The Wiccan Ideals
There is no bible or ten commandments of Wicca, but there are some ideals we strive for. We also have the Rede, which means to give council or advice, which appears to have been created in the 1940’s-1950’s. The Rede is a great ethical basis for beginning on the Wiccan path, so we’ll start there.
There are several versions of the Rede, this is not the longest or shortest, but it gives the basics in a nice concise way.
This one covers perfect love and perfect trust as the mindset for dealing with the Divine, and ultimately with each other.
It also has the often quoted; “an’ ye harm none” passage. This passage when you boil it down means, you can do whatever as long as no one, including yourself, is harmed in the process. That one is both harder and easier than perfect love and perfect trust in my opinion, because you have to weigh all sides before you make a choice. On the plus side, magic and worship are best done when not in a rush to start with, so thinking things through makes them better anyways.
One thing I would like to add here is an extra line, which many have brought up and is originally attributed to Sybil Leek. “Evil allowed to exist harms all”. This to me this says don’t create trouble but if you see it you have an obligation to stop it. I have also seen this phrased as “An it harm none, do as you will. An it cause harm, do as you must.” Which again references the fact that we should not stand idly by as atrocities are committed.
Then we move on to the ‘Threefold Law of Return’. Basically this is karma with a punch. What you put out in the universe will return to you for good or bad and then multiply it by three. So why curse someone when it will be back like an angry boomerang? But help heal the earth and that’s going to boomerang some good back your way.
- All life is sacred.
- There is no single path to divinity.
- Magic is a sacred act.
- Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
- Energy you send out will return to you threefold.
- Power and energy exist in all things.
- Wicca is a spiritual path, not a dress code.
- Honor nature as you honor the divine.
- Words are power as action is power.
- You are your own responsibility.
All life is sacred.
The Goddess is in all things. She is the creator, and as creator She is the mother of all living things. Her presence permeates everything around us. The tree is not the Goddess; the Goddess is in the tree. Anything that diminishes life diminishes Her.
Some Wiccans take this to mean that vegetarianism is a Wiccan fundamental. We must remember though, that eating grains kills the grain. Some things must die for us to live. This doesn’t mean vegetarianism is wrong, but it is not the only way. Regardless of how we eat, if we live we help grow more grain, raise more livestock, and help conservation efforts for wildlife and native plants. We can support organic and ethically harvested products whenever possible.
If we treat the world and all life within it as sacred we treat ourselves and our world better, which honors the Divine spark within everything.
There is no single path to divinity.
My grandfather was a Lutheran minister. When he passed away he knew absolutely where he was going and I absolutely know that is where he is. Both my grandfather’s path and my path will connect us with the divine. There are many similarities within any positive religion. Two of the biggest similarities are treating others well and a connection to the Divine. Not only are there many non-pagan paths to Divinity, there are so many pagan paths, it can make one’s head spin. I may focus on the Celtic pantheon and a friend may focus on Yoruba deities; we both follow a path that speaks to us, connect us both and neither is wrong.
Magic is a sacred act.
Wicca is a religion that uses magic both for achieving goals and as a means of worship. To create magic you must connect to the energies and powers of the universe and through them to the Divine. Prayer is considered a sacred act in many religions; in Wicca magic is like focused prayer. You have intent and focus your will and energies towards that goal, by connecting these goals to the Divine you create change, by connecting to the divine you make your prayers and magic sacred.
As magic is sacred, it should not be frivolous. Magic to hit all the green lights so you can get to the party on time is frivolous, magic to hit all the green lights because your best friend just called from the ER is not frivolous.
Power and energy exist in all things.
Energy runs through everything. It is present in plants, rocks, water and people. Some energy is easier to see or feel, like lightning. Some energy is more pleasant to be around, like rocks.
You will find that you to feel energy in certain items with little or no practice whereas some items will require a lot of patience. I can feel rock energy very easily; even pick up a mood or specific vibrations that differ from rock to rock and type to type. On the other hand, plants and I have a hard time communicating through energy; I think they know that I have a brown thumb.
But regardless of difficulty the energy is there. That energy is the spark of creation from the Divine. That energy has different properties, different strengths, and different uses.
By accessing their energies we can channel their power towards our goals and also use them as a connection to the Goddess. We don’t worship the rock as the Goddess, but we can connect to the Goddess through her energy in the rock.
Energy you send out will return to you threefold.
Isaac Newton said that for every action, the universe provides an equal reaction. The threefold law is the magical equivalent of Newton’s law. Every time you use energy, the universe will return that energy to you magnified three times.
When the universe returns this energy to you, it will return to you in the same ethical alignment that you used it. This means, among other things, that if you use energy to do something that would classify as bad, that badness will return to you three times as strong.
Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
Ah, the golden rule. It turns out mom was right when she told you this as a kid. And that same ideal holds true, treat others how you want to be treated.
Wicca is a spiritual path, not a dress code.
You cannot tell a Witch from their clothes much of the time. Being Wiccan does not require medieval garb or dressing in all black. It does not require a prominent pentagram be displayed on your person. In normal day-to-day life dress for the situation and your personal taste. But don’t feel like you must match the stereotype of the Witch.
Being Wiccan does not require you to be dark and brooding, or wear lots of makeup. A happy Witch in jeans and a t-shirt is as much of a Witch as the kid wearing nothing but black crushed velvet and eyeliner. However by recognizing that your beliefs do not need to be on display does put you further down the path to enlightenment.
On the flip side of this is ritual wear. When I’m in sacred space I fancy things up a bit, I have a wheat colored robe that I made as well as several broomstick skirts that are only worn for ritual. By changing out of my normal day-to-day clothing I take a step closer to ritual headspace. Does this mean I’ve never circled in jeans? No, just that I try not to. To me its just like when people dress up for church, you are showing effort to be at your best for the Divine, but wearing those itchy Sunday-school dresses all the time, no thanks.
Honor nature as you honor the Divine.
The Goddess is in everything. Honor Her when you are outside in nature by picking up trash or leaving a space better than you found it. The tree gives shade and oxygen to help us live, honor its commitment to our survival with thanks and prayers towards it continued good health. As I stated before; the tree is not the Goddess but the Goddess is in the tree, honor that spark and honor your connection with nature, as we are all Her creations.
Words are power as action is power.
In ritual and in magic we put out our intent verbally and through actions. Some workings only need our words to manifest. Our words hold power in them when spoken with intent and conviction. This is why Witches need to be conscientious of how they speak not only in ritual but outside of sacred space as well.
Even when expressing emotions we must be careful to not willfully send out negative energy, as any energy we send out will return to us. I am not saying you can’t get frustrated or upset, I’m saying that if these emotions are your default for any situation you should work on them, and change the patterns that cause them. If you see everything you do as sacred and magical and you strive for a positive place in the universe, you will find yourself living more in harmony with the world around you.
We have always been taught that actions speak louder than words. In the sense that an action usually has an immediate effect that words do not, this is true. When words and actions are combined, however, they become much more powerful. If you speak with conviction and back it up with actions towards that goal you will find that what you put your mind to will happen.
You are your own responsibility.
There is no Devil who made you do it, there is no fate that you can’t get out of, its just you. The Goddess created all of us with brains and some form of common sense, She expects us to use them.
If you make a mistake, do what you can to right it, learn from it and move on. Don’t pass the buck; don’t blame it on some exterior force. Own up, act like a capable adult and know that the Goddess loves you but wants you to learn, and if you need to have more opportunities to take responsibility for yourself, they will be made available.