let’s say to cure the flu, you are hurting the virus. Again, harm is inevitable.
But what about specification? What if I throw in a request that the spell only work if it harms none? That’s great! But unfortunately more often than not you probably won’t be getting results.
I’m not trying to say that Witchcraft is all about harming others or that is can only be used for such. However, I’m also not saying that Witchcraft is all about healing and positivity. It’s amoral. It isn’t concerned with what others deem right or wrong. because it’s both. Witchcraft was never meant to be subjugated by a set of eight words or some vague western version of karma. Witchcraft is about empowerment and freedom. The freedom to claim one’s power and to use it to change their lives.
So please. Next time, before assuming that all Witches and Wiccans follow the Rede and the Threefold Law, open a book. Do some research into the history of these two things. Realize that even Wiccans have been known to curse and do nasty things on occasion.