Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tips for Living Wicca: Your Daily Bomb #2- the Wiccan Rede

The Daily Bomb was explained in detail in this first Daily Bomb post here. 

In a nutshell, there is a terrible epidemic of misinformation in Wicca... and it is important that Wiccans start correcting it (even if it means re-examining your previous ideas). 

Bombs Away:

#2 The Wiccan Rede is only 8 words

That's it. That's all there is. Really. I swear. 

There is no long version. There is no short version. There is no rhyming... those poems are just poems people wrote about the Rede later on, in the 1970s. They were never the Wiccan Rede (until people started misrepresenting them as 'The Wiccan Rede' and passing them around that way on the internet,) that is. 

I've written much more in depth about this before, and the best resource for the Wiccan Rede to date that I've found is by John J. Coughlin... he traces the Rede to its origins and examines how it developed in Wicca. His research can be read for free on this website. 

About every traditionalist or old-school Wiccan is pretty well aware of this. Yet these poem versions get passed around over and over and over.

And yes, I am including (especially) the whole 'bide the Wiccan Rede ye must in perfect love and perfect trust' yadda yadda yadda mumbo-jumbo poem that Adriana Porter wrote in the 1970s and lied about it being from her grandmother before Wicca existed. Porter was not even Wiccan. And I'm not just saying I don't think she was Wiccan-- Porter has specifically gone on the record to explain that she is a Celtic traditionalist, and not a Wiccan. Neither was her grandmother. She just use the word 'Wiccan' and the 'Wiccan Rede' in her poem because in the 70s it was becoming popular for people to use the word Wiccan instead of Witch.

Everyone seems so serious about the these long-ass poems, dissecting them and trying to turn it into some kind of Wiccan scripture. 

Well, it's not. Wicca doesn't have scripture, and the Wiccan Rede has only 8 words:

If it harm none, do what you will.

And you would think that being only 8 words, people would not have such a problem understanding it. But, unfortunately, people misunderstand the Rede, too, and don't even have a clue as to where it came from. But those are bombs for dropping on another day (maybe tomorrow). 

Now if you Like one of those poems about the Wiccan Rede-- then you should certainly embrace it. There is nothing wrong with that... there's lots of things a Wiccan might personally choose to follow, or a coven might embrace. 

But if you consider yourself Wiccan, you should know what the actual Wiccan Rede really is... and you should know what it's not... and you should not spread around the myth that 'this 44 line poem is the Wiccan Rede and all Wiccans follow it," because that's simply not true.

My Tip for You Today:  Spread the word. 



  1. I follow a Anni, a wonderful woman on YouTube, who has been an active practicing Wiccan since the 70s. She said that the first covens she was exposed to didn't have the Wiccan Rede, that it seemed to be something that came about from "newer" covens after the religion began to go more mainstream. She still doesn't follow the Rede, but has developed a set if moral beliefs that guide her through her craft.

    I was never a huge fan of the Wiccan Rede myself, so no, I don't follow it, and for awhile I thought that meant I wasn't truly Wiccan because all the books kept spouting the Wiccan Rede! I am, however, a very moral person that does have a code of conduct.

    The reason I don't follow the Wiccan Reds is personal, but it mainly boils down to this: it doesn't ring true for me. There's so much discussion over the interpretation of "harm none" that I struggled with for so long that I just scrapped it. I harm things everyday, even when I don't mean to. When my cat comes home with fleas, we get rid of them. When weeds grow in the yard, out they go. I eat meat and I'm not going to change that lifestyle. Heck, every time I get into a car I'm doing damage to the environment.

    But it also bothered me that people who say they follow the Rede have no problem binding someone for using spells and magical that not only impede the will but can also be harmful in nature, all under the guise of protection. I'm not saying that people shouldn't protect themselves or others, but I'm of the mind that when you set a moral guide for yourself, it shouldn't be there only when it's convenient for you. Sometimes drastic measures are necessary. Sometimes you can't be nice about the approach when you or your family feel threatened. It's situations like these that made me realize that the Wiccan Rede just wasn't the right fit for me.

  2. This has become a popular misconception, Adana, that not adhering to the Rede (or some of the poems people mistakenly confuse with the Rede) that it somehow makes you less Wicca.

    My HP/HPS didn't care for the Rede at all. For me, it's never been of the utmost importance either. I take it for what it is-- a small bit of advice (the word 'rede' means 'advice').