The wiccan rede, in short, is a set of very important guidelines. To know the small verse ‘An ye harm none, do what thou wilt’ (or any other version) starts you off on your journey of being a witch. You may know tons of information on witchcraft or any other pagan path, but to have this is verse to heart will always keep you focused.
When I haven’t practised or done much magickal things for long periods of time, due to family stress or work, I wake up every morning and recite the smaller version of the rede. It keeps me in check with the universe and all that is about me. It reaffirms the fact that I am a magickal being, and that I have no intention on harming other humans or nature. That probably doesn’t make much sense but have a look at the full and short version of the rede below and I’ll break it down the way I understood it.
(This is a great site for beginners)
The Wiccan Rede
Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust.
Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give.
For tread the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out.
To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme.
Light of eye and soft of touch, speak you little, listen much.
Honor the Old Ones in deed and name,
let love and light be our guides again.
Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the joyful tune.
Widdershins go when the moon doth wane,
and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane.
When the Lady’s moon is new, kiss the hand to Her times two.
When the moon rides at Her peak then your heart’s desire seek.
Heed the North winds mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.
When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.
When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth.
When the wind whispers from the West, all hearts will find peace and rest.
Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows.
Oak in the forest towers with might, in the fire it brings the God’s
insight. Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magick to flower.
Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye.
Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning adds its strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility.
Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen.
Elder is the Lady’s tree burn it not or cursed you’ll be.
Four times the Major Sabbats mark in the light and in the dark.
As the old year starts to wane the new begins, it’s now Samhain.
When the time for Imbolc shows watch for flowers through the snows.
When the wheel begins to turn soon the Beltane fires will burn.
As the wheel turns to Lamas night power is brought to magick rite.
Four times the Minor Sabbats fall use the Sun to mark them all.
When the wheel has turned to Yule light the log the Horned One rules.
In the spring, when night equals day time for Ostara to come our way.
When the Sun has reached it’s height time for Oak and Holly to fight.
Harvesting comes to one and all when the Autumn Equinox does fall.
Heed the flower, bush, and tree by the Lady blessed you’ll be.
Where the rippling waters go cast a stone, the truth you’ll know.
When you have and hold a need, harken not to others greed.
With a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend.
Merry Meet and Merry Part bright the cheeks and warm the heart.
Mind the Three-fold Laws you should three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow wear the star upon your brow.
Be true in love this you must do unless your love is false to you.
These Eight words the Rede fulfill:
“An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will”
This is the long version, but I found a lovely photo on google with the short version. The short version is something a lot of wiccan’s I know, enjoy and have memorized it. Now I’m going to break down the shorter version, with my personal meaning and method.
The Wiccan Rede
Bide the wiccan law ye must,
In perfect love and perfect trust.
Eight words the wiccan rede fulfill,
An ye harm none, do what ye will.
What ye send forth comes back to thee,
So ever mind the law of three.
Follow this with mind and heart,
Merry ye meet, an’ merry ye part!
‘An ye harm none, do what ye will’ – is an important quote, that as a witch, you need to commit to memory, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know the whole rede but at least have a copy near by. Stick it into your book of shadows. The eight words, imply that you can do all sorts of magick, but you have to make sure it won’t harm anyone or anything. Otherwise, lines 5 to 6, state the basic laws of Karma. What you do/send forth you will get the consequences back. For witches, we believe in the law of 3. You get your tuppence for your actions. In other words, if you give your last sandwich to your friend/sibling or even a total stranger, you will be blessed in 3 random ways. If you harm someone then you will be repaid, in 3 ways.
So live by (abide/bide) this rede, and try and put your understanding in your own words.
Get yourself a notebook, which you can use as a book of shadows or a magickal journal. Copy the short rede and write up your understanding of it. Make it personal and remember to date it! You can look back in a few weeks, or months or so and see how you have developed since then.
I did the same thing, and looking back to that journal entry, almost 9 years later, I have found that I have developed in the most incredible way!
Have fun, and remember to be as positive as possible!
ps. i’ll go over a glossary in the next few weeks.