“Whatever works” does not equate to “anything goes“.
Wicca is not a tightly structured religion, and a lot of the time you are advised to use ‘whatever works for you’, or ‘whatever feels right to you’. This is not license to do just anything that you feel like. There are reasons behind the various practises in Wicca, and only when you understand why you are doing something can you think about changing it. I think a brilliant example of this is in Terry Pratchett’s Nation.
The natives of the nation in question create a traditional drink, and part of this involves spitting in the drink and singing a song over it. When foreigners come, they don’t know why these things are done and so omit them – with disasterous results. On the other hand, the girl that studies the culture learns that there’s some property in human spit that neutralises the deadly properties of the plant used in the drink, and the time it takes to sing the traditional song is the time it takes for the whole drink to be made safe.
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The term Rede, or Wiccan Rede, refers, apparently interchangably, to either the long poem I have provided a link to or, more accurately I believe, to the eight-word form below;
“An it harm none, do what ye will.”
If you’ve read any modern books on Wicca, or searched the internet for it, you’ll probably have found both versions repeated quite often. The Rede is the cardinal rule in Wicca, but half the websites present its text without exploring its origin or meaning.
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The Threefold Law is attributed to Gerald Gardner, and the basic idea behind it is that any energy you send out will return to you three times as strong. It is first suggested in High Magic’s Aid;
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“Thou hast obeyed the Law. But mark well, when thou receivest good, so equally art bound to return good threefold.”
In your exploration of Wicca, you may have come across the ideas that ‘all gods are one god’ and ‘all paths lead to the same place’. I had read these many times, in many places, and never really given them more than a passing thought. It was Kaatryn MacMorgan-Douglas that made me start to think more deeply on them when she addresses them in her book Wicca 333: Advanced Topics in Wiccan Belief.
In her book, Kaatryn objects quite strongly to both ideas. She says this;
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