There are very few ‘rules’ in Wicca. In fact, a lot of people like the fact that there is no rulebook, dogma or strict hierarchy in Wicca. Of course, this varies between traditions, as some groups have more guidelines then others.
Rulebook or not, there are a few key tenets that most Wiccans follow, such as the Wiccan Rede, the Rule of Three, and even the Thirteen Principles of Wiccan Belief as set out by the American Council of Witches in 1974.
The Wiccan Rede provides a common moral system for those practicing Wicca and other pagan religions. Doreen Valiente first published the famous ‘eight word’ couplet in 1964, “Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, An it harm none do what ye will”. The long Rede below came from Earth Religion News in 1974.
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 Lammas 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 its 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”
Rule of Three
Some Wiccan groups follow the Rule of Three, also known as the Threefold Law or the Law of Return. The Rule of Three states that any energy you put out into the universe (negative or positive) will be returned to you threefold, like a system of ‘cause and effect’. Some liken this to the Buddhist view of Karma, or even the Christian ‘Golden Rule’. There are many variations of the Rule of Three, with one being taken from the Wiccan Rede:
Mind the Three-fold Laws you should, three times bad and three times good.
Thirteen Goals of a Witch
Scott Cunningham included these ‘Thirteen Goals of a Witch’ in his very popular book Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. Although written more recently then the Rede, many Wiccans try to stay true to these guidelines, in both their mundane and magical lives.
I. Know Yourself
II. Know your Craft
IV. Apply knowledge with wisdom
V. Achieve balance
VI. Keep your words in good order
VII. Keep your thoughts in good order
VIII. Celebrate life
IX. Attune with the cycles of the Earth
X. Breath and eat correctly
XI. Exercise the body
XIII. Honor the God and Goddess
As there is no central authority figure, dogma, or ‘Bible’ in Wicca, it promotes independence and personal responsibility. It allows each person to determine their own ethical balance as opposed to being told how to live their lives. And although this can sometimes be hard, it is very empowering!