• Maggie Shayne

Law of Attraction and The Rule of Three


“Mind the Threefold Law ye should—three times bad and three times good.”

”Green Egg Magazine, 1974 by Lady Gwynneth Thompson

As given by her grandmother, Adrianna Porter

“Ever mind the rule of three; three times what thou givest returns unto thee."

Source unknown

The Rule of Three and The Law of Attraction are the same thing.

Read on LOAers. We're covering both.

There’s hot debate about the Wiccan Rule of Three. Many believe the first mention of this “rule” seemed to come from a novel by Gerald Gardner called High Magick’s Aid (1949) in which is written: “But mark well, when thou receivest good, so equally art thou bound to return good threefold.” The popular claim is that this line states whenever you receive something, you must return it three times over, or tripled. It does not states that whatever you give, you will receive three times over. Therefore our current interpretation of the Three-fold Rule is invalid.

Here’s why that’s completely irrelevant. Gardner published numerous non-fiction books discussing his version of Witchcraft in detail, down to where to stand and what to say. He applied his Witchcraft principals to his fiction, not the other way around. “As above, so below. As within so without.” This principle comes from the Hermetic Texts thought to have originated in the 2nd or 3rd century BCE. Restated as it applies to our topic, “if it’s true that I will send forth what I receive, it must also be true that I will receive what I send forth.” One can’t be true without the other, so even if Gardner was teaching the craft through his novel, it would still apply in both directions, all directions, not just one. (As all things must.) We know that Gerald Gardner was a great believer in Karma and in Karmic return through Doreen Valiente, who studied under him. She also says he was a “male chauvinist pig of the crudest kind." But that some of his writings are still worthy of study. Valiente was initiated by Gardner and wrote some of the greatest texts in the history of the craft before breaking away to form her own path. Wiccans worldwide still recite her beautiful words in ritual today and all should read her works. She is considered the mother of Modern Witchcraft and she evolved the goddess religion movement far beyond old Gerald.

Here's what she has to say: “Gerald Gardner, who initiated me into Witchcraft, was a great believer in the working out of karma,” she wrote, and further explains, “Karma is simply a Sanskrit word meaning action without any implications of reward or punishment as we envisage them, but rather the idea that every action must bring its appropriate reaction, somewhere and somewhen, as a law of nature, not something being handed out by a sort of heavenly magistrate sitting up in the sky.” —Witchcraft for Tomorrow, Doreen Valiente

  • KARMA is a law of nature.

  • THREE-FOLD RETURN is a law of nature.

  • LAW OF ATTRACTION is a law of nature.

  • These are all expressions of the same natural law.

What we emit returns to us because it’s a law of nature, much like the law of gravity. We don’t have to have a commandment or enforce a law that says, “Thou shalt not fall UP.” We can’t fall up. Nature won’t allow it. The law of gravity is why. It’s how this physical world works. Things don’t fall up.

Likewise, The Rule of Three is not a commandment or a rule you can choose to follow or to break. It’s just the way things work. It’s nature’s law. It has always been and will always be. More simply named, one might call it the natural law of Like Attracts Like.


Religious interpretations

Christians interpreted the natural law of Like attracts Like into, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” The pagan Greeks had a saying, “To the pure, all things are pure.” I think that ties very closely to the Hermetic idea was that once one advances to a higher level of understanding and alignment with the Higher Power, one thereby become incapable of doing harm.

Likewise the Rule of Three was initially not revealed until the Second Degree Initiation of the Witch, when her will and the will of the Gods were one and the same. Lots of the Witch blogs out there seek to discredit the Rule of Three by pointing to it having mirror images in Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism. To me, that just gives it more validity. The law of Like Attracts Like is a truth so powerful and basic to all existence, it would be obvious to every spiritual seeker, every philosopher, every wise one. It's what one finds at the bottom of everything that is. Like attracts Like. We live it every single day. It’s impossible not to recognize it if our eyes are open. So naturally, it would be found in most, if not every spiritual path and religion in existence in some form or another.

Why three, though?

Now we get into the really fun part of the discussion. How did we get from “Like attracts like” which is the simplest form of the natural Law of Attraction, to, "Ever mind the Rule of Three. Three times what thou gives returns until thee.”

The number 3 is the most sacred number in the goddess religions. The Goddess Herself is seen as three-fold: Maid, Mother, Crone. The moon has three phases: waxing, full, waning. The human being is seen to have three forms: body, mind, and spirit. And in many cultures there are versions of the Three Fates, usually depicted as three wise women. The Norns from the Northlands. The Moirae of ancient Greece and Rome. Their names are Clotho (Spinner), Lachesis (Allotter), and Atropos (Inflexible). Their names are Is, Was, and Shall Be. They are birth, life, and death. They are past, present and future. They weave the fate of humankind.


Here's the kicker. They weave it from the threads we ourselves create.


The three represent three distinct forces that cause what we emit (the threads we create) to match what we receive (the fabric of our lives, which they weave from those threads.) Together, they are the personification of the Law of Attraction, the natural law of Like Attracts Like. They are each one of its facets. Physical, mental, emotional. They each represent one of the three-part of act of creation in which we are all engaged every day of our lives.


  1. We desire.

  2. We align with the desire until we match its vibration.

  3. We attain the desire.


Or maybe this is even clearer and more specific:


  1. We emit a new vibration.

  2. We practice the vibration until it becomes our default.

  3. We see the physical manifestation of that vibration playing out in our lives.

Ever mind the rule of three. Three times what thou gives returns unto thee.

Is it starting to make more sense when you recite it now?

What we do, think about, believe in, expect, intend, and project—that is to say, the sum total of what we ARE—emits from us constantly. We are radio towers beaming out our signal. The signal we beam acts in three ways:


  1. It attracts things that match its wavelength like a giant magnet.

  2. It exists on its own apart from us and has a measurable impact upon the person or situation toward which it was directed. That is, the subject or object of our thought or action.

  3. It impacts every person that person interacts with. It impacts every person who interacts with the object or situation our thoughts were about.

The impact of all we think, all we express, all we say, all we do, ripple out from us like a pebble thrown into pond, its rings spreading wider and bigger as they expand. Eventually, they touch every other part of the Whole. Including us, being part of the Whole ourselves.

The Rule of Three...

It is not a law or tenet or rule we must obey. We can’t disobey it. It’s a law of nature. No argument will change its existence. It simply IS.

Just as you can’t fall up due to the Law of Gravity,

You must receive what you emit due to the Law of Attraction

All we are, we send.

All we send, expands and returns to us.

This is natural law.



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