• Maggie Shayne

Sacred Texts of the Craft: The Wiccan Rede

Updated: Jun 5



The Wiccan Rede first appeared publicly in Earth Religion News in 1974, uncredited, followed by a slightly corrected version in Green Egg Magazine in an article credited to Lady Gwen Thompson, who said it was given to her by her grandmother Adrianna Porter. This is the version passed on to me by my teachers in my early days learning the Craft of the Wise. It belongs in every Witch's Book of Shadows. It is highly likely this was created in the sixties, possibly by Porter herself, but we don't know for sure.


While the use of "ye" is a little bit clunky and clearly inserted to give the rhyme a more ancient feel, and there's a lot of "protecting" going on here, there is also a plethora of wisdom and tradition packed into this piece. It manages to describe the ethics of the Craft, the holidays, the energies of the moon, divination, folklore, and the most important stanza in Witchdom: An' it harm none, do what ye will.


I tweeted a line from the Rede the other day and was stunned at how many who practice nature religions had never heard it before. It's one of the core writings at the heart of the witchcraft movement, the Goddess spirituality movement, the nature religion movement.


I decided that I would post these writings, which I emphasize are not my own. I'll categorize them as Sacred Texts so that you can find them easily, copy them down, and keep them handy.


The Wiccan Rede

From Lady Gwen Thompson

Green Egg Magazine, 1974

Bide ye Wiccan laws ye must

In perfect love and perfect trust

Live ye must and let to live

Fairly take and fairly give

Form the circle thrice about

To keep unwanted spirits out

To bind ye spell well every time

Let the spell be spake in rhyme

Soft of eye and light of touch

Speak ye little, listen much

Deosil go by waxing moon

Sing and dance the Wiccan Rune

Widdershins go when the moon doth wane

And the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane

When ye Lady's moon is new

Kiss ye hand to Her times two

When ye moon rides at her peak

Then ye 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 thee on the mouth

When the wind blows from the east

Expect the new and set the feast

When the west wind blows o'er thee

Departed spirits restless be

Nine woods in the cauldron go

Burn them fast and burn them slow

Elder be ye Lady's tree

Burn it not or cursed ye'll be

When the wheel begins to turn

Soon the Beltaine fires will burn

When the wheel hath turned to Yule

Light the log, the Horned One rules

Heed ye flower, bush and tree

By the Lady blessed be

Where the rippling waters go

Cast a stone and truth ye'll know

When ye have and hold a need

Hearken not to others' greed

With a fool no season spend

Nor be counted as his friend

Merry meet and merry part

Bright the cheeks and warm the heart

Mind ye threefold law ye should

Three times bad and three times good

When misfortunes are enow

Wear the blue star on thy brow

True in love ye ever be

Lest thy love be false to thee

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill

"An' it harm none, do what ye will"


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